A home user’s successful migration strategy from Windows to Ubuntu

As a Ubuntu Forums member trying to help new users out for the past two years, I’ve seen it happen too many times: A long-time Windows user hears about how great Ubuntu is, downloads the ISO, burns it to CD (or “burns” it to USB), installs Ubuntu, tries to use it, finds the hardware isn’t configured properly and the applications she needs don’t work on Ubuntu. She gives up and leaves (or attacks Ubuntu as being “not ready for the desktop” then gives up and leaves).

Were she and Ubuntu just never meant to be together? Possibly. But at least one problem may have been the migration strategy she and hundreds (if not thousands) of frustrated potential users have—dive right in!

While I acknowledge that the dive-right-in strategy may work for some people, I don’t think it’s the best one for most potential Ubuntu users (potential ex-Windows users) to adopt. Here’s another approach:

How to migrate from Windows to Ubuntu

  • Examine your motives. Ask yourself why you want to migrate. Is it out of curiosity? Do you want a free version of Windows? Do you want to try something different? Generally, the most successful migrations usually do not expect Ubuntu to be a drop-in Windows replacement and recognize that a little bit of culture shock and learning may occur during the transition.
  • Take it slow. It’s quite possible that you may migrate slowly over a few months or even years and then regret taking it slow (If only I’d just installed Ubuntu and started using it right away…), but, really, what’s so bad about that? It’s a lot worse to accidentally delete your Windows installation, realize Ubuntu’s programs don’t suit your computing needs, and wish you’d just stayed with Windows.
  • Start with open source Windows applications. As a practical extension of the take-it-slow philosophy, don’t even bother with Ubuntu just yet. Ubuntu won’t run all Windows software, and so you’d better see if you like the kind of software that is made with the same Free/open source philosophy that Ubuntu is made with. Switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox. Try OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office. Use GIMP instead of Photoshop. Test out Audacity, Inkscape, and Frostwire. You can find a more complete list of open source Windows applications at .
  • Get to know the live CD. Once you’ve gotten used to using open source applications in Windows (and supposing you have 256 MB of RAM or more—I’d recommend 512 MB), download and “burn” Ubuntu to a USB stick and play around with the live USB (if you have an older computer that won’t boot from USB, you can also do a traditional burn of the Ubuntu CD). The live USB/CD allows you to use a fully functional Ubuntu operating system without affecting your hard drive (it works off the USB/CD itself and your computer’s memory). The live USB/CD has two major benefits for you at this point. It allows you to try out Ubuntu in a noncommital way, and it allows you to get a preview of any hardware recognition problems you might run into (and have to fix) should you later decide to install Ubuntu. I’d say you should play around with the live CD for two to four weeks, if not longer.
  • Consider Waiting to Purchase New Hardware. If you have a difficult ATI card, Broadcom wifi, and a Lexmark printer, your Ubuntu experience may not be that pleasant. You’ll have to spend a lot of time working the command-line to get certain hardware components working properly. You may decide you want to roll up your sleeves and go for it. But I think it’d be best to stay with Windows, and if you are still interested in Ubuntu in a few years, buy Linux-compatible hardware or buy a Ubuntu-preinstalled computer.
  • Set up a dual-boot. If you don’t want to wait on getting compatible hardware or if you aleady have compatible hardware, go ahead and set up a dual-boot with Windows. That way, you’ll be able to customize Ubuntu (the live CD settings don’t get saved) and run it at native speeds (the live CD runs more slowly than a full installation), but you’ll also have access to Windows if you need to run back to the safety of familiarity. The Ubuntu installer is fairly user-friendly, but if you’re still scared of messing around with partitions and boot loaders, there’s a project called Wubi that allows you to install Ubuntu from within Windows. It sets up Ubuntu as a removable application in Windows and uses Windows’ boot loader to pick which operating system to boot into.
  • Set aside some time. If you’re one of those “time is money” people who would rather pay for a translator than learn a new language and would rather eat out than cook yourself, then don’t bother migrating. Even if you buy Ubuntu preinstalled, the Linux desktop experience is so radically different from Windows that there will necessarily be a learning curve (yes, even if you don’t have to configure hardware and even if you don’t have to use the terminal). Software installation is different (some would argue that it’s better). Theming is different. Updates operate differently. The user interface is different. The culture of the community (if you choose to get involved with it) is different.
  • Enjoy the move. If you’ve gone through all these steps in this order, you’re likely going to end up a happy Ubuntu user. If you got stopped at one step along the way, at least you didn’t invest too much time in a futile (and failed) migration.

