Thursday, May 7, 2009

Eee PC 901 Netbook - Ubuntu vs Windows 7 (dual boot)

I've had my netbook for nearly two months now and have yet to settle on an operating system! So far I've tried:

- Linux Xandos (default OS - didn't like the interface, reformatted immediately)
- Windows XP (too slow, too old, too boring)
- Windows Vista (disasterously slow)
- Windows 7 (nice interface, faster than XP but still not very speedy)
- Ubuntu 9.04 (nice interface, very speedy - but hey, I want all my Widnows apps back)

So I am now trying to decide between Ubunutu and Windows 7, now a Release Candidate. I'm wiping the local drives so often I've bought a 2gb SD Card to store my documents, so I can departition the thing without losing anything. Anyway, since it took a couple of attempts to figure this out, this is how to dual boot an Asus EEE 901 (Linux version) between Windows 7 and Ubunutu

1. Make a bootable DVD of Windows 7 from the ISO, make a bootable USB stick for Ubunutu from the IMG file off the site.
2. Boot netbook and press F2 to edit bios.
3. Change the Hard Disk Priority so the secondary drive ("SS") is the first picked
4. Boot off the Windows 7 DVD using an external drive. Remove any partitions and install to the 15gb drive, leaving the 4gb one unpartitioned.
5. After installation (several cups of tea later), boot into the bios again and change the 4gb drive ("SM") to be the first in Hard Disk Priority again.
6. Boot off the Ubunutu 9.04 USB stick and select the option to install
7. Go through the installation screens until the partition selection screen. Select the option to use the entire disk, and choose the 4gb drive in the drop down. Continue and have some more cups of tea during installation.
8. You should now get a slightly questionable GRUB loader screen on bootup where you can choose between the default Ubuntu, some other stuff and "Windows Vista (loader)", which is actually Windows 7.
9. This menu is a text file that can be edited from within Ubuntu to look slightly less rubbish and remove the other options. The command (from Terminal) is "sudo vi /boot/grub/menu.lst" and the resulting text file is pretty standard stuff, provided you know how to use vi! I found uncommenting the "Pretty Colours" line especially satisfying...

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