Installing Ubuntu - confidently - on a separate HD

Phil Bull philbull at
Thu Oct 29 23:13:33 UTC 2009

Hi Peter,

Thanks for getting in touch.

On Thu, 2009-10-29 at 13:26 -0200, Peter Lenny wrote:
> 1. I downloaded Ubuntu 9.04 (jaunty jackalope) and burned the image to
> a CD.

What software did you use to burn the image to a CD?

> 2. Immediately the CD-burn program finished, the computed just
> rebooted and (what I assume to be) an install process started.

What happened between the CD burn process finishing and the computer
rebooting? Did you eject and re-insert the CD into the drive, or did it
reboot while the CD burning software was still running? It's important
that you provide as much detail as possible about what happened in this

When booting from a CD, Ubuntu will load a "Live CD" environment, which
lets you try Ubuntu without installing it. You could have been seeing
this rather than an installer.

> 3. In panic, I shut down the PC, then removed the CD. On rebooting,
> Windows XP could not initialize, and I had to resort to an IT
> professional to restore the system.

The install process can't begin unless you explicitly start it yourself,
and you will be asked to confirm that you want to install Ubuntu before
any changes are made to your hard disk. If you didn't start the install
process yourself, then Ubuntu shouldn't have made any changes to your
computer whatsoever.

If I understand the steps you performed, then I don't think that Ubuntu
caused the crash. It could have just been an unfortunate coincidence
that you were burning an Ubuntu CD at the time.

> So my question is: Did I unwittingly abort a simple, legitimate,
> automatic install process that would have preserved my existing XP
> setup on C:, installed Ubuntu wherever I subsequently instructed it
> to, and set up Grub for dual boot, or did I interrupt a potentially
> disastrous overwrite of my existing XP installation on C:?

It depends on which installation CD you're using, but starting an
automatic installation process isn't trivial. It's most likely that you
were just starting the Live CD, which doesn't make any changes to your
computer unless you ask it to. Still, it's a weird problem, and I'd like
to get to the bottom of it.



Phil Bull

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