113 replies on “A home user’s successful migration strategy from Windows to Ubuntu”

this is good advice. funnily enough I must’ve done at least half the things you said not to do. I’m going to recommend this to all my friends even if I didn’t follow it, because I’m going to try to get them to switch.

Like Bob, I have followed most of these steps myself without a master plan.

The ‘use open source software on Windows’ suggestion is the one I currently try with people at work – the USB pen versions of the GIMP and OpenOffice allow us to use the applications on an administered network.

My reasons for ‘diving right in’ are common. I think that the M/S Monpoly is growing more greedy and restrictive. Their embrace of DRM as well as their restrictive anti-piracy moves make my PC enjoyment more stressful as time goes on. I have toyed with Red Hat and Knoppix and win/apps like Firefox and Open Office but I got lazy and didn’t follow through. My Socket 754 system is getting long in the tooth (I just had to replace the motherboard and it cost me $44 including tax & shipping). Now that I will have a somewhat workable PC for the time being, I have been researching Ubuntu compatible hardware for my next build. I will keep my xp set-up until I have somewhat mastered the new system under Ubuntu, then it will be relegated to back-shelf status. If I don’t ‘dive right in’ I won’t master the terminology, community, culture, or software structure. I like to think of it as immursion as a learning process. I don’t want to have to ‘upgrade’ to another O/S with all the ‘benefits’ of Win ME and no advantages. It was the ‘vista’ ahead of me that convinced me I have to do this. Wish me luck.

I’d say the very fact that you’re toying with Knoppix, using Windows open source apps, and researching compatibility for hardware means that you are not “diving right in.”

It sounds as if you’re on the right track!

Your suggestions for a successful migration certainly seem prudent. I got to your site through a link from a ubuntu forums thread. I am a newbie to ubuntu that has migrated over the ages from DOS 2.1 through windows xp. My original request via a forum thread was where do I look for a list of terminal commands and their functions ala driver installations, updates etc. Maybe you could point me in the right direction?

P.S. Sorry to put a request on a comment page, but you sounded like you might know which direction. Thanks

I agree with most of your points. I kept my old Windows computer running and bought a nearly new desktop from ebay to practise Ubuntu Linux. It took me a long time to learn to use, and I’m still learning. It’s worth the effort, Ubuntu is a lovely os, and it’s free. I still have a Windows XP puter, mainly for my husband’s use. He is learning how to us Linux now.

Well, looking at the dates on these posts (2007) I can see there have been some early migraters to Ubuntu.

I haved been experimenting with Ubuntu for about 6 months using VMware Server (it’s free) and VirtualBox (it’s free, too). In the end, I found Virtual Box to be better as VMware Server didn’t work so well (the guest OS tools) after I upgraded from Ubuntu 8.04 to 8.10. Virtualisation has been a good way to try Ubuntu without any loss of my Windows XP environment. It makes it easier if, like me, you have things that just can’t be done in Linux, e.g. my favorite music synth, games, etc.

Within XP I have been using OpenOffice, Firefox and Thunderbird for a few years now. I only use MS Office when my son needs it for his school work. Otherwise, OpenOffice does everything I need.

I found your migration guide via a link from your Partitioning guide. I’m at that stage now, aiming to have a dual boot set up. Ubuntu 9.04 has just been released, so it seems a good time to take that next step.

Long term, a move to Ubuntu (or other Linux) is definitely the way I will go, but I still have those Windows apps that need somewhere to run… perhaps Wine or a virtualised Windows machine running in VirtualBox.

Anyway, thanks for a great reference source for us Linux newbies.

Thanks for the great advice. I have been an Ubuntu user for 2 years now. I kicked the M/S habit cold turkey and never looked back. (I still have an install of XP on a small computer so my kids will have it for school work, but I never touch it.) I have been trying to get some friends interested in migrating over to Linux, but have not been very successful. After reading this guide, though, I think I may have a better strategy. Thanks again.

