Installing Ubuntu 10 on Fake RAID 1

tux laptop
Originally uploaded by occ4m

Our company bought a new PC recently that was delivered today.

It came with Windows 7 preinstalled, and they had already partitioned the harddisks, so I thought installing Ubuntu 10 would be easy.

What I hadn’t thought much about was the problems that would arise because I had ordered two harddisks with RAID 1 (mirror). As is often the case, RAID here meant Fake RAID, i.e., a mixture of software and hardware RAID, and Linux isn’t too fond of this.

It looked OK initially, though. The Ubuntu 10 CD booted up happily, and it even recognised the Fake RAID setup.

However, when I tried to install it, it refused to reformat the partition that I wanted to install Linux on. I searched on some Ubuntu forums, and somebody suggested to install Ubuntu 9 followed by Ubuntu 10.

I tried this, and it actually worked. Ubuntu 9 was happy to reformat the partition, and Ubuntu 10 was happy to overwrite the old Ubuntu 9 files.

Alas, the worst was still to come!

Although I didn’t get any error messages, Grub (the boot loader) did not get installed correctly. I tried all sorts of suggestions, but nothing worked. After installing Grub, the machine would boot happily straight into Windows 7. 🙁

I then found a blog posting describing how to use Windows 7’s boot loader, BCDedit, to boot Linux. It looked promising, but it didn’t work either – after selecting Linux in the boot menu, I just got a blank screen with a blinking cursor.

At this point, I was about to give up, but I then found a suggestion to use EasyBCD to configure the Windows boot loader, and it works! EasyBCD