Installing Ubuntu

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yogi
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Installing Ubuntu

Post by yogi »

Let's assume I want to install LINUX Ubuntu on my laptop where Fedora's Mageia already resides next to Windows 10. Sounds messy, but it really isn't. I've done it a few times.

Encouraged by my success, I figured I'd try installing LINUX Mint in the same box. As you know from previous posts and your own personal experience, Linux Mint identifies itself as Ubuntu - exactly the same name as the original OS. Well, just wipe the disk clean and reinstall everything. That will fix it.

Along comes LINUX Peppermint. Assume that I created a Virtual Machine for this OS and that it was duly impressive. So ... why not install it in that Windows/Mageia/Ubuntu computer? Guess what!!! LINUX Peppermint identifies itself as ... UBUNTU.

All of the above is happening in a machine that boots UEFI. There are a lot of details I won't mention here (because I already bored you with them elsewhere), but the UEFI scheme requires a separate ESP (Extensible firmware Interface System Partition) wherein all the bootloaders for all the OS's must reside. They can reside elsewhere, but the classic approach is to put them into the ESP.

In addition to the bootloaders, such as Grub, reFINd, and the Windows bootloader, there are other ESP directories for backups and various other purposes. Each bootloader, however, has a directory of it's own at the root level. Thus, when you have two or three LINUX OS's that identify themselves by the same name, an already confusing situation becomes chaotic.

Been there. Done that.

So now that the derivatives of LINUX Ubuntu have corrupted the critical ESP partition, it would be time to wipe the disk clean and start over. Well, let's just erase Ubuntu's ESP information and delete the partition on which the OS is installed. OK, that sounds reasonable. Unfortunately, now the original Ubuntu will not install giving the error message that its Grub bootloader cannot be installed. Ubuntu will not be able to boot. Tough luck for you.

Going to the Ask Ubuntu or the Ubuntu Forums websites should get some answers. Apparently a lot of folks have the same problem in one form or another. The consensus is that the Ubuntu installer program (used in all three versions mentioned above) has a bug. Too bad, because there is no fix. The developers have to come up with something for that. Well, the bug has been around for six years and still no fix. So, maybe trying a different approach will get better results. Ask how to install Ubuntu's Grub into the ESP partition? Take my advice. Don't ask. There are some good suggestions if you sift through the garbage and get past the folks who blame it on Windows. But there is nobody with a solution.

So now let's assume that you spend 3-4 months learning about UEFI and how to implement Linux on a stick. Yes, it takes that long to figure it out even if you are a dedicated Linux fanboy. Well Linux on a stick isn't the same as Linux in a multi-boot Windows based computer, but it's close. It's close enough to use as a guide for installing Ubuntu alongside other operating systems. Here is what you need to do.

1 -- Make sure the target drive is partitioned correctly, i.e. GPT formatted and a vfat partition for the ESP information. You can also make a partition for the Ubuntu OS ahead of time, but it is usually done during installation. You DO know how to do that, right?

2-- Download the UEFI version of Ubuntu and make a live USB version. A DVD can be used too, but who actually uses DVD's these days? And, of course, you will use the proper software to create that live USB lest you risk the possibility of creating something that will not boot or will not function correctly during installation. Like the prerequisite of having knowledge about partitioning, you should have the required knowledge for putting Linux on a stick. And dammit, it better be a GPT stick, not an MBR one.

3-- Since we already know that Grub won't install anymore, the Ubuntu installer must be run without installing Grub. Like the above two items, it's assumed you intuitively know the CLI instruction ubiquity -b will do that for you.

4-- Now you have Ubuntu installed without its bootloader. The trick is to start up the installed Ubuntu somehow so that you can use it to install it's Grub. You can't just install Grub into the ESP partition willy nilly. It has to be done from inside the target OS so that permissions are set correctly. Hmm ...

5-- The Windows Boot Device Manager won't call up Ubuntu even though it's listed as an option. Of course not. There is no Grub for it to call. Why the entry is there to begin with is a mystery of the ages, but for now we will reboot the machine and call up reFINd instead of Grub or Windows bootloader. reFINd is kind of cool in that it bypasses all the crap Grub throws at you and calls up the Linux kernel of interest directly from the installed OS. Well, Grub does that too, but we don't have Grub yet. Oh, and of course, you do know all about reFINd and how to use it, right?
5a- A slight quirk is apt to show up at this point. Missing nVidia drivers may prevent Ubuntu from getting past the login screen. No problem. Before logging in start up a shell session (ctrl+alt+F2), log in, and install the drivers from the repository. Should you not need nVidia you still may not be able to log in. Start up that shell session and do a full distribution upgrade to get all the latest packages out of the repository. Things should work fine after that.

6-- Once Ubuntu is finally running, it's time to install Grub to the ESP:

Code: Select all

$ sudo apt-get install grub-efi-amd64-bin
$ sudo mkdir -p /mnt/esp
$ sudo mount /dev/sdb2 /mnt/esp
$ sudo grub-install /dev/sdb --efi-directory=/mnt/esp --boot-directory=/boot --target=x86_64-efi 
Installing for x86_64-efi platform.
Installation finished. No error reported.
$ sudo umount /mnt/esp
$ sudo rm -r /mnt/esp 
Actually, that's a slightly modified way to install Grub to a USB memory stick. There are several explanations in the forums that approximate this method, but I could not find any two that were identical. Thus, I concluded there is no published single way to install Grub into an ESP partition. Once again your intuition will need to be invoked to come up with this.

7-- If luck smiles upon you favorably, Ubuntu will appear in your Windows Boot Device Manager menu. That assumes your Windows bootloader was not displaced by Grub. If it was - and the last OS in generally takes charge - then you must go into UEFI BIOS and set the BBS priorities for the hard drive on which Ubuntu is installed. Then, and only then, you will see all the OS's available to boot, including a choice to use reFINd instead.