My mother-in-law is a novice computer user. I bought her a laptop and installed dual-boot Ubuntu on top of the preinstalled, popping with junkware Vista. Good thing: she does not need to relearn, she hardly ever used computer before.
Bad thing: she is a novice, and now i slap her with two operating systems on dual boot.
I would not risk going all-buntu at this point because she might need to install… sorry for cursing… software on that computer. (duh, windows binary)

I’ve been a PC forever but since Vista came out i had a change of heart I wanted to try a live cd of ubuntu but every time i used it my computer locked up at boot. ive been looking all over the internet for help but cant seem to find any answers. its too bad i really thought it was time for a change. I like the videos i see of ubuntu it looks great! but i guess im stuck paying MS all my hard earned money so I can look at the bsod all day :(

Well, as a Windows user since ver 3.1, I have “played” with various flavours of Linux over the years. When Ubuntu hit 8.1 I gave it a good shot and decided it was ready for me to get serious with. It has been running my work horse desktop for six months now. Admittedly I have called on Wine to run a couple of old programs I just can’t do without, but a bit of tweaking got them running smoothly. Overall I think I can now safely say that Ubuntu Linux has replaced Windows for me.

But the main thing I wanted to say about it is that, for the first time in some years, I am once more having fun with my computer. Terminal takes me back to my old DOS jockey days, and, while I have trashed the system a few times, reinstalling from scratch is not the hassle it is with Vista – and no activation of course.

It’s been a long time since my computer was more than just a work tool – now it’s something I thoroughly enjoy using once more.

Thanks Ubuntu!

Good Sound advice, I kind of went a different route Installed Ubuntu personally because of 2 things I think
Vista is a worthless option that Microsoft came up with.
I love WinXP but it wasn’t completely 64byte comapatible.

Here is Ubuntu compiled for the 64 byte processor(AMD)and when I tested it out was Smoking Fast. Hmmm So what options were availible to me. 1. Cross Dos Great program of course not Free and 2 VMware again not Free
but between the two I have a system that can run any (to my best recollection)WinXP software as well as introduced me to the World of Linux (the intial install of VMware a few years back was tough) Today I find I use the VMware less and less and the Cross dos only pops up from time to time any more. So we can all say that one of 2 things happened. Either I got very comfortable with Linux or Linux matured to the point where I am super comfortable with it. either way I love
it Ubuntu is the best Thanks to all you programmers working to make it even better…

I just switched over to ubuntu from windows vista (came pre-installed on a laptop I had to buy before I left the states.) I am a “dive-right in” user- I had heard about ubuntu before, and friends who had ubuntu or linux showed me around their computers a bit, but the switch came when vista completely stopped functioning except in safe mode.

Luckily, all I use are word processing systems for school, which was Open Office while I was using Windows (I definitely wasn’t going to pay for Microsoft Word), and internet. The only disappointment was Itunes- I can’t access the music that I had put on my computer earlier because Itunes automatically converts cd’s into Itunes-only files, and all those cds are back in the states.

Still, I am much, much happier. A functional operating system is my new luxery in life.

I wanted to add my 2 cents about my experiences as an “older” person,not a computer nerd or technical person. Over 20 years ago my son,Ted, got my husband and me into the computer world, when it was DOS,before Windows. Since then I have been through every version of
Windows and have had all the problems that are so common.

Several years ago Ted began using Linux at work and got so excited about it that he began a campaign to get me to change. The first round with Linux (Ubuntu 6.10) was a disaster as he had worked with it but never installed it, etc. I tried it for a few days and got rid of it
(not easy to uninstall at the time) and went back to Windows XP.this after his constant prodding to use this “wonderful, safe, free,yahdahyahdah” system. Then, Ted discovered the VMWare Virtual Machine technology and began talking that up. My husband has limited knowledge
of the computer and is and was VERY resistant to change because of previous failures. But we gave it a try anyway and my son installed
Ubuntu 8.04 (without any problems this time).

We entered a “learning curve” of using VMware Player 2.0 (now 2.5). We did most of this with a combination of him coming to our home (120 miles) and remote desktop. After a while I was (to be honest) fed up with it and wanted to get out but he had spent so MANY hours on it that I felt too guilty to quit.

Now I am so happy that I stuck with it no matter the reason. The virtualized Windows gave me a comfort zone to know that “it [Windows]was there” to go back to, whenever we wanted to. It also helped my husband gradually accept it. As we worked out things like finding ways to use either alternatives or real Windows programs, I found myself rather quickly using Windows less and less…even my husband. Now I even do some of my own system administration things myself.

Open Office satisfies me because I absolutely hate Word 2007, but my husband had written thousands of pages of documents in it with lots of tables, charts, etc., which did not transfer well to Open Office. So…I
transferred all his stuff back into our Windows VM with a little program that shows both OS’s and allows you to copy back and forth, and he can simply click on the desktop workspace box in the bottom toolbar designated, “WinME, and he’s there. (We’re using Windows ME
since it’s ‘lightweight’, malware-resistant, and we only need to run Word 2000.) I absolutely love the workspace switcher because it is so easy to go from one project to another, i.e., Documents, Picasa, Windows, Skype, games for my husband, and Games for me without having
to open and close anything.

