I have been using Ubuntu on my Dell Inspiron 8600 for just over a year now and I am impressed with the quality and performance that Linux has to offer. Originally, I had installed it as a standalone operating system and upon installation it took to all of my OEM hardware with absolutely zero issues. Not only did the hardware work flawlessly, but I have never had issues with pesky popup windows, spyware, or the threat of viruses. Linux just works!
Linux is an amazing operating system, but in a world where Microsoft dominates the market, the Windows platform is king for many high productivity software titles that do not work on Linux. For this reason, I have decided to create a dual-boot environment (and write this tutorial).
Before we begin, I have to say that I am offering this tutorial as a simple guideline and offer ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY or promise of any support. As a friendly reminder, make sure you backup all of your files, e-mail, etc… before making any changes.
Before you begin, you will need the Windows Operating System disk that came with your PC. You will also need a bootable live CD of Ubuntu 10.10.
To create a live CD, you will need to burn the Ubuntu 10.10 image to a CD using image burning software. Windows 7 has image burning ability out of the box, but if you are running Vista, XP, etc… You will need software that will burn an image. Most versions of Nero will work, otherwise if you need a more economical solution, check out ImgBurn. ImgBurn is a great open source software that you can download and use free of charge.
To make the installation run more smoothly, I decided to wipe all partitions, reformat my hard-drive, and install a fresh copy of Windows XP Professional to the entire drive (very important to install to the whole drive).
So, remember to back everything up, and reinstall windows with the disk set that came with your system. NOTE: All systems are different. If your system didn’t come with a packaged disk set, check to see if you have pre-installed software that will allow you to create system disks. Generally this software is located in a folder labeled with the manufacturer’s name under the Start menu.
Once your Windows XP re-installation has completed and you have added basic drivers, etc… Restart your computer, and boot to the Ubuntu 10.10 live CD.
A welcome window will appear where you will select your preferred language (on the left), English should be selected by default and you will select the option on the right to install Ubuntu 10.10.
The next window that will appear asks that you have at least 2.6 GB available, your computer is plugged in, and you are connected to the internet. I selected both check-boxes at the bottom, the first one to download updates during installation and the second one to install third-party software (if you are not connected to the internet, don’t select the boxes). Click Next.
The next window that will appear offers you three options, select the first option to install along with other operating systems and click Next.
The next window that will appear gives you a graphical representation of your installation’s and the hard drive space that they will occupy. If you would like to modify these amounts, you can click and drag left and right by the bar in between Windows XP and Ubuntu.
Once you are happy with the space you would like to allocate, select next and follow any additional instructions.
Once Ubuntu is installed, remove the live CD, reboot. After reboot, you should see the GRUB bootloader option window where you can select the operating system you would like to boot.