And that's all there is to it. :mrgreen:

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Kellemora
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by Kellemora »

By my way of thinking, since the OS's are Open Source, if you obtained the source code, and understood programming enough, you could go in and change the Name of the OS from Ubuntu to Mint on Mint, leave Ubuntu as Ubuntu, and change Ubuntu to Peppermint on Peppermint.
But then you would have to compile the code which I hear is not all that easy to do on an OS.

I've seen a lot of ads recently on ways to speed up your PC by buying their USB stick.
Turns out those USB sticks are running Linux NOT as a live OS but are fully installed on the USB stick.
The computer guy I know selling the ones he makes is not the person selling these on-line.
I have no idea how they work without messing up your existing install, since that was one of the problems you encountered.

Did happen to talk to the guy across the street again, and he has all of his OS's installed in Virtual Machine.
I tried that a couple of times and it was like throwing glue into my computer, bogged it down big time.
But then it was an older machine I was playing with too.

One of the gamers I see on-line was bragging about his new computer, 12 cores, 64gigs of Ram, but then talked about his gaming controllers and stuff like that. Must have cost a pretty penny, and he is running Windows 10, most gamers do run Windows.

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yogi
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by yogi »

You don't need to compile machine code to change the name of the OS. Part of my learning experience in fact included how to do just that. The issue that resulted was that it only worked up to the next upgrade. At that time the new system would interact with the UEFI code and revert back to the chaos.

While it's not a popular opinion, I am convinced more than ever that Linux may be the cat's meow as far as kernels go, but open source is a never ending catastrophe. In theory it should work, but because there essentially are no rules developers are allowed to take inappropriate liberties. You know, like not buying an encryption key for your secure boot system and just naming it after an existing system that already has a key. I'm certain said developers are very aware of the conflicts they are creating, but they don't care. The thinking is that only their particular project will be on any given machine and do not plan for any type of integration. When it comes to thinking about integrating with anything from Microsoft, the Linux people go berserk. The end results of all this is that Linux is not winning over the users of Windows machines that they destroy. Quite the opposite is happening in fact.

Today is the end of the line for Windows 7. I am now running an insecure and unsupported system. I've made quite a few posts in these forums explaining in excruciating detail why I am not embracing Linux. It's disheartening in some ways because for a while I fell for the tripe that proliferates in the Linux support forums. Linux might just be better than Windows, but I have yet to discover a compelling reason why. The fact that most of it is free is in it's favor, but I don't see anything other than it's problems that would have me switch. I'll admit that I'm a special case too. Not everybody wants a multiboot laptop and a collection of USB sticks with Linux that will boot on any computer. I can do all that now, but paid a heavy price. The good news is I learned a lot and feel proud of my accomplishments.

You want Linux on a stick? I can send you all you want. Plus, I'm reasonably confident they will boot on any computer. Not only that, but I can send you .vmi files for you to plug into your VirtualBox software package. It turns out that the VB cloning is a lot easier than any other way if you have the hardware to support virtual machines; which I do. And, I have a very strong suspicion that Grub can be made a thing of the past. I'm really liking reFINd. Like Windows, it just works.

The next and final project is now at hand. Windows 7 has become an orphan and needs to be put to rest. Before I do that I want to move it from its current MBR home to a brand new SSD formatted with GPT and is UEFI bootable. Acronis makes some software that could possibly do all this in short order. That will leave the nightmare of all those MBR installed Linux distributions I have in the same box. I won't be able to clone exactly what I currently have due to the flaw in the Ubuntu installer and the fact that Linux Mint identifies as Ubuntu. Never should the two be mixed on a single EFI machine. My strategy will be to do away with all traces of the current Linux OS's in the tower. I'll then install a new HDD and rebuilt it all from scratch. I'm not certain what I will do with Windows. Moving over to Windows 10 is inevitable. However, I do run the Insiders Preview version of Windows and that might be just enough to keep me happy. Whatever I decide, prepare to read about it right here. :grin:

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Kellemora
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by Kellemora »

I think you may be overlooking something about Linux.
You are always talking about Windows support and how it just works.
If you buy a Supported Linux Distro, you would have something that is stable, and just works.
All of the free Linux Distro's are what different people put together using open source software.
Both Ubuntu and RedHat have fully supported Linux Distro's, both for home users as well as commercial and business.

The free version of RedHat is CentOS, which I'm sure you know.
Ubuntu is a little different though, they don't have separate versions per se.
But if you go with the supported Ubuntu, I believe it is always the Enterprise system with some proprietary things included with it only available in the paid version.

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yogi
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by yogi »

Perhaps you are missing what I'm doing here. I understand that if I want to pay for support I can get it. I'd be in the Windows game if I did that, but it's even worse than that. The support would be for that single operating system on a single machine. I'm not doing that here. I am into multi-booting using muli-media. You know what would happen when the Linux guy comes out to service my machine; don't say you do not. LOL He will blame all my problems on the fact that I have Windows installed on the same hardware. The Windows guy will blame it on Linux. :rolleyes:

Believe it or not I am not doing anything unusual. None of the OS's I've been experimenting with insist that they be stand alone on a machine of their own. They ALL support booting other operating systems alongside them. Every BIOS firmware I ever saw is built upon the idea of more than one bootable device being attached to the system. I will agree that not many people want to do what I am doing. That does not make me the bad guy. If Ubuntu can't build an OS that works alongside another Linux distribution, I want them to put that statement into their manuals so that I don't have to waste six months of my life discovering that fact on my own. What I hear and read about all the time is how much better Linux is. Well, believe me my friend, I want that to be true. I just can't prove it. I might be brainwashed by Bill Gates personally, but what I see here is that Windows (and all its imperfections) works very well where Linux does not. It's not just personal bias on my part either. Check out what I put in these forums if you need evidence.

