Good riddance?
August 28, 2006 6:59 PM   Subscribe

Help me make my choice from one of the three options below: 1) Fix Windows so that it boots without messing up my Ubuntu. 2) Remove Windows completely. I don't need it anyways. 3) Shrink Windows to the bare minimum and reclaim the space with Ubuntu.

I made the switch to Ubuntu a short while ago and have no inclination on returning to Windows. Recently when I tried to boot into Windows (XP Pro) I got a BSOD with the following error:
My boot.ini looks good. I did some research and noticed that if I do an fdisk that I get the same error for all my partitions:
furtive@furtive-laptop:~$ sudo fdisk -l
Disk /dev/hda: 40.0 GB, 40007761920 bytes
16 heads, 63 sectors/track, 77520 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 1008 * 512 = 516096 bytes
   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1   *           1       50565    25484728+   7  HPFS/NTFS
Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/hda2           50570       76357    12996585   83  Linux
Partition 2 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/hda3           76357       77520      586372+   5  Extended
Partition 3 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/hda5           76357       77520      586341   82  Linux swap / Solaris

It seems that these "does not end on cylinder boundary" messages are common when the partitions are made using megabytes instead of cylinders. I honestly don't feel like reloading my notebook again (no CD drive) and so I think it's come down to three choices:

1) Fix Windows so that it works without messing up my Ubuntu. I haven't seen any solutions to this yet, but I'm all ears. My ntfs drive is mounted with ntfs 3-g in Ubuntu if that helps.

2) Remove Windows completely. I don't need it anyways. I'd love to be able to reclaim that space for my Ubuntu.

3) Shrink Windows to the bare minimum and reclaim the space with Ubuntu. I know it was possible to do this during the install, but I don't see how to do it now.

I'll be up all night and quick to respond to any questions.
posted by furtive to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
I'm dual booting Ubuntu and XP Pro now (with ntfs-3g). For no real reason other than "I paid for windows and I'm dang well going to use it!" Unless you really need windows for something though... you might just go all Linux. It seems like it'd be a pain to fix windows.
posted by tngrn at 7:26 PM on August 28, 2006

Yeah, but how do I "go all Linux"? do I just fdisk that partition? Is that safe (it is the first partition after all).
posted by furtive at 7:29 PM on August 28, 2006

Right! I've never tried it but you might check out gparted:
posted by tngrn at 7:48 PM on August 28, 2006

Heh, I already had gparted installed right under my nose! I'm going to back up my data tomorrow and take it from there. More advice is always welcome!
posted by furtive at 7:52 PM on August 28, 2006

Linux doesn't care about cylinder boundaries. Windows gets pretty sniffy about them though.

I'm assuming your disk started out with a single Windows partition the full size of the disk, and that you repartitioned it for Ubuntu without first shrinking the NTFS filesystem. If that's what you did, your Windows partition is now brutally corrupted and there is no way it's ever going to work again. Blow Windows away and go pure Ubuntu.

You can do that without moving any of your existing partitions. Just use fdisk to change the partition type of /dev/hda1 from 0x07 (NTFS) to 0x83 (Linux), then use mkfs to build an Ext3 or Reiser file system on that partition.

If that were my machine, I'd be mounting /dev/hda1 as /home, and leaving /dev/hda2 as the Ubuntu root partition. That way, if I wanted to change distros, I could completely blow away /dev/hda2 without touching any of my stuff under /home.

Easiest way to do that (after building a new filesystem on /dev/hda1) would be:
sudo mount /dev/hda1 /mnt
sudo cp -av /home/* /mnt
cd /
sudo rm -rf /home/*
sudo umount /mnt
sudo mount /dev/hda1 /home

Don't forget to add an entry to /etc/fstab so /dev/hda1 mounts automatically on /home on bootup.
posted by flabdablet at 8:00 PM on August 28, 2006

i think flabdablet's right ... if you only had one partition to start with then you already have partially removed windows and killed it

you may as well bury it
posted by pyramid termite at 9:33 PM on August 28, 2006

Just to follow up, I ended up removing the windows partition and using it as the mount for /home/ ... it has been very satisfying and I haven't missed Windows yet!
posted by furtive at 7:21 PM on September 14, 2006

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