Installing Ubuntu from Windows

I recently ran into the problem of using wubi.exe (Ubuntu’s Windows installer) to install Ubuntu 10.10 and hitting a “try (hd0,0): EXT2:” hang.  Information on the internet is sporadic and confusing at best so I thought I’d post a run-down of what steps I took, what worked and what didn’t.

Note that this whole procedure would’ve been a lot easier if I had a blank CD or a LiveCD of Ubuntu to hand, but I don’t, so never mind.

Ok, so when I hit the error I gave it time to complete what it was doing, it was definitely hung.  So I rebooted back into Windows and tried a different .iso image.  Same issue.  So I tried a different wubi.exe (specifically, the one on the 10.10 i386 iso rather than the one you get if you choose to download it from ubuntu.com).  Same issue.  At this point I ran around the net in circles for about an hour getting nowhere fast but eventually stumbling upon some people reporting the issue affecting EasyBCD.  So I looked into what exactly EasyBCD was, it turns out it’s a way to modify the Windows Vista/7 bootloader.  Since the SP3 bootloader is nigh-identical to the Vista/7 one, I thought EasyBCD might help.  Unfortunately, it’s only superficially identical, and despite following a “howto use EasyBCD on Windows XP” tutorial, I managed to completely remove the Windows XP bootloader menu, replacing it with a black screen that flashes for a second then boots into windows.  Great.  So now I can’t even -try- to boot wubi.

It was at this point I hit the ‘net again, and after another hour or two of circular google-forum-google work I eventually hit upon “Unetbootin”.  I knew of Unetbootin before but only very vaguely, had once used it to try out a few OSes.  It turns out that Unetbootin can mimick wubi, almost, but in a much more sane way.  What Unetbootin does is perform a ‘frugal install’, in other words using your hard disk as a LiveCD.  Sort of a LiveHDD idea.  Perfect!  Once you’re in the Live environment, performing an install to an already-prepped Ubuntu partition (which I just so happen to have) is trivial.  I’ll post a follow-up detailing my success with this (it’s currently halfway through installing).

Check back later!

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