unkown file system - alienware install

I currently have windows 7 installed. There are two partitions. The OS is on one and the other one is used for data. Is there anyway this could be a problem?

The only readable error I have gotten is from suse. Said something about an unreadable file system. All of the others have just hung at some point during the live cd boot.

I have now tried live cds of the following and none have worked.

ubuntu 11.04 32 bit
ubuntu 11.04 64 bit
ubuntu 10.10 32 bit
ubuntu 10.10 64 bit
fedora 14
suse 11.3
suse 10.something
and an earlier version of fedora

Its a stock alienware that I bought 3 years ago. The only change I have made is updating the ram, which I bought directly from dell to make sure it was compatible. The alienware is an intel core 2 duo, 4 gigs of ram, 160gb HD, dual sli nvidia graphics cards. not sure about the mother board, could figure it out if its necessary. Is there any reason the hardware wouldn’t be supported?

with windows7 installed by dell there would ALSO be a small" recovery" partition

fedora and opensuse are probably trying to install on that small fat32 partition

if you do NOT allready have a copy of GParted live cd - get it
use gparted to read the drive and look at the layout ( put it in and reboot-- that is all )
GParted – About

From a liveCD, perhaps downloads – Parted Magic
can you give us

fdisk -l

Please use Posting in Code Tags - A Guide

One more thought, Linux installers will need to resize a partition to make room for the OS, if they detect the file system as being corrupt they will (as should be the case) refuse to resize the partition.

Use a windows recovery disk Windows Vista Recovery Disc Download — The NeoSmart Files (there is a win7 disk in that list) to run a file system check on those partitions, sorry, I cant recall the windows command required.

Or perhaps, create the free space from within windows before attempting the Linux install, windows will run a file system check before resizing.

I seem to have read over this bit without it registering,

All of the others have just hung at some point during the live cd boot.

If this is not a file system or partitioning problem then,

Apart from the above mentioned PartedMagic liveCD, KNOPPIX - Live Linux Filesystem On CD
Is well worth a try, It is designed to, and has a reputation for booting on hardware that others have trouble with. Also try the boot options if needed.

If you can get one to boot, even to text mode only, we can give you a list of simple commands to help identify the problem and a fix.

If you can’t get a boot give us the last few lines of text that show before the boot fails, perfaps use a digital camera and post an image.

dual sli nvidia graphics cards
I’m not sure how well this is supported.

It should be ok with the NVIDIA driver but I guess it could be a problem with the default drivers. You may try to uninstall one. But that would not solve the problem with not seeing the drive correctly. Alienware is known to be cutting edge hardware so it might help to know if you have some funky BIOS or some different kind of formating on the drive.

finally got ubuntu to work.

You’re right there was a small recovery partition and that might’ve been the problem. But since I’ve got ubuntu working I’m not going to mess with it.