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Author Topic: How to dual boot Windows and Ubuntu?  (Read 3682 times)
Kasmira
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« Topic Start: April 13, 2008, 11:48:15 am »

I'm currently set up with Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon and I am really happy with it, but I am finding that I really need Windows for a few things. Particularly I need to do some courses online in order to be able to work on a summer internship I am interested in and they require Windows.

I'm pretty computer illiterate and I get pretty confused pretty easily when it comes to computers. All the instructions I can find on the web are for adding Ubuntu to Windows as opposed to the other way around and I don't think I'm really good enough at this to adapt them. Can anyone explain how I would dual boot this way around?

I seem to remember that Randall used to have some sort of link in his signature about something like this but it doesn't seem to be there any more.
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« Reply #1: April 13, 2008, 12:38:05 pm »

I seem to remember that Randall used to have some sort of link in his signature about something like this but it doesn't seem to be there any more.

Kasmira, you're embarking on the journey I've wanted to go on for awhile.  As I haven't yet bought my ticket I can't offer a lot of useful info other than to say you have two options: 1) Dual boot Ubuntu and Windows or 2) run Windows in a virtual mode as Randall is doing. 

Dual booting will require you to select the operating system you want to work with when you turn the computer on.  Running Windows in a virtual mode on a primarily linux system will provide you the option to use either one as the specific need arises.

The link to Randalls Software Gadget Blog is in the menu on the left.  Reposted here for ease of clicking Wink

Here's a couple of other links Randall has posted over time re: his Ubuntu/WinXP system:

Playing with Ubuntu 7.10
Computer Desktop Show and Tell

And one from his blog:
"XPLinux” — Running Linux on Windows with VMWare and Xming

Other than that I'm not sure I can be of much help.  Running an Ubuntu/XP system (or maybe even Win98 w/ Win98Lite) is something that I really want to do but I need the system to do it first

Hope this helps out some.  I look forward to hearing about how this goes for you.
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« Reply #2: April 13, 2008, 01:24:34 pm »

Kasmira, you're embarking on the journey I've wanted to go on for awhile.  As I haven't yet bought my ticket I can't offer a lot of useful info other than to say you have two options: 1) Dual boot Ubuntu and Windows or 2) run Windows in a virtual mode as Randall is doing. 

*snip*

Hope this helps out some.  I look forward to hearing about how this goes for you.

Ummm... OK *brain processes slowly*... when I say that I am computer illiterate I do rather mean it. I think I get what Randall is saying he has and it certainly looks like what I am looking for, however, I have no idea how to make my computer do that.

I noticed that in Randall's blog etc. he mentioned a few things that are necessary for his boot so here's some specs to see if my computer is compatible and to make sure that all of my stuff would work with that boot. I really don't have the money to buy extras for it.
Dell Inspiron 6400
Processor: Intel Core Duo T2350 (1.86GHz, 2MB L2 Cache, 533MHz FSB)
Memory: 2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHZ, 2 DIMM
Video Card: 256MB ATI MOBILITY RADEON® X1400 HyperMemory
Hard Drive:  Speed: 100GB SATA Hard Drive (7200RPM)
Network Card and Modem: Integrated 10/100 Network Card and Modem
Sound: Integrated Audio
Wireless: Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 Internal Wireless

The only thing I have had any problems with on Ubuntu has been the sound which with a lot of fiddling I have managed to fix. I am rather afraid that I have fiddled so much using sudo in the shell that I have rather mucked up the functioning of Ubuntu. It now powers up rather oddly and I have to start x manually and there is no Shut Down icon so I have to shut down manually in the shell also. I think I should really clear off everything from my computer and start over (keeping the files I need safe on an external hard drive).

Yeah, so like I said I am rather computer illiterate, but I am getting better. That is another reason I am looking to start over as I think I have finally gotten to the point where I can work in the shell without destroying things right left and center and I would rather like to start anew with a system that does not have bomb craters scattered around for me to fall into.

I'll tell you how things go, Oak. Hopefully all will work well Smiley . I'm gonna look around the Ubuntu forums also, but most there seem to have a vendetta against Windows so it is a little hard to get a straight answer Smiley .
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« Reply #3: April 13, 2008, 01:52:33 pm »

I'm currently set up with Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon and I am really happy with it, but I am finding that I really need Windows for a few things. Particularly I need to do some courses online in order to be able to work on a summer internship I am interested in and they require Windows.

It's hard to add a Windows boot to another OS as Windows wants to be installed first and then have other OSes installed. (Note that it can be done the other way -- windows second -- but it is not easy and often requires payware boot managers to do it at all easily.)

If you don't need DirectX for your Windows software (and have at least a gig of ram), the easiest way to add Windows XP is to use Virtualbox to run XP in a virtual machine. Virtualbox is free and is the fastest affordable virtual machine I've seen.  I would use the commercial edition instead of the open source edition (both are free for personal use). I use this and can run about 95% of non-game windows software. I only have to boot into Windows for a few non-game things that I seldom use.

Virtualbox
http://www.virtualbox.org/

Installing Virtualbox and Windows in Ubuntu
http://www.blog.arun-prabha.com/2007/05/07/installing-virtualbox-and-windows-using-virtualbox-in-ubuntu/

Run Windows Apps Seamlessly Inside Linux
http://lifehacker.com/367714/run-windows-apps-seamlessly-inside-linux

Another way to run some Windows software in Linux is with Wine, but I'd say it only runs 30-40% of Windows software well enough to use in production (but will run some DirectX games).

