Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
by Peter Hawkins
Wubi is a
Ubuntu Installer for Windows, although if you look at the
letter order, you would probably say it as "Windows
Ubuntu Installer". The first thing you are going to
be asking yourself is whatever are they letting this guy
tell us about an Ubuntu install when we already know the
havoc he inflicts willingly on his own computer! Well, I
do have an answer, and it's really pretty simple. Allow
me to explain.
My friend Alan has been plying me with absolutely free
live CDs of Ubuntu, beginning around 6.06 and then
updating me with each new release. And each time I
faithfully promise him that I will run the live CD and
play with the program. And I have. Just a little bit. But
enough to know that eventually I'm going to move to an
Ubuntu desktop and laptop. However I have had some
reservations about this commitment and have thus held
Before we go any further, however, the obligatory
paragraph about risk/reward and so on has to be issued.
Forthwith: I did this to my computer, it may not work as
described on yours. The results I achieved may be
entirely unattainable by anyone else, so you must assume
the full risk of anything that you do. In other words, I
am not responsible, I won't take any responsibility at
all, and in fact I'll deny that I ever said it (We're
writing this under an assumed name, aren't we?). Okay,
enough, notwithstanding the foregoing, I'm now going to
tell you what I did and how it turned out. If you are one
of those people who have to read the end of the book
before you are willing to read the whole book, okay, here
is the ending:"And They all lived happily ever
The problems with a live CD are that it runs in your
optical drive, and will only transfer data from that
drive at a rate which seems pretty darn slow. Linux is
supposed to be fast and nimble, quick on its feet, but an
optical drive really doesn't let it show its stuff. Just
teases really. However, if I want to install it to my
hard drive, then I have to have a dedicated partition for
it. Wubi eliminates this problem. I won't need to
repartition my drives, and in fact what it essentially
does is set up a folder on a Windows drive just like any
other Windows program I could install on my computer.
That means if I am unhappy with it, I can un-install it
by going to the Add/Remove programs menu and removing it.
Let's get on with it.
First, go to http://wubi-installer.org/index.php and click on the green
"Download (Beta)" which you will find in the
upper-right corner of the screen. Now you may want to
look at other things on this page before you begin. I
did, but that's just basically wasting time! That takes
you to SourceForge.net page where you will see the
heading "Wubi, the easiest way to Linux!" and
the 6th tab "Download" is already highlighted.
Click it to go to the next page where you will see a
green highlighted "Download". When you click it
the next page shows 2 files: Wubi-8.04-beta-rev-487.exe
and Wubi-8.04-beta-rev487-src.tgz and I want the
first one because I am working in Windows XP. If your
version of IE stops the process by wanting you to confirm
downloading the file, do so. You will be asked if you
want to run or save the file, so I chose to save it to my
hard drive in the partition where I intended to put
Ubuntu. It's a file that is only 1.11 MB in size so it
downloads quite quickly, even on my basic DSL connection.
Then I double-clicked it in Windows Explorer so it would
run. This is the screen I got;
easy questions, if in doubt, the down-arrow button shows
the available choices. Pick the drive where you want it,
give it 6 to 8 gigs of space, use English, easy to
remember user name and password. That's it.
Sit back and wait, because you will need to download the
whole ISO before it will install. On my system it took
about 1 1/2 hours to do it all. Eventually I was rewarded
with this screen:
so I hit
Finish, and it did. You've got to remember that you're
going to end up with a dual-boot screen so you can choose
which OS you're going to run. Every time you want to
change, you have to restart your computer. I'm thinking
that the longer I play with this, the longer I'll stay in
Ubuntu. I'm even thinking that now the Wine is at version
0.95 stable, I could run what few Windows apps I want
without leaving Linux, but that has to be a topic for
When I originally wrote the piece about
installing Ubuntu using the WUBI installer, I had
a keyboard and mouse that had leads that attached
at the back of my computer. They were
"wired" in, in other words. Firmly
attached by very short leashes to my desktop, and
quite unlikely to stray. The install process went
perfectly, without a single glitch. You would
think I would have taken the "No news is
good news" thing as a kind of warning. You
would think that!
Naturally, I paid it no attention and continued
on in blissful ignorance, booting into Ubuntu
regularly to try it out, then re-booting into
windows without a thought...UNTIL....I installed
a wireless keyboard and mouse. The very next time
I rebooted to try Ubuntu, the dual boot screen
came up, just like it always did, and when it
came time to choose, I hit the down-arrow key to
change....and absolutely NOTHING happened. Well
nothing but a countdown timer that eventually
booted me into Windows. What had gone wrong? I
tried it several more times, always with the
expectation that THIS time the keyboard would let
me choose Ubuntu, which, of course, it never did.
Yes, I know that there is a word used to describe
people who continue to perform the same action
over and over expecting a different outcome, but
I would very much appreciate if you would kindly
refrain from even thinking it!
I finally realized that the drivers for the
wireless keyboard and mouse loaded much later in
the boot-up process and that I still needed the
wired keyboard plugged in. This fixed my little
problem right away. The wired keyboard sits
quietly beside my computer case, out of the way,
just waiting for the very few times in a week
when it is briefly needed for one
keystroke....the one very important keystroke
that lets me choose to boot into Ubuntu as I
slowly climb the learning curve towards Linux!
(Windows Ubuntu Installer)
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full OPCUG website with frames.
Copyright and Usage
Ottawa Personal Computer Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON K2G 1S6
opinions expressed in these reviews do not necessarily
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