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The question is in the title


as the tags suggest, i'd like a fresh install of linux using grub2, and partition my harddrive

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Just put linux on a usb stick. Unetbootin is a good piece of software to use from Windows. Not sure about 10.04, but I know Linux Mint (ubuntu based) has gparted live in the distro already so that from the 'live' usb you can simply change the partitions to get some free space to put ubuntu on without destroying the partitions that Windows is currently on. I've done this lots of times on my Samsung NC10 and it worked most times. Not sure about 10.04 but the version before worked fine on the NC10 and linux mint has always worked really well for me on my machine. And if you want, there is always ubuntu netbook 'remix', though I personally didn't really like it.

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Two options

Firstly Ubuntu includes a program called WUBI which will create a large file on the window's disk, and use it as a filesystem for Linux.

Secondly, you can install a VM version of Linux. Virtualbox is free and open.

Both options will impart a bit of a performance hit compared to 'raw' Linux, but not a big enough hit to be too annoying.

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i'd like grub, actually this is my first time owning a windows machine in years, and since it came with 7 ultimate, I'd like to keep it – dassouki May 2 '10 at 23:45

Here's what I did to install Ubuntu 10.04 on a laptop (Thinkpad T60) with the original Windows XP installation (on /dev/sda1) and a recovery partition (on /dev/sda2) intact:

  1. Downsized the Windows partition (/dev/sda1) with GParted Live, in order to make some room on the disk. I kept the recovery partition (/dev/sda2) at the end of the disk where it was, not moving it.
  2. Installed Ubuntu 10.04 with the alternate installer. Within the installer I created two partitions in the now-free space (/dev/sda3 for /boot and /dev/sda4 for LVM2).
  3. Instead of installing the GRUB boot loader to the Master Boot Record (MBR), I put it on /dev/sda3. This was because for that machine, the stuff on the recovery partition can be accessed from the boot only if the original MBR is intact.
  4. Copied the GRUB boot loader sector from the start of /dev/sda3 into a file on the Windows partition and edited the Windows XP boot.ini to include an option to boot that by default. (ThinkWiki has instructions.)

The end result is a system which boots into Ubuntu by default, but still also has Windows installed and the special keys related to invoking the stuff installed on the recovery partition continue to work during the boot.

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