Anyway even my husband doesn’t go to Windows anymore unless he wants to do something with his papers. We also took the virtual machine off the Internet to make it safer. As far as applications go, the only thing we haven’t found a workaround for is my Hallmark Greeting card program…no huge loss. Ted even a way to install the Windows “Solitaire Plus” program that my husband and I spend far too much time using inside Ubuntu (using WINE).

I did have a problem with an All-in-One Lexmark printer that a friend gave me and ended up returning it and buying an Epson which is completely compatible with Linux. We use TurboPrint to run the printer. There is a website, that is
useful, too.

Anyway I wanted to encourage any of you who are frustrated with this to find someone like Ted who will help you, or just keep plugging. If an old person like me can do this, any of you certainly can!! Just be

Re: ‘Ted’s Mom’: I should point out that the “After a while I was (to be honest) fed up with it and wanted to get out but he had spent so MANY hours on it that I felt too guilty to quit” does NOT refer to problems with Ubuntu!

Ubuntu installed, configured, and ran just fine. It refers to the many problems we had figuring out which *VMware* product to use — and getting those bugs worked out. (To be fair, they didn’t claim to fully support Ubuntu at the time, mid-2008; now they do.)

We started with VMware Server 1.0 (based on reading others’ experiences; it was our first time with virtualization), but ended up hawing to rebuild one of the installer files to overcome a bad file reference. Then, about the same time, VMware released a major Server 2.0, which offered USB support.

It was still a free product, only the interface in Server changed from a regular window to a web browser — and it, too, had bugs and wouldn’t run. Aside from that, Server is just too complex for typical home use. (But it’s great for running multiple VM’s on one box, which is more of a commercial need.)

So out with VMware Server and in with VMware Player 2.0 — another free product, which is now up to version 2.5, is stable, and now has USB support, too. THAT did the trick, but it was not without its own installation issues:

With VMware Player, you have to change the permissions on the ‘.bundle’ file you download and launch it in a terminal window in order to get the GUI installer to launch. And the “VMware Tools” are inexplicably not included with Player… But can be (legally) extracted from a trial version of VMware Workstation and installed as a virtual CD on the VM.

Was it worth it? YES. And the good news is that all the speed bumps with VMware are at the beginning. Once installed, it’s almost bullet-proof and trouble free. Now if the company would just put in the effort to iron out these installation issues! It’s a good product, and makes a huge difference in migrating from Windows to Ubuntu.

I have used Ubuntu for the last two years and certainly I am still new. The best reason to move to open source is ,” open source, opens our minds, it opens our minds to learn and ask questions”. I have learned so much from the free documentation from Ubuntu and open source in general. I would only ask that Ubuntu would push further to make Ubuntu the desktop of choice.I dual boot with window but use Ubuntu 90% of the time. I have very few problems working with window files at work etc.

I have been trying different linux versions for years and yet no distro could get around a kernel panic when using an add in ati graphics card on the standard pci bus. Ubunntu couldn’t even get it right, so much so that I had to switch to a much crappier PCIe ATI card and somehow it started to work, however it was still buggy with my dual displays(probably ATI’s fault) and in the end I had to remove the card. I still happily use ubuntu with degraded graphics performance after having to rely on my crappy intel integrated chipset.

@jamke femmson,

I’ve read in many places that ATI doesn’t support Linux very well. They publish drivers, yes… but they don’t really put in the effort to make *good-quality* drivers. Other comments say that their performance is lacking, too.

Nvidia, on the other hand, has good Linux support, and makes good-quality, high-performance drivers. In addition, they have a very nice GUI that lets you configure multiple displays (stretched desktop or separate desktops, as X11 allows) that some say is better than what Windows offers.

So I would say yes, it’s probably ATI’s fault. Tell them about your displeasure in the best way possible: Buy a different video card!

All good advice. Especially dual booting: it means you can carry on using windoze for urgent tasks & take your time to learn how linux works. It is a different (& better!) world, so everyone needs time to learn how it works.

Well I was forced to dive-in. I was trying to keep Win98SE going, but of course, supporting things like a free firewall and free virus-checker (I’m tight) became an impossible situation, and be damned if I was going to pay for XP, and my platform at the time was too small/slow to support it anyway.

