How to Install ubuntu on a booby-trapped windows netbook?
OK, here's the situation.
I have a Samsung N110 netbook which is currently running Windows XP. The windows software was supplied – already installed – with the netbook. Thus I have no external re-install option – no installation CD/DVD and no external download option – that I can use to recover my Windows system should it develop a problem. I am thus entirely reliant, in the event of a major difficulty, on the on-board recovery solution (Samsung Recovery Solution III). I want to set up a dual boot, XP-Ubuntu, system on the netbook. This should be easy, but its not. There's a problem – described in the first post in this thread:
The URL for the above thread says it all really, but just to expand a little: the unmodified Windows boot manager will not, of its own accord, find the second OS on a newly-created dual-boot system and boot it. One way round this difficulty – referred to in the above post – is to let the Ubuntu installer replace the Windows boot manager with its own boot-loader, GRUB. This appears to be a perfectly viable solution, see, for example, the 4th post in this thread (which, admittedly, relates to the N140, rather than the N110, but the principle is the same):
But, as both the posts quoted above make clear, there is a snag with this method: allowing the ubuntu installer to over-write the Windows MBR with GRUB breaks access to Samsung's Recovery Solution via the F4-key at boot. This does not mean that the user has lost all access to the Recovery Solution. N110 dual-booters who have gone ahead and replaced the MBR with GRUB report that they can access the SRS from the GRUB boot-menu (I had a reference to another post confirming this for the N110, but I can't find it now). I can, in fact do this myself, when I boot into Ubuntu from an ext USB HDD attached to the N110.
All the same, adopting this install-approach involves some loss, albeit small, of original functionality, and this is something I would prefer to avoid.
A more serious objection to this method is that it entails making modifications to the installed Windows software – getting rid of the MBR – which are not, for the non-expert, easily revertable.
Thus what I want to do is install Ubuntu 12.04 on the netbook, keeping it as seperate as possible from the Windows system, and, in particular, making only minimal (and revertable) changes to my (deliberately, it seems to me) “fragilised” Windows set-up.
Actually getting Ubuntu onto the N110 without allowing GRUB to over-write the Windows MBR seems to be straightforward enough (the installer, at least in past versions of Ubuntu, allows the user to decide where GRUB is installed), but this leaves the Windows boot-loader in place and unwilling to boot the new system, so how do you boot it? Is there a trick for this?
Can you help with this problem?
Provide an answer of your own, or ask Stephen Hamer for more information if necessary.