Quote
I seem to remember that Randall used to have some sort of link in his signature about something like this but it doesn't seem to be there any more.

That was a way to run linux inside XP, which would not help you much.
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« Reply #4: April 13, 2008, 05:25:06 pm »


OK, I think I've got it. So the virtualbox thing will let me do a course whose system requirements are as follows?

Quote
   1. Microsoft Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, or later
   2. Netscape 4.0+ or Internet Explorer 4.0+ (JavaScript Enabled)

And I can get this working by following the instructions in the third link? It seems to be the clearest to me.

Also, I would be willing to to completely wipe my computer and start again with installing XP then Ubuntu as my Ubuntu is probably going to need a wipe and reinstall some time soon anyway because I have mucked around a little too much with it and I am not computer savvy enough to fix all of my mistakes. Would this be an easier route?
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« Reply #5: April 13, 2008, 05:55:37 pm »

OK, I think I've got it. So the virtualbox thing will let me do a course whose system requirements are as follows?

If XP is the Windows version you're installing, it should run your course software.  (It's later than 95/98/NT/2000, and IIRC the version of IE that it installs is 6.0.)
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« Reply #6: April 13, 2008, 06:08:23 pm »

OK, I think I've got it. So the virtualbox thing will let me do a course whose system requirements are as follows?

It should, provided that none of the software you need to run requires DirectX (especially the direct3d part). I run all sorts of software including an older version of Photoshop (CS, I think), Word 2003, an old version of Mathematica, IE 7 (when forced), etc.

Quote
And I can get this working by following the instructions in the third link? It seems to be the clearest to me.

You should be able to. I forgot to mention that this requires a real copy of Windows. The "restore CDs" most manufacturers include will generally not work.

Quote
Also, I would be willing to to completely wipe my computer and start again with installing XP then Ubuntu as my Ubuntu is probably going to need a wipe and reinstall some time soon anyway because I have mucked around a little too much with it and I am not computer savvy enough to fix all of my mistakes. Would this be an easier route?

If you want to. Just set up Windows in whatever disk partition size you want (say 20 gigs -- more if you do games or video), then install Ubuntu in the remainder. You can set it up to boot directly into Ubuntu unless you tell it to use Windows at startup. If you go this route, I'd wait until the end of the month when Ubuntu 8.04 LTS will be out.
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« Reply #7: April 13, 2008, 06:22:09 pm »

It should, provided that none of the software you need to run requires DirectX (especially the direct3d part). I run all sorts of software including an older version of Photoshop (CS, I think), Word 2003, an old version of Mathematica, IE 7 (when forced), etc.

I'm pretty sure that would be fine.

You should be able to. I forgot to mention that this requires a real copy of Windows. The "restore CDs" most manufacturers include will generally not work.

Oh... I just have what I got with the laptop. Is it expensive to get a real copy of Windows? Where does one do this?

If you want to. Just set up Windows in whatever disk partition size you want (say 20 gigs -- more if you do games or video), then install Ubuntu in the remainder. You can set it up to boot directly into Ubuntu unless you tell it to use Windows at startup. If you go this route, I'd wait until the end of the month when Ubuntu 8.04 LTS will be out.

Can this be done with the restore CD?
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« Reply #8: April 13, 2008, 06:25:58 pm »

Oh... I just have what I got with the laptop. Is it expensive to get a real copy of Windows? Where does one do this?

XP is still on sale for a month or so. It's not cheap, but you might be able to get a student discount.  Of course, you can pick up a copy of W2K on ebay for next to nothing and it will work in virtualbox as well. 

Quote
Can this be done with the restore CD?

The reformat/reinstall can be, but it will usually suck up the entire drive. This means you will have to shrink the Windows partition down to size when you install Ubuntu. The Ubuntu CD installer can usually do this with no problem.
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« Reply #9: April 13, 2008, 09:05:50 pm »

XP is still on sale for a month or so. It's not cheap, but you might be able to get a student discount.  Of course, you can pick up a copy of W2K on ebay for next to nothing and it will work in virtualbox as well.

Everything I am finding is over $100 and for XP Professional (what came with the computer and what I have the restore CDs for) it's going up into the $200/300 range. I just don't have that kind of money so... I looked at Win2000 on ebay and I'm finding stuff $50-$80 with an hour or so of bidding to go which is getting on for two weeks of food for me so... doesn't look likely either.

The reformat/reinstall can be, but it will usually suck up the entire drive. This means you will have to shrink the Windows partition down to size when you install Ubuntu. The Ubuntu CD installer can usually do this with no problem.

This looks like my probable route as a stingy college student... hopefully I will have time to actually do this soon.
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« Reply #10: April 13, 2008, 11:28:16 pm »

This looks like my probable route as a stingy college student... hopefully I will have time to actually do this soon.

Try checking with local computer shops or magazines, heck, check the computer lab or the college computer club and see if there is a computer faire coming to your area in the near future.  You can often pickup software and hardware at a much reduced rate.
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« Reply #11: April 14, 2008, 05:29:36 am »

This looks like my probable route as a stingy college student... hopefully I will have time to actually do this soon.

You might check with your college IT department...  I don't know how many (or which) schools do this, but I know Indiana University has some sort of special deal with Microsoft that lets them sell/give copies of various MS products to students, faculty and staff for next to nothing.  I can't imagine it's only IU that does it (though, like I said, I don't know who else might).  Might not turn up anything, but it's worth checking.
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