Spectralcat's Blog

July 1, 2009

Part III: Liberating the Asus 1000HE: Installing Linux as a Second Operating System

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — spectralcat @ 9:07 am

Now we need to figure out how we will re-partition the hard drive. (If this talk about “partitions” confuses you, think of a hard drive as being like a house. The “partitions” are the different rooms in the house, and, of course, each room is separated by a wall. We can build a new den in our house by putting a new wall in the corner of our living room; doing this, unfortunately, will make our living room smaller. Similarly, we can expand the size of our living room bigger by tearing down the wall that separates it from our dinning room. Each operating system on your computer needs to have at least one room of its own. Here, we’re going to make space for a Linux room by shrinking the size of our Windows rooms.) Asus oddly partitions the 1000HE’s hard drive into two large Windows partitions: C and D drive. The C drive is 72 gigs and contains all of your Windows programs; the D drive is the same size but is unused space. I’ve decided to delete the D drive partition; then I’m going to reduce the size of the C drive (the remaining major Windows partition).

But before I do this, I’m going to see how much of my C drive I’m using so that I can figure out how small I can make my Windows partition; to do this: go to My Computer: right-click on the C drive: select Properties. I’ve installed all the major programs I intend to use on Microsoft Windows (including Microsoft Office Professional) and I’m only using 9.4 gigs.

A mostly empty C drive (even after installing Microsoft Office)

A mostly empty C drive (even after installing Microsoft Office). This partition will be shrunk and most of its free space will be used by Linux.

I’m going to play it a little on the safe side and give myself an extra 6 gigs in my Windows partition in case I need to install new programs or files for Windows to use; my plan is to reduce my 72 gig Windows C drive to 16 gigs and get rid of my D drive entirely.

Asus oddly gives you two windows partitions.  This empty D drive will be deleted, merged with the free space from the C drive, and turned into a large Linux partition.

Asus oddly gives you two windows partitions. This empty D drive will be deleted, merged with the free space from the C drive, and turned into a large Linux partition.

Now let’s re-partition the hard drive; we’ll use Linux’s partition software to do this. Put the Usb stick into the computer and reboot the computer. As the computer restarts, press Escape repeatedly. If Windows starts up, you didn’t push Escape fast enough; restart the computer and try again. When the menu comes up that says: “Please select boot device”, highlight the usb stick and hit enter.

Booting from usb.  A completely functional Linux operating system is on the Memorex usb stick.

Booting from usb. A completely functional Linux operating system is on the Memorex usb stick.

Then at the Unetbootin menu, hit enter to select “Default” and wait for Eeebuntu to launch a live Linux installation: will take about 3-4 minutes.  Don’t worry.  Eeebuntu won’t  install to your hard drive until you tell it to later on.

Eeebuntu's start up screen.  It takes a few minutes to boot a live usb installation.

Eeebuntu's start up screen. It takes a few minutes to boot a live usb installation.

A fully functional Eeebuntu operating system that is running entirely from your usb stick!  Eeebuntu doesn't get added to your hard drive until you select the Install icon in the upper-left corner.

A fully functional Eeebuntu operating system that is running entirely from your usb stick! Eeebuntu doesn't get added to your hard drive until you select the Install icon in the upper-left corner.

After the Eeebuntu live usb desktop has loaded select the “Install” icon in the upper left hand corner. (If you want to goof around and try out Eeebuntu, do so, but restart the computer before you click the “Install” button as there is a chance you could have started a program that will interfere with the installation process.)

The installation program will ask some simple questions about your language, time zone, and keyboard layout.  Answer them (probably by selecting the defaults) and continue until you get to Step 4 of 7, the disk partitioner.

Very difficult question #1: What language do you speak?  Note the support for Esperanto.  Fucking commies.

Very difficult question #1: What language do you speak? Note the support for Esperanto. Fucking commies.

Very difficult question #2: Where are you located?

Very difficult question #2: Where are you located?

Slightly more difficult question #3: What language does your keyboard speak?  Go with the default or use the box to test your keyboard.

Slightly more difficult question #3: What language does your keyboard speak? Go with the default or use the box to test your keyboard.

The dreaded disk partitioner.  Listen closely and you can hear Windows shudder.

The dreaded disk partitioner. Listen closely and you can hear Windows shudder.