And then I read of Canonical’s free offer to send you a CD. I get very flustered with computereze, even though I design and build electronic apparatus. Printing/publishing a book and running a library are two completely disconnected operations.

I find many computer functions devoid of intuitive understanding, and frankly, I’d like to wring the necks of the clowns who misuse generations established terms like “drivers” etc. A driver is a powered interface from instruction to enactment.

Whatever, I received my Ubuntu 8.04 CD in the mail…and I was immediately struck at how *inviting* the interface was! (Computereze term now). I’d seen many earlier Linux OS, and was not impressed. Though a functioning engineer, I’m no computer geek, and when I design a control panel, it must be clearly usable and understandable to the novice.

Ubuntu 8.04 is at that stage! And it ran like a rabbit on my old Dell steam powered donkey. It also found all the hardware, like magic compared to the sluggish methods of Plug and Pray in Win98.

I was sold! (at no price).

I suspect it is more difficult to migrate from XP to Ubuntu (and I’m running XP right now as a learning experience, since I just bought a refurbished Dell Optiplex with it installed, but I’m getting desperate to load my Ubuntu 8.04 HDD again. I was tempted to run Ubuntu inside of XP, just to see what VM is all about, but I do have better things to do with my brainpower. I’ll leave XP on this HDD and Ubuntu on the other. That load of Ubuntu, btw, was done on my old Dell steampowered platform. Booted up with absolutely no probs on the much later Optiplex, all drivers found. More than I can say for XP! (It had trouble with the upgraded DVD from CD player I installed, fixed by downloading the driver off the web). Ubuntu 8.04 had it onboard!

There was a point of severe distress, however. Before I bought the Optiplex refurbished, I tried to run Ubuntu on an IBM platfrom. It had the guts and speed to run 8.04 with no problem, but the ACPI and other systems (prob IDE and perhaps video) caused it to keep freezing, a well documented problem. 8.04 even has a key (F6) to use at initial load to defeat some of the functions that glitch. Work well until you do an update. And then it is overwritten, and boom, you’re frozen again.

Be sure to use a machine that has no proprietary code that clashes with Linux. You can edit the boot commands, but it is only a temporary fix. It always seems to get overwritten somehow.

The IBM goes back tomorrow to exchange for RAM. The Dell Optiplex has performed flawlessly with Ubuntu. My recommendation though: Load VLC, and don’t bother fighting with the commands to get Totem to run. VLC is loaded, it just needs enabling through the Synaptic Whatever.

Typing in commands is a past-time for geeks.

When you drive your car, even if it is a stripped dwon sport’s car, you still want to turn the key to get it to start. At the very least, use a push button to engage start.

Typing in commands is a job for techies, not users.

Ubuntu has mastered that, and done it very well indeed.

How much longer can MS get away with charging for an OS that is more flawed than freeware?

To find out if Ubuntu is going to run on your machine, try the CD, but be aware that it will give no indication of power command glitches. Check online via Google before buying a second-hand machine to run Ubuntu. It will run on most machines, but not all, and some machines it will run on are very modest and cheap second-hand (well under $100 reconditioned).

I just became a linux user recently – I am working with an Ubuntu server to run the CiviCRM program for work, and I also installed the desktop version of Ubuntu on my personal laptop. My laptop runs slowly in windows due to lack of memory, plus I find that antivirus software and Windows updates are a headache. I was just in Haiti, where antivirus software and windows updates are a huge headache (people who have computers and internet connections have slow computers and slow internet connections, AND limited access to electricity too). Made me think there HAD to be another way! My experience with Ubuntu so far is that I’ve run in to problems that weren’t hard for me to solve, but that would have been hard for your average computer user. Sound didn’t work in YouTube until I manually installed some software; Ubuntu wouldn’t install for lack of memory until I manually created a swap partition. And Firefox is a memory hog on low memory machines, no matter your OS. I’ll see if I can get a bunch of Haitian friends using Ubuntu anyway!

response to comments, and..
Supposedly xp x64 drivers have improved. (i use xp 32 on 2008 vista PC which could run 64bit, but i haven’t upped the ram yet anyway)
Big problem with switching (or starting) on nix is likely similar to starting on any os these days. OSes have become very complex. But imo, linux needs to be more generous with context-sensitive help/info. googling often finds something *similar* to one’s goal, but not close enough to figure out the needed difference (to achieve one’s goal).

i began with DOS, some time on system 7 (mac). win9x.. winxp. as of now, I’ve spent little time using os x (not impressed by osx, but perhaps I only need to edit some config files)

