Might I need new hardware? [ Not Solved ]

I have an old HP Compaq dc5800
Works great with Ubuntu 16 but not with Ubuntu 18.
Wont even boot with Ubuntu 18.
I don’t need much for a computer but would like the option
of being able to replace circuit boards if needed.
So I prefer desktop variety.
Any suggestions what to get that would let me use Ubuntu 18?
Am sure there must be plenty of used computers out there
that would be plenty good enough for me.
Thanks much for your time

eBay has a selection of the good, the bad and the ugly computers and laptops.

Try a refurbished machine from Dell. https://www.dellrefurbished.com/laptops

If in any doubt approach your local computer shop and see what they will charge you, like a Dell refurbed machine, they are likely to offer a warranty. Though they invalidate it if they know you are going to install Linux on the same disk.


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Thanks much Mack. Will give that a try

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Have you had this mini tower long…?

You indicate Windies 10 functions correctly, are you dual booting Ubuntu on the same disk…?

This is a pre Secure Boot and GPT/UEFI machine, eliminates partition-tables issues.

It sound like all your components are okay, if you not able to service this machine yourself, take it your local shop and let them service it, and have them fit a SSD drive and up the ram to 8GB. It will feel like it been turbo charged afterwards.

Servicing and add a newer drive and ram, should be cheaper option than purchasing a newer machine. Unless you want a higher spec machine.



edit 21.21hrs typos

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Thanks much.
I bought the machine used from a networking guy who updated all Walmart’s computers.
I’ve had it for at least 5 years I think.
Yes I am dual booting Ubuntu on the same disk.
I would like to do the service myself if possible.
Does the SSD drive replace the HDD?

I have a NVIDIA board installed. I was wondering if that make be
causing the Ubuntu 18 not to boot.
I use an HDMI cable from the NVIDIA to my TV.

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If you are able to do the service yourself. You may need the following:

  • Air Duster to blow out dust that has accumulated over the years
  • Dusters
  • WD40
  • Cross head screw drivers
  • Allen keys

Yes the SSD replaces the old platter Hard Drive. If there is an option to fit two drives, buy 120GB SSD x2 and keep your old HHD as an external storage device through a docking station.


You might be able to salvage your old HDD for this purpose.


Looking at the specifications, yes I would say it would be worth while doing so now.This was built for Windows 7 Professional and things have improved a lot since then. The benefit being is that an update, whatever way you do it would be able to take advantage of all the Operating Systems that are out there and you might not have to do so again for awhile.

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Yep, or other weird stuff, affecting the graphics. Can you see the Ubuntu boot screen at all during the boot up…?

Edit 20th Feb 11.04

When you boot up using the 18.04 version, did you see the Ubuntu boot splash screen at all during the boot up process…?

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Hi Jimany,
Yep Nvidia card will cause the problem you mention : you need add nomodeset to the grub bootline and then install the correct nvidia driver for you card after you install 18.04.

This Askubuntu post will show you how to do that. Askubuntu
I wouldn’t give up on that hardware just yet :slight_smile:

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Thank you Sir
I would much like to do as you have suggested. I have Ubuntu 16 right now.
Would I need to re-install Ubuntu 18 to make the adjustments you have listed?
Or can I make the adjustments in Ubuntu 16 and then do upgrade to 18?

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Yes it boots part way from what I remember, and then it stops booting
and lists some kind of error. If the problem has to do with my NVIDIA board,
and I get a refurb Dell machine and use the same video board, might have same problem.
Do u think so?

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Hi Jimany,

The overall impression seems, Ubuntu 18.04 is consuming a large percentage of your computer’s available resources, i.e video graphic and memory. The graphic card will drain resources to function.

To eliminate this possibility, you need to experiment by installing a light weight desktop. First of all save all your data to an external drive. Before installing.

Go to this page: Download Linux Mint 21.1 - Linux Mint and download LM19.1 Xfce 64bit, leaving the 32bit as a fall back situation, if the 64bit proves too heavy.

You should be able to install using your usual method, once post install updates and upgrades have been done, reboot, then go to “The Driver Manager” in System Settings and select the Nvidia 390 driver, this should resolve if all issue, most of them. Then reboot.

See this post for Driver Manager & Nvidia

System tweaks

Firefox tweaks

The Xfce desktop is a fine GUI, that doesn’t the same resource requirements as Ubuntu, this particular distro (Linuxmint) uses Ubuntu’s platform to deliver its choice of desktops. It is very well packaged and is ideal for modern through to veteran computers.

I have included different links to aide your progress.

The result should very promising, and you upgrade your hardware with extra ram and a SSD drive, you will very pleased with the increased speed and ease of use.


Edit 21/02/19 tidy up links and typos

Am downloading Mint Xfce right now.
Can you tell me why you chose the Xfce version over the other two listed?

Just a question if you have time, how about if I just install a different video board?
Maybe a newer NVIDIA board would allow Ubuntu 18 to boot?

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@Jimany It’s a classic choice, if you are looking for great lightweightness. There are other lightweight alternatives, too, but they aren’t as classic as XFCE, I’d say. That said, the other alternatives I am thinking of right now, wouldn’t be an installation as easy as just setting up Mint XFCE, as you would need to install them yourself manually.

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Thanks for reply.
I just looked on line at the Xfce layout.
Reminds me of Xubuntu sort of.
I did use Xubuntu for couple years.

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the layouts are one and the same :slight_smile: xubuntu is ubuntu with the xfce desktop environment. hopefully being familiar will help if you choose to transition to mint xfce.

Thanks much.
Do you think if I just installed a different video board that Ubuntu 18 might be able to boot?
Maybe a newer NVIDIA or a different model?

Nvidia makes some great cards and supports linux quite well. problem comes in with the fact that they do not release their drivers to open source so they can not be modified and fixed for linux unless Nvidia does it themselves. (this also makes it legally hard to include their drivers in the default install.) Thus Mint and many distros come with nouveau which is an open source attempt to backward engineer drivers for nvidia cards and it can work quite well if you don’t need to push the card too hard. But it will not work well with with modesetting so that’s why you need to enter nomodeset in the boot line. If you choose to continue using nouveau drive after install you’ll have to permanently add nomodeset to the grub boot line by manually modifying the /etc/default/grub file.
this is for debian/ubuntu and Mint. Or you can install the correct nvidia driver for your card.
once this is done nvidia cards work quite well in most cases. It some times takes a while for the drivers to catch up with kernel updates, but that has gotten better over the years.
So I’m not sure changing the nvidia card you now have to a different Nvidia card would cure your problem. Good Luck as you seek answers.

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To confirm Akito comments, and my own advice (see below). It is a lightweight distro which is ideal for older computers, though it runs just as happily on modern hardware, without hogging valuable resources.

To eliminate this possibility, you need to experiment by installing a light weight desktop. First of all save all your data to an external drive. Before installing.

Nvidia card
Currently there is no apparent issue with your card, so install, run post updates and upgrades, reboot. Then go to driver manager and ENABLE the 390 Nvidia driver.

I personally do not utilise the nomodeset method, I find if you can boot into your chosen desktop and can enable the Nvidia driver in the Driver Manager or from the distro’s Nvidia setting. Preferable.