Friday, November 24, 2006

Installing Ubuntu - no strings attached

I have a farily old laptop. An old HP Omnibook 6100 with no more than 1Ghz and even less RAM. The thing was that I bought it used, so things weren't exactly tiptop shape. The cd for example, was barely managing it. BIOS didn't support usb-device boot. Now 2 years after that barely justified purchase, the cd has gone to wherever cd:s go when they're not responding anymore. CD heaven, CD hell or just CD gone for ever. On this computer I had installed Windows XP, a good choice at the time since I didn't know better. Safe to say it went slow. I needed a reinstallation, but the cd didn't work and my windows had decided that was not orignal anymore. Kept complaining that I had been fooled and that my OS wasn't honestly bought. So I decided to install ubuntu on it, since everything goes so, so, so slow on windows. Searching the net, the google way I finally found the solution. A Ubuntu installation that didn't require more than 10Megs and an internetconnection. Could this be true?
Oh yes it is, and here is how is was done.

1. First make sure you aquire some unallocated space on your harddrive. I did this when I had XP installed so I used Partition Magic to create some, or a lot in my case since I was planning on removing the windows partition after a successfull installation.

2. Next I downloaded the Ubuntu kernel at

Here I downloaded the files : linux and initrd.gz.
I placed these two files in my root, in a directory named boot ( c:\boot )

Next step was to download the grub, so I could boot the installation.
The only files we need from this package is "menu.lst" and "gldr"
So extract the package and place "menu.lst" in c:\boot\grub\
and "grldr" in c:\

Next we edit "menu.lst" so it'll find our ubuntu. Open file in your favourite texteditor and add the following at the bottom.

title Ubuntu Installer (hd0,0)
kernel (hd0,0)/boot/linux vga=normal ramdisk_size=14972 root=/dev/rd/0 rw --
initrd (hd0,0)/boot/initrd.gz

Now edit c:\boot.ini, if you don't know where it is, simply open the commandshell ( RUN > cmd ) and enter this :
/> attrib -a -r -s -h c:\boot.ini
Open boot.ini in a texteditor and add the following at the bottom:
C:\grldr="Start GRUB"

3. Reboot, choose "Start Grub", scroll down to Ubuntu installation and live happily ever after.

This is the way all operating systems should work!

References :

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