Have been trying linux livecds for a few years. I now have decent 512mb pcs, to perm install various distros. before this, no way was i going to risk messed data by trying dualboot.

so far:
ubuntu 9.04 is sluggish on 700mhz, 512mb. i think because default nvidia drivers don’t do acceleration. I then tried envyNg the proprietary drivers, but they fail. (googling) i read that current xorg is incompatible…

Windows ME?
“lightweight” True, relative to the me’s good UI. Be sure to shutoff winme’s “new” features because those tend to cause the troubles. probably best to stay off the net, too. avast is free av for win9x (98, me). If on the net, run thru modern router and kerio2 and probably others are decent firewalls.
“we only need to run Word 2000”
yep. office200 is a good ver. I’ve had a taste of “the ribbon” (as in ofc2007) in autocad, and hmmm.. I have doubts.
workspace switcher
makes no sense for single user. but it should be faster than xp’s user switching?

being paranoid, i’ve pretty much kept ahead of windows’ infamous troubles.

i just installed ubuntu 9.04 through the wubi i have a dual boot laptop (Win XP pro and Ubuntu).so far,i like it,except i am having trouble upgrading Firefox to 3.5 (my default in windows).i still have alot to learn,but i’m tired of Microsoft dominating my pc life.i cant afford Apple,so this is the best choice for me.any suggestions on upgrading Firefox would be greatly appreciated.

Hmmm, take it slow and set aside some time – just what I don’t have! Have had Dell mini netbook with Ubuntu for two weeks and the money-back return period is only 30 days. Dell shipped it with a disgusting Yahoo version (out of date, by the way) of Firefox which I’ve told my husband I will not use. Wish we’d both tried Ubuntu sooner to learn our way around it.

After two weeks of using Ubuntu, I see why there’s a reason for supported business-friendly distros such as Red Hat. I have 9.04 and I couldn’t see using this as a full-time OS for a small/mid-sized business

great advice for novice like us. for just sheer excitement we migrate without understanding the system and its use.

Hehe, I didn’t even consider to have a test period.
I felt like nothing worked and that windows was hindering me to do what I wanted. I felt like I wanted to throw my compu out the window ‘cuz of windows ;)

When I installed Ubuntu Linux everything just worked, except my bt-mouse. After 20 minutes of searching it worked too.

The rest of my family uses windows and they have trouble with their devices, I test ’em on my compo and they just works ;)

Great advice. So many times I have had to reinstall a bricked windows installation. I set up a spare pc with ubuntu 6.10 when it first came out, been an avid fan for many years now, skitted across many distros and recently ubuntu has really set itself apart. I love the flexibility of linux. My now 7 year old laptop stopped running windows recently, an update to far it seems, and I made the move to ubuntu completely, no windows at all. It was the best thing I have done, I no longer rely on the apps I ‘needed’ in windows. What’s more is that because of the nature of linux, I hand picked my desktop enviroment to suit my lagging hardware and still benefit from the brilliant compatability of ubuntu. And a word to the wise for those with old hardware, kubuntu runs faster than ubuntu or xubuntu due to the much improved KDE 4, not a widget fan myself but performance tweaks are really noticable.

I have installed windows xp service pack-2 in C drive and now i want to install ubuntu 9.04 in partition G [total memory space is 20 GB] now problem is i have important data in remaining partition D, E and F. If i install ubuntu in partition G…will my data be lost? I want to dual boot my system.
Please help me.

I just installed Ubuntu and removed Vista. On my first install of ubuntu which seemed like it installed properly I had no sound on somevideo sites and it would not play sound on all espn or other popup sports radio sites. I tried to download sound drivers from the free ware but nothing worked. I then reinstalled the software and the flashplayer and the sound loaded this time and it is a beautiful operating system to use. I still don’t know if i need an antivirus. i tried to install threatfire and i could not. I think its better than clamwin.

A great tutorial and some good advice in comments too.

Been a freeware user for years and have turned others on to GIMP and OopenOffice. I was a small business meeting a couple of months back and the guys there were talking (raving) about how good Ubuntu was and how one medium sized co had gone completely open source.

I’m going to take the dual boot route to start with and leave here to download the various components. Vista soon to be a thing of the past I hope…

Hehe. I never had this migration plan. I just put all my data on a external HDD and installed Ubuntu without any planning at all. It was easier than I expected. :D

Take it slow…great advice and certainly the course I pursued out of necessity. 3 years ago Mandrake (and others) was/were not ready for me (or vice versa). Previous dual boot using Kubuntu slowly approached my needs. Current Jaunty satisfies (most of) my needs and all hardware WORKS. I migrated out of curiosity and am now moving between GNOME and KDE. Wine allows me to use some of the software Vista refused to permit. Opera was an easy install and is now my preferred browser. Good article.

