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I had a Toshiba Satellite that I could just run a LiveCD on (it was suse, I believe), and it worked great, configuring ALL the hardware, including the winmodem (if you want more info on this, just ask). So I just kept that in the hard drive, although I did an install on my son's computer (an emachines, I think, worked ok). Shrunk the hard drive using qtparted, installed on the open space. NP. Then I gave the machine to geeksquad at BestBuy (for some always-on pixels) and they drilled the harddrive and totaled the machine, giving me the opportunity to get the Presario V2000 for something like $110. But the LiveCD didn't configure well. Soooo...
On with the install-