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I have an old laptop, currently running Windows, but extremely slowly.

I want to install Linux on it, probably a distro like Puppy, which plays well with low resources. But just about any distro will do as I will give the laptop to someone who only ever uses the browser (Chrome), no other apps.

The problem is that while the laptop BIOS recognizes the internal CD, an external USB CD and a USB thumb drive and allows me to set them high in the boot order and also to select them from the one time boot menu, it will not actually boot from any of them.

The only solution that I can see is to install Linux from Windows (and then, probably, remove Windows).

I tried Wubi, which only installs Ubuntu, but that Ubuntu (12.04) would not recognize my Gigabit Ethernet card. I am drowning in other projects & just don't have time to sort that out, so am looking for another Linux which can be installed from Windows.

I also found wubiX, a fork of Wubi, which says that it will allow to install any distro, but that has no download & the project was started in 2008.

While I am aware that there are things that I could do (get the machine to boot from other than its hardrive, or sort out the Ubuntu networking (which I had expected to work out of the box), but I just don't have time, alas.

I want to give this laptop to a friend who needs it and can't afford one otherwise.

Does anyone know of a Linux distro, other than Ubuntu, which I can install from Windows? (Obviously, no virtual machines, as Windows has slowed to a crawl and a VM on top of that would not help)

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What you're looking for is xPUD; a distro with the tagline: "The shortest path to the cloud". It has a very fast boot time, its main component is an Internet browser, it has quite a small form factor and it can be installed from Windows.

Note that you can't (easily) use it for much beyond web browsing, though.

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If you have a second machine where you can install your Distribution Of Choice (DOC) or have it installed in a VM, and if Ubuntu actually would run on that laptop you can do the following.

Before playing around with the disc, consider taking it out of the laptop, hooking it up to another system and make a full dump of the disk (not of partitions), so in case of problems you can start over from scratch by restoring that dump

As you already indicate you would consider removing Windows, first remove all unneeded installations from Windows and then install Ubuntu and have it shrink the Windows drive but not more than the DOC needs.

From Ubuntu format the partition for your DOC as e.g. ext4. Tar the DOC on the other (VM) machine, transport it to Ubuntu and untar on the previous windows partition. Mount that partition and edit 'etc/fstab' on it to update the partitions your DOC uses (/dev/sdXY entries or UUIDs).

Run update-grub. Ubuntu will recognize the new partition and make an entry in the grub menu. Now try and boot your COD, resolving any issues (did you edit fstab on the COD?).

Once the COD boots without a problem, run its grub configuration and have it write the boot sector. Now you can boot without using Ubuntu and remove that partition after you successfully have done so.

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Might not really answer the question. But if your usb has a lot storage (more than 4GB I think, it will enter your bios as a hardrive, not usb. I would look at the UUI with Chromium OS, might be suitable for the needs you present, and I would guess it's not to heavy on the specs. Not sure you can install it FROM windows though.

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What is the actual error that you are getting when trying to boot from bios?

I would solve the one-time boot error first. You should be able to run a live-cd on just about any laptop and then install from it.

If it is skipping them and then moving on to windows, most likely the media is not bootable. Corrupt cdrom image. Or in case of usb, you have to make it bootable see here for an example.

If you can go into the bios and disable the internal hardrive from the boot order you can verify this. It will most likely stop after bios post with error saying no o/s found. This means the cdrom or usb drive is not bootable and that is why it is skipping to windows.

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