Home use. Sony Vaio VGN-CR220E

Semi-new to Linux as I had messed about with Suse and Red Hat but was never struck by them. Even though I am a computer geek (at least according to my friends) I could not get the hang of Red Hat, everything was so overly complex and Suse wasn’t stable enough for me.

Have been fed up with windows for some time now but just been working a very large project that required that OS, so could not change.

Now is the time. Downloaded both Ubuntu and Kubuntu and did the run from CD versions and checked my hardware. Also did google searches on each little bit of my hardware to make sure drivers existed just in case. I was pleasently suprised when I found ZERO problems with it, even my wireless card was recognised.

Going to go full version over the weekend. Not sure what KVM to use though……so testing both see which “feels” best.


My suggestion is to get a spare hard drive and install Ubuntu, or whatever else you want to try on that. (I have about 10 IDE Hdd’s, and only bought 3, the rest came out of junked computers at work.) Get one of those replaceable hard drive things so you can swap them without openning the case.

Second best is to go with a second partition, but that’s risking the original install. I’ve messed up a few.

I’ve been fighting with my computer for years, trying to install Linux or BSD, and it was not until 8.04 that I succeeded with my desktop.

I’ve been using Ubuntu since the summer of 2008. It’s a bit funny how I even found out about it — I just was bored and went to Google to search for anything. I finally thought of the word Ubuntu from the deepest parts of my brain. Maybe it was divine intervention. I found as the first result and read it, and me being fairly interested in computers/programming (I was 14 then), I was really excited.

So I read around and decided to install Wubi thinking that was the only way I could install. I didn’t even know you could install another operating system on a computer without removing Windows. Turned out to be the right choice since I wouldn’t have known how to install Ubuntu properly.

I had some serious issues with my Netgear WPN111 wireless card ( , a few other long threads), so I eventually gave up Ubuntu and uninstalled Wubi from Windows. Didn’t touch Ubuntu again for another year, but I was still fond of it and recommended it to people.

Last summmer (of 2009) I came back and installed Ubuntu on my hard drive. I wanted to try to figure out why the WPN111 would not work with WPA2 in Linux and I set out to solve the problem. I had moderate success but not a fix ( ). The random disconnects annoyed me enough to not use ubuntu all of the time.

Eventually I was fortunate enough to be given a new wireless card. I didn’t get to choose which one, but luckily the Rosewill RNX-EasyN1 has a native linux driver (RT3070STA). I was overjoyed by this and installed the driver with slight difficulties, though this was my fault for not reading the README. Since then I’ve been a happy Ubuntu user and I’m learning more every day.

Sorry if posting my Ubuntu life story was kind of uncalled for, but I think it fits if at least one person who is unsure reads my post and is convinced to try Ubuntu. I think Ubuntu works for almost anyone’s needs. The only people I would not recommend it to are people who TRULY need Windows-only apps or people who need higher-quality programs such as Photoshop or the likes.

Ubuntu to the end :D

I started using Linux back in 1995 and it was not for the faint of heart back then, but I have recently started building and converting existing customers computers to Linux computers.

I install Ubuntu and get the computer fully operational then I add programs such as flash and libdvdcss2. I also will get any windows programs that they have to work in Crossover. I then will install VirtualBox and install a copy of Windows XP or Vista in that.

I then make a basic how-to video on how to find help on google and how to copy and paste commands from forums to the terminal and add links to the bookmarks. I then make a restore disk with Remastersys in case they ever do something to mess up the computer. I then give them 30 days free support for any issues they may have…

And I have not had anyone need to use the 30 day support yet. (Knock on wood)

These are, in most cases, not computer savvy people. I do this after I have made sure that the needs will be met by switching. Most are very happy with the new OS and hardly any of them use VirtualBox except in the rare case they can not get it working in wine or crossover.

I have stayed away from the dual boot option as you can only run one OS at a time. I would therefore recommend either installing a virtual session in Windows to run Ubuntu or vise versa. If that seems to difficult for your user level then google and try “wubi”

I do understand that I am doing all the hard work that most people get frustrated about when they try to switch. I am posting this as a way to help people switch. Do the hard part for them, either gratis or for a fee. Either way if people have a Linux computer that works from the start and if they are pointed in the right direction on how to find help, most find it easy to take the jump with all this work done for them.

