A year ago I was having a lot of fun playing with and using Ubuntu. I’d created a nice dual-boot system that allowed me to switch between Ubuntu and Windows as desired, and I probably spent more than half my time on the Ubuntu side. That was, until two things happened:
1) I got my iPod Nano, and
2) Ubuntu 9.04 was released.
My Nano (the 4th generation, not the 5th that was just announced) really requires the iTunes software in order to get the full experience, and iTunes doesn’t run in Linux (that I’m aware of, anyway). And my Nano has really grown on me, and I use it quite a bit (I even listen to podcasts downloaded from the iTunes store), so I always needed to boot to Windows when I wanted to update its contents.
About the same time that I bought my iPod, Ubuntu released version 9.04. So, I dutifully allowed my installation of Ubuntu to upgrade itself to 9.04. And my installation of Ubuntu dutifully became inoperative. No big deal, I figured–I’d installed Ubuntu many times, so I just downloaded the ISO for 9.04 and tried to do a clean installation.
The install CD would not even boot.
Perhaps it’s not surprising to you that this experience left me less than pleased. I reverted to Ubuntu 8.10, but that was pretty-much the last time I booted to Ubuntu.
Yesterday, realizing that I hadn’t run Ubuntu in ages, I removed it from my PC and reclaimed the disk space for Windows. After all, my iTunes library is gonna need it!
I did learn one interesting thing. In the process of removing Ubuntu, you need to restore the master boot record (MBR) to how it was before Ubuntu installed GRUB and the whole dual-boot thing. This is fairly easy to do–you just boot using your Windows XP CD, launch the Recovery Console, and run the “fixmbr” command. Unfortunately, for some reason my Windows XP install CD would simply hang when I tried to boot from it (perhaps for the same reason that I couldn’t boot from the Ubuntu 9.04 CD? I don’t think so–I was able to boot just fine from the Ubuntu 8.10 CD).
The interesting thing is that you can install the Recovery Console to your hard disk. This allows you to boot to the Recovery Console without using the Windows XP instal CD, and you can then run fixmbr, chkdsk, and a bunch of other useful things you can’t run normally in Windows. (If your XP setup disk is too far out of date service-pack-wise, Windows may tell you so and refuse to install the recovery console. If that happens to you, go here to see how to create an updated setup disk by slipstreaming the service packs onto your old setup disk.)
One other thought–I’ve found the GPartEd Live CD to be invaluable for manipulating partitions on my hard disks. Stick it in your hard drive and boot from it, and it loads a version of Linux and the GPartEd partition editor and allows you to manipulate your disk partitions (just like the commercial Partition Magic product). It handles NTFS partitions as well as the various Linux file systems, so you can use it to do all the things to your Windows installation that you can’t do directly in Windows (like resize and move partitions).