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UNR - how to remove it and its partition?

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#1
pd.ryder

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I was tempted to give Ubuntu Netbook Reload a try on my 4211. It's a bog-standard machine running XP, 1GB ram and MSI 1.09 BIOS.

UNR was run off a flash drive for a few hours and apart from being a little slow, I thought I might be able to work with it. It seemed to give me the basics I need on a daily basis - web browsing, email, IM and access to my network drives and printer.

So I decided to install it. Being short on experience of partitions and such wizardry, I allowed the Ubuntu installation to progress with default settings and partition sizes. All seemed to go well, but it still seemed a little slow considering how zippy it was supposed to be. I mean, these little machines are hardly slow in themselves. For instance, a couple of the screen savers (namely "Hyperspace") would only run as stop-frame motion - all juddery - like it didn't have the resources to run properly. Initial attempts at running video files off the network drive were also less than satisfactory considering that Ubuntu was supposed to utilise available resources rather better than XP.

I persevered. I configured the email client "Evolution" and the IM "Pidgin". I modified Firefox 3 to make best use of the screen and get my Xmarks installed. Firefox seemed to have great difficulty running flash video off YouTube and such like and installing a flash player was rather more complicated than in XP. After installing one or other of the suggested players and codecs, playback was 'random' at best. Not an entirely fool-proof experience. However, all seemed ok, until I restarted it.

Evolution had lost all its config settings. It didn't have any of my IMAP accounts. Pidgin didn't know who I was and Firefox kept crashing as soon as I went near certain buttons on the All-in-One-Sidebar. My WiFi network had also lost its network key. I looked for some utility to help 'remove' any or all of my modifications - to 'roll back' to a previous state. No such luck. Then it ran out of disk space. I'd no idea how large a partition it had allocated itself or how to modify that.

I decided a fresh install would allow me to start again with minimal fuss. Easy peasy I thought. I'll just allocate the istallation to the existing partitions (noted to have been no 5 & 6 from the initial installation). Not that simple it seems. I now have a double installation of UNR in partitions 5 & 6 and 7 & 8 along with XP and too many choices to count at the bootloader.

Right now I just want rid of it. If I can remove the partitions, leaving just XP and the Recovery intact. I can start again.

Easy question -- how do I do that without reformatting the HDD and needing to reinstall XP (which I'd sooner avoid if possible)?

Edited by pd.ryder, 15 May 2009 - 11:05 AM.

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#2
nliwilson

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Easy question -- how do I do that without reformatting the HDD and needing to reinstall XP (which I'd sooner avoid if possible)?

Wow, your experience has been radically different to mine! Admittedly I'm running UNR from a 4GB SDHC (class 6) card, not the internal HDD, but even with AHCI turned off as it has to be for Windows Ubuntu 9.04 shouldn't suffer the problems you're having? The live environment is a little slow but this is normal, installation is also slow (for a Linux installer) if run from the live environment and the first time it boots UNR is slow, but after you reboot for the first time then you should have seen what all the fuss is about. the fact that you and I have the same distro on the same MSI Wind clone and it's running so differently may suggest a hardware problem, although as ever there are many other factors that can cause a problem such as a read/write error with the flash device you ran the live environment from, a damaged CPU (core especially if you've ever over clocked it) or even that rarest of things, a virus that infects Linux. Hardware errors, for example with the CPU's hardware instruction set, may not show up in Windows because it simply doesn't make full use of a computer's available hardware.

Before removing it select Memtest86 from the boot menu and have it scan for RAM problems, note that after a memtest86 scan reaches 100% memtest starts over again and will keep doing so until you reboot.

The double installation problem is a common issue when reinstalling, when the installer gets to the bit about partitions you needed to chose manual and chose to format just the Linux partition (it'll automatically format the swap partition), by default it'll leave your Windows partition alone.

OK, removing it;
1: boot to the live environment again
2: select Administration from the left hand panel
3: click the Partition Editor icon
4: right click the partition marked "linux-swap" and select Swapoff
5: click linux-swap again and click the Delete icon on the tool bar
6: do the same for the partition just marked "extended"
7: same again for the Linux partition, marked EXT3 if you didn't specify a file system when installing
8: click the partition marked NTFS (Label XP)
9: click the Resize/Move button on the toolbar and drag the right hand end of the diagram at the top all the way to the right or click the up arrow on the box marked "New Size" and hold it until the numbers stop going up and click the Resize/Move button, bottom right of this panel
10: Click "Apply", this may take a few minutes to complete

After this you need to rewrite the MBR, as many of us have discovered that may result in making the TechGuys recovery partition unbootable, however if you ever want to take your computer back to factory see my instructions on the other thread, so;

There are 2 ways you can do this easily,

Recovery console method:
1: boot form a Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Server 200x CD/DVD and keep tapping r to start recovery console
2: enter your administrator password
3: type "fixmbr" without the "" and press return

DOS method:
1: if you don't already have a DOS boot disk download a Windows 98 SE boot disk from www.bootdisk.com, double click the downloaded file to make a boot floppy (there are DOS CD's and instructions on making a DOS floppy image in to a bootable flash drive or CD on www.bootdisk.com)
2: boot to DOS and when it's done loading type "fdisk /mbr" again without the "" and press return
3: it won't tell you anything unless there's a problem so when you get a new line on the DOS prompt (should be near instantaneous) remove your DOS disk and press Ctrl + Alt + Del(ete) on your keyboard

And that's it, your back to only booting Windows. Any difficulties or if I've failed to be clear hear just message back. :D

Edited by nliwilson, 15 May 2009 - 01:05 PM.

