Back to a Vista-Ubuntu dual-boot setup

After spending an entire day migrating and configuring my blogs to my new VPS hosting account, the unthinkable happened. My laptop’s original hard drive crashed. Well, the Windows Vista installation on it anyways. I suspect it was a trojan or some other malware because in my attempt to fix things from Windows in Safe Mode, the malicious file “pc-off.bat” was found in the root directory of C:/

My attempts in removing the damn file were unsuccessful. Something else, another malware was re-creating the file right before the system restarts. So, I’ve decided to reformat the hard drive and start with a clean install of Windows Vista. The one thing that stopped me was that all my files stored in the drive weren’t sycnhed with the backups I have stored on an old IDE drive housed in an enclosure. And since I have no other means of accessing a SATA drive at home, a trip to the mall was scheduled yesterday to enlist the assistance of computer technicians in recovering my personal files and reformatting the drive.

Then the idea of getting a new and bigger capacity hard drive popped into mind. The one that crashed is nearly 3 yrs old and had been in regular use more than 18 hours every day. After visiting each computer store in SM Dasmarinas, I settled with a Seagate 320GB SATA drive from TCA for Php2,950. For another Php350 they installed the new hard drive in my laptop, that’s the price of losing the set of small screw drivers we had at home. Then they offered to install my licensed copy of Windows Vista but for a Php1,400 fee, I refused after saying ‘You want me to pay your technicians that much for a task I could easily do myself? Up yours!’ at the back of my mind. My next stop was at CD-R King where I bought an enclosure for the old Samsung 120GB SATA drive for Php250.

Vista + Ubuntu Linux in Dual-boot

The bigger hard drive was not only meant to provide more storage but to enable me to have my laptop running on dual-boot setup of Vista and Ubuntu Linux 10.04. I’ve always wanted to return to this setup because of Ubuntu’s appeal and the liberating experience I get whenever I use it. Ubuntu could also be used to recover my files on the Vista partition should it crash again. It may not be foolproof, but it gives me a better chance of recovering my data and to keep on working even if Vista has shot itself in the head.

Ubuntu Lucid Lynx
My Ubuntu 10.04 desktop (Click to zoom)
The 320GB hard drive was partitioned to provide 250GB for Vista and 50GB for Ubuntu Linux. I installed Vista first then followed by Ubuntu. Things slowed down when the LiveCD of Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx I burned had read/write errors on it. So instead, I installed Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron from a CD Canonical sent me two years ago for free. Yesterday was then spent upgrading to Ubuntu 10.04 the latest version of Ubuntu Linux. You may ask why I didn’t use Wubi or the Windows-based Ubuntu Installer. I didn’t because I want a fully-functioning Ubuntu installation on its own dedicated partition and it would defeat the purpose of having Ubuntu as a secondary OS in case Vista crashes.

I worked on Ubuntu first because I used it to download all the Vista drivers for my laptop along with the basic set of programs that will be installed like utilities, security and other apps that are good to start a fresh install of Vista with. It meant that the Vista partition didn’t need to go online ‘naked’ and exposing it to various threats from the internet just to download all those drivers and programs. It also gave me enough time to reacquaint my self with Ubuntu and its latest version Lucid Lynx which by far is impressive as my Compaq Presario c765TU and all of its components are working well with it. The audio, mic and headset jacks, the wireless adapter, even the hot keys are working. If only Photoshop CS4, Lightroom 2 and Microsoft Office could be installed on Ubuntu 10.04 natively, I’d dump Vista altogether.

I’m not going to skin Ubuntu to look like Mac OS X because I feel that it does Ubuntu a great disservice especially with how 10.04 has become more feature-rich, more compatible with a lot of hardware and besides, the current theme looks nice on its own. For now, I’ll be using Ubuntu whenever I would blog, blog-hop and just surf the internet. Video, audio and heavy image editing will done on Vista. More stories to come from this new dual-boot setup of mine, as I’ve already taken much of your time. Thanks for reading this far and hope to see you on the next post.

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2 thoughts on “Back to a Vista-Ubuntu dual-boot setup

  1. It's possible you got a rootkit that actually resides in your PC's RAM. Did you try shutting down your PC and removing the RAM module for a few minutes? If you didn't, the rootkit will come back after reformatting.

    • Maybe. But from what I've gathered online, it was more likely a trojan/worm that has already spread in the system and AVG failed to detect.

      I cannot remove and reinstall the RAM modules like with a desktop since it's a laptop. Everything's fine and dandy now. Also, I've ditched AVG for Avira and also switched to a new set of security apps. Will blog about it real soon.

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