If this post is difficult to read, that’s because I started writing it before the installation and finished it today. And because I was a bit frustrated, but you’ll read about that…

So here I am, starting off with the Ubuntu installation on my mother’s PC.

As I described in The Partition Table I want to resize her current Windows partition in order to make room for a /boot partition.

Since I was not sure whether Ubuntu’s partition resizing in the installer (after “Manual partitioning”) would also keep existing data safe, I’d decided to play safe and resize it with an application explicitly meant for the task. In Windows, since that’s what already was installed, and I also figured that would be the safest bet when trying to resize and NTFS partition.

So I did a search and found guide on “Resizing An Existing Partition On A Single Hard Drive”. That guide recommended Acronis Disk Director Suite. That application unfortunately wasn’t open source (hey, it’s a Windows application – what d’you expect?) but I figured I’d give it a try. It was a 15-day trial (a trial, how long has it been since I encountered those…) but since I just needed it for this one job, that didn’t really matter.

During this little adventure back in the Windows world, for me, Ubuntu had already won. As I said, the Acronis Disk Director Suite, apart from having a painfully long name, was just a free trial. What struck me the most, however, was the installation. I already knew that installation in Windows isn’t as easy as it is in Ubuntu, but the following screen was really awful:

(Oh, and the checkbox at the bottom was checked by default)

I certainly hope I haven’t delivered my mother some spyware, as I notice I’ve become a bit careless in the Linux world 😉

Then the installation file for the application was bigger than the application itself, and after I had completed the installation, I received the following screen:

But of course, I shouldn’t be judging Windows – my mother should. So, I fired up Acronis…

Now I was really getting tired. OK, a reboot then. After the reboot the application finally worked, so I went on an configured it to resize the main partition. However, when I wanted it to apply the changes I made, I got the following:


OK, if I couldn’t do it in Windows, I’d do it using the installer and assume that the developers have taken enough care to make sure it won’t erase data, comforted a bit by Ubuntu’s partitioning guide.

My problems weren’t over yet, however. The external hard drive, an HP Personal Media Drive, didn’t get recognized at first. After a lot of reviews I figured I’d try connecting it to my own computer. As soon as I did that, Xubuntu presented me with an error message saying the drive had been unmounted incorrectly, and gave me a terminal command I could use to mount it again.

When I entered that command, I could correctly mount the drive on my own computer, so I unmounted it again and put it back in the in-built slot in my mother’s HP computer. No luck again. So I took it back to my own computer yet again, where I was told gain that it had been shut down incorrectly. After having executed the command again, I decided that this time, I would not put it in the slot HP made in the computer for its own external hard drives, but instead, I’d connect it through a USB cable like I did on my own computer.

Luckily, this worked. Now came the easy part: Ubuntu’s installation. I’m happy to be able to say that Ubuntu’s installer successfully chopped off 500 MB of the Windows partition to install /boot on, and that it also successfully installed onto the external hard drive.

After the installation, I encountered a few problems during configuration, and my mother encountered a few problems during use, but I’ll save that for the next post 😉


4 Responses to “Installation”

  1. 1 Rick 4 January 2008 at 3:26 pm

    I can see why you would be proceeding cautiously with the existing Windows install in view of the fact that you do not have a restoration or operating system cd. Usually HP’s do have a system restoration partition on the hard drive that helps if you want to restore the system to factory specs. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help much when the disk dies or the data is destroyed.

    Ideally, the hard drive with windows can be removed and another installed or a second hard drive added for the linux install. In the second case, the only thing that is touched on the windows isntall is the MBR which can easily be restored. If you need to repartition an existing windows install, free software is available for that too! I use Gparted in various linux distributions or PMagic LiveCD all the time.

    Defragmenting the windows drive is a good idea then use GParted to resize the existing windows partiton and create another partition in the free space (do not leave free space or windows will be confused) then reboot and allow windows to do file system check and after another reboot install Linux of choice!

  2. 2 Vincent 4 January 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Rick, indeed there was a restoration partition but, as you said, if I wouldn’t be able to access that I’d have a problem (I’d probably have contacted HP then). However, it does show what difference in mentality there is: HP doesn’t even provide the CD that was paid for, whereas Canonical sent me two CDs for free.

    Indeed there was the other hard drive, but I wanted to but the /boot partition on the first one so she would still be able to boot even if the external hard drive were to be removed.

    I did defragment the Windows drive in advance, and I suppose the risk wasn’t that high seeing as the 500 MB I chopped off was just a small portion of the hard drive.

    After the resize, which I did with the Ubuntu installer, I could still view the files on the Windows partition through the LiveCD, so I supposed it was correct, and Windows only performed the file system check after the installation.

  1. 1 The first steps « The Ubuntu Experiment Trackback on 5 January 2008 at 3:50 pm
  2. 2 It’s time to face it: Linux is not coming to the desktop. Ever. « The Ubuntu Experiment Trackback on 22 February 2008 at 10:41 am

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