It was a last minute decision to go for a netbook instead of a laptop. The netbook has always appealed, its portability, its battery life. Trouble is, they’ve always seemed a bit rubbish. It was Mr Amazon doing his (“I see you’ve been looking at this, are you sure you don’t want that?) routine that made me suddenly consider going for the Acer Aspire One 753.
It was over a nice pint (pl. pints.) of Landlord at the last Nelug meeting that Richard assured me I’d be able to dual-boot Windows 7 with Linux Mint on this netbook. The bar was closing and the landlord decided that the netbook was the right decision and the clicky clicky thing was done.
So how do you dual boot Linux Mint with Windows 7 on a netbook? I hadn’t really thought this through. I was apprehensive because the netbook arrived with negligible documentation. There’s no CD/DVD, because there’s no CD drive. So what happens if you need to re-install/recover Windows 7? Dunno. Presumably there’s a mystery recovery partition on the hard-drive that is available via an inscrutable key-press on boot. Let’s hope I don’t nuke it trying to set-up a dual-boot Linux install.
So how do you install Linux Mint alongside Windows 7 on an Acer Aspire One 753? Turns out it’s pretty easy. I checked out a lot of websites but in the end the answer was pretty simple. There’s probably a few ways of doing it but I followed a post on the Linux Mint forums that pointed to Unetbootin, an inscrutable acronym that has netboot, usb and, er, me, or you, in there somewhere. It was an absolute breeze. I ran the executable on a Windows7 PC, shoved in a USB drive, and it did stuff. And then I had a bootable Linux USB drive that I put into the Netbook. Booting Linux Mint from that offered me the option of shrinking my Windows7 installation to make space for a side-by-side Linux install.
That was the scary bit. Watching my Windows being shrunk. Or not watching, as clicking on Continue (or whatever the button was), resulted in a Zero Feedback Situation. What the hell was it doing? Anything? No spinning egg-timers? No progress reports? It was all good though, even the slightly worrying disk-check that Windows7 was kinda keen on doing on reboot as it sensed something was up, and its domain over the netbook had been weakened.
So right now I have Windows7 and Linux Mint 10 dual-booting on the Acer Aspire One 753, and dead easy it was too.
There are a few niggles, that will need sorted in the days ahead. There’s the usual repository shenanigans that seems to go hand in hand with Linux Mint that seems to come and go and I’ve stopped worrying about. This sort of stuff …
Something wicked happened resolving 'packages.linuxmint.com:http' (-5 - No address associated with hostname) 93% [Connecting to packages.linuxmint.com] [Connecting to archive.canonical.com]93% [Waiting for headers] [Connecting to archive.canonical.com] [Connecting to
and this …
http://archive.canonical.com maverick Release.gpg Something wicked happened resolving 'archive.canonical.com:http' (-5 - No address associated with hostname) 99% [Connecting to archive.canonical.com] [Connecting to packages.medibuntu.org] Ign
This sort of stuff seems to come and go. I get it on my other machines and the less I try to fix it and the more I try to ignore it in the hope that it will go away, the more it usually does.
There’s still a long way to go to get things the way I want but so far so good.
Next task is to figure out why it always boots up with wireless disabled. Windows 7 has it enabled by default.