Monday, June 25, 2007

Ubuntu Install – Not quite so simple

I spent most of the weekend preparing to install Ubuntu via Wubi and attempting to do so. Needless to say, my install did not work. I attempted 3 times to install using Wubi but each time the process locks up at the same point (fairly far along in the installation process).

But all is not lost. One on the great things about Ubuntu is the help community. I posted a request for help at the Wubi help forum, and got some feed back. My problem is that I run out of memory during the swap.disk creation, likely due to my small RAM size. Honestly, I should have checked out the RAM requirements more throughly before trying Wubi.

Tonight, I plan to install Xubuntu which is a lower performance version of Ubuntu. If that doesn’t work, than I’m going to have to something complicated to make this work (which is a bit scary, but hey, that’s why I’m here). If there’s no progress by the end of this week, it may be time for plan B.

If anyone is considering using Wubi to test drive Ubuntu, here’s some tips from my weekend experience:

1) Defragment your hard drive before downloading Wubi. This can minimize some of the more common memory errors. It also helps if you clean up your hard drive before defragmenting by deleting unused programs, files, etc.

2) Know your computer components and settings. Aside from the obvious reasons for doing this, there are some configurations which have trouble with Wubi so there may be some extras things you need to check out before deciding to install.

3) Have a digital camera ready. If the computer gets stuck, you can take a picture to post on the help forum. Also, it helps to get a picture of the log files (Alt+F4) during the install process. There are several examples in the help forum, which reminds me...

4) READ THE WUBI HELP FORUM. This lets you know what the common problems are and the limitations of the Wubi install. Also, the previously covered errors give a lot of good advice of how to detect and identify problems. This proved especially helpful for me in sorting through my issue. And, most importantly, you learn how to communicate problems if you have them (ie - what info do you to include for a clear response).

5) Wubi is not intended to be a permanent install. It should be used to determine if you want to permanantly install Ubuntu on your computer. So, please read up on eventually converting to Ubuntu to get an idea of what you’re in for if you like what you see.

Even with my difficulties, I consider this a relatively positive experience. I’ve learned several things during this process, some of which I expect will continue to be useful. I’m considering doing a post on the random tricks that I found in my reading. There wouldn’t be anything wow-worthy but for the newbie-user (such as myself), it might be interesting.

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