Troubleshooting a Frozen Linux Installation

When you’re installing Linux, the installation may just freeze. If it does, wait a bit and make sure that the installation program really froze. (Sometimes, the software just takes a while to process information.) If the software looks like it has frozen, there’s no harm in rebooting your computer and starting over — just as you would do with any operating system installation. Sometimes, you can reboot and never have that problem again. At other times, the problem may happen twice in a row and then be fine the third time. Be sure to try several times before giving up.

If the installation still freezes in the same spot or close to the same spot, go to the distribution’s support pages. These pages may talk about some known problems and solutions that can help you and should show you how to join discussion lists in order to get more assistance. Otherwise, diagnosing the problem can be tricky and may seem more like voodoo than science.

Here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • If this problem happens repeatedly at exactly the same spot, you may have a bad installation disk. Try the disk in another machine if possible and see if the installation fails in the same place there. If you purchased this disk with a Linux distribution, contact the distribution’s technical support team. If you got the disk with a book, contact the publisher’s technical support team. If you burned the disk yourself, try burning a new copy at a slower speed.
  • If this problem happens repeatedly at exactly the same spot and you don’t have a bad installation disk, the trouble may be with one of your machine’s hardware components. If you can, try trading hardware between machines. If not, you may need to choose a different machine on which to install Linux or try another distribution.
  • If the problem seems to happen randomly, your particular Linux distribution may not be compatible with that particular machine. Again, you can try trading some hardware around, installing Linux on another machine, or using another distribution.

If you’re not sure whether your installer has frozen, try pressing various combinations of Alt+F#, where # corresponds to one of the function keys. Depending on the distribution, the installer has not completely frozen if you can see different screens when you try this technique.