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Some time ago I briefly looked into installing Ubuntu 11.10 (or above) on my dell xps17. I remember there were quite a few issues (sorry can't remember which ones, it was long time ago) and I was wondering if anybody could let me know if I can install it without having any problems (I would like to keep windows 7 there anyway).
I have found this http://www.linuxbsdos.com/2011/05/22/how-to-dual-boot-windows-7-and-ubuntu-11-04/ which is a nice tutorial but in my experience (I have installed ubuntu before on other machine) there's really no need to tweak the partition. What do you think?
My processor is Intel(r) Core(tm) i7-2720QM 2.2ghz.
any idea?
thanks

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Last Post by Violet_82
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Well, if you are unsure about whether it will work or not, you could just try a live cd. If you have a spare 8gb USB stick knocking about and you wanted to test more thoroughly you could even install a live cd image with persistent storage onto the USB drive using unetbootin (which is a free tool available for windows and linux). That way you could boot to the USB drive and try installing whatever additional software you'd usually use and see how your machine runs. And if there are any significant problems they should become apparent pretty quickly.

Try that for a few days and see how it is. You might find that everything works out of the box, or there could be problems with a driver, or it could just fail completely the first time you boot to USB. Either way, you'll have your answer. And by using a live cd, or live cd on USB you don't risk losing any data on your HD.

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And if you find that it runs OK, then you can look into dual booting/installing to your HD.

Edited by JasonHippy

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I actually have a iso image kicking around somewhere, but don't have a large enough usb. What if I mount the image on my computer, would that work the same?

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I actually have a iso image kicking around somewhere, but don't have a large enough usb. What if I mount the image on my computer, would that work the same?

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I would buy a USB stick if I were you. It should only be about $20 for a 8GB or slightly higher.
OR just burn a bootable disc.
OR buy one ($5) from Canonical http://shop.canonical.com/index.php?cPath=17
There is an official Windows Installer for safely Installing/Removing Ubuntu at http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop (but TBH I haven't tried it.)

JasonHippy is right; Booting from a USB-stick probably the best way of testing it out.
Mark - http://www.LifeWeary.com

Edited by markjamesdaly: forgot a link

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hang on but the iso I have is 700mb, so I could use a 1gb stick and burn it onto it? or better still I have a 1TB external drive, would that be ok rather than a usb?

Edited by Violet_82

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1Gb would probably not be enough for using the ubuntu OS from the USB, it will be enough to put in on there and install ubuntu from the USB. I think that if you try to "try ubuntu" with a 1Gb live USB, your experience will be limited as you won't be able to install much of anything. Usually when you try ubuntu on a machine, you must expect that there will be one or two things that won't work out-of-the-box (like WiFi, graphics driver, sound, or some other peripherals). Usually, these little things can be solved quite easily by searching for the problem on Linux/Ubuntu forums, and often the solution just involves installing an alternative driver or package and tweaking a few configuration files. If you have only 1Gb on a USB, you might not have enough extra space for that, let alone having enough space for installing other programs that you want to test out. So, it might work (and it doesn't hurt to try), but I recommend you get a bigger USB stick. I used a 2Gb USB before and it was OK.

which is a nice tutorial but in my experience (I have installed ubuntu before on other machine) there's really no need to tweak the partition. What do you think?

Well, I would certainly recommend that you do the process of shrinking the windows (ntfs) partitions to create freespace for the Ubuntu installation. However, I don't think you need such a fine-grained partitioning as that recommended on the tutorial. I've installed Ubuntu (or Kubuntu) quite a few times and I've always dual-booted with the following scheme:

  1. Create freespace by shrinking your existing (windows) partitions. At least 20Gb, at most 100Gb of freespace (more is superfluous).
  2. In the Ubuntu installer, manually set the partitions.
  3. Assign about 1.5 times your RAM as a "swap" partition.
  4. Assign the rest for the root (i.e., mount point: /).
  5. Check the box that says "Install Grub" on that same partition (same as root, not in MBR).
  6. Boot back to Windows and use EasyBCD to add the Ubuntu entry to the boot-loader menu (instructions easily found on the web).

This setup has worked perfectly for me every time. The nice thing about it is that you never risk messing up the Windows bootloader. The only difference it makes is the additional step where the windows bootloader offers the Ubuntu option, if chosen (or timed-out if set as default), it will go to grub, as opposed to a normal dual-boot where grub is the first to appear. Personally, I've had poor experiences with Grub as the primary bootloader (loading Windows through Grub is sometimes faulty).

I had a bit of problems with a new Dell desktop computer when setting up the above dual-boot scheme. The problem is that the crap-ware from Dell is really terrible (especially that "Backup" or "DataSafe" automated software thing). Basically, this piece of crap-ware, for some (probably stupid) reason, will blindly write something to the boot-loader (MBR) everything the Windows OS shuts down. If you either use Grub on the MBR or if you used EasyBCD (as outlined above), it will be overwritten by this crap-ware and turn your computer into a brick, until you boot from a recovery disk and reinstall the bootloader. So, make sure you uninstall all the Dell crap-ware before any attempts at installing Ubuntu side-by-side with Windows.

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fantastic thanks, I have purchased a sandisk usb 16GB. Thing is, I copied the ubuntu ISO on the usb but how do I make it bootable? I mean I changed the booting order on the bios thinking that was enough but when I boot from usb it says no operating system found...
thanks

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You need to use the UNetBootin utility program to create the Live USB. Just copying the ISO is not correct. Use the utility program, you just select your ISO and your USB device and run it, and then you have a bootable USB.

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hi sorry, you know when you said to rearrange the partitions? I have something different from what you've said: http://antobbo.webspace.virginmedia.com/test/ubuntu.jpg
I don't see the swap partition I am afraid, so I wonder what should I do? should I create another partition table from there? I think windows is instaleld on the sda2 partition. Any advice is greatly appreciated of course : - ) or even a link to some resources please
thanks

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You should go under Windows. Then, use the Windows partition manager to shrink that last partition (~480Gb) such that there is between 30-50 Gb of free space (or more, depending on how much stuff you want to install/use Ubuntu for). Then, boot into the liveUSB to install Ubuntu. When you get to the partition menu (from selecting "manually configure partitions") and you should see the free space in that list. Select the free-space. You should then be able to create a swap space and a partition for the root. Make sure you select the new root partition as the "Device for bootloader installation". Then, proceed through the rest of the installation.

Finally, you boot back into Windows and use EasyBCD to add the Ubuntu entry to the boot loader. Follow these instructions (the second part).

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