The bottom line is that none of what I've written here makes much difference. All I did is explain what I am doing with my spare time, and that's therapeutic. Good for me, eh?

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Kellemora
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by Kellemora »

I understand where you are coming from! I had something similar happen many years ago, but not with computers, with professional chemists.
After my product was on the market for a little over 2 years, we started making a few international sales. Everything was going great until we hit the Asian countries, and then my product had a few problems there.
I went to a private testing laboratory and paid them and their chemist to figure out what the problem was.
Turned out the problem was a well known problem and although they did tell me what I needed to add to my formula to prevent that problem. After studying my original formula, and after one chemist discussed it with two other chemists, because he could not figure out how it could possibly work. I did some unconventional things they never saw or even heard of before.
My original chemist told me you can do things that way, it just flat out won't work.
To appease him, and this was before he talked to the other two chemists, I brought him an article explaining the technology behind how I did what I did. He told me my explanation makes little to no sense. I no longer had the original article, but I did have an old World Book Encyclopedia that almost the same paragraphs but not in the same order.
After the other two chemist got involved, I brought in my test data which now covered over five years of the results of my product, and they were done properly with a control tank and several testing tanks.
They finally agreed, it works exactly as I claim, but there is no scientific reason it is working the way it does, and not causing the problems other methods currently use have caused.
They were talking about the fact that my product does not leave undissolved organic carbon behind as all the other things ever used has.
I got to know them pretty well and hired their company to make the enzymes I used in my product.
They didn't exactly understand at first why I put them in there, because the product will work without them.
Unfortunately, it only works without them if the aquarist previously fed a frozen food at some time. Oh, it would still work as they claim, but would take another fifteen days longer.
They made my enzymes for several years, and also pointed me to a place to buy one of my ingredients for pennies on the dollar instead of the rip-off price I was paying. One of the chemists also told me I probably didn't need to buy this other product at like seven bucks a gallon, since I could make what little I used myself for free.
They had a fire, and the owner of the lab was older so decided to just close down.
That left me scrambling to find another place to make my enzymes.
I did and they were very expensive for my small order. But I lucked out once again. One of the chemists from the original lab was working there and had a hunch that the only person who would order enzymes done in that way was little ole me. He gave me a phone call and asked if he could come visit me. I said sure!
He showed me the equipment I needed to make the enzymes myself, although I couldn't encapsulate them so they would last until the next order. I wouldn't need to do that if I only made enough for each of my orders before I made the order. But I still needed the encapsulation material as it was also a key element in my product. He told me where I could buy a lifetime supply that won't go bad for under 100 bucks. Well, it wasn't quite a lifetime supply, but did keep me going for about ten years before I had to reorder at around 300 bucks, yeah it went up that much, hi hi.

Didn't mean to get side tracked, but wanted to mention that the later chemist who came to visit me, finally figured out how and why my product worked. There was more to it than just the formula, I used certain types of ingredients which in the chemistry world are all lumped under one name and formula. But I knew from my tests that only a specific version of the product would work without leaving the undissolved organic carbon. The key to him learning how it worked, was in how it was used and what equipment the aquarist must own for it to work.
Once he understood what my product did, and how it exported the nitrates, he was actually amazed that someone who knows nothing about chemistry was able to develop such a product.
I told him by not knowing, meant I tried things they would have never tried, because they already believed it wouldn't work that way so would have never tried. All he could say to that is, you are dead on right about that!

To do what you want to do, you have to think outside the box the programmers are confined to.
And by doing so, you have figured out a lot, and have made great strides and accomplishments.

You know what they say, when their is a Will, there's Relatives, hi hi.

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yogi
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by yogi »

To my chagrin I was not the best programmer at Motorola. I probably ranked in the lower 10% because most of what I did was not product development like the real engineers were doing. My point is that I know about programming. I can recognize good code vs bad code. More than that, I know some of the reasons why highly paid engineers release questionable code. I worked side by side with guys who had to make those kind of decisions. I know pathetically little about OS kernels, but I know that down at that level there isn't a whole lot of difference. Kernels have to do what kernels do. So, in my humble opinion, I don't see much advantage to either the Windows or the Linux kernel. It gets messy after that.

You are absolutely correct about thinking outside the box. It's called intuition and/or being creative. This is how new ideas and discoveries are formed. A little bit of ignorance can go a long way to open up new methods, but again I must say that I'm not trying to break any rules or open new ground. Frankly, I'm bored and have nothing better to do - that's the main reason I'm experimenting with the complexities of divergent operating systems living side by side. It's done all the time, but I never did it as much as I'm into it now. The so called support forums are filled with people asking questions about dual and multi-booting. I realize my pursuits are odd, but I'm not alone. There are answers to my questions. Finding the people who have them is the hard part.

Taking a different tack now ...

Today the NSA announced that it discovered a major vulnerability in 900 million installations of Microsoft Windows. So what else is new? It so happens that today also is the end of life for Windows 7. The newly discovered vulnerability affects encryption that every Windows OS uses, including Windows 7 and its predecessors. The patch for said vulnerability will be released for Windows 10, and nobody at Microsoft is talking about Windows 7 being patched. It seems odd to me that on the day it is expiring a new heretofore unknown critical security vulnerability should be revealed. The implication is that if us Windows 7 users don't upgrade today (and today only), we are SOL and will die a cruel and painful death. Well, maybe not me personally, but my computer not only has ended it's life but will heretofore be vulnerable to security risks that have been known for many months but only fixed today.

Amazing, eh?

