Configuring Ubuntu to Dual-Boot with WIN2kPro using WUBI

Posted on 19 February 2009

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….ohmygodhasbeenanightmare. As it turns out (after much gnashing of teeth), it doesn’t see the second hard drive during the boot, and thus hangs at the GRUB prompt. To address this issue, I had to uninstall from the second hard drive and reinstall onto C: using WUBI. (Be aware that this is all taking place on a miraculously stable, circa-2004 windows 2k pro box with 500Mb of DDR333 SDRAM, a 36Gb C: drive, and an additional 120Gb  F: drive on the other IDE channel…so you can imagine my desire to leave the C: drive alone).

…what a warm welcome into the world of linux this has been…though I admit the install was much smoother after giving up and just letting WUBI access C:. I could have messed around in the BIOS to configure the F: drive as the startup device, but that might interfere with the Win2K Pro install, so…meh.

Of course, I do have to say that I respect the work that everyone has put into this project (and I grasp that the total number of lines of code in a free ubuntu distribution is equivalent to something that would have cost over a billion dollars to produce in a commercial setting, and this is FREE…yet the premium you pay for MacOS X is seeming VERY justified at this point).

I quickly added SAMBA, the MEDIBUNTU repository, VLC, and few other apps via the apt-get command in the terminal; it’s been pretty smooth so far. I was even able to find a driver for a new Brother laser printer that appears to be working perfectly; amazing!

Update: Performance of Ubuntu 8.10 on this old PC has been impressive in terms of features (that I’ve used so far), if less responsive than Win2K Pro. The install process for a few new pieces of software (Boxee, some codec libraries, some fonts, that sort of thing) has been largely painless since I solved the boot drive issue. The OS is not as “snappy” as windows was, due in large part to the older 1.7 Ghz P4 and 512 MB of RAM, I’m sure. Config of a static IP and file sharing was painless.  Verdict: RECOMMENDED!

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Posted in: IT and Computing