On the partioner menu, the top bar represents the current partition layout of your hard drive; the bottom bar represents Eeebuntu’s suggested partitioning scheme.  (We’ll ignore this suggestion.)  You can see that the 1000he comes with a strange partition set up: the first partition (it’s in blue) is what Windows calls the C drive; Linux calls this partition /dev/sda1; this partition is 72.1 GB and it’s been formatted by Windows as NTFS. The second partition (which is in green) is what Windows calls the D drive; Linux calls this partition /dev/sda2; it is also 72.1 GB and is formatted as NTFS. The third partition is in orange at the far right side of the bar; Windows hides this partition from you, but Linux has recognized it as a Windows NT/2000/XP partition and has called it /dev/sda3.   The fourth partition is another hidden Windows partition which Linux calls /dev/sda4 (it’s only 39.5 MB).  /dev/sda3 is the Windows XP recovery partition; you can use this partition to reinstall Windows XP if your XP operating system gets broken; we’re going to leave this partition alone. /dev/sda4 is a tiny partition to help Windows boot faster (called Boot Booster in the Bios); we’re going to leave it alone, too.

We have 3 important tasks to do here: 1) We’re going to smash the 72.1 gig /dev/sda2 partition and turn it into “free space.” 2) we’re going to reduce the size of the 72.1 gig /dev/sda1 partition to a measly 16 gigs (you can make it bigger or smaller if you would like) and leave the rest of it as free space. 3) We’re going to take all this new “free space” (around 129 gigs in total) and put a Eeebuntu on it!  These steps are a little dangerous but if you’ve backed up your files, nothing too bad can happen.

So let’s start beating the shit out of this lousy Windows operating system. Select “Specify partitions manually (advanced)” and hit “Forward”. Highlight /dev/sda2 (this is our stupid D drive) and select “Delete partition.”

Let's kill this stupid D drive.

Let's kill this stupid D drive.

Note the free space where the D drive used to be.

Note the free space where the D drive used to be.

Next highlight “/dev/sda1” (our C drive), select “Edit Partition,” and select how small you would like your Windows partition to be in the “New partition size in megabytes” window (remember, 1 gig is around 1000 MB; I’ve entered 16112 MB into this window); leave “Use as” set to “do not use the partition” and select OK.

Shrinking the C drive.

Shrinking the C drive.

Linux will now demand that you “Write previous changes to disk and continue” (in other words it wants you to go through with your plans to delete the D drive aka /dev/sda2 partition and resize the C drive aka /dev/sda1 partition before you start adding Linux partitions). Select Continue and wait as Linux resizes your Windows partitions.

Now you should have a new looking partition bar; /dev/sda1 should now be only 15 gigs; after /dev/sda1 there should be 129 gigs of “Free Space”; and /dev/sda3 at 4.9 gigs and /dev/sda 4 at 39.5 MB should be left untouched.

The changes have been written to disk.  Windows has been shrunk and free space has been created for Linux.

The changes have been written to disk. Windows has been shrunk and free space has been created for Linux.

Now we’re going to add some Linux partitions to the newly created “Free Space.” Technically you only need to break this space into 2 partitions (a partition called “/” and a partition called “swap” that sound be 1.5 to 2 times the size of the RAM you have in your netbook), but I’m going to break it into three partitions: one for “/” (what Windows would call my “program files”), one for “home” (my personal files), and one for “swap.” This partition scheme will make it easier for me to cleanly upgrade the operating system in the future Since the operating system is in a different partition (in my / partition) from my personal files (which are in my home partition), in the future I will be able to freshly install a new operating system by replacing all the files in my / partition instead of upgrading those files. Technically, this partition scheme isn’t necessary as Eeebuntu is perfectly capable of doing a full operating system upgrade, but this partition scheme is a little nicer as an upgraded operating system is more likely to have problems than a freshly installed operating system. I’m going to make a / partition of around 8 gigs and a swap partition of around 1.5 gigs (1.5 x the amount of RAM I have installed in my hard drive (I have one gig of RAM)). The rest of my hard drive is going to be for my home partition.

Lets start setting up our three Linux partitions. Highlight “free space” and select “New Partition”.

Creating our first new partition in the free space.

Creating our first new partition in the free space.

This is going to be my 8 gig root partition. Leave type of partition set to Logical; “New Partition Size” set to 8192 (or 8 gigs); location set to Beginning; “Use as” set to “Ext3 journaling file system”; “Mount Point” set to /. (If you do not want to create a separate partition for your personal files, make this partition larger, skip the following step, and just create the appropriate swap partition as detailed below. Your “home” files will automatically be included in your / partition.)