To be honest I'm a few days behind schedule with my plan to archive the current state of my Windows 7 machine and march on boldly and unprotected from here. I need to detoxify my system, back it up entirely (all three disks), and then migrate to a new GPT formatted SSD that will boot UEFI. Like my other OS projects, this one appears to be pointless. Why bother preserving a dead horse? I dunno. Because I can ??? We will see if I can. Besides, I'll need to have that new disk format if I capitulate and migrate on up to Windows 10 as my default OS. Stay tuned for further developments.

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Kellemora
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by Kellemora »

You know Yogi, with all the work you are putting into doing this, I hope you are keeping great notes.
Once you get all the kinks worked out and develop a fool-proof method, you could publish it in a book, rather than just give the info away once you have accomplished the ways to do it successfully all the time.

I had a distant cousin who made a fortune by publishing a book on fingernail design and finishing, and it was only sold to those in the industry, not to the general public. Well, when I say a fortune, she made over 350 thousand dollars after taxes and publication expenses, fees, and advertising in trade magazines.
She did another book on pie crust designs but actually lost money on that one, hi hi.

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yogi
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by yogi »

I have notes, but not of a book publishing quality. LOL One of the things I learned is that it's futile to come up with a set of instructions for anything complex. The general requirements are well known, but looking into the support forums you would be astonished at how many variations there are in the environment. Adjusting BIOS is an example. Do any two of your computers have the identical BIOS? Not likely. Even if they do have the same firmware, how do you get to it? Not the same way on every machine. A book would require covering every caveat and that's just the BIOS part.

Another complexity has to do with software. I use Windows to make Linux on a stick in certain circumstances. It is required to have virtual box installed as well. You might read my book but you won't be able to follow at least one set of instructions because you don't use Windows. In fact the gist of successful creation of Linux on a stick is to do so without allowing Linux to corrupt the Windows bootloader in the process. You don't use Widows, so, that's not a problem for you. But most of my book readers do use Windows and they have no clue about booting even so. I'd have to cover all the contingencies in that scenario.

Then there are the assumptions. You do know how to partition a disk, right? Well, yes, I believe you do, but does every kid in that library you go to know? Doubt it. How many people even know what a bootloader is? Do they also know the difference between the Windows Boot Device Manager, Grub, and reFINd? You need to know all that in some cases.

It's inevitable for the novice to trash the Windows boot process. They would not only need the recovery tools to fix it, but also need to know how to troubleshoot and use the tools. All the possible screw ups a person can make would need to be included in any book describing what I learned. I'm certain it would be a valuable book for certain individuals, like me. But, as I've asked a few million times already, who in their right mind would want to do what I do? :crazy:

Then again, $350,000 might be worth a shot.

________________________
So, my Windows 7 is now nagging me about migrating over to Windows 10. Fortunately, they also provide a way to turn off the nags. I might do it and will regret not taking them up on the free upgrade offer if I do. That's a change in direction from my recent plan, but things suddenly got complicated.

Acronis, and anybody who sells disk manipulation software, has a way to migrate from a HDD to an SSD. I want to do that and bought the hardware to make it possible. It turns out that isn't enough. In addition to changing over to solid state storage hardware, I also want to change the disk format from MBR to GPT. That's easy assuming that is all I want to do. Gparted can do it and so will all the others. However, since my ASUS tower is all MBR, it will not boot a GPT formatted disk. You might think all I need to do in that case is go into BIOS and set the firmware to do away withe MBR booting and concentrate on GPT and UEFI. That would disable the current Windows 7, which isn't critical given that I'm migrating to something else. It would also disable all the Linux OS's, which is unfortunate, but I was going to rebuild those drives anyway. The glitch is, I can migrate files and I can migrate partitions and I can flip switches in Bios to accommodate my boot process whims, BUT ... Windows will not boot because there are no preexisting UEFI bootloaders to copy over to the new SSD. I may end up with an image, but no way to boot it.

I've been thinking hard :think: and am speculating that I could use the original Windows install CD's to put Windows 7 on that new GPT formatted disk. It will automatically build in the correct bootloader. That would get me a factory fresh copy of Windows, which I don't want. I want the image I saved the other day, but that image is from an MBR machine and may not copy over to a GPT machine. This is not a huge problem because I think there are ways to get around that situation. Unfortunately, there is one huge problem that could be a show stopper.

Over the years I have modified Windows 7 many times in many ways. It's not the original that came with the Silver Yogi. One of the modifications I made was to put Windows 7 on an SSD. This was a brilliant way to increase the speed of the system, but not a great idea for a guy who does a lot of disk transactions such as happens when playing graphics intense games. To solve that problem I moved a whole bunch of programs and games over to a separate physical hard drive. Thus the image for my Windows 7 contains two hard drives worth of data. This is fine until you get to where I am today. The Acronis migration software only copies single partitions. That means whatever programs are on the extra drive would not be copied. It's fairly common to migrate several partitions when they are data, but nobody is talking about migrating a single OS split between two hard drives.

The system image I made before I started this project was done via the internal Windows software. Interestingly enough Windows 10 does not support this image making, but Windows 7 does. Windows sensed that I have the system split between two drives and merged it all into one 227GB file on my archive drive. I've never tried to recover from an image before, but I am guessing Windows would want to see two drives should I use that image to restore the system. However, it's MBR and not the GPT I am looking for.

Can you say "Catch 22?"

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Kellemora
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by Kellemora »

Debi was at her computer, stopped and came into the kitchen where I was eating a sandwich for lunch to ask me about something. Afterward, I went back up to my office and no sooner than I sat down, she called. Her computer had the blue screen of death on it.
The one interesting thing about the warning was it said the CMOS checksum didn't match.
Usually when I get that it means the battery is low or dead, but I just replaced it with a new one less than a year ago.
So, I unplugged all the USB cords because Alienware does not boot up with them connected.
Booted up and got the usual notice about Windows not being shut down properly.
It usually waits for me to select to boot normal or boot in safe mode. This time it didn't wait.
After it booted up, we had to wait for an unusually long amount of time. But when it did finally get all the way booted up, we got the pop-up message to install Windows10. I thought I had those disabled!
So I spent about an hour trying to disable that message and did a test on the MoBo to see if there were any problems there.
Everything checked out just fine, but I had to reboot after running the tests I ran.
This time it booted up OK, and at it's normal slow pace, hi hi.
She's not had anymore problems that I know of.

As far as all the things you are trying to do on your computer, you really are a glutton for punishment, hi hi.
I still have a computer with XP, Debian, and Mint on it, not much memory, but I only use it to play Windows version of FreeCell, hi hi. Although for the past week I've been using it to copy old IDE drive data over to a large external drive to check I didn't miss anything with all the redundancy I have around here.
Trying to clean up all the extras, and make one new solid backup of everything in an organized fashion.

One of the things I'm looking for is some of Debi's pictures she lost, but I know I don't have any of them.
Although I have found some of mine on a long forgotten partition I made just for one of my camera downloads.
It never got moved to the newer computers, because that drive was weird anyhow, and hard to see what was on it.
It is also one that got hit with Ransomware a while back, so I'm very careful about checking each image before adding to my file of images. They look OK and don't seem to have anything weird about them.

It had some old games on it too the will only work with a soundblaster card, hi hi.
If you try to install the program in WINE for example, the program asked you to select from four sound cards, and three different video cards, none of which I have anymore, hi hi.
Ironically, they will run on the old XP machine in Windows 3.11 compatibility mode, but they run way to fast, and with no sound, hi hi.

There are newer versions of the same games for newer computers, but they are not exactly the same.
Like FreeCell on Win10 is nothing like FreeCell on WinXP.

I wish you luck with what you are trying to do over there!

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yogi
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by yogi »

As far as all the things you are trying to do on your computer, you really are a glutton for punishment, hi hi.
That may be true, but it feels so good when I stop. :lmao1:

Just to recap, my current mission is to migrate Windows 7 from it's current HHD that is MBR formatted to a new SSD that is GPT/UEFI formatted. There are a ton of considerations and a few places I looked into advised not to do it. Nobody actually offers advice for my exact situation, which is Windows 7 spread over two HDD's.

After reading about a few strategies, I thought I'd take some of my experience with Linux UEFI and try to apply it to Windows. Basically that involves installing the OS first and then adding the boot files later. Windows is not like Linux in that it will not provide an option to not install the bootloader. Thus I had to take it all or nothing. Thus, the final strategy is to install Windows 7 from scratch onto the SSD wherein it will automatically create the partitions for UEFI and fill them up appropriately. At that point I would restore the system from the image I made of the MBR system. This is like putting oranges into an apple crate, but there was a suggestion in one of the forums that it could work. Of course they assumed the OS was all on one disk and not like mine spread across two.

With great angst and a pounding heart, I downloaded the iso for Windows 7 in preparation for the great migration. The fact that an iso was available at all was my first surprise. In the past I had to download separate files and a service pack hoping they would all work. Plus, we are two days into the no-support era and I didn't even expect copies of Windows 7 to be available at all. I burned the iso to a USB memory stick because that would be a lot faster than a DVD. I have external access to the SATA bus alongside my USB ports so that it was very easy to plug in the new SSD to the SATA bus and boot it all up. To my utter surprise and amazement Windows 7 installed to the SSD in the UEFI mode. What was even more amazing is that I could select (via BIOS) booting from the original MBR disk too. This flexibility is attributed to the firmware on my ASUS motherboard more than anything else. I've read over and over never to mix MBR and UEFI but there is a compatibly mode offered in BIOS. I did not have to set that up because, somehow, by magic, the BIOS figured it all out on it's own and made the right settings.

So, now I have Windows 7 installed on two different drives in the ASUS tower. All that remains is for me to try to recover to that backup image I made the other day. If that works, I am home free. It turns out that the new SSD is about 10 MB smaller than the old one. Partitions sizes are different too. In the past when I've tried to do something like this Windows would complain that the target was smaller than the source and it will not cooperate with me. The actual data, however, is only about 30% of the available disk space. To my way of thinking that should work. If I can indeed do the restoration, then the final test will be to see if the auxiliary disk can be accessed and is functional. That disk is in the backup image and the hardware is in the machine, so ... what could go wrong? I'll tell you about it in the next installment. :mrgreen:


I've not seen many BSOD's lately, and I don't think I ever saw one on the Windows 10 computer. I have seen black screens which amount to the same thing, but no blues. I used to have a program, and perhaps still do, that would read the core dumps from the blue screens and tell you what went wrong. Of course you can look into the event viewer too, but that's a crazy mess worse than the Linux system logs. I'm glad you were able to get things going for Deb regardless. Me and Dell don't get along and I'd never buy Alienware unless I was giving it away to somebody I don't like. There are people who love it, and like many things it's fine while it works. Don't ever try to get customer support, however. There virtually is none.

You are pretty knowledgeable, but I will remind you nonetheless not to trust anything that has been contaminated by malware. There are ways to scrub the files, or at least find out if they have any hidden infections. Be certain to do that before you put them into a clean system.

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Kellemora
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by Kellemora »

Basically all ransomware does is encrypt a file of certain file names, normally jpg, png, doc, & docx. At least when we were hit. So I did not lose any tiff, bmp, or other images, and none of the odt files were touched.
Rather than pay a ransom, which doesn't always work anyhow, or try to use a generic program that was supposed to break the encryption. I just deleted every file that got encrypted. I got most of them back from backups that were not online at the time.
I was actually afraid to connect my known good backup, so what I did was copied everything over to an external I connect to my accounting computer which is not online, and then moved the external to the machine I cleaned up. This was all after running several virus and malware checkers first.
We know it came in through Debi's Windows machine and probably only looked for shared drives that it could see through her computer. So it was a surprise it got through Linux boxes to externals connected to them. But then too, they were all formatted NTFS back then. Now most of my drives are EXT4 which is backed up manually to a NTFS drive I tote back and forth.
What are the odds of getting hit with another ransomware attack? I hope slim to none, hi hi.

I did get into the habit of backing up the /home directory on each of my computers to the NAS, and just did a refresh of that now that I have RSync working over the LAN properly. I should have made more notes about that process than I did, just in case I need to go all through it again, hi hi.

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yogi
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by yogi »

Some of the security experts suggest that 95% of the malware that people see was enabled by the computer user. Very few computers are hacked unless you are high profile and have something the Russians or Chinese think they want. That means Deb probably did something she should not have done and allowed the malware into the computer. It might have sat there for months before it decided to do it's thing. Getting rid of the infected files created by ransomware is treating the symptom and not addressing the cause. The Trojan or infected system file may still be lurking in the bowels of the computer waiting for an instruction from a bad acting website. It's no longer simple and just because you were hit once does not mean you can't be hit again. If Deb did indeed download something then she has to know what, why, and where to never do it again.

I doubt that you need to worry about this, but there seems to be a change in tactics for ransom attacks. The perpetrators will demand payment to not publish what it is they stole from your machine. If they publish your family pictures, it's no big deal. But if you are a municipality or a huge corporation with secrets buried on your hard drivers, there is a big incentive to pay up.

Speaking of hard drives ...

Today's episode of "Moving on to GPT" shows that not a lot of progress has been made. In fact there are some casualties. I described some of the issues involved with moving a complex system such as mine, and I thought I had them all understood. Actually, I do understand the issues. It's the solutions that are evasive. So, when I saw a couple or three people who were selling software explicitly designed to move an operating system to a SSD that is formatted GPT style, well, I bought the cheapest one. I'm guessing that the commercial software does what gparted can do, if you are informed well enough to know what gparted can do. There are a few partition managers in Linux and some are pretty powerful packages. However, I've never been able to master them by reading the "man" pages. Instructions are sparse and generally only available from people who are consumed with Linux development. Instead of learning all that I would need to learn, I decided to hand over the money and use somebody else's brain.

I managed to clone one of my two system disks. The idea was to have a backup in case I needed to revert back to the original. The problem there was I overwrote a partition on my Linux disk instead of the blank disk I intended to use. That partition, of course, was used for booting so that drive became useless pretty quick. Well, not entirely useless. I do have the clone of \D: there should I need it. I cleaned up the remaining parts and reinstalled Ubuntu just so that I have an alternative to Windows on the tower.

One very interesting feature of this cloning software was that it is a Windows executable. All the setup for a repartitioning is done inside Windows, but when you hit the GO key, Windows shuts down and it boots into some version of ... LINUX. There is nothing I can do in that session except watch the progress bars, but it definitely is Linux doing the job. That makes sense because you don't want to clone a live system. In fact you can't because critical files are locked and inaccessible. When the job was finished, Linux rebooted and up came Windows again. It did not go through the normal boot process that happens when you hit the power switch. It all seemed to be like a virtual machine without a host. Amazing.

Anyway, so I now have all the backups I need, even if they aren't where I want them and I had to forfeit some Linux OS's I wasn't using very often. So one last check was to open the recovery panel in Windows 7 to be certain that I can recover from that image I made. To my surprise I cannot do it. Windows made that image and had no problems doing it, but when it comes to finding it to recover, Windows had no clue. I had the image on an external SSD but also have one on the NAS. I used that NAS image to recover when Linux corrupted the Windows 7 bootloader a few months ago. Well, I could see it from the recovery window, but it would not start the process complaining that some list was missing. At this point I made another image and in addition made a recovery DVD to go with it. The DVD did see the image and that is how I recovered the last time. So I have a broken Windows 7 that cannot recover from images. Checking on line there are a lot of people who have the same problem. All the solutions did not apply to me so that I don't know what is wrong or how to fix it. I ran into some links in forums that were no longer valid because they were on Microsoft servers, and you know, they killed Windows 7 a few days ago. So I am SOL in that regard.

It's not what I hoped for but I do have a recovery method and the backups to go with it. With all that behind me I clicked on the "Migrate OS" button in that new software. It all looked fine up to the final checkpoint where it showed me what it was going to do. It was going to clone my current Windows 7 and put it on the SSD, but it was going to be MBR formatted - not the GPT I wanted. I couldn't find settings to fix that particular problem so I wrote to tech support and explained what I'm trying to do. The software has a 30 day money back guarantee and I will claim that if I can't do what I thought I could. At the moment I'm waiting for tech support to e-mail me a solution. :rolleyes:

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Kellemora
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by Kellemora »

I have the computer up here in my office that Debi managed to get the ransomware on which expanded to affect all the hard drives.
Seemed to me such an attack had to be somewhere in the system files. So I wiped the disk and reinstalled the OS.
Then only moved a few files over to it I wanted back on it.
Since she never clicks on anything on Web Browsers, about the only way she could have got it was from some downloads she got from a few sites where she has always downloaded things from, usually recipes or coupons from the stores we shop at.
She actually thinks it came from one of her old friends who sends her a video file every week of a TV show she loves but we can't get.

A couple of years ago, someone was selling a DVD with the top 30 Linux Distro's on it. It claimed they were all Live so you could test out each and find one you like. I didn't buy it even though it was only like ten bucks and that included postage.
But I was curious how he got more than one LIVE version on the same DVD. Unless it somehow booted up a selection screen like Grub. The only time it would write your your computer is if you chose to install one of them. And if I recall, it did say you could only install one from the DVD. It could be because of the problems you have encountered with same name Distro's.

