Upgrading Dual Boot System with Complications

drew einhorn drew.einhorn at gmail.com
Wed Oct 15 01:15:42 UTC 2008


Have an old laptop that needs upgrading.  Hard drive was reporting
some errors, so I bought a new one.  I was surprised that the
exact same manufacturer/model drive was the most economical
option, as well as the most convenient.

The laptop did not come with XP install cds.  There is a
7.5 GB recovery partition at the end of the drive.  Which
has to be preserved.  It is base on an older vintage of MS Windows.

Dual boot Ubuntu (I forget the exact vintage) and Windows XP.
It was built in the days before ntfs-ng was stable so the
partitioning was extra complex.  I shrank the XP c: ntfs partition
to make room for the Ubuntu install.  Added partions for
/boot, swap, /, and a fat32 filesystem to hold the shared data.

Have an ide to usb adapter, pulled the flakey drive, installed the
new drive in the laptop.  Hung the old drive on the usb adapter.
Could not figure out the incantations for creating the exact
partition table, so I (slowly) copied the old drive to the new
using:   dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/hda conv=noerror
to avoid hanging on the flakey sectors.  Took a few hours.

Used a gparted livecd to check and repair all the filesystems.

Put a spare drive in the ide to usb adapter and copied the
data partion for safe keeping using gparted.   Deleted
all the crufty old partions, expanded the ntfs C: partition
leaving an empty space between the C: partition and
the "recovery" partition, to either install Hardy or Intrepid.

Booted the system, arghh.  Grub errors, need to
recreate a vanilla windows MBR defaulting to the
C: drive, with the option of loading from the recovery
partition instead.  Still have the old drive to copy
stuff from.

Need to boot the recovery partition and reinstall
a factory default XP in the C: partition.

The install a new Ubuntu.

If all else fails I can go back to a dd copy of the
whole old drive to the new drive, but that will
require hours.

Drew Einhorn
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