[CentOS] Problems installing 6.2 on HP 8540w laptop

Tue Feb 7 17:48:18 UTC 2012
david <david at daku.org>


I've been trying to install Centos 6.2 on an HP Mobile Workstation 
8540w.  For various reasons, I have restarted the install many 
times.I use the 64-bit DVD image.  The install chooses the following options

a)  Install with Basic Video Driver
b)  Skip the media scan
c)  Default Country, Language, Basic Storage Devices, change time zone
d)  Fresh Installation
e)  Configure network, (turn on wired Always Connect).
f)   Hit ALT-B to get back to examining storage devices.  (I found I 
had to do this to get the HostName field filled in with the defaults 
from DHCP).
    [See below, frequent hangs here, in which case I power down and 
start again]
g)  If I get beyond the HostName stage, I choose the Virtual Host 
method and the install goes to completion successfully.

The machine is connected with an ethernet cable to a LAN that is my 
internal NAT'ted system.  The wireless button indicates disabled.

I have been getting varied results with (presumably) the same 
starting conditions.  In each case, I power off the machine, wait a 
few seconds, and power it on with the DVD image in place, choose 
"Install with basic video driver", and go through the same sequence.

On many attempts, the installation sequence finishes just right, and 
the reboot gives me the expected root prompt.  The USB mouse does not 
work during install, so I have to use the keyboard and touch-pad pointers.

Among the anomalies I get are:

1)  The first "Waiting for hardware to initialize..." is as far as it 
goes.  Usually, it's done in a couple of seconds and goes on to a 
second hardware scan.  Sometimes it hangs for over a minute before I give up.

2)  The install appears to come to the end, the DVD is ejected, and I 
hit ENTER to reboot.  The reboot starts and the screen goes 
dark.  Power down and power up to boot from HD succeeds, but there 
was a flash of about three lines on the screen before the blue 
sliding bar appeared.

3)  The install sequence hangs with the screen all blue except for 
the bottom line which reads "Running anaconda 13.21.149, the CentOS 
installer, Please wait ...  Then after about a minute the screen 
blinks and goes dark.

4)  The install sequence hangs on "Media Detected - Found local 
installation media", the CD drive idled down.

5)  The install sequence hangs on "Examining Devices, Examining 
storage devices, with the blue slider almost at the left 
edge.  Although this screen appears several times, the instance that 
hangs is the one after I've activated the wired network and hit Back.

In most cases, if the system gets to the point of choosing the 
Virtual Host option, the installation completes successfully.

So, -- is this an issue with the install procedure?  Does it not 
treat this hardware correctly?   Is there some other startup method 
or option I could use?