2. Linux pre-installation checklist

2.1. Before you fill out the checklist

Welcome to the world of Linux. Your first step in installing Linux on your PC will begin by answering a few simple questions about your hardware.

This checklist will make it easy for you and us to go through the installation, painlessly and without surprises. Please take your own time and fill up the following checklist. Wherever possible, and necessary, we have given some suggestions and hints, for your convenience.

If you don't know all the details, you should be able to find them in your computer's manuals. Or, ask your hardware vendor, or your local hardware "guru."

If you still have problems finding answers, don't worry -- you can just ignore any areas you don't know. Bring in your machine and ALL manuals you have. The installation may succeed with some trials and a lot of luck.

Remember, Linux, like many other software products, is a growing product. Some of your hardware may still not be supported in the version of Linux which is being installed.

Each question below can be identified by the section number followed by the question number (e.g. Section 2.3.1 is a question on processor speed). If you need any assistance/clarifications about the questions asked in this form, please specify the section identifier and the question number, and send an email to: It is imperative that you also include the version number of the checklist. The version number of this checklist can be found on the first page of the document.

Assumptions:

  1. You are interested in installing Linux on a PC (386 upwards).

  2. You have a CDROM drive on your PC. You have made sure that your proposed version of Linux supports this CDROM drive. Check latest version of the hardware howto at the Linux Documentation Project (LDP).

  3. You have at least one 3" floppy diskette drive on your system.

  4. The 3" diskette drive is a BOOTABLE drive.

  5. You will keep readily available, three, bad-sector-free, formatted (3"), blank diskettes, for use in the installation procedure.

  6. If you wish to install Linux over a LAN, you have confirmed that your network interface card is supported by your version of Linux. Check latest version of the hardware howto at the LDP.

2.2. About you

  1. Your Name ____________________

  2. Your contact phone numbers:

  3. Your email address ____________________

  4. Have you used Linux before ? What distribution?

  5. Have you used any version of Unix before ? Which one ? On what hardware platform ?

  6. Is this an upgrade to an existing Linux distribution ?

  7. What will be the end-use of this Linux installation ?

  8. Do you wish to retain DOS/Win/any other OS along with Linux, on your system ?

  9. Any other detail you want to add: _____________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________

2.3. General

  1. CPU type [i386, i486 DX2...]:

  2. Bus type [ISA, EISA, VESA, PCI, MCA ... ]:

  3. Processor speed (MHz) ?

  4. What size is your RAM (minimum 4 MB needed) ?

  5. Do you want X Window System (i.e. Graphic User Interface for Linux) to be installed on your system ?

  6. How many serial ports (COM ports) do you have on your PC ?

  7. Are you planning to add dumb terminals to your PC ? How many ?

  8. Please mention below, any additional details you wish to add: __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________

2.4. Mouse

  1. To which port is your mouse connected ? What IRQ ?

  2. What type of mouse are you using [Microsoft, Busmouse, PS/2 ..] ?

  3. How many buttons does the mouse have ?

2.5. CD-ROM

Tip: If you are not sure if your CDROM is bootable or not, power on the machine and go to BIOS settings (do not let the PC bootup). Look for bootable drive options in the BIOS settings.

  1. What is the make and type of CDROM drive [e.g. IDE ATAPI, Sony, S-B Pro/Panasonic, SCSI, true IDE ..] ?

  2. On which drive interface [1st IDE, 2nd IDE, 3rd IDE, 4th IDE, SCSI, proprietary interface] and which drive [drive 1 , drive 2, SCSI-ID 5] is the CDROM connected (e.g. drive 2 of 1st IDE, SCSI-ID 5 of built-in SCSI interface) ?

  3. Is your CDROM a bootable drive ?

2.6. Floppy drives

  1. Do you have a 3" floppy drive?

  2. Is the 3" floppy drive a bootable drive ?

  3. Do you have a 5" floppy drive?

  4. Is the 5" drive a bootable drive ?

2.7. Tape drives

  1. What type of tape drive do you have (can be NONE) [floppy interface type, SCSI, parallel port ..] ?

  2. Do you have a secondary floppy controller for your tape drive?

2.8. Disk drives

Tip: At this point, you must be clear about how your Linux will be installed and on which disk etc. You must also be clear how your Linux will be booted (there are different possibilities). Read the Installation howto before you answer the following questions.

  1. What type of drive do you have [IDE, SCSI, RLL, MFM ....] ?

  2. How many partitions are there on your first disk drive ? Name, type, size ? Collect these details also for other disk drives you may have on this machine.