After they quit supplying reinstall disks, I started making the reinstall image on CD or DVD if necessary.
I had several laying around here for a long time. But when I did have to reinstall, none of them worked, and they were made using the program to do so that was in Windows. Every one gave almost the same error, and if I recall it said it did not match the machine. I had the machine name written right on the DVD and was trying to put it back on that same machine. I finally used one of the CDs I got from my computer guy and did a clean install and it installed without a single problem. It also took my existing registration code so I didn't have to go through connecting to Mickey$oft.

I looked into a 500gig SSD myself. They had PCIe ones and SATA3 ones.
With my luck I only have SATA, SATA1 or SATA2. I didn't even know there were different SATA's.
I guess it's like USB ports, they now have USB3 with the same plug I think.
How does one keep all of that straight in their headbone?

I have enough trouble with all the different sizes of IDE drives I have around here, hi hi.
Slowly getting them all emptied and the files sorted away.

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yogi
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by yogi »

I think if there was going to be any residual or collateral damage from the ransomware attack, you would have known it by now. The payloads are stored in many exotic places, but the more recent ones load into the temp directory, plant a seed, and then erase themselves. The seed could be hidden inside a system file (dll?) or embedded in something like an image - or video. Once the image is viewed, the take over process begins. Depending on how sophisticated the attack is, the encrypting code can be buried on all the hard drives it finds, and in some cases even in BIOS. Torrent downloads are notorious for passing on malware because they use several unknown sources to speed up the process. So, if that's what Deb's friend used to download the video, she might be on the right track.

It's hard for me to give you a number for how many times I tried to recover an OS and failed. The percentage of failures approaches 90% and thus required a clean install almost all the time. This same ratio applies to Linux systems I've tried to recover, or worse, upgrade to a major version change. Never upgrade is my advice. Always clean install. While I"m having trouble with Windows 7 recovery, I've tried it a few times in Windows 10 as well. It was the same outcome. The recovery files could not be found or read, or in those cases where they did install, the system didn't work. System image files go into the hundreds of gigabytes in Windows OS's and it's crazy to put them all on DVD's even in a compressed format. I bought a special HDD just for this moment and made a series of images to that drive. Works fine writing them out. Doesn't work at all recovering. The Windows 10 approach is to put the image in a recovery partition on the same disk as the OS. Nice idea but as I noted, it simply never worked as advertised for me.

The cloning software I recently purchased will migrate an OS from one drive to another. To me this is an ideal way to set up a recovery platform. An image can be made to a bootable hard drive so that when the main system fails it's just a matter of swapping out drives. And, just to keep the continuity of my saga going, I've not heard back from the tech support people regarding my queries. So, I'm going to do what I just said. I'm going to copy my current Windows 7 to an SSD I bought for this purpose. Be it MBR or GPT, whatever I can make work, I'll have that disk as a backup if for no other purpose. If I should happen to make UEFI work, then the current MBR version of Windows 7 will be the backup. Hopefully I'll have found an alternative OS by the time I need any more backups.

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Kellemora
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by Kellemora »

I'm going back a few years here, but every time Windows had a major upgrade, I would get a new hard drive and put it in the computer, change the pins on the original drive to make it a Slave Drive and put it back in the machine.
This way the new install was on a clean drive, and all of my data was on the slave drive along with the original OS.
In order to get the new OS running, I usually only had to copy a couple of files over to the new drive so it showed it was registered and all was good.
I normally installed the programs I used from the floppies or CDs I had of those programs.
And then of course, copy my Data Files over to the new hard drive.
This is one reason why I have so many old IDE drives all with the same data on them.
And because some programs saved into their own folders instead of a place I could select, I may have missed some.
Take Eudora or Thunderbird for an example. Every day when I finish my e-mail, I copy the Thunderbird files over to a backup, sure glad I do this too. I've had to restore them a few times over the years, especially when I change computers.
And you know on Linux, they kept changing names a few times for legal reasons. Same program, same files, just under a different name and serial number.

I read somewhere a couple of days ago that you cannot mirror or clone a Windows install from a hard drive to an SSD drive, it won't work because of how the files are saved. You need to install Windows fresh on an SSD drive to prevent problems.

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yogi
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by yogi »

I read somewhere a couple of days ago that you cannot mirror or clone a Windows install from a hard drive to an SSD drive, it won't work because of how the files are saved.
I just did exactly that, so I'd question your source.

I believe there's a licensing issue too. You can't have two working machines under the same license. You can mirror data, but I see why they won't allow the OS to be mirrored. I don't know of any reason why an SSD would be a problem if it's formatted the same as was the HDD. They say not to mix GPT and MBR because they don't recognize each other, but I beg to differ. It's not a good idea, I'll agree to that, but I just completed a project migrating MBR to GPT and had both going simulteneously until the migration was complete. I had installed an MBR formatted hard disk and a GPT formatted SSD with the identical OS on them at one point. I could boot into either one through BIOS. So, now I have what I just told you is illegal. LOL My deprecated and unsupported Windows 7 now lives on a brand spanking new SSD, GPT formatted, and booting UEFi. I also have two MBR formatted hard drives with that same OS sitting bare faced on my desktop.

I didn't wait for the tech support people, who undoubtedly live in China, to get back to me. I decided to just do what I think is right in spite of the instructions for the migration software. As I mentioned in my Linux dissertation, I copied the OS first and then fixed the bootloader. That was a major major accomplishment. The original OS was split between two hard drives. I did that because the boot drive \C: was an SSD and I wanted to minimize the access to that drive. Thus I installed all the programs and data I could onto \D: drive without anticipating the situation I am in today. I had to resize both of those partitions so that they would fit alongside each other on a single disk. To be honest with you I did not expect any of that to work. LOL Well, it all migrated just fine.

