Jan Leow's Press Blog

Dual booting with Ubuntu Linux and Windows Vista

My dell computer laptop is about two years old already and I’m running a little short on storage space. I have been dual booting the dell computer laptop with Ubuntu Linux and Windows Vista, however I didn’t think it out thoroughly on the partitioning and thus I have linux partition here and there in between Windows Vista partition. At that time, storage space wasn’t an issue and I could use it without any problem. However recently, I have installed more and more software and it was running out of space. I also noticed it was running slower with less space. Usually when there is less space there will be less page file for swapping out the main memory into the hard disk.

So it was time to do some readjustment and the best candidate to modify partitions is to use Gpart in Linux. The old stuff like Symantec Partition Magic which I use last time cannot handle the new NTFS and while Windows Vista could shrink or expand partitions, it could not handle Linux ext3 file system.

So booting into Ubutu Linux, and firing up Gpart, I started to modify and adjust the partitions accordingly.

My earlier HDD configuration was:

Dell Computer Recovery 0.5GB
Windows Vista 40GB
Linux Swap 1GB
|_Windows NTFS 30GB
|_Linux Ubuntu 5GB

Why on earth did I place the Linux swap in between two Windows partition, I don’t recall the reason. Now I needed to expand the Vista but the Linux swap and logical partition was in the way. The thing was, the moment I cleared the NTFS 30GB, the multi-boot loader GRUB crashed and I couldn’t boot up the Dell computer laptop at all!

Oh, well it was a blessing in disguise because it was reason to download the latest Ubuntu 9.04 and replace over the older version 8. A two hours plus download, and then later installation and I have brand new spanking Ubuntu distro. Using the live CD to clear up the partitioning structure, I installed it.

Ubuntu could boot effortlessly and GRUB was working! But now Windows Vista wouldn’t boot up! Fortunately plonking in the Vista DVD into the CD-ROM drive and doing a quick repair installation got it going again.

So now my HDD structure becomes:

Dell Computer Recovery 0.5GB
Windows Vista 60GB
Windows NTFS 8GB
|_Linux Swap 1GB
|_Linux Ubuntu 5GB

Although I use mostly Windows for play and work, Linux has it usefulness and functionality. Like the Gnome partition editor as one example. And now with the latest Ubuntu, it works well with the proprietary WIFI software, and now my laptop could actually connect wirelessly in Linux which previously I was not able to do so.

I think one day, Linux can do a lot of things and could actually take over Windows in some ways if the open source community can find some way to simplify and make it easier and easier to use, it might just take up more of Windows Desktop market share.

It was a far cry from the early days when I started tinkering with Linux starting with Red Hat, then to Debian, to Mandrake/Mandriva, to SuSe and now finally with Ubuntu which is now very easy to use. Those days installing Linux was quite a hands on process with the configuration files just to get the X-windows to work was quite a challenge and with most of the function using BASH command line, you have to remember quite a fair bit of Linux BASH commands! Harken on to the days of MS-DOS and even older, Apple DOS!

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