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Ubuntu on win7 drive in xp machine


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#1 millipede

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 05:45 PM

Kind of a confusing story, I hope you can follow...

A while back my wife ran over her laptop
The dvd drive quit working and the screen was cracked, but it still worked. We spent money on a new screen and all was well... For a couple of months...
Then, it stopped working all together...

So, after seeing motherboards were too pricey for it we found another complete laptop, same model and all, for $150.
Now, we also got a FREE older laptop from her sister.
It is a Dell Inspiron E1505. It originally came with Windows XP media version... has a sticker on it that says "vista capable"
This thing came with no hard drive... we originally planned on buying a new hard drive and installing Ubuntu or something similar... But then, the other laptop died...
The hard drive from the dead machine was fairly new(less than a year) and had one of our daughter's schoolwork on it (we homeschool) I can reinstall the software but she had completed enough lessons we didn't want to start over...
So
We put the hard drive from the old one into the one we just got off Ebay. Still with me so far?
So the hard drive from the ebay purchase(which when I took it out, discovered it was refurbished :/ ) is to go into the older E1505 inspiron.
Even though I knew it wouldn't work, I attempted to just plug it in and see what happened. It TRIED to load windows but of course will not. XP machine with a 64bit Windows 7 OS.
Now, this hard isn't extremely valuable in data. It has a few games on it like Bejeweled 2 that I sure am not going to pay for to get... but, that's not a huge loss.
So now to the question... Sort of have thoughts in my mind already but opinions from others always help.
Cleanest thing to do is format it and install Ubuntu(if that's what I go with, and I'm leaning towards)
But, other option is to install Ubuntu and leave the other data alone. I may not ever get to use any of that other data again... but in the off chance that another laptop dies or I somehow end up with another newer laptop with do hd, maybe it would be useful?
Or, would that win 7 installation only work on THAT model that it came from? I was able to simply swap my wife's old hard drive into the new purchase but they were both inspiron n4030's Only thing it did was "discover new hardware" and that was no hassle at all. Everything went perfectly. Daughter just finished some work just a little while ago on it.
So, can you swap windows 7 drives into other win 7 64bit compatible machines? Or was it just that they were the same model?
And... If it were you, would you save the old data just in case and install Ubuntu alongside of windows?

Any thoughts on that will be helpful... thanks, and sorry for the long story. :)

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#2 scurvychef

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 12:21 AM

:wacko: wow! I think I follow.

First off: You should never plug a different hard drive into a computer unless you were to do it in a virtual drive. Although "windows7", "XP" or even "ubuntu" can be installed on any computer that supports it, doesn't mean the filesystem installed on the hard drive will be properly supported in a different hardware environment. This can lead to serious hardware failure due to the wrong codes and drivers being fed to your hardware.

Here's what you should do: take your win7 drive, put it in the working computer: don't boot from it!
Next install Ubuntu along side of it,
Boot from Ubuntu and you will see that you will be able to access the files as though it were a different drive.
Now save all your files and documents that you can access and you can effectively do away with the Windows 7 partition all together.

Afterward, if you wish to install a Windows partion, do as you wish. Vista compatibe doesn't mean that it is Win 7 compatible, however there are diagnostics you can run to tell you if your system will support windows 7.

Good luck and please report back

#3 DarkSnake-Kobra

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:04 AM

You also have the issue that Windows 7 may not be properly licensed. That is if is not a Dell OEM copy.

Also one thing I'm confused on is the refurbished drive. Is that the one with Windows 7 that was on ebay?

#4 millipede

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:41 AM

My guess is the windows 7 drive is properly licensed. I could be wrong but, it is the exact same computer as the one my wife ran over. My guess is that's why putting her old hard drive into that machine worked.
But the laptop that drive is going into isn't going to handle that I'm sure. I feel bad just deleting a nicely working windows 7 installation but, I likely wont be using it anywhere else anyway... And we have backup copies of my wife's win 7 installations o if anything happens I can reinstall that at any time.
So...
I likely will install ubuntu and delete everything else on the refurbished drive... But, I will start by installing it alongside it just because I guess.

