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XP Media Center/ Ubuntu Dual Boot.

3557 Views 13 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  K-B
Hey there,
I've been looking into using linux, and am wondering whether it is possible to run a dual boot with Windows XP Media Center and Ubuntu off a single drive and partition.

System specs are as follows:
Intel C2D E6300 @ 1.86 GHZ
1gb Samsung 533 mhz ram @ 5-4-4-12-16 :(
320 Western Digital HD in SATAII0
Gigabyte 945PL-S3 mobo
Intel 945 Express Chipset
Pioneer 111-D Dvd Burner
nVidia Geforce 7600 GS 256 mb Graphics Card
19" Samsung Syncmaster 940BW monitor
Logitech DiNovo Laser Media Desktop
Videologic ZXR-750 surround sound system.

What would I have to do in order to make it possible to do a dual boot, using Ubuntu as my primary OS and XP for gaming.

Thanks guys.
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Hey there,
I've been looking into using linux, and am wondering whether it is possible to run a dual boot with Windows XP Media Center and Ubuntu off a single drive and partition.
Single drive, yes, single partition no
What you'll need to do is shrink your Windows partition down to make room for a Linux partition which is normally ext3 filesystem, not NTFS. Decide how much space you want to allocate for Linux, anything 0ver 2GB, and use a free partitioner from my sig, or if you have Norton Partition Magic you can use that.
I've got ubuntu on a cd and have d/led system rescue, how do i use it?
What you should have is a file that ends in .iso. You'll need to burn that to a CD, but you cannot use XP's drag 'n drop burning function. You do not burn an .iso like you do a normal CD. You can use Nero, or if you don't have Nero or want something easier and better for burning iso's, download ImgBurn it is very easy to use just browse to and select the .iso, select your burning drive, and click the green arrow. Or in Nero, select "Burn Image" or something like that.
Schoning -
I want to suggest something. It's not necessary, just sort of an optional thing that might make you feel better about this.

Is your PC a name-brand or home-brew? Reason I ask is Dells and HPs and such nowadays come with at least 2 partitions besides the main partition where the OS resides. The clutter can make things a bit more complicated.

Take a look at the first attachment. This is a Dell with a functioning Ubuntu partition. dev/sda1 is some sort of Media Center partition, and dev/sda4 is the recovery partition. dev/sda2 is the Windows OS. The PC comes out of the box with all the primary partitions already used up! The guy had to create an extended partition (sda3) for Linux. Good thing Linux can run from an extended partition.

Think of extended partitions as a box. sda3 does nothing except provide a receptacle for sda5, 6, and 7. sda5 is a small FAT32 partition for swapping data back and forth between Linux and Windows. sda6 is ext3; that's the Linux OS. sda7 is linux-swap.

Phew. He had at least one option - copy the recovery partition to some DVD's and delete it.

Now take a look at a HDD of mine. Second attachment. This is a PC I built myself with a plain old Windows CD. Windows takes up just one partition, hda1. hda2 is the extended partition, with swap and a FAT32 partition inside, and hda3 is the Linux OS. Much simpler.

I'd suggest, once you have a Linux LiveCD like Ubuntu or what have you, starting it up. Wen you get to the desktop plug in a USB thumb drive. It should identify the drive no problem and put an icon on the desktop. Start into the "Install" routine. Don't worry, we're going to abort the install before doing anything. You'll have to type in a name and password, etc. You can skip right past the setting up your time zone section. When you get to the partitioning section choose "Manual partition". I'm most familiar with Ubuntu so can't give you details on the others. (I had a heck of a time finding the "Take Screenshot" function in PCLOS.) Ubuntu uses a stripped version of gparted and will give you a map that looks like the attached screenshots. Move the install window to the side a little bit if you have to, go into "Applications">"Accessories">Take Screenshot. Save the screenshot to your thumb drive (it should show up in the list of devices to save to) and abort the install.

Then just close out of the LiveCD session and post your screenshot here.

Some people with store-bought Dells just tossed their Live CD in the tray and let Linux install. The installer was smart enuf to resize the Windows partition, make an extended partition, and install Linux. Others have had to manually set up the partitions beforehand, then install manually. So all that rigamarole I described above may be unnecessary for you.


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Nah it's a home built PC. I'll give it a go, and let you know of the results.

Be careful when installing on a SATA device, Linux can be kind of finicky with it. I'm not sure how Ubuntu 6.1 will react, but you might have to change your BIOS to emulate legacy IDE for your SATA device in order for it to install without any problems. In regards to your question about a dual boot, Ubuntu should ask to resize your Windows partition, once it does that, it will load it's own bootloader (GRUB) into the MBR of your Windows Partition. Then it will create it's own partition for Ubuntu, which should read sda2. /sda1 would be the Windows partition. Just be weary with the cutting edge technology, Ubuntu might not be prepared to take all of it. You should be fine, though.


Well, It all worked, for the length of about 10 minutes. Not that there was any problems, that fact was, there was no way to install my wireless driver onto ubuntu, so I just got rid of it.. Nothing wrong with the OS, just once I realised I couldn't get the internet on it, I thought whats the point? Also reinstalled and repartitoned my drive for windows again since I had some missing windows files and didn't have the CD to replace them. ( It asked for the XP Professional CD even though I was using Media Center)
Schoning, could you tell me what wireless card model/chipset you are using? I'd like to know.
Keep on the lookout, Schoning, the Linux community is always adapting. I'm sure if you do a thorough search. You can find a way to get the driver for your wireless card.


Well, it's not a wireless card, It's a wireless adaptor. It's plugs into the computer via USB. It's a Belkin 802.11g wireless network adaptor. It cam with our Belkin router.
OK, I'm not going to push you :grin: if you're ever interested in Linux again, install PCLinuxOS and you can get wireless internet connection very easily with your adaptor. Not quite plug 'n play, but you won't have to use that command line! (if you have your Belkin CD).
PCLinuxOS has a program called Ndiswrapper built into it's control panel. Ndiswrapper uses Windows drivers and makes them function in Linux. You can install Ndiswrapper in Ubuntu, too, but it's more complicated.
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