Ruby: Hi Mova, I got Ubuntu cds and I m very excited to try Ubuntu, but I am a little skeptical, should I completely remove Windows or can I have 2 operating systems on one computer?
Mova: Well, that is a matter of personal preference. Theoretically speaking you cannot have two operating systems on the same computer, but there is a very commonly used work around to this. Its known as partitioning the Hard Disk.
Ruby: What is partitioning? How can I do it? Please elaborate.
Mova: Try opening My Computer on your Windows machine and see if you can find hard drive icons marked something like C:, D:, E:. These are nothing but partitions on your hard disk. Partitions let you slice your hard disk into smaller units. All this is logical means that you don’t actually have to take saw and hammer to slice your hard disk. lol.. If you right click on any of them (Shortcut key is Alt + Enter) then you can see the properties of each of the partitions which also includes their size. If you add up the size of all the partitions it should roughly sum up to the capacity of your hard disk. I say roughly because some space is unused and kept reserved by the manufacturers.
You can partition the hard disk using a variety of methods, at time of installation or from within Computer Management, or using utility cds like Hiren’s Boot CD.
Ruby: Why do I need partitioning? This seams scary. What if I mess up?
Mova: Using partitioning you trick the operating system to believe that there is no other operating system on the hard disk. Operating Systems are not very friendly you see. They can’t ever exist on the same partition. It is a bit scary for the first time, but once you get hold of it, its a piece of cake. And yes if you mess up partitioning, more often then not you are in a bad bad situation 🙂
Ruby: No no no I am not ready to take any risks with my data, probably I will wait till I get a new Computer and then install Ubuntu on it.
Mova: There is nothing to be worried about. Have you ever installed a software in Windows?
Ruby: Huh? what sort of question is this? Of course I have.
Mova: Then I assure you and guarantee you that you can install Ubuntu without doing any damage to your computer or data. Trust me I wont lie.
Ruby: But I have never done partitioning, and then I have heard that its even more difficult to configure a dual boot system. There is GRUB, there is LILO, MBR, NTLDR and all kinds of words, I don’t know about any of them, I am not sure I want to do this.
|Wubi Ubuntu Installer|
Mova: As I said, you have to trust me. I have nothing to gain if you install Ubuntu or not so I won’t misguide you. I say its easy then I mean its easy. Okay if you don’t believe me have a look at Wubi at http://wubi-installer.org/
Ruby: Wubi! I like the name, It rhymes with mine! But what is it?
Mova: In one word it is an “installer”. It helps you install Linux inside Windows! Yes I said “Inside Windows”. It doesn’t resize or create new partitions and it doesn’t change your Windows installation. As they say and I quote, “No need to burn a CD. Just run the installer, enter a password for the new account, and click “Install”, go grab a coffee, and when you are back, Ubuntu will be ready for you.”
Ruby: Oh this means my wait for the cd was all futile?
Mova: Well not exactly, what Wubi does is that it downloads the files from the Internet, but having them on the cd before hand just makes your work faster and a little more reliable. So you did the right thing Ruby! As of Ubuntu Hardy Heron, Wubi is included in the installation cd. So you wont have to download anything.
Ruby: Ok ok, Just for curiosity’s sake is this another of Linux’s Magic? I mean how Wubi manages to do so?
Mova: First of all, Congrats to Agostino Russo, who came up with this idea of Wubi! I myself Love it. The idea is somewhat similar to what we have been discussing. It actually tricks the Operating System to believe that it has its own hard disk and no other operating system exists on it. However the similarity ends there. While we were discussing partitioning, Wubi actually installs the system as a file (c:\ubuntu\disks\root.disk) inside Windows and Linux sees this file as a hard disk. It uses a loop mount file system but thats getting technical so we leave it for some other time!
Ruby: So how do I proceed with Wubi?
Mova: Although there is no risk but it is always a good idea to back up your important data. You take some time, backup your data, till then I will prepare all the steps for you and write it in a systematic manner. Do check me here soon.
End of part 2. Don’t forget to join us when Mova provides a step by step tutorial on Linux Installation!
Check out part 1 of the conversation here