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My Laptop a HP Probook 4510s refuses to boot Fedora or Arch Linux CD'S, but will boot and install Debian based stuff, i.e. Debian or Ubuntu.

If I put a Fedora or Arch CD in, it will just stick on BIOS screen and never do anything -- the CAPS lock key flashes and the HDD light constantly flashes at a rapid rate, no keystrokes work, and I have to reboot with the CD/USB out to work normally again. I've tried changing a bunch of BIOS settings, including SATA/IDE resetting to defaults; I tried putting Arch on a memory stick and still nothing; but if I stick the same Arch or Fedora CD/USB in my girlfriend's laptop, they work fine.

How can I boot this laptop to the Fedora installer CD?

  • Can you clarify what could quite possibly be a stupid question? By BIOS do you mean the actual system BIOS or do you mean the more ambiguous "screen with text on it"? Specifically, I'm wondering where the boot process is failing and if there are relevant messages that you could relay here. – Jeff Welling Jul 3 '11 at 16:41
  • Hi sorry I mean the BIOS as in the OS before any user OS is loaded, it halts on the initial splash screen for HP when it starts the POST, And ive left it on the HP screen for way over an hour and nothing happens. Steve – 0x7c0 Jul 3 '11 at 16:48
  • Could you try going into the BIOS and disabling the splash screen? This will let you see where it is failing, instead of trying to diagnose the hugely-unhelpful HP advertisement. :) – Jeff Welling Jul 3 '11 at 16:55
  • Okay I looked in the BIOS settings and I could only select to enable or disable custom start image, so I enabled the custom image, and now when I boot with a fedora cd in it just sticks on a black screen, I have to remove the disk and reboot to get past it, ive edited the question with more info – 0x7c0 Jul 3 '11 at 17:45
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    I found a work around from fedoras forum, however it wont let me post an answer for 5 hours, Ill post it later butr incase anyone else is stuck, set your cd drive as the first boot device, power laptop on without disk in, hit esc to get interupt menu, put fedora disk in, then press enter to continue normal boot, it then booted into the fedora installer for me! – 0x7c0 Jul 3 '11 at 18:01
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This is crazy but I've seen it work in more cases than is conformable.

  1. Hit up the manufacture site (in your case HP) and download the latest BIOS and any firmware upgrades for your cdrom and any other devices used during boot (raid controllers for example).
  2. Install.
  3. Reset BIOS to "fail safe defaults".

If "fail safe" works, you can try later with just the regular or "optimal" defaults.

BIOS bugs are real buggers to work around, and ugly bugs that cause them to not behave properly are surprisingly common, esp in the versions that first ship with machines. When you have a weird issue like that early in the boot process, always go down this path first just to make sure.

  • Thanks, I already updated the bios, ill check to see if theres any firmware for the ODD and see if it fixes the problem completly, the workaround I mentioned in the other comments is good to get it going but its not addressing the main issue, which has to be firmware, it may be useful me reporting this to hp TBH, thanks – 0x7c0 Jul 3 '11 at 20:30
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I found a work around from fedoras forum.

Set your CD drive as the first boot device, power laptop on without disk in, hit esc to get interrupt menu, put fedora disk in, then press enter to continue normal boot, it then booted into the fedora installer for me!

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