  3. On which drive are you planning to install Linux (e.g. drive 2 of first IDE, or SCSI-ID 5 of built-in SCSI interface)

  4. Can we re-partition your disk ? (All existing data will be lost)

  5. Which partitions can be reformatted to become Linux partitions ? Note: All information recorded in this partition will be erased.

  6. How much of disk space can you give for Linux [50 MB minimum] ?

  7. What is your second hard disk (if any)?

  8. What is your third hard disk (if any)?

  9. What is your fourth hard disk (if any)?

  10. What is your fourth hard disk (if any)?

  11. Do you have any SCSI device ? Which SCSI controller do you have (if any)?

  12. Do you plan to boot from your hard disk or floppy?

  13. On which hard disk partition do you want LILO boot loader to reside?

  14. Do you wish to retain the original boot sector/master boot record that is currently on your hard disk?

  15. On which disk partitions will your Linux root reside?

  16. Do you access the IDE drive in LBA mode (check your BIOS settings) ?

2.9. Video Display Units (Monitor and controller)

Tip: If you do not have good documentation on your VDU, try to look at the sticker (nameplate) on the back of your VDU, you may find the answers to some of the questions given below.

  1. What kind of monitor do you have [Monochrome, Color] [EGA, VGA, CGA ..] ? What make ?

  2. Size of screen [14", 15", 19"] ? Is it an interlaced monitor ?

  3. What are the resolutions, and number of colors possible on this monitor [600x480, 800x600, 1024x768]?

  4. What is your monitor's vertical refresh rate / vertical sync. frequency (could be a range)?

  5. What is your monitor's horizontal refresh rate / horizontal sync. frequency (could be a range) ?

  6. Monitor's bandwidth ?

  7. Video RAM size ?

  8. VDU Control card : make and model ?

  9. Chip set used in VDU control card ?

  10. What RAMDAC do you have ?

2.10. Networking

  1. Are you using an internal modem | external modem ?

  2. What make ?

  3. On which COM port is the modem connected ? What IRQ ?

  4. What is the speed of the modem [bps] ?

  5. What serial interface chip does your computer use (e.g. 8450, 16550C) ?

  6. Is it a "Windows only" modem [WIN-MODEM...] ?

  7. Which ethernet card do you have [10base2 or 10baseT; NONE for none] ? What type ?

  8. Will this machine be a part of Internet or any Intranet ?

  9. Will this machine use a dialup connection / PPP connection to an Internet/Intranet server ?

  10. Will this machine be used as an Internet or Intranet server ?

  11. What will be the hostname of your computer (e.g. penguin) ?

  12. What will be the domain name, if any, of your computer (e.g. family_name.city.country)

  13. What will be the IP address, if any, of your computer (e.g. 123.1.2.3) ?

  14. What is the IP address of the DNS server (can be none) ?

  15. What is the IP address of the default router (can be none) ?

2.11. Printers

  1. Have you connected any printer on the parallel port of your PC ?

  2. What is the type, make of the printer ?

2.12. Laptops

  1. Number and type of PCMCIA slots on your Laptop ?

  2. PC cards you plan to use ?

  3. Built-in devices on your laptop (e.g. trackball, pointer, touchpad) ?

  4. COM ports used for the above built-in devices ?

2.13. Miscellaneous

Tip: Try to make a consolidated hardcopy list of I/O addresses, IRQs, DMA-addresses used by the different devices in your machine. Take care to find out the configuration details of your VDU-driver card, Ethernet card, SCSI card etc.

  1. Does your keyboard use a round connector (DIN-5) or PS/2 connector?

  2. Do you plan to use keyboard mapping to any non-US keyboards [French, Greek, Cyrillic, ..] ?

  3. Are you using any Plug & play devices ?

  4. Are you using any sound card ? What card ? What I/O, IRQ, DMA does it use ?

  5. How many ISA spare slots do you have ?

  6. How many EISA spare slots do you have ?

  7. How many VESA spare slots do you have ?

  8. How many PCI spare slots do you have ?

  9. How many other (describe) spare slots?

  10. What kind of other removable media do you have (can be NONE)?

  11. Do you have any other interesting hardware?

  12. Please add any details you wish to highlight: __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________

2.14. Feedback

Did you find this form clear ? Any suggestions for improvement ? __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________

Thanks for filling out the form. Please cross check the above responses, and keep the checklist handy at the time of installation.