Creating the / partition.

Creating the / partition.

Now let’s make our home partition: Highlight “free space” and select “New Partition.” I’ve got 130438 bytes left and I want to leave myself 1536 bytes for swap; so I’m going to make this partition 128902 bytes in size ( 130438 bytes – 1536 bytes). Again leave “location” set to Beginning; “Use as” set to “Ext3 journaling file system.” This time set “Mount Point” set to /home and hit OK.

Creating our home partition.  Note the / partition (the new /dev/sda5) already added to the bar in orange.

Creating our home partition. Note the / partition (the new /dev/sda5) already added to the bar in orange.

Now let’s make that swap partition in the remaining “free space.” Highlight “free space” and select “New Partition”. Leave new size set to 1538; location set to beginning; however, change “Use as” to “swap area” and hit OK. This will create a swap space of 1.5 gigs (1.5 times the size of my RAM).

Creating our Swap partition.  It should be 1.5 times the size of our RAM.

Creating our Swap partition. It should be 1.5 times the size of our RAM.

Our new partition scheme will be displayed.  Hit Forward to install the new Linux partitions.

The completed partition scheme for my dual boot 1000HE.  Hit Forward to write it to disk.

The completed partition scheme for my dual boot 1000HE. Hit Forward to write it to disk.

Complete the installation: fill in your name (your username will automatically be set to your first name in lower-case letters), pick a password (make it strong and remember it!). Wait until the installation is finished and then restart the computer.

At the GRUB startup menu select Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition and hit enter.

Dual boot menu.  Boot into Windows.

Dual boot menu. Boot into Windows.

Windows will probably complain that the disk needs to be checked for consistency. Let it do so; the computer will restart.

This error message is normal.  Windows is a very stupid operating system, and it's a bit confused about what's been done to it.  It'll sort things out though.

This error message is normal. Windows is a very stupid operating system, and it's a bit confused about what's been done to it. It'll sort things out though.

At the GRUB startup menu select Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition again and hit enter. Windows should start up as normal and probably demand to restart again due to “new hardware” (presumably your Linux partitions) being found. Go to “My Computer” and check the size of your hard drive. Your D drive should be gone and your C drive should now be around 15-16 Gigs.

The new Windows partition.  Note the size.

The new Windows partition. Note the size.

Now we’re going to set up the Windows partition so that it can access the Linux partition. Download Ext2Fsd. Run the Ext2Fsd installation; do not check “Make Ext2Fsd automatically start when system boots”; leave “enable write support for Ext2 partitions” unchecked; leave “Enable force writing supporting on Ext3 partitions” unchecked. This is will automatically make your Linux partition readable (but not writable) in Windows; having Windows write to your Linux partition might still be a little risky. Then on the Ext2Fsd menu, highlight the largest EXT3 partition (it should be around 120 GB); right-click on this partition and select “Change Drive Letter”: select Add: Leave the new drive letter set to D: and leave “Create a permanent Mount Point via Session Manager” selected. Hit OK.

Use Ext2Fsd to configure Windows to automaticly mount your new Linux home partition as the D drive.

Use Ext2Fsd to configure Windows to automaticly mount your new Linux home partition as the D drive.

While you’re in Windows, I’d recomend adding a password for your Windows User account: go to control panel: select User Accounts: select your account and type a password. (This will prevent someone from seeing your Linux files by booting into your Windows partition.)

Finally, restart the computer; press F2 to enter Bios and change the Bios settings back to their original settings.

Advertisements

3 Comments »

  1. Nice paper, however eeebuntu hangs at resizing /dev/sda1, no fix found for this ….

    Comment by Michael Cornelis — July 4, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

    • Sorry to hear about this Michael. I had this problem a couple of months ago when I put eeebuntu a friend’s 1000HE, but the problem didn’t occur this time so I assumed the installer had fixed it. Anyway, I got around this problem last time by just restarting the computer and redoing the installation and while I think it crashed on me once or twice more it did eventually resize Windows and no data was lost in the process. I wonder if the problem is related to deleting the D drive before resizing the C drive or if it’s just a matter of not waiting long enough for the resize to complete.

      Comment by spectralcat — July 4, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

  2. Fix found => use Gparted live on USB stick for disk partitions and formating prior eeebuntu install. Worked for me on a 1000HE.

    Comment by Michael Cornelis — July 5, 2009 @ 7:55 am


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: