Ubuntu on 2nd HD. Vista exists on 1st HD. Clean Start

G101

New Member
#1
Hello everyone,

I have read for days the process but I am still not finding exactly what I should do as configurations change a lot.

I will tell you what laptop I have so you can understand me better. I have an Alienware m17. This computer has 2 spots for 2 hard drives. 1 hard drive (250GB) has Vista Home Premium (64-bit). The other hard drive is brand new, still wrapped. Both are SATA. No need for complicated cables, just slide in the hard drives, use 1 screw and done.

I want to install Ubuntu 8.04LTS (64-Bit) on the new hard drive (100GB). I don't want to screw this up as I have seen the endless problems that making 1 single mistake can cause. Please walk me through this. I will follow every direction, no questions asked.

I read (don't know how many times) the process you guys have for EasyBCD and Ubuntu-Vista. But that process is for a partition.

I can use the Ubuntu Live CD, no problem. Perhaps I should first run in some command in Ubuntu to tell you what my computer has as far as partitions are concerned? I personally have made 0 partitions, and I am only concerned because when using the Ubuntu Live CD I can see a disk (I guess its a partition) that says "alienspawn recovery..." in addition to the normal one.

By the way, I have this old computer I am using so I can type here and work on the one I want to fix simultaneously. Is somebody up to the challenge?

Basically we are starting from 0. Help me make sure EasyBCD will work guys.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
Hi G101, welcome to NST

I appreciate your caution in reading up on potential problems before diving in.

You can safely install Ubuntu to the other hard drive and its mbr, just make sure to select the correct options during setup, like making sure Ubuntu goes on the correct partition and disk. There will be an advanced button near the end of setup, where you well need to verify that grub will be installed to the correct disk.

When you can boot from Ubuntu's drive on its own insto Ubuntu, the rest involves simply using EasyBCD to add a new entry pointing to Ubuntu's partition on the second disk (at least most of the time). Let us know if you got any other questions.
 

G101

New Member
#3
Thank you for the welcoming!

Hi G101, welcome to NST
You can safely install Ubuntu to the other hard drive and its mbr, just make sure to select the correct options during setup, like making sure Ubuntu goes on the correct partition and disk. There will be an advanced button near the end of setup, where you well need to verify that grub will be installed to the correct disk.
OK, I will do this first, and then I will attempt the EasyBCD entries. But, what would the correct partition be in a brand new hard drive? The disk part I get; obviously it has to go on the new hard drive. Should I just use the Guided install? I read that the boot loader has to be installed in a specific place in Ubuntu. Perhaps I should try to disconnect the windows drive first? However, this might lead GRUB to not see the Windows drive... Perhaps I am not understanding the process.

Yes, I am totally new to this and you can tell.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#4
If you'd feel more comfortable disconnecting/disabling Windows drive that is fine, but you will need to some editing in a file known as menu.lst to configure grub if the entries later created are not working. If Ubuntu is all you're putting on the second drive, it would be the first and only partition you got on there (if you've already prepared it). Use the custom install option, creating a new ext2 or ext3 partition on the second hard drive mounted with / so that Ubuntu will be installed there.
 

G101

New Member
#5
What do you mean by "if you have already prepared it"? Do I have to do something to the new hard drive before putting it inside mi PC? :/
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#6
No, you don't need to do any jumper settings on a SATA disk. Just plug it in.
Jus probably means prepared, as in you've put it in your laptop and you've already used a disk formatting utility to make it one big partition.
But since you haven't even put it in yet, you can just let the Ubuntu install do the formatting for you.
 

G101

New Member
#7
OK. I'm just gonna leave my Vista drive plugged in and hope for the best. I am ready to do this. Just clarify the step-by-step instructions you guys provide for my case and I'll be on my way, please.

EasyBCD said:
Step Three
Find some free space on the drive (or resize/move existing partitions around to make some) and create a new partition there. Choose "ext3" as the filesystem type (note: no other filesystem will work), and "/" as the mount-point. "/" is Linux-speek for "Drive C:\" (the system drive) and mount-point is just a fancy way of saying "label" while looking real intelligent.
What would I put in my case since I don't want Ubuntu to go on C? Will the new hard drive automatically be given a letter, say, D after I put it in my laptop? Can I then pick that letter instead of "/"?

