Ubuntu installation - nervous!

Acer / Aspire 3003 wlmi
April 22, 2011 at 11:38:06
Specs: WXP SP3, AMD Mobile Sempron / 512Mb
Hi - a definite newbie here, so apologies for the long post!

I've wanted to try Ubuntu for a long time but have either never had the time or was just fearful of screwing things up. I've now found the motivation to learn about it and the need - my old laptop is suffering and I'm hoping something a little lighter will make things run a bit more smoothly.

I have an Acer laptop, one HDD with three partitions; the C drive which holds XP and all installed programs; a D Drive with all of my data; and a hidden partition which stores the Acer Recovery stuff, which is great for restoring XP to its factory defaults and starting again.

I "think" I'm fairly comfortable with the process for installing Ubuntu (I've got the iso on CD, ready to go) apart from how it might affect that valuable recovery data on the hidden partition. I have everything else backed up to another HDD, so ideally, I'd like to install Ubuntu over the XP installation but know that the recovery function is there should I ever need it.

Forgive me if I haven't been clear about anything - I can clarify if it will help. Thanks in advance.


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April 22, 2011 at 20:32:55
You can try Ubunto if you have a Live CD. The CD will allow you to run Linux without installing. Another alternative is multiboot. If you can freeup enough empty space you can choose to install alongside the XP.

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April 23, 2011 at 08:03:10
Thanks Fred,

The Live CD sounds like a really good option, but I'm really wanting to just replace XP so that it forces me to learn to use Ubuntu. Unfortunately, space is an issue so the dual boot option might be pushing my luck. I guess I'm really looking for some encouragement that by installing Ubuntu on my C drive, nothing will happen to the XP backup in the hidden partition. Does the installation process make it very clear as to where it will be installed?

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April 23, 2011 at 08:20:30
I don't know how much space you have on your C: partition where XP is running, but I suggest you install Ubuntu inside a virtual machine under Win XP.

That way you can evaluate if Ubuntu satisfies your needs while retaining XP that can run concurrently with Ubuntu.

You can download MS Virtual PC or Open Source VirtualBox (both free) assumed you have space for a virtual disk (file) to hold Ubuntu. No risk at all, be aware MS VPC installs under XP Home too, just ignore the warning messages that apply to support policies only.

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April 23, 2011 at 14:00:21
Then DON'T install Ubuntu if you are at all afraid. No need to just yet. You do have two problems. One is your processor and the second is your ram amount. You really should have more than the 512mb. Consider maybe a more easy distro based on ubuntu like lubuntu or xubuntu.

Above are some great ideas how to safely learn linux. One is the live cd but you can also make a live usb flash drive that works great.

If you had more ram and a supported processor I'd suggest a VM.
In no order of choice also is one of my favorite solutions to the newbie. A VM. A VM is really simple and easy on most newer computers. It allows you to run two or more OS's at the same time.

1/3 of highway deaths are caused by drunks. The rest are by people who can't drive any better than a drunk.

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April 23, 2011 at 15:21:29
Your low amount of RAM is one reason why XP would perform poorly on your system. If you want to try Linux, I agree with Jefro about trying something a little more lightweight. I aslo agree with wizard-fred that you should start off by trying a Live CD. How about the new Linux Mint Xfce edition based on Debian? Or Linux Mint 10 LXDE based on Ubuntu 10.10?




BTW, you understand that an ISO file has to be burned to the CD using special software, right? Simply copying the ISO file to a disk ain't gonna get you anywhere, the file needs to be converted & burned using ImgBurn, MagicISO, Nero, etc. You can get ImgBurn here:


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April 23, 2011 at 15:57:17
I think I'm taking the hint here! Thanks to you all for your advice and recommendations, which I am going to heed.

I realise the PC is ancient and showing its lack of power, but I'm a bit of a hippie in wanting to make use of it while it does everything I need it to and until it blows up or something similar. It is Lubuntu I've downloaded too and, yes, I used Nero to burn a proper iso.

So I'm off to find out about a Live CD and how to use your suggestion, jefro, of using the USB flash drive. Would I get away with a 2Gb drive (I have one spare)? Hopefully I'll love Lubuntu so much that I'll come back and force you all to tell me how to install it over XP after all!

Cheers again guys!

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April 23, 2011 at 21:51:31
IMHO, Mint is a much better product, but since you're new to Linux, you should try out some of the many distros that are out there until you find one that suites you.


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April 24, 2011 at 14:19:08
Best place to start is http://www.pendrivelinux.com

They tend to show many ways. Some can be mixed and matched so for example you like one version of an installer and the web page has another then you can try it. There tons of places also. Everyone has some way to run a live cd and with some caveats.

A 2 G would be fine.

I too am a fan of mint but you need to play with stuff.

Post back maybe on what you want to try and as you can see plenty of great support here usually and other places.

See info also on wubi. It may provide an option you may like also.

Ask us before you bork it. We are here on and off most of the time.

1/3 of highway deaths are caused by drunks. The rest are by people who can't drive any better than a drunk.

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April 24, 2011 at 17:57:18
Seriously, thanks again jefro and mickliq for the advice. I beat you to the pendrivelinux site and have had my very first go at a Linux installation, running off that 2Gb pen. So far so good, although it is understandably strange, but I'm not scared off -- yet. Sure I'll be here again after a few days of practicing with more questions!

P.S. Oh, just thought of the first one -- are there any issues with trying programs that are not loaded by default, e.g. if I wanted to try LibreOffice, it won't be as simple as downloading and installing on the hard drive, would it?

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April 25, 2011 at 14:47:23
If for only to help me out a bit, post new topics on new posts. :)

#1 Great Job! First pendrive install and it worked. I call that a success so far.

Second is some issues with pendrive installs. Basically there are three ways. One is live with no persistence. Another is live with persistence. Lastly there is a normal linux file system install.

Telling us how you installed the distro and which one would help to give correct answer. (on a new thread)

1/3 of highway deaths are caused by drunks. The rest are by people who can't drive any better than a drunk.

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