Beginning Ubuntu 

First steps in Ubuntu

Hot tip: If you overwrite your windows Master Boot Record and cannot boot into Windows, use “Partition Wizard Home Edition Windows Bootable CD”. Method, boot from this CD, and select “repair MBR”

Hot tip: If you overwrite your GRUB loader by re-installing Windows, repair by booting from the Ubuntu live CD.  Then start a BASH (Konsole)  session:

Full instructions here:

If this link is dead, here is a summary.

How to restore the Ubuntu grub bootloader (9.10 and beyond)

First you need to find out what your drives are called. You can do this by going to a terminal and typing:

sudo fdisk -l

You will get something like this:

From that you need to find the device name of your Ubuntu drive, something like “/dev/sda5″.
So, still in the terminal, type:

sudo mkdir /media/sda5
sudo mount /dev/sda5 /media/sda5

And then, to reinstall the grub:

sudo grub-install --root-directory=/media/sda5 /dev/sda

Push enter and you’re done! Of course you need to replace “/dev/sda5″ and “/dev/sda” with what you found in the fdisk output.


EasyBCD is not compatible with Windows Vista.

Virtual Box.

Sharing Windows and Ubuntu Files on Virtual Box

In the old version of Virtual Box, you had to bridge Network connections to share files between host and guest operating systems. This is no longer necessary.  The procedure is described here: 

If this link is dead, in summary:
“This is the scenario that you run Windows as your host operating system and Ubuntu in a VirtualBox, and that you want to access a specific Windows folder from Ubuntu.”
1. In Windows host: start virtual box, from “devices” on the menu bar, go down to “Shared folders…”
2. Create a folder called e.g. “SharedFolder” in the root directory of your “C” drive.

In Ubuntu guest, go down from applications, accessories, to terminal. and copy and paste this line:

sudo mkdir /media/windows-share
sudo mount -t vboxsf SharedFolder /media/windows-share
You can call your “SharedFolder” anything you like, provided you call it by the same name in virtual box and in the line above.
In Ubuntu Guest, open up a wordprocessor, such as open office writer or Abiword, create a file and save it to the “Filesystem”, “Media”, “windows-share”.
Now when you switch back to Windows your saved file should be accessible.

Getting the right screen size on virtual box

Issue:  your Ubuntu screen display is like a postage stamp in the middle of your Window. 

Resolution:  choose Auto-resize Guest display from the “Machine” menu in Virtual Box!

Guest Additions on Virtual Box

You have to install “Guest Additions” on Virtual Box, or only a 800×600 screen option will be available.
1. Start Virtual box and log into Ubuntu.
2. Hit the right ctrl key so you can get your mouse pointer outside the virtual machine.
3.Go to top of virtual window, click on devices then select “Install Guest Additions”
You will see a window pop up inside Ubuntu showing you that there are some new files mounted in a virtual CDROM drive.
A CD Rom image will appear on your Ubuntu desktop. Click it open, inside there is an icon called “”. Double click on that.

Ubuntu Server 9.10 on Virtual Box

If you have the old version 3 of Ubuntu Portable, you can update it to version 4 with this patch:
This update improves the appearance of the display. 

Note you must open an command prompt as an  administrator, navigate to the Portable_Ubuntu directory and

Type this: colinux-daemon –install-driver and hit the enter key.

If you do not do this, then when you click on the run_portable_ubuntu batch file, it will not work!

Ubuntu on Virtual Box.
If you find Portable Ubuntu is too slow on your Windows laptop, then an alternative is to use Virtual Box.
You download and install this:
Then download this, and use Gizmo (or a similar utility) to make it into a real CD.
Version 9.10 of Ubuntu needs 512k of real or imaginary memory.  If you haven’t got this much to spare, go for an older distribution. Ubuntu Server 7.04, works, I have test it.  Also works is Linux Mint 3.0 which is a version of Ubuntu 7.04 with enhancements.  Mint has an installation wizard which the vanilla Ubuntu distro lacks…
You can Mount this CD as a virtual drive within Virtual Box, and install it from there. But I found doing this put a strain on system resources, and I got a crash. I recommend making a real CD.
A modern laptop can use a DVD disk equally well as a 700mb CD. But make a CD in preference to a DVD if you think you might want to install Virtual Box Ubuntu on an old desktop which does not have a DVD.
The drawback of Virtual Box is that it is more demanding of memory and disk space, but once you have booted into the Linux environment, then it is faster than Portable Ubuntu, which runs as an application under Windows Vista or XP. However, Virtual Box has more potential to mess up your laptop. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
Information on installing Ubuntu on Virtual Box is here:
If you follow these instructions, you end up with a “Bash” command line and a cursor blinking at you helplessly..Why is this?
Ubuntu Server 9.10 does not automatically install the Desktop environment, you have to type:
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop
The following command is used to configure the Desktop (if necessary):
sudo dpkg –configure -a 

Then you have to type the following commands to update Ubuntu:

 sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get upgrade
The installation process takes a very long time. Dont’ worry if you mess up the install the first time.
Remember this: if you mess it up, it is only a virtual machine. You can easily start out with a brand new Virtual Ubuntu. To do this, from “Machine” on the menu bar, go down to “Delete”. Create a brand spanking new Virtual machine, and away you go again!
“The second problem I’ve encountered on my way to victory with Guest Additions is that the
guest OS sometimes lacks the tools needed by Guest Additions to build the necessary kernel
modules. You’ll receive messages like “…please install the build headers…” So, to fix this
problem make sure to first update your packages. If that doesn’t fix the problem, then
install the necessary build and kernel headers. For Ubuntu, and other debian-based
distributions, run the following command as root:”
apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)
After this type
The CD icon will appear on the Ubuntu desktop. Click it open, and click the icon which says
“”.  Then click on the left where it says “run in terminal”.
Sharing.  You have to install Windows sharing services on Ubuntu
Installed NTFS Configuration tool.  I don’t know if this does anything.
It tells you in the instructions reported in an earlier blog to select the option of  installing a minimal virtual machine. But this does not seem to be a good idea. If you use  the standard installation, then it works better.
Web pages not displayed correctly on the minimal install of Ubuntu for virtual box. 

I have had a perpetually revolving blue doughnut in Virtual Box. Had to do a force quit through the task manager. Now testing Ubuntu portable.

Portable Ubuntu

If you would like to try out Ubuntu, but you don’t want to mess up your machine, you can download “Portable Ubuntu”. 

Instructions on downloading and installing are on the Internet. It is quite a large download, and you may prefer to get it off a magazine coverdisk.  I am using it to write this blog on my Windows vista laptop.
Getting it up and running it not all that difficult.