domenica, settembre 19, 2010

Ubuntu, Windows 7 and the lost Megabyte

Speaking about how I spend my nights...
I've spoken to a friend of mine about Ubuntu and it's great usability, so he wanted to try it and asked me to install it on his computer.
Lets start with the long story: the computer is a Toshiba, I don't know the model, it's 4 years old. On it there is a Windows 7 installation (7?!? Yes... 7!) with two partitions: "C:" of about 32 Gb and "E:" (E?!?!?) of 90 Gb. Obviously "C:" is where Windows is installed... and there is little space there...
So I decided to partition "E:", tacking away 13 Gb, 12 for "root" and 1 for swap.
I booted the computer with an USB with Ubuntu 10.04 (386 version) and start to install. Everything goes on smooth, I create the new partitions and I see that Windows has got 3 partiotions, the two I talked about and one of 100 Mb, labeled "System Reserved" and with the "boot" flag. I go on and it's time to restart the machine. Just before restart some strange messages comes from the screen. I don't remember them, but it was some kind of error on one partition...
The computer restart and... nothing happened. When the time come for Grub to show up... nothing! The "Null" come...
Some problem with Grub? I searched the web for some way to reinstall Grub, find it, reinstall Grub... and nothing! Same problem... But while I was installing Grub, checking the partitions on the computer, I discovered that all the partitions where not ending at the end of a cylinder... WTF does it mean?!? Well, I went on...
I think maybe the computer is old, let's install the 9.10 on it... Install everything (always with the USB... really quick!) and... nothing again!!
So I go down the list... it's time for my precious 8.10 (Karmic Koala... my favorite one, the first to completely run on my old laptop!!) and when it's time to choose the partitions... ops! Just before the first Windows partition (the 100Mb one) there is a missing mega on its own. There, doing nothing... and a mega also at the end of the disk... there, doing nothing...
I didn't cared, went on and restart. This time Grub shows up... but no list... and hang up.
I started to think that that missing mega was messing up the things. I started to research what the little 100Mb partition is doing on the Windows installation. It's where the booting manager is installed and you cannot delete it... I looked at the files in it and there is a "boot" directory, another directory and some files.
With Lilo I re-activated the MBR for windows (just looked for it in the web). Windows showed up and booted as normal. I deleted all the files... nothing will boot!
At the end I decided to delete this partition (previously I copied all the directories and files on it) so that the lost mega and where unified in a "unused"whole. I created a new NTFS partition (used my woeful GParted liveCD), so that no more lost Mb where to be found. I copied the files on it and try to restart the computer. Windows showed up!
I tried to install Ubuntu 10.04 again and... everything worked fine!!! So, when you see a lost Megabyte: KILL IT!!!
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