A few nights ago I decided to install Ubuntu Linux 5.10 on my main computer, so I set about doing it, I downloaded Ubuntu 5.10 via Bittorrent as it provides downloads which are checked for errors as they come in. On previous occasions I have downloaded large things via HTTP (the “normal” way) and then fixed the errors by letting Bittorrent redownload the broken bits.
I decided to give Ubuntu 20GB of the 80GB hard drive, but I noticed that the hard drive was approaching 60GB of used space, so I went and removed a lot of excess clutter, which deleted roughly 20GB of files.
Then I set about running Disk Defragmenter which is always a good idea when repartitioning existing partitions, as it tends to move all the files into one large chunk, which makes the whole partitioning exercise easier.
The rest of the process should have been easy, I inserted the Ubuntu CD and booted from it, ran through the installation wizard, hist the wrong button on the partitioning screen without realising, had a minor panic attack and decided to partition the drive myself. So I whipped out my copy of Partition Magic 8.0 (without realising that it is the version of Partition Magic which creates NTFS partitions which Windows XP can’t recognise) and set about resizing the existing NTFS partition to 60GB which would leave a nice blank space for Ubuntu to deal with as it likes. Partition Magic slowed to a crawl and gave a useless error halfway through making the changes to the hard drive and promptly exited.
At this stage panic sunk in, I rebooted the computer (which was about all the computer would let me do) and watched Windows try to start itself. This was somewhat spectacular, before the XP logo screen could appear, I saw half of a stop error (AKA Blue Screen Of Death) and the computer restarted so it could do it again…needless to say, I was not impressed, and having not backed up the important data on the now useless partition I was very concerned.
I came to the conclusion that Microsoft own the file system, so they should fix it. So I got out my XP CD and booted off that and entered the recovery console…this proved how bad things really were, it didn’t even ask me for the administrator password, which is it’s way of saying “Well, I can’t find any reason to authenticate you…looks like that’s a hard drive…you fix it!”
I tried to get a directory listing, but it gave me some error along the lines of “failed to enumerate directory structure”, so I ran the recovery console version of CHKDSK, it told me the partition had errors (wow…it must be bright), so I let it loose with the /r switch in full force telling it to repair. During the hour or so that it spent showing me a percentage of completion, I frantically searched for my notes on the recovery console, which I appear to have placed in an unknown location.
Somehow, during this ordeal, I ended up deciding that this was exciting, so I greeted the completion of CHKDSK with some relief and joy…I restarted the computer and to my surprise Windows XP booted perfectly…all my data was still intact, and I was pleased.
Undeterred I set out on Installing Ubuntu again, and this time, having hit the right buttons, it went flawlessly, it resized my NTFS partition, created some new partitions, installed itself, configured the bootloader, and just plain worked…imagine how much time and angst I would have saved if I had hit the right buttons in the first place.