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Friday 23 November 2007

Ubuntu 7.10 Dual Booting

Earlier this week I attempted to run the Ubuntu 7.10 Live CD on my Dell M1330 and ran into some very surprising problems - the LiveCD borked about halfway though the boot process and presented me with a very confusing Debian command line. I wasn't sure if I had a dodgy copy and I knew I was going to have driver problems actually installing on the Dell since it only has SATA drives so I dug around on the Ubuntu download ftp server to find the DVD ISO that includes all of the drivers needed to get the SATA install working without messing about with additional driver discs. The DVD works a charm and all my Live CD problems went away. Once running everything appeared to work fine so I then bit the bullet and went about setting up dual boot install.

You can ask Ubuntu to resize the partition during the install but some checking online indicated that it is much faster (and probably safer) to use the Disk Manager MMC in Vista to prepare some space for Ubuntu in advance by shrinking the size of the main OS volume.

Once I had that done (I opted for a 30GB partition) I rebooted with the LiveDVD and ran the installer.
At the partition selection screen I now had the option to install into the partition that was already free space so that got selected and the install proceeded without a hitch.

Once it had completed and rebooted I was presented with a GRUB OS selection list that includes Ubuntu 7.10, Ubuntu 7.10 safe mode, Vista and Windows XP Embedded (This is for the Dell OS Recovery system I believe).

Interestingly from within Ubuntu I can now see two additional volumes (one 100Meg in size called Dell Utility that appears to be a DOS boot partition of some sort and one 2.5Gb one called MediaDirect that has some sort of stripped down Windows OS structure on it that is probably also Windows PE or XP Embedded). By default from within Ubuntu I have full read and write access to my main Vista OS partition and the 10GB "Recovery" partition that is referred to in the GRUB menu.

Most things work as far as I can tell at this stage including Bluetooth, the odd ball infra-red mini media remote, the touch sensitive media buttons above the main keyboard, the touch pad, laptop fn key functions (Brightness, Battery, Suspend etc). The only thing that doesn't appear to be working is the built in Web Cam but I haven't really tried very hard to get it working yet. The screen is perfect, Compiz works (unlike my old T43p), WLAN connects to my old 802.11g network with no issues.

Interestingly I again have issues with IPV6 and Firefox. For some reason my Eircom DSL router (a rebadged Cayman Netopia 2247) and I have to set netowrk.dns.ipv6 to True.

Otherwise it's very Sweet (So Far).

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