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2.2 Collecting Information About Your System

In order to be able to complete the installation procedure smoothly, you should collect certain information about your system before beginning the installation. Often the installation utility will be able to determine your system configuration automatically but when it fails to do so, you must be prepared to supply the needed information. Otherwise, you'll be forced to terminate the installation procedure, obtain the information, and restart the installation.

2.2.1 Information You Need

Table 2.1 specifies the configuration information you need. To obtain this information, you can consult your system documentation and the documentation for any devices installed by you. If your documentation is missing or incomplete, you may need to contact your hardware vendor or manufacturer. Alternatively, you may be able to find the needed information on the manufacturer's web site; use a search engine such as Yahoo! or AltaVista to discover the URL of the web site.

Table 2.1: Configuration Information Needed to Install Linux


Information needed

Hard Drive(s)

The number, size, and type of each hard drive.

Which hard drive is first, second, and so on

Which adapter type (IDE or SCSI) is used by each drive.

For each IDE drive, whether or not the BIOS is set for LBA mode

RAM memory

The amount of installed RAM

CD-ROM Drive(s)

Which adapter type (IDE, SCSI, or other) is used by each drive

For each drive using a non-IDE, non-SCSI adapter, the make and model of the drive

SCSI Adapter (if any)

The make and model of the card

Network Adapter (if any)

The make and model of the card


The type (serial, PS/2, or bus)

The protocol (Microsoft, Logitech, MouseMan, etc.)

The number of buttons

For a serial mouse, the serial port to which it's connected

Video Adapter

The make and model of the card

The amount of video RAM

To obtain the needed information, you may need to examine your system's BIOS settings or open your system's case and examine the installed hardware. Consult your system documentation to learn how to do so.

2.2.2 Collecting Configuration Information by Using Windows

If you run Microsoft Windows 95 or Windows 98, you can obtain much of the needed information by using the Windows System Properties dialog box, which you can launch by using the Control Panel:

  1. Click on the Start menu. A popup menu appears.

  2. Select Settings on the popup menu and click on Control Panel in the submenu. The Control Panel appears.

  3. Double click on System. The System Properties dialog box appears. If necessary, click on the General tab, so that the dialog box resembles Figure 2.1.

    The General tab of the System Properties dialog box shows the type of your system's processor and the amount of installed RAM.

    Figure 2.1: The General tab of the System Properties dialog box

    Figure 2.1
  4. Click on the Device Manager tab. The appearance of the dialog box changes to resemble Figure 2.2.

    You can double click on an icon (or single click on the plus key adjacent to an icon) to obtain additional information. For example, by double clicking on the Disk Drives icon you can determine whether a disk drive uses an IDE or SCSI interface.

    If you have a printer, you can use the Print button to print information about your system's devices.

    Figure 2.2: The Device Manager tab of the System Properties dialog box

    Figure 2.2

From the Device Manager tab, you can learn the following information:

  • The number and type (IDE or SCSI) of your system's hard drives.

  • The make and model of CD-ROM drives.

    Some installed CD-ROM drives do not appear in the Device Manager tab of the System Properties dialog box. Often the CONFIG.SYS file will contain clues that help you learn more about such drives.

  • The type of mouse installed.

  • The make and model of the video adapter.

  • The make and model of multimedia adapters, such as sound cards, if any.

  • The make and model of network adapters, if any.

  • The make and model of SCSI adapters, if any.

Previous: 2.1 Minimum Hardware Requirements Learning Debian GNU/Linux Next: 2.3 Preparing Your Hard Disk
2.1 Minimum Hardware Requirements Book Index 2.3 Preparing Your Hard Disk

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