Dual boot with Ubuntu not working

  JRos 20:57 22 Jun 2012

Inspired by the article in the August 2012 issue, I installed Ubuntu on my PC alongside Windows 7 professional. It seemed to install successfully and then I had to take out the CD and restart. However the computer still boots up direct to Windows without giving me the chance to choose Ubuntu instead. What can I do? I have a 64 bit computer and so downloaded that version of Ubuntu Best wishes Jessica

  LastChip 23:25 22 Jun 2012

I'm not familiar with the article you refer to, but Ubuntu should live happily side by side with Windows 7.

Take a look here at a tutorial I found searching via Google, which should give you a good insight into how to dual boot, but Ubuntu invariable does it all for you. Particularly if you chose to install from the live desktop icon.

Take a look at your Windows 7 disc manager and see if any hard drive space has been used by Ubuntu. It could be, it was simply running from the live CD/DVD and hasn't installed at all. Note: Windows won't be able to read that part of the hard drive and it will probably appear as unused space.

Alternatively, Ubuntu may not have installed a boot manager, which is the part of the jigsaw that gives you a dual boot option. But first seeing whether disc space has been used may provide a clue as to what happened.

Come back and let us know please.

  robin_x 23:34 22 Jun 2012

Another guide here

Should have been straightforward, but check as above.

  scotty 23:38 22 Jun 2012

Ubuntu.com has good documentation. Try looking at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WindowsDualBoot and https://help.ubuntu.com/12.04/installation-guide/amd64/index.html

I guess the pc already had W7 installed. So the W7 bootloader should let you choose between Windows and Ubuntu. Perhaps the bootloader timeout (that is the time given for you to choose which OS to load) has been set to 0sec.

I don't use W7 but I found this info:

open a Command Prompt in Windows 7 and type the following: bcdedit /timeout 30 (or whatever time you need)

  JRos 09:43 23 Jun 2012

Thanks for all the suggestions. The installation did go through all the stages set out in the tutorials and guides right up to the reboot stage. I've looked at the properties of my hard disc but am not sure how I would be able to tell which parts of it, if any, are taken up by Ubuntu. I've also looked at the disc partitions and can see the space I set aside for Ubuntu but it is not identified as such in any way as far as I can tell. I also checked the bootloader timeout and it is already set to 30 seconds so I'm afraid that's not the problem either. Any other ideas welcome! Best wishes Jessica

  LastChip 11:20 23 Jun 2012

First question.

When you installed Ubuntu, did you choose where the boot loader would be installed, or did you leave it to the automatic installation?

Second question.

Can you boot up Ubuntu via the live CD/DVD and go into gparted (that's a Linux partitioning tool). DO NOT change any partitions (unless you really know what you're doing), but write down the various partitions you have. They will look something like; /dev/sda, /dev/sdb and so on. Probably with a numerical suffix (/dev/sda1 for example). gparted should also show you which partitions hold Windows and which are used for Ubnutu. Please let us have that information.

  JRos 14:35 23 Jun 2012

Thanks for your reply. The installation was automatic - I didn't choose any of the file locations.

The results after running gparted from the installation CD was: dev/sda1 ntfs Label:System Reserved Size 100 MiB Used 33.51 Flag: Boot dev/sda2 ntfs No label Size 931 GiB Used 127 No flag unallocated No label Size 1.71 Mib Hope that helps! Best wishes Jessica

  LastChip 15:28 23 Jun 2012

OK, it looks like Ubuntu hasn't installed at all.

From what you've written here, there are two partitions; /dev/sda1 and /dev/sda2, both of which are NTFS file systems - in other words, native Windows. This is just a guess, but /dev/sda1, is probably your boot partition for Windows, or it could even be a system recovery partition, but it looks a bit small for that, with /dev/sda2, being your main partition and disc space, with about 800GB of free space. It looks like you've probably got a 1TB hard drive - does that make sense to you? If it doesn't then I'm reading your information incorrectly somehow and I need to reconsider the information you're getting.

When you (thought?) installed Ubuntu, it would have asked you where you wanted it to install to. In other words, it normally has options something like, use whole drive, let you decide, and so on. What did you tell it to do at that point?

At the point where you removed the Ubuntu disc, did you get a message saying it had installed and to remove the disc?

Are we dealing with a laptop computer here or a desktop?

Most importantly, do you have a recovery potential for Windows. In other words a recovery disc or a backup image or something like that? And do you have any personal data backed up? This paragraph is soooo important when you're trying to do something like this. It isn't inherently dangerous, but there is always the potential for something to go wrong. So always have a backup option available to you.

Sorry for so many questions, but I need to get a clearer idea of how to try and help you.

  JRos 15:53 23 Jun 2012

Thanks for that. Yes it is a 1 T hard drive and it is on a desktop When I started the install procedure, it asked whether I wanted to install alongside or instead of Windows so I chose alongside. It didn't ask any more about where but went straight on to geographic location, keyboard etc. The files were then copied (apparently) and then a notice came up saying a restart was necessary. I pressed enter, the screen changed to a 'dos style' black screen and then it said to remove the CD and click enter again, which I did. The computer then rebooted but, as I said, straight into Windows I do have my important files backed up to Crash Plan but don't have an up-to-date backup image or recovery disc Best wishes Jessica

  LastChip 16:43 23 Jun 2012

Well, that's a start! At least I'm reading your hard drive data properly.

I'm a little concerned about you not having a Windows recovery option. Most pre-installed Windows installations, have software on the computer that allows you to make a recovery disc of some kind or another. If I were you, I'd deal with that first, even if you subsequently decide you don't want to proceed with a Ubuntu installation, you really should have a recovery option. Sooner or later you'll need it - guaranteed!

Next, I'd go to here and download a suitable boot manager recovery option - USB or CD, whichever your computer will deal with, so you have a boot recovery option.

Finally, when I was confident I had the facility to recover my primary system, I'd try to install Ubuntu again. As you've already seen, it's pretty fast, so it's not as though it's going to take all day :-).

If it still failed and you have an option of two computers, open up the link I first gave you and read and understand what it's saying on one computer, while working on the other. Now go ahead and do a manual installation, partitioning the hard drive by shrinking the Windows partition to make space, and then setting up the Ubuntu (Linux) partitions yourself (use ext4). Furthermore, when getting to the point of installing the boot loader, choose Lilo in the place of Grub2. Some machines (I don't know why), have issues with Grub, but will work happily with Lilo.

You'll need a minimum of three partitions for Ubuntu; / (known as root) a swap partition and /home. You can have others, but there's no point in complicating the issue for you. In fact, if you have a couple of GB of physical memory, you can get away without a swap, but I wouldn't recommend it on a 64 bit system. Make the swap file about 4GB. If you're using streaming video for example, or heavy graphics, that'll help no end.

If you want any more information, please feel free to ask. But I would reiterate, I would get a recovery option available first, before attempting what I've suggested.

Always remember too, you can run Ubuntu (and many other Linux distributions, known as distros), directly from the live CD/DVD, albeit at a slower speed than a full installation would give you. With that in mind, you may also like to take a look at Linux Mint.

I hope that helps.

  JRos 16:49 23 Jun 2012

Thank you - will certainly give that a try tomorrow. Actually realised after my last post that I have been backing up regularly to an external hard disc but it works so nicely in the background I had completely forgotten it was there! Best wishes Jessica

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