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Dell Inspiron 23500(?), Woody, BIOS: Sarge-installer, be aware

For about a week in my spare time I've been trying to install woody in
a friend's computer, a Dell Inspiron 23500, don't remember exactly. I
would go through all the steps, used all kind of installers known to
me: woody CD1, woody CD2, bonzai, sarge-installer (beta2, daily
image), morphix, knoppix. I could always get to the actual point where
you are already set to go and you reboot to start enjoying the
pleasure of tweaking debian. The level of succes was different, only
sarge-inst and knoppix would detect the network fine, etc. The REAL
PROBLEM began after rebooting, the machine would just die, and in the
last installation attempts, would not recognize the hard disk, so
would just hang. Checked all cabling, etc. Finally discovered that the
BIOS was disabling the hard disk booting. Even after re-plugging the
windows hard disk. I had to manually make it recognize the hard disk
presence, because it had disabled its recognition by itself. It seems
to me that this may be an indication of what is been cooked behind the
scenes. Some BIOS trigger, that would cripple the machine at the
attempt of installing Debian, Linux, whatever is not windows. Maybe I
am seeing ghosts, but lately there are a bunch of them out there. This
maybe a reason why so many unexplained reports of failure of sarge
installer. May be I just don't know enough about this all crap. May be
it is standard and I don't know. But I have never seen this before.
This is the reason why I consider necessary sending a copy to the boot list.

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