Month: September 2011

Wubi – Windows Ubuntu Installer

I have an old Compaq laptop that I thought I’d put Ubuntu on. Unfortunately the hard disk is damaged and there must be bad sectors on it. Ubuntu therefore refuses to install.

I know – I should get a new hard disk and be done with it, but all I wanted to do was have a spare machine for testing and messing about. I also wanted to do some tests with Ubuntu and WiFi, and my desktop PC is hardwired and doesn’t use WiFi. If I was doing anything serious with the laptop I’d get a new hard disk for it – but I’m not, so I won’t.

As I say, Ubuntu checks the integrity of the disk before commencing the main part of the installation and refuses to install. Windows XP of course was either oblivious or uncaring – it installed without a murmur.

Wubi is an installer for Ubuntu that runs within Windows. It makes it easy to set up a dual-boot system. It also allows you to uninstall Ubuntu and revert to a single-boot Windows machine by going to the Add/Remove Programs settings within Windows and removing the Ubuntu entry.

I wondered. If Windows had gone over-written the bad sectors with Windows files, the Wubi installer wouldn’t have to check those areas of the hard disk. Perhaps I could get Ubuntu on to that disk through Windows, even though the naked Ubuntu install refused to co-operate.

Wubi is a small program (1.45 Mbyte), it doesn’t include the installation files themselves. I downloaded it and dropped it into a folder with the Ubuntu 11.04 ISO image file and started the Wubi.exe. it located the Ubuntu ISO image, and offered me a few settings I could provide values for, such as user name, password and how much of the hard disk to set aside as the Ubuntu partition.

It churned away to itself for a little while and then rebooted the laptop and the normal Ubuntu installation took place. When that was finished I had a dual boot laptop with Ubuntu 11.04 and Windows XP.

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