Yes, the refurbished drive is the one from the machine we got from ebay. I was pretty mad about it. The guy simply sold it as used... when asked, before purchase, he simply said it was working perfectly.
My wife contacted him(she's the one with the ebay account) and mentioned she was disappointed with it being refurbished, and that there was a defect in the screen. A dark spot the size of a couple pixels but, not a dead pixel as far as I can tell. Nothing bad, not an eyesore... And hey, I have the NEW screen in her busted machine I can always use.
But when she contacted him, she mentioned she wasn't sure what she was going to do about feedback for him. He took that as a threat, was really rude to her. He said that refurbished is the same as used(I sure don't feel that way), that he bent over backwards for her, and we could send it back... but, I could have sworn he also said there would be no refunds. Eh... my wife is not great at dealing with those situations. I told her if it were me I would have simply left a neutral feedback, instead of contacting him, and mention that is should have been listed as refurbished. Oh yeah I forgot... He said he didn't know it was refurbished, that he doesn't open up every machine he sells.
Ugh... Not buying from him again. Personally I think refurbished should be listed as such. $150 still isn't horrible but it would be nice to have a better idea of what you're getting into.

I'm working on backing up some files for someone else's computer today but hope to get going on this ubuntu installation really soon. I just wanted some opinions before I jumped into anything.
Thanks for responding. I didn't realize this was a less active section of the forum and was worried I wasn't going to get any feedback.

I hope that all still makes sense. Lots of information

#5 scurvychef

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:35 PM

no problem millipede. Hope it all works out for the best for you. Good luck

#6 millipede

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:22 PM

Sorry I haven't come back to this. I haven't started up til now. Been working on a few other things.
Well I created a Ubuntu disc yesterday... and just now put it in and tried to get the computer to boot from the cd drive. I went in bios and told it to boot from there first.
For whatever reason, it did not do that. It tried to load the win7 installation that's on the drive. I tried again. I ended up trying F12 for boot options hoping I'd see "boot from cd drive" or something of that nature there. I did not. :/
Diagnostics was there... so for the fun of it, let that run.
DST short test failed. Error code 1000-1046. Msg: Unit 0:DST Log contains previous error(s).

Now I'm wondering if the hard drive is bad or if the diagnostics is having trouble just because of the win7 on it, or anything related to my previous attempts to boot.
Either way, it doesn't quite explain why I'm having trouble booting from the cd drive.
Will continue to try and figure that out.

Edit: Still can't seem to boot from CD drive, though I can hear it trying to do something. Doesn't make sense.
But, I remembered while working on another computer recently I created a UNetbootin flash drive with Ubuntu as an option. I'm going to try it. Perhaps the check disc for defects option first... Then if that goes well I'll TRY ubuntu from it... and if that works, I'll install from there. We'll see.

Edit: "check disc for defects" went so fast and smoothly, I'm thinking maybe it just checked the flash drive and not the hard drive. I'm in Ubuntu on the flash drive now so I'll keep poking around.

Edit: It's weird, the cd/dvd drive tries to fire up during boot... but, I can't see it otherwise. It isn't even listed from the unetbootin, ubuntu running from the flash drive.
While the CD/Dvd drive is somewhat important... it's not priority at the moment. What I NEED to do now is be certain of the condition of the hard drive.
Since the onboard diagnostics says it failed, should I simply assume the hard drive is no good? Should I try to install ubuntu and just see what happens?
Or, should I take the hard drive out, pop it in my own machine, and run further diagnostics?

Any thoughts?

Edited by millipede, 03 December 2012 - 02:20 PM.


#7 scurvychef

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:39 PM

I am sorry Millipede, but you are very confussing some times. I have a couple questions and points to make:



Not all of the E1505s were the same. What matters is the service tag. The chipset, processor, motherboard, RAM, even the DVD burner could all be different. Are you trying to put a hard drive with windows 7 into a Intel Celeron machine? because this certainly will not run. Celerons are single core processors, while the Duo Cores have two. If any of the E1505s could handle Win7, it must have been one with the Duo. I have not tried to put 7 on one, just know that they are Vista capible.





