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I have an older PC (32-bit, 3.4 GHz, single-core) that doesn't recognize an Ubuntu Server 14.04 Live CD as valid boot media.

  • The machine boots successfully from HDD (currently, Win XP is residing)
  • The machine boots successfully from DVD drive, using Minux 3 CD
  • The machine will NOT boot from Ubuntu 9 Desktop, Ubuntu 12.04 Desktop, or Ubuntu 14.04 Server Live CD's

Also, regarding the 3 Ubuntu discs, I've used the Live CD's for 9 and 12.04 on other machines, so they are known good. The 14.04 disc is new and I've never used it before, but appears good when I look at its contents on a different machine.

It just occurred to me to verify the 14.04 disc by using it to boot on another machine, so I'll do that tonight and update.

When I try to boot from those discs, the BIOS POST runs and then I get an error that there's no valid boot media, or it boots to WinXP (depending on whether I enable/disable the HDD in the boot sequence).

Why won't my machine boot the Ubuntu Live CD's?

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  • Is the Live CD made from a i386 iso and not amd64 ?
    – solsTiCe
    May 14, 2015 at 17:05
  • The discs for 9, 12.04 are x86 (and have been used before, so they are verified good). The 14.04 disc was burned from an ISO with "i386" in the name, downloaded from a link for 32-bit images. Regardless, none of the 3 work on this machine.
    – Allen
    May 14, 2015 at 17:08
  • Did you burn the DVD with the same drive from which you want to boot from? Sometimes there are problems with self-burned disks and that +R, -R etc, so that some old devices may not read it correctly. Can you view the content from the running XP system on that machine?
    – ByteBOT
    May 14, 2015 at 19:01
  • None of the discs were burned on the same machine (its drive is only DVD-ROM, it's an old PC), but all 3 of them are +R discs. Is there a "safer" disc type I could try? Would a USB flash drive be worth a shot?
    – Allen
    May 14, 2015 at 20:01
  • Also, I am not able to view the contents of that disc when running WinXP. I think that's telling. Is there a type of disc that would be more compatible with older hardware?
    – Allen
    May 14, 2015 at 22:38

1 Answer 1

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Turned out that the drive wasn't able to read the DVD+R discs. I didn't realize there was a "+/-" difference in recordable DVD's. I ended up creating a bootable USB flash drive and was able to get the OS installed correctly.

Not directly related to this problem, but to close the loop on how I got the server installed, I used UNetbootin to create the bootable USB media. Apparently, UNetbootin has a known issue where it corrupts the installation media (appears to be at least partially related to file name length). To get around that, I also copied the install .iso to the flash drive. After booting and getting the error about reading the CD, I opened a shell and mounted the .iso as the cd-rom.
mount -o loop <path to iso> /media/cdrom
After that, it ran as advertised.

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