[CentOS] trouble booting install CD on old machine

Thu Sep 15 04:57:54 UTC 2011
Keith Keller <kkeller at wombat.san-francisco.ca.us>

Hi all,

I'm having a bit of an issue booting the full 5.7 install CD on an older
machine.  I downloaded the ISOs earlier today, checked the sha1sums, and
burned the CDs with no reported errors.  But when I try to boot, the
isolinux banner comes up quickly, but then instead of the boot prompt, I
get a completely blank screen.  After 30-60 seconds, I get a message in
purple, the exact wording I don't recall, but something like "can't
boot, please restart".

Many years ago I put CentOS 4 on this machine, so I know it can boot CD
media, and earlier today I booted an older UBCD, so I know that it can
successfully boot from CD at the present time.  (I didn't have time to
test the CD I burned in another box; I will do that next time I have the

What other options do I have for getting 5.7 on this box?  I have a few

--do some troubleshooting with the 5.7 CD.  I don't really know how to
go about this, and there's no guarantee it'll end up with being able to
boot in the end.
--perhaps an older CentOS 5 ISO will work better?  Testing this will be
fairly quick but is not sure to work.
--remove the system disk, put it into another system that is known to
boot the 5.7 CD, install there, then put the disk back.  This could be
somewhat time consuming (the machine is in a rack, and the system drive
is buried in the chassis, not hot-swappable), but is pretty sure to work.
--try to boot from USB.  As I said, it's an old box, so I'm not sure it
supports booting over USB media.  There were no "boot from USB" options
in the BIOS; I could try to flash the firmware, but that seems excessive
for this sort of issue.

Other thoughts/suggestions?  Any ideas why I'd be seeing this particular
boot behavior?  It's not something I've seen before; either booting
fails before even reaching isolinux, or the kernel panics on finding some
exotic and/or broken piece of hardware.


kkeller at wombat.san-francisco.ca.us

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