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preparing to migrate from XP


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#1 Soxwatcher

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 11:39 PM

Well, I'm 95% positive I will be switching from XP to Linux. This will not be a dual boot situation. I have that currently with XP/Mandrake 10.0 Official. Also I have used Knoppix, Suselive and maybe one or two other live versions. I'm a little rusty but not worried about picking up what I learned.

No, I'm looking to completely replace Windows. Gone,goodbye, out of my machine never to return. After many years my lovely bride has given me the nod to do it. So long as she can still do what she does. ie.internet,email, and thats just about it.

Other than input on a Distro to choose I need to prepare for moving my files. I've never made a migration like this before. I've never even transferred from an old machine to a new one. I figure I can search all my music,photos, and(but few) irreplacable documents then burn them to cd, install my OS then just reload files from disk. This can be a long, long job but if it's needed I'll do it.

Is there though and easier way? I only have a cd writer so can't use dvd. I'm wondering if it's feesible to email the files to myself? It's a couple gigs of music alone, at least as much in photos.

The other problem is my internet setting. We use Firefox and will need all of our bookmarks, saved passwords, etc. after the move. I can manually do it by hand or store the info online for later retrieval? I'm not sure where this info is held but assume it is on my machine and not online.

Any advice will help. Again this will be a complete migration so accessing the windows drive from Linux won't be an option.


Thanx
gosox

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#2 horned0wl

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 07:13 AM

Well, I'm 95% positive I will be switching from XP to Linux. This will not be a dual boot situation. I have that currently with XP/Mandrake 10.0 Official. Also I have used Knoppix, Suselive and maybe one or two other live versions. I'm a little rusty but not worried about picking up what I learned.

No, I'm looking to completely replace Windows. Gone,goodbye, out of my machine never to return. After many years my lovely bride has given me the nod to do it. So long as she can still do what she does. ie.internet,email, and thats just about it.

Other than input on a Distro to choose I need to prepare for moving my files. I've never made a migration like this before. I've never even transferred from an old machine to a new one. I figure I can search all my music,photos, and(but few) irreplacable documents then burn them to cd, install my OS then just reload files from disk. This can be a long, long job but if it's needed I'll do it.


An easier way might be to load your new Linux distro onto another hard disk in your system, train it to read your Windows disk (most distros can read both NTFS and FAT32), and then do an internal disk-to-disk transfer. Its quite fast. And, once done, you can wipe the Windows disk, reformat it for Linux (EXT2, EXT3 or ReiserFS), and have that much more storage space on your new configuration. It worked for me when I converted my old Windows 2000 server to Linux Ubuntu.

Is there though and easier way? I only have a cd writer so can't use dvd. I'm wondering if it's feesible to email the files to myself? It's a couple gigs of music alone, at least as much in photos.

The other problem is my internet setting. We use Firefox and will need all of our bookmarks, saved passwords, etc. after the move. I can manually do it by hand or store the info online for later retrieval? I'm not sure where this info is held but assume it is on my machine and not online.


If you know where your Firefox and Thunderbird profile folders live, you can move them to a safe space (perhaps a new folder created for the purpose), and then import them using the built-in tools in both Firefox and Thunderbird in your new configuration. Both are fairly straight-forward, unless you use PGP/GPG. If you do, then getting your old Thunderbird profile into the new Thunderbird will be a bit tricky, but can still be done.

Any advice will help. Again this will be a complete migration so accessing the windows drive from Linux won't be an option.


Hope this helps!

Thanx
gosox



#3 czhang

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 10:13 AM

I am now trying out Ubuntu 8.10 64 bit to make full use of the 6 GB of ram on my computer. It is the easiest to use for beginners like me. It has Internet (Firefox), E-mail (Evolution), and open office software suite (Word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation). It also has a document viewer which can open .PDF files without any problem.

I suggest that you backup all your data onto a USB Flash Drive (/jump drive). For ~$30, You can buy a 16 GB jump drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList....amp;srchInDesc=
If you desire, you can also buy 32 GB or 64 GB versions (of course, it will cost you more money).

It will be very tedious, if not impossible, to send all your files to your web mail account in order to back them up.

To backup your bookmark in Firefox, you can do the following:
1. Click menu Bookmarks > Organize Bookmarks, a "Library" window pop up.
2. In the "Library" window, click Import and Backup and from the dropdown menu, select Export HTML, and save your bookmarks to a file (e.g., on a jump drive) and remember its location.
3. In your new Ubuntu Linux system (or something else), run Firefox. Repeat Steps 1 and 2. Only this time in Step 2, you choose "Import HTML" instead, and import your saved bookmark file.