EasyBCD said:

Step Four

Once you've partitioned the drive the way you like it, you come to the single most-important step: telling Ubuntu where (not) to install GRUB, the Linux bootloader. Unfortunately, the Ubuntu developers did a real bad job here - you're going to see a single, lonely button dubbed "Advanced" with no hint as to what it actually does. Don't be put off by the intimidating label, there's nothing to advanced or complicated behind that curtain! Click that button, and proceed to the next step for an explanation.

Step Five

Now is the time to tell Ubuntu that we don't want GRUB installed to the system bootloader. Instead, we're going to have Ubuntu install GRUB to its own partition, where EasyBCD can safely and easily read & interact with it, without too much hassle and absolutely no trouble. The default option is (hd#) where "#" is the number of the drive your installing Ubuntu to:
So mine will be hd1 since that is the second drive?

EasyBCD said:
Step Six
Instead of (hd#) (in our example it was (hd0), but it may be different on your machine) we're going to use /dev/sda1 - the partition we installed Ubuntu to.
You can determine this number by looking at the drive Ubuntu is installed to in the on-screen text (as in the screenshot above) to get the sd* value, then suffix it with the partition number (starting from 1). So if it says sdb and it's the second partiton on the drive, enter /dev/sdb2 at that prompt
How come it says you will use /dev/sda1 but in the end it says /dev/sdb2? I don't understand this or what it would be on my case.

EasyBCD said:
Optional Step For Smooth Dual-Booting
Once in Ubuntu edit /boot/grub/menu.lst: gksudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst
Change timeout 5 to timeout 0
then save and exit.
1. How do I "save" this?
2. Does it mean that after this Grub won't give me that menu
with which Ubuntu (normal or recovery) I can boot?

Thanks for this. I really don't want to come back here and keep wasting your time fellas.
 
Last edited:

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#8
Yes, changing the timeout well make the menu go away for grub so won't be able to pick your entries. Its not a required step, just something to do if you don't want to normally be presented with a second menu.

Don't take the drive lettering/number scheme from the article. It is just there for example. You need to fill in the blanks with your setup, which you'd be referring to /dev/sdb or hd1 since Ubuntu's drive is second in the system.

You don't pick a letter for a linux formatted partition. Don't format it using Windows either. / tells the installer that the partition that has this is where it needs to install Ubuntu. You should use Ubuntu's installer to partition and format a linux partition on your second hard drive. By prepared in the earlier post I meant exactly as Terry stated, but in your case your best using Ubuntu's installer to prepare the disk.
 

G101

New Member
#9
Did some searching. I will follow your advice and use Ubuntu to set up the new hard drive. Just one question. I read "How to Install a New Hard Drive" here: InstallingANewHardDrive - Community Ubuntu Documentation The part I don't understand is the mounting.

You know what I am trying to accomplish, so do you suggest I should go with the Automatic Mounting (when computer boots? I don't get that. I thought Ubuntu would boot after I pick it from the Boot menu with EasyBCD) or with Manual Mounting? Also, should it go, like the article says in /media for my purpose?

Thank you for your patience.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#10
It will auto mount the system partition and any additional partitions in fstab (a configuration file telling it what do mount at boot) just like Windows would, accept that linux doesn't use drive letters to identify drives. It just lists whats available/mounted under storage devices in computer browser like my computer in Windows without any drive letters. Think of Windows where you can easily mount a partition to an empty folder using the change drive letters and paths option in disk management. Basically, its kind of like the same concept. Linux mounts partitions usually in empty folders created for them in the /mmt directory. Now / is the mount point for the system partition itself, where the access to other partitions is linked from these empty directories.
 
#11
Honestly, I have no idea what you just said.

So, should I just stop after the formatting steps in that article are completed? Meaning, do I need to follow the explanation after the drive is formatted, mainly do I just ignore the Mounting instructions?

Thank you again
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#12
Just preapre (format your partition in linux using Ubuntu's installer), make sure it gets /, make sure its installing grub to the right drive, and you should be good to go.
 

G101

New Member
#13
Thank you for all your help. Everything is now working perfectly. In reality your instructions were crystal clear.

My signature summarizes my now completed objective. Thanks again.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#14
Congratulations :smile: