I have a Dell Dimension 600 XPS Phoenix BIOS version A03, the original HD crashed and burned. Dell didn't send OS disks (was on the original drive and no back up disks), so I am trying to install Ubuntu 11.10 on the new drive. The new drive is a Western Digital 1TB. I formatted the new drive by putting it in an enclosure and formatting it with Windows 7 on my HP system.

When I put the cd in the cdrom it boots to the cd with the Advanced user screen (won't boot into the usually Windows GUI). When I try to install (or run from live Cd) I get the same error message.
Same with trying the various boot options.

The message is:

VFS: cannot open root device "(NULL)" or unknown-block(8,1)
Please append a correct "root=" boot option: 
Here are the available partitions:
Kernal Panic- not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount rootfs on unknown-block(8,1)

and then it lists Trace messages, then it freezes.

  • 1
    I've gotten this on some computers. You may either want to try re-downloading the installation CD, or using the alternate installer CD. – bntser Nov 24 '11 at 0:40
  • Is this question abandoned? – Eliah Kagan Jun 3 '12 at 6:51

I have this error myself. I have resolved it by creating a bootable flashdrive from the Ubuntu live cd and configured my laptop to boot off it. Seems to remove the error.


You have a Dell desktop PC, and it has a new hard drive without Windows installed.

You can install Ubuntu 11.10, from either a CD or USB, and this will erase and re-format the hard drive (as part of the process).

What 'Install CD' are you using, and why did you need to try "formatting it with Windows 7" first?

Are you also trying to get Windows 7 back on your PC?


If you want windows 7 back in your computer and want to dual boot with ubuntu than remember to install windows 7 first than only install ubuntu. Ubuntu will autodetect windows and do the grub setting to dual boot automatically.


I find it useful to install live CDs to USB flash drives instead of CDs. Optical disks tend to get damaged with time and this may result in failed installations/file system mounts. Moreover, writing to a USB drive takes much less effort and money - no wasted CDs, simply write, install and format the drive to make it usable again (the simplest way).

The one liveCD that I have is actually not working on my computer because the optical disk drive is no longer able to recognise any disks. This is one more reason to use USBs rather than CDs because not only do the disks get damaged, but also disk drives reach the end of their lifespan one day while you can still use, in most cases, more than 2 USB ports on your computer.


Did you MD5 test the downloaded .iso image and verify the installation media when booting it? If not, you should do that now. if the MD5 test fails, download a new .iso. If that shows no errors but "Check disc for defects" shows errors (or fails to run at all), then burn a new disc. Also, it's best to burn installation CD's at the slowest supported speed--sometimes that avoids errors.

Maybe these suggestions will fix your problem. If not, you can provide the requested information (i.e., what happened when you MD5 tested the .iso and checked the installation media for defects) by editing your question.

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