The restore disk also lets them take their custom OS over to friends and family and show the “New” computer off without taking the hardware. It also gives them peace of mind about trying things and messing with the system, knowing that they are not going to loose anything.

Well, I have been a Windows guy since ver 3.1. But after playing with the RC for Win7 for a couple of months I realised with the pension just around the corner I couldn’t justify the cost of yet another Win upgrade. I started with ubuntu about a year ago, dual booted with XP for about a year, and now Jaunty is my OS of choice. I have worked through all the gotchas, glitches, etc. and am totally happy with it. I tell my friends about it and they think Windows is the only game in town until I let them have a go on my Ubuntu box. They are staggered when I tell them it’s free, while they are all frantically saving up for Win7. I sort of developed your suggested approach to Linux over a couple of years, and had some spectacular disasters along the way. But now I am totally sold on it.

reading the last bunch of comments…
have since installed and played a bit with a couple distros on older pcs.
unetbootin is nice installer. i recommend torrenting any iso that looks good then pointing unetbootin to the iso.

I, too, was a dive-right-in switch a couple months ago. After moving back to the US from Europe about a year ago, my PC was severely damaged by the movers, which necessitated a complete rebuild. Unfortunately, my XP disk was in a separate shipment and, as a die hard geek – gamer and hobby 3D animator – I can’t be without a computer. So I “upgraded” to Vista. After nearly a year of constant hardware and software issues and wondering why I was missing a GB of RAM that apparently Windows had some secret agenda for, I made the switch after doing a minimal amount of research. I’ve bounced back and forth between Ubuntu 9.10 and openSUSE 11.1 and 11.2, and have finally settled on Ubuntu. I really wish I’d made the switch sooner, but as a gamer, didn’t think any Linux distro would ever suit my needs. There are not words in the English language to describe how happy I am to have been wrong. Almost every Windows game I have works, and I actually get *better* perfomance in World of Warcraft in Ubuntu than I could ever have hoped to in Windows.
I still have the Windows partition, but it’s only there if I have to bring work home with me.

I just installed Ubuntu 2 days ago on my laptop (didnt mess with my desktop, Windows 7). My reason for diving right in is very simple, Knowledge! I mastered DOS by diving right in, i mastered all the versions of windows by diving right in, I mastered the mac O.S. by diving right in, I mastered a few programming languages by diving right in, I have learned a great deal about computers in general by diving right in. So far it is a pleasant experience I really kind of like how easy it is to screw with the command line and the general programming of the O.S. itself. Lets face it there are only so many time you can break windows on purpose just to find out how to fix it without discovering the solution is the same as one you used before. So I will learn this O.S. and break it a few times who knows it might become my favorite

Thanks for this detailed information.. I always wanted to try new things. This will really help me in getting on with ubuntu.

Thanks a lot.

Thank you UbunuCat for the above article and allowing the posts. I gained a lot of insight, both into myself and reading the experiences of others. Now, would I classify myself as a “dive right in” type of person? I would state that I am somewhere in between the two extremes…and right now am taking a slower approach. I originally started in 1998 with a W98 and AMDK6 350 mhz motherboard and went through all the problems the persons listed above have posted. I have burned up mother boards and media devices and struggled with drivers etc. I finally gave up for a few years–about 6– and then friends and family gave me their old systems. Currently running WME with 800 mhz on the desktop and have a second system with Pentium lll 500 mhz I am loading with WinXP-HE and Ubuntu (v.?). With all the problems I have had with Microsoft products I am more enthused about loading LINUX OS…but also need some old Windows apps to work…so I will go the dual boot option.

Now, I am not going to be mad at Microsoft because… they are a good business BUT,…I personally do not like Bill Gates and his personality. Second, Microsoft has not really engineered anything really “brilliant” outside of a good business plan. And that plan is to “buy out or bury” his competition in addition to extracitng as much “cash” from the market place as he can. Starting with the browser wars with Netscape …then all the suspicious malware around on the internet it does make one apprehensive about adopting an open source OS.

So this week I begin…not sure if I am using Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron or some version of Kubuntu because the latter is better on older sytems with 128 RAM. Wish me luck and if any suggestions please post or email me at Thanks all…I feel like I aleady know many of you! Best wishes! -Mike

… and please be ready to enjoy yourself :-)… in, say, half the time you spend battling viruses, worms, botnets and so on!

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