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#3
pd.ryder

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Thanks -- and here goes...

Before I start tho, one question -- can I boot from a Win XP DVD via wifi? My only DVD/CD drive is a networked drive built into another PC. I don't see how I can do this as a boot option. I could read the DVD once XP is up and running. Can I access "Recovery" mode that way and rewrite the MBR?

This is what you get for messing with things that weren't broken in the first place... :D

Needless to say, I have not enjoyed this initial exposure to Ubuntu. I didn't see a lighteningly quick machine and super-zippy response times. I saw no improvement in any specific abilities and it absolutely refused to do anything in a 3D environment, insisting I had to go find some bizarre app to install.

I think, to be honest, if this is to appeal to me (and I'm fairly competent in a Windows environment) it needs to be self-sufficient. What I mean by that, is it needs to be able to 'go fetch' what it needs on its own, to be able to add new functions / upgrades without me needing to know which package or applet to install (and how!).

I looked for a partition resizer to begin with, couldn't find one. So I went for the reinstall option and thought I'd allocated 10GB for its use. It seems I hadn't succeeded because it still kept running out of disk space, advising me to free up some HDD memory.

Maybe I'll persevere, because there's many, many users who do get on with it.

Edited by pd.ryder, 15 May 2009 - 01:57 PM.

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#4
nliwilson

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Thanks -- and here goes...

Before I start tho, one question -- can I boot from a Win XP DVD via wifi? My only DVD/CD drive is a networked drive built into another PC. I don't see how I can do this as a boot option. I could read the DVD once XP is up and running. Can I access "Recovery" mode that way and rewrite the MBR?

This is what you get for messing with things that weren't broken in the first place... :lol:

Needless to say, I have not enjoyed this initial exposure to Ubuntu. I didn't see a lighteningly quick machine and super-zippy response times. I saw no improvement in any specific abilities and it absolutely refused to do anything in a 3D environment, insisting I had to go find some bizarre app to install.

I think, to be honest, if this is to appeal to me (and I'm fairly competent in a Windows environment) it needs to be self-sufficient. What I mean by that, is it needs to be able to 'go fetch' what it needs on its own, to be able to add new functions / upgrades without me needing to know which package or applet to install (and how!).

I looked for a partition resizer to begin with, couldn't find one. So I went for the reinstall option and thought I'd allocated 10GB for its use. It seems I hadn't succeeded because it still kept running out of disk space, advising me to free up some HDD memory.

Maybe I'll persevere, because there's many, many users who do get on with it.


To boot from a networked DVD drive you'd need a server serving it,(unless you're using a MacBook Air) not just sharing it unfortunately. This is entirely doable but it's a bit more of a learning curve.

A bootable flash drive of one description or another is going to be way easier.


Errr... Ubuntu is self sufficient!? Updates don't install automatically by default because as many a Windows user can tell you every once in a while an automatically installed update can wreak havoc with your OS! You can set Ubuntu up to download updates automatically by clicking Administration -> Software Sources (enter your administrative password) -> Updates and select either "Install security updates without conformation" or "Download all updates in the background" (as I do).
Another reason updates are not downloaded automatically, instead Ubuntu just tells you they're available is that most of us are subject to bandwidth usage limits these days and you may want to hold off updates until your next bandwidth period.

If you're using the Ubuntu Netbook Desktop (the default one with UNR) you already have subtle 3D desktop effects running, if on the other hand you want full on transparent windows, pretty maximise/minimise effects Etc. you need to switch to the full Gnome desktop, click Preferences -> Switch Desktop Mode -> Classic Desktop. Once the full Gnome desktop environment has loaded click the System menu at the top, highlight the Preferences menu and click Appearance -> Visual Effects -> Normal or Extra. These effects are incompatible with the Ubuntu Netbook Desktop's so turn them off if you go back to it.

If your a bit of a masochist and want more controls for the 3D desktop stuff than you can possibly imagine click the System menu at the top, highlight the Preferences menu and click "Main Menu", when the menu editor opens select System from the left hand panel and tick the box next to "Control Centre".

As for knowing what package to download, under Accessories in the Ubuntu Netbook Desktop or on the main menu in the Classic Desktop you'll find "Add/Remove..." by default the Add/Remove Applications manager only shows you programs supported by Ubuntu and suitable for all users, however if you click the pull-down list next to "Show:" you can select "All available applications", allowing you to see all available applications again suitable for all users, the first time you chose an unsupported package it'll ask you if you want to enable unsupported packages (unsupported by Ubuntu that is). There's a search box at the top and you can search in plain English as it searches package descriptions, not just names. If you select an application and click Apply, Add/Remove Applications will download it and install it for you, along with any required supporting components.