The target drive, now an SSD, was previously formatted GPT by the original Windows install DVD. I fresh installed Windows but eventually removed the partition with the OS on it leaving only the (ESP) boot partition in place. That left me with a disk that had all the pieces but it could not boot. This is exactly the situation that came up with Ubuntu when I tried something similar. UEFI is a bitch is all I can say. Because I had a similar experience with Linux, it looked like a minor problem; the GUID of the drive was not the same as the original UUID and the bootloader didn't know what to do. Neither did I. I know how to fix that in Linux but the Windows sequence is a little different. So, I put in a boot repair CD, actually three before one actually attempted a fix. It took a few tries but eventually the repair disk did repair the ESP partition and voila! It all booted as it should.

There were a couple minor issues with software that needed updating but the migration was not that difficult if you have the right tools. Now that my Windows 7 has been pronounced dead, I brought it's operating environment up to the standards it should have been ten years ago. LOL I plan to keep using Windows 7 for the foreseeable future. Things will deteriorate over time and software will start to not work. I already ran into a few websites with missing Windows 7 support articles. Hopefully I have all that I need until I switch to a new default system.

My last part of the migration will be to put Linux on a hard drive of it's own and try to set it up for UEFI boot as I had in the past. Keep Linux and Windows as far apart as possible is the strategy. Each will have it's own UEFI boot partitions, and each will know the other is out there. But, hopefully I can keep the two apart well enough not to interfere with one another.

It's still early in the game but I think this new arrangement is quicker to respond once Windows is booted up. That's probably due to the fact it's all on a single SSD now instead of being in two different places. The boot time, however, is about double with the UEFI environment. So, instead of Windows booting in 3 seconds, it now takes 6. Not sure why that should be, but I can live with it.

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Kellemora
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by Kellemora »

Well, I'm glad to hear you are getting things figured out.
Sure glad I don't have to go through all of those problems!
But I know, you are just doing it so you can say you did the impossible, hi hi.

Sorta wish we lived next door to each other.
I have a few computers with simple physical problems that you could probably fix easily.
But since my old computer guy retired and the younger group took it over, they now don't do much of anything that they don't charge an arm and a leg for.
And the one closest to me only likes to work on Windows Laptops and doesn't do much of anything else.

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yogi
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by yogi »

I have to admit that I was thinking the same thing: wouldn't it be nice if we lived close to each other? I might not be able to do too much for you, but my time would be non-billable. I think you have equipment that is dated even before my time. I have been using computers since they were invented, literally, but I have not been hacking them that long. I think I have a fair chance at trouble shooting Windows 7 or 10, but put an XP machine in front of me and I'd hardly know how to turn it on. That's were living close would come in handy. I can study up on ancient history if I knew what specific history I was looking for.

The only computer guy I had was an Intel pusher, which of course is Microsoft's long lost sister. He knew about Linux and installed my first experience with it, Fedora. While he did install it in a system he build for me, he also told me he knew nothing about Linux and I was on my own if a problem came up. That seems to be a common disclaimer because every computer I ever bought, or built, was Windows specific. The manufacturers said right up front that they can't support Linux, but every one of those machines ran Linux with no problem. Well, almost no problem. My encounters with Linux and EFI were a huge problem, but it was not due to the hardware. So, I'm convinced there is no such thing as a Windows specific computer unless they booger up the firmware so that it won't boot any other way. Truth is most OEM's don't know how to do that so they just issue the disclaimer.

I sit here today well ahead of my long term goals for my computers. I now have a laptop and a desktop that run any OS that is capable in UEFI mode. I can make Liniux on a Stick, any Linux, and it runs on both systems without hesitation. At the moment the laptop is the only computer with multiple OS's running right alongside Windows 10. If either one of them tries to take over the boot process, I now know enough to be able to slap that baby in the face and say "no you don't!" The tower is poised for multibooting but I want to make sure that Windows runs as it should first. Windows 7 can handle UEFI and GPT, but it was not designed to do so. Only after that did Microsoft lay down the law. There is only one facet of my long term goals that remains unsatisfied. I have not found a suitable replacement for Windows 7, or any version of Windows for that matter. Reluctantly, I had to modify my expectations, but I learned a lot in the process. I think back on all I accomplished and am proud of what I did. My brain cell count mush have increased by .001% by now. That's quite a feat for a guy my age. You would think I'd be elated at this point, but I'm not. I am reminded of that day that I left my career after 36 years of perfecting it. I accomplished quite a bit there too. So what ...

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Kellemora
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Re: Installing Ubuntu

Post by Kellemora »

One of the reasons I take my computer to the shop to even do something simple like install more memory is because I've wasted way too much money trying to do it myself.
I read the MoBo book to see what type and speed Memory it uses.
Order it from on-line, and it always matches what the book said I needed.
I even check to make sure which slots are used and in what order.
I plug them in and nothing works anymore.
Except when I had two identical computers with the same MoBo. Then I could steal from one to get the other one working.

The daily use computer I used before I got the Silver Yogi from you, is the one I added two 1 gig memory stick from its sister computer. Later, when the sister computer died, video went out, I added the other two 1 gig sticks so now have 4 gigs in it. But this is the one that has started overheating and I thought was a bad power supply, but it claimed CPU overheat and/or cooling fan malfunction. I've still never opened it up to see. If you saw a picture of my office you would see why too. My monitors and speakers all sit on top of a row of computers, along with other junk I've piled up there, hi hi.
About once a year I do take everything down, open up all the computers and blow the dust out of them, and the cooling fins for the CPUs are usually loaded up with a fuzzy type of dust too. Probably a mixture of cobwebs and dust, hi hi.

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