To get all your saved passwords:
1. In Firefox, go to Tools > Options, an "Options" window pop up.
2. In "Options" window, click the security tab.
3. Click the "Saved Passwords" button, a "Saved Passwords" window pop up.
4. In the "Saved Passwords" window, click "Show Passwords" button. It will ask you to confirm, click "Yes" to confirm. Then all your passwords will be shown.
5. Enlarge the window showing your passwords, making sure that you see all your passwords. Then press the "Alt" and "Print Screen" buttons together to capture the window showing your passwords. Then paste it into "Paint" software under Accessories in XP. Save the image file onto your jump drive or other backup media. If one screen cannot show all your passwords, you can scroll down the window and do the capture again. Then you will need to visit the sites, input your passwords, and let Firefox to remember them for you.

Edited by czhang, 30 January 2009 - 10:18 AM.


#4 czhang

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 10:23 AM

I forgot to mention that it is very easy to access the files in Windows partitions (e.g., an NTFS partition to store all my data) from Ubuntu 8.10. However, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to access files in Linux partitions (ext2 or ext3) from Windows OS.

A couple of things I found that needs improvements in Ubuntu:
1. The movie player: you can download some codec to be able to play DVD movies, but the playback image is a little grainy, and the transition is not as smooth as windows DVD players.
2. Don't adjust the screen resolution to a value above your screen's native resolution. Last time I tried, Ubuntu did let me do that, but the screen was flickering and I could not see the menu and thus made the system almost unusable. It took me a good half an hour or so to change the resolution back and make the system work again.

Edited by czhang, 30 January 2009 - 10:32 AM.


#5 czhang

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 10:37 AM

Also, as suggested by hornedOwl, you can set up your Linux system using another hard drive. These days, hard drives are dirt cheap. You can get a 1 TB Western Digital Caviar Black hard drive for about $120: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16822136284.

Make sure that you buy a hard drive that your system can use. Nowadays, the interface is usually SATA II (3.0 Gbps). In the old days, the interface could be IDE (80 pin) or something else.

#6 audioAl

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 05:40 AM

I recently spent $320.00 on Vista Ultimate 32/64 bit disks. I too am fed up, I want to use and learn Linux, I have Intrepid Ibex and will use it's 30 gig partition, till its too full. I mainly just surf and play Hi-Fi music thru my Home theater setup as an HTPC. Windows can ki## my B##T, When they announced Windows 7, I almost cried, I just wasted $320.00, Da##it!! I aint happy!!
Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit/Intel e5300 cpu/ASRock G41M-LE mainboard/G max4500 onboard graphics/4gigs OCZ 800Mhz ram/ VIA onboard HD Vinyl audio/Yamaha RX-V465 HT receiver/ Cambridge SoundWorks and Infinity RS1001 speakers

#7 Soxwatcher

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 09:09 AM

Thanks Horned and Czhang for your advice.My hard drive is only 80gig but it has 3 partitions in it now. 1 is my windows/main part, another is for backing up Windows and a 3rd,which is 10g I use for the Mandrake 10.0 install I used to get to know Linux.

I think when I do this I can save everything I need in the backup partition. Then when I install Linux(which at this point I'm leaning toward Suse) I will repartition all but the backup for it. I really should be getting another hard drive being they are so cheap these days. I should have thought of this right away.


audioAl, frustrating isn't it? I haven't used Vista. I decided when it came out that I would stick with XP as long as possible, leaving only to go to Linux full time. Funny though, looking into the new flaver versions and their screenshots, Vista resembles them quite a bit. At least in look. Did big daddy Bill finally learn X is better and start taking from them?

peace
gosox

#8 czhang

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 11:02 AM

Backup the Windows OS to a second partition on the same hard drive may not be very useful. Here is why: There is only one MBR on one hard drive. When you install Linux (Ubuntu or other distribution), it will install the GRUB bootloader into the MBR. For some time, you will be able to boot into both Windows OS (such as XP) and Linux (such as Ubuntu 8.10 64 bit). However, Windows seems to be too eager to mess with the MBR, esp. if there is GRUB installed in it. I have personally experienced this problem. A couple of weeks ago, I set up my PC to multi-boot into XP, Vista 64 bit Home Premium (later Windows 7 Beta 64 bit), and Ubuntu 8.10 64 bit. However, after running Windows Update in XP Pro and restarting as required by the update, the GRUB bootloader was messed up and I could not boot into any of the three OSs. I recovered by using a backup XP Pro hard drive. On another forum, I read that another person experienced the same problem. He set up the multi-boot similar to mine, later went to work, and when he returned he couldn't boot into any of the OSs.

If your computer cannot boot, you will not be able to read the stuff on the backup partition from that computer. You will have to take out the hard drive, enclose it in a hard drive enclosure (many have USB interface), then take it to another computer to read the unbootable hard drive.

Therefore, the safest and most trouble-free way to backup your system is probably to backup your entire hard drive containing your productions OS to another hard drive. Then you can play around and mess with the original hard drive. I wouldn't recommend installing Ubuntu with Windows OS(s) on the same hard drive (see 1st paragraph for reasons). Instead, I would highly recommend installing Windows OSs and Ubuntu (or other Linux distribution) separately on different hard drives, then use BIOS setup to choose whether to boot into Windows OSs or Ubuntu.

Edited by czhang, 31 January 2009 - 11:07 AM.


#9 Soxwatcher

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 03:39 PM

Backup the Windows OS to a second partition on the same hard drive may not be very useful. Here is why: There is only one MBR on one hard drive. When you install Linux (Ubuntu or other distribution), it will install the GRUB bootloader into the MBR. For some time, you will be able to boot into both Windows OS (such as XP) and Linux (such as Ubuntu 8.10 64 bit). However, Windows seems to be too eager to mess with the MBR, esp. if there is GRUB installed in it. I have personally experienced this problem. A couple of weeks ago, I set up my PC to multi-boot into XP, Vista 64 bit Home Premium (later Windows 7 Beta 64 bit), and Ubuntu 8.10 64 bit. However, after running Windows Update in XP Pro and restarting as required by the update, the GRUB bootloader was messed up and I could not boot into any of the three OSs. I recovered by using a backup XP Pro hard drive. On another forum, I read that another person experienced the same problem. He set up the multi-boot similar to mine, later went to work, and when he returned he couldn't boot into any of the OSs.

If your computer cannot boot, you will not be able to read the stuff on the backup partition from that computer. You will have to take out the hard drive, enclose it in a hard drive enclosure (many have USB interface), then take it to another computer to read the unbootable hard drive.

Therefore, the safest and most trouble-free way to backup your system is probably to backup your entire hard drive containing your productions OS to another hard drive. Then you can play around and mess with the original hard drive. I wouldn't recommend installing Ubuntu with Windows OS(s) on the same hard drive (see 1st paragraph for reasons). Instead, I would highly recommend installing Windows OSs and Ubuntu (or other Linux distribution) separately on different hard drives, then use BIOS setup to choose whether to boot into Windows OSs or Ubuntu.


I'll have to look into that. My previous experience has been different though. This computer origonally came with only one partition loaded with XP. I later created my smaller backup partion for Xp then even later I installed Mandrake in a dual boot setup. Installing Mandrake gave me GRUB, so, of course, when I boot up I have to choose with OS to use.

This was a couple of years ago. I have obviously rebooted at least a hundred times since then with no trouble at all. It seems as though Windows does not even know I have another OS on the same hard drive, I can't even see the partition from "my computer" When I'm in Windows you would never know it was there. Linux, being a less stingy OS, recognizes my windows partitions and allow me to view, open, copy any file from that partition.

This is what led me to believe my idea would work. My setup in this case would look like this:

NOW

Main windows part = 55gig
Win Backup part = 15gi
Linux part = 10gig



I would empty the backup partition,send all wanted files to this partition, install Linux repartitioning my current Linux part and my current XP part. to be used for the new OS, then after retrieving wanted files from the backup partition, I could use that for backups or whatever else(maybe use for "playing" with a more basic Linux flavor like DSL or just a plain old ernel to learn building from scratch.

This will leave me with:


Main Linux partition = 70gig
Backup/extra partition = 10gig.


I hope I've explained this well. I always know what I want to say but sadly don't always say it so others know what I want to say.

Or am I misunderstanding what you wee saying? I know you were referring to what happened with Ubunto and I have done this with Mandrake but we both used GRUB, though I'm sure the GRUB versions are different being as the time that has past since my install.

gosox

#10 czhang

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 07:30 PM

Linux has no problem reading Windows file systems (FAT16, FAT32, or NTFS), but Windows do have problems reading Linux partitions (ext2, ext3, etc.). In fact, Linux partition will not show up at all under Windows Explorer.

GRUB was not giving me problems at first. I can boot into XP, Vista (/later 7 beta), and Ubuntu (Linux). But after one update in XP Pro, GRUB was messed up and I could not boot into any of my OSs. This has actually happened to me and someone else on another forum. I hope I have made myself clear.

Anyway, good luck with your endeavor with your system.

#11 Soxwatcher

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 08:38 PM

Ok, I follow you now. Things were fine until XP updated. I'm guessing that won't be an issue for me as everything will be done in 1-2 days time, so, no updates from Windows to mess things up. To be safe I'm going to do a little more research. I'm in no rush to do this change so time is on my side.

Thanks for your input and ideas. :flowers: :thumbsup:

sox

#12 the_patriot11

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 05:02 AM

you could just load linux up on half the computer leaving xp, transfer your files to the linux side and then use linux to reformat the windows side as well. pretty simple that way. :D

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