If you want to install absolutely anything including software only for advanced users, software that is still experimental Etc. click Administration and click Synaptic Package Manager, again it's searchable but it's not really needed unless (like me) you have some really geeky requirements.

Because both will download and install software for you I'd argue that a Linux distribution like Ubuntu is way more self sufficient than Windows. :D

Edited by nliwilson, 15 May 2009 - 03:39 PM.

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#5
nliwilson

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oops! Posted that twice! :D

Edited by nliwilson, 15 May 2009 - 03:35 PM.

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#6
pd.ryder

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Loads of useful info there. Again, thanks.

Re Updates: I'd guessed there must be much more to UNR than I was seeing. I should get some reading done...

Re 3D: the issue that showed up was when trying to swap from 2D chess to 3D chess. I was notified of a need to install something else to enable 3D support.

Right, back to trying to start from scratch with a fresh install... It seems I'm going to need a USB DVD drive to get this sorted properly and rewrite the MBR.

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He gets taller" - Jesse Duke, Hazzard County

#7
nliwilson

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Re 3D: the issue that showed up was when trying to swap from 2D chess to 3D chess. I was notified of a need to install something else to enable 3D support.


Ahh.. now now we're bordering on one of the best parts of the Linux experience, you shouldn't see a problem like the one you had and that I've now replicated in the same way (asks for python Open GL libraries that should be installed with it or downloaded by it) when you come up against an unexpected error you can post it the either the Ubuntu forum or the developer's forum and (drum roll please) actually get a response! :lol: You'll often get a temporary solution strait away, but you'll also find that if you find a problem and post it to the forum you'll see your information used to prompt/develop the next update. In this way even people with absolutely no interest in programming can and do help shape your chosen distribution in the future!

It's kind of an ethereal experience and some people tend to assume that if something they've reported gets fixed it's just coincidence but you'd be amazed how often a bug gets identified and fixed, a control gets added or a user interface gets changed by a housewife with only a sketchy knowledge of how to use her computer! :D

Right, back to trying to start from scratch with a fresh install... It seems I'm going to need a USB DVD drive to get this sorted properly and rewrite the MBR.

I know it means shelling out for a USB optical drive but you have to way time and hassle against cost and it will make the job much easier. You could use one of the "USB XP" "XP Live" "Vista Live" "VistaUSB" Etc. flash drive images but keep in mind the notes I made on the other thread. :lol:

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#8
pd.ryder

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Ahh.. now now we're bordering on one of the best parts of the Linux experience, you shouldn't see a problem like the one you had and that I've now replicated in the same way (asks for python Open GL libraries that should be installed with it or downloaded by it) when you come up against an unexpected error you can post it the either the Ubuntu forum or the developer's forum and (drum roll please) actually get a response! :D You'll often get a temporary solution strait away, but you'll also find that if you find a problem and post it to the forum you'll see your information used to prompt/develop the next update. In this way even people with absolutely no interest in programming can and do help shape your chosen distribution in the future!

You see -- this is the bit parents warn kids about when using Windows: "Don't fill in pop up windows and don't 'join' anything unless it was your idea." I did join the 'report your problem here' forum (stupid me can't even remember what its called right now)...

It's kind of an ethereal experience and some people tend to assume that if something they've reported gets fixed it's just coincidence but you'd be amazed how often a bug gets identified and fixed, a control gets added or a user interface gets changed by a housewife with only a sketchy knowledge of how to use her computer! :D

I can't imagine I've managed to influence even the most flippant of housewives :lol:

I know it means shelling out for a USB optical drive but you have to way time and hassle against cost and it will make the job much easier. You could use one of the "USB XP" "XP Live" "Vista Live" "VistaUSB" Etc. flash drive images but keep in mind the notes I made on the other thread. :lol:

I'm happier spending £35 than trying to trace my life savings... :(

As ever - I appreciate your detailed responses. I'm off to size up an ext DVD drive. It's a shame the removable item in the side of SWMBO's Thinkpad T42 won't magically fit itself in here, considering she's never used it.

Every day is an uphill learning curve... it should be such a wild ride back down again :D

Edited by pd.ryder, 15 May 2009 - 09:26 PM.

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He gets taller" - Jesse Duke, Hazzard County

#9
nliwilson

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You see -- this is the bit parents warn kids about when using Windows: "Don't fill in pop up windows and don't 'join' anything unless it was your idea." I did join the 'report your problem here' forum (stupid me can't even remember what its called right now)...

To... many... jokes... non of them... socially appropriate... brain... locking... up!! :D

I can't imagine I've managed to influence even the most flippant of housewives B)

Sir, I refer you to my previous comment. :D

I'm happier spending £35 than trying to trace my life savings... :P

Tip for anyone and everyone; the more expensive the USB optical drive, the bigger the rip-off. Ref: Apple's MacBook Air SuperDrive @ £64. <_<

Every day is an uphill learning curve... it should be such a wild ride back down again :D

Nah, I'll let you in on a little secret; OS's all work on the same basic principals, it's just some things have different names and are in different places. Ditto hardware. :)

Edited by nliwilson, 17 May 2009 - 01:58 PM.

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