I’ve been trying for some time to install a Linux distribution on my old Dell XPS 8100. Since it is not a recent model (no UEFI, no strange hardware) I expected a boring experience but, to my surprise, while the installation went perfectly fine the PC wouldn’t boot and would hang just after showing

switching to clocksource tsc

on the console. It appears that this problem may be caused by different and unrelated issues; unfortunately none of the suggestions found, like forcing the clocksource to something else or disabling acpi, would work.

This was frustrating since it would happen with every distro I would try and only after a successful install. Out of desperation I decided to check the kernel used by the latest installer I tried (an Ubuntu 13.04 usb key prepared with unetbootin). Indeed there where two kernel, vmlinuz and vmlinuz.efi and the latter, which was binary different from the one installed, was the one used to boot from the USB key.

This was strage… vmlinuz.efi is needed for a UEFI boot so it shouldn’t work on my system, shouldn’t it ? Anyway, since I was out of ideas I tried to use it: boot from USB, mount the hard disk, copy the kernel and related files, chroot, upgrade-grub, and reboot. Surprise ! The system booted ! Not only that, but after updating the system, it would boot up with an updated kernel. Why ? No idea, but at least the problem is solved…