Things that will make installing any Linux Distro a NIGHTMARE:


  • You didn't burn the .iso as an IMAGE, not a file or data disc. .ISOs are IMAGES. Biggest, easiest mistake
  • Bad Checksum: The media you burnt to rejected the Algorithm. Try a different brand of CD/DVD
  • failing CD drive or Hard drive
  • You have a bad mirror, happens seldom, but I would double check the download size and compare with the file size.


Error code 1000-1046 means a bad hard drive. The fact it won't boot from the disc makes me think you should wait to determine that. Before buying a new hard drive, I would try:

  • making sure you have a good linux disc with the tips above
  • flashing your BIOS to the newest version
  • If you can boot from the USB drive, can't you install from it?


I would just try it. (in a partition of course) no sense writing over the data you are trying to save. As long as it is there, even if the HD is corrupt you may be able to get it with GParted or something.

#8 millipede

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:04 PM

you are very confussing some times

While not a lot of people say that straight out, I do get misunderstood quite often in life. What can you do?

That said... I did already realize that the win7 installation isn't going to work. Yes, I originally, before I started this topic, popped it in just to see what would happen.

I DID burn the ubuntu as an image, not as a file. The problem so far with that part was I can't seem to get the computer to boot from the CD. The CD/DVD drive powers on, you can hear it trying, but that's it. Bios sees that it is there but it wont boot from it and I couldn't even see it from the flash drive version of ubuntu. So, there could be something wrong with it.

I WILL try to install ubuntu from the flash drive(probably in the morning). I was just holding off because of that hard drive error. I wasn't sure if I should try it with the hard drive error... or if maybe I should pop that hard drive into my own tower to run further scans on it. I don't want to spend a lot of time on a drive that's going to fail anyway... but at the same time, I guess it doesn't hurt anything.

Side note. I'm pretty ticked about the hard drive. It's the one that came in the N4030 we bought off ebay to replace my wife's old one. NO mention of it being refurbished and, well... just not happy about it. Again... what can you do?

Anyway... we'll see what happens.
I tried to keep that short and to the point. Let me know if I need to clarify anything.

Edit: I'm finding online instructions a little vague when it comes to installing ubuntu alongside windows. I will come back to this in the morning... but, here's what happened when I tried.
I had the choice to install it all by itself or "something else" where you can decide how to install it. Of course I chose "something else".
Then i'm in a window labeled "Installation Type"
There's a window with "Device, Type, Mount point, Format?, Size, Used"
First there's
/dev/sda and everything else is blank next to it.
Then
/dev/sda1, ntfs, "mount point" is blank, 250057MB, "unknown" is listed under the used column.

"new partition table..." "add..." Change... delete revert
Those are buttons under that table. Can't click on "Add...", nothing happens. Clicking on "New Partition Table" tells me it will delete everything.
Under that
"device for boot loader installation"
With a couple options, the hard drive itself and the win7 installation "/dev/sda1 windows 7 (loader)

Buttons "quit" back and "install now"
I tried install now and got the message "no root file system is defined. Please correct this from the partitioning menu"

Seems the /dev/sda1 ntfs, when highlighted I can click the "change" button which brings up other options.

I hope that isn't all confusing. It is to me. ha... I'd love to poke around with this some more right now but it's late and I'm going to bed.

Edited by millipede, 04 December 2012 - 12:24 AM.


#9 millipede

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 07:47 PM

huh... I forgot to come back and update.
I must say, trying to install alongside windows seemed VERY confusing as the instructions and options didn't always make sense and didn't always go together even.
I may start a new topic here in a minute asking some questions for future use.......

But... for the computer I was talking about... I ended up using a hard drive from a laptop someone gave me... laptop with NO cord and they were told the motherboard was no good. Who knows if that's true or not but, I took the hard drive from it, formatted it, and just installed it by itself as that was the simplest and least confusing.
So... I've got Ubuntu installed on that laptop now... My wife ends up "borrowing" the other laptops that my kids use instead of using that one sometimes, mostly because that one doesn't have a working battery. :( And, a replacement battery for that model doesn't have a very long charge... Not sure we'll bother much with it.
We may just buy a new laptop come tax time... but we'll see. For now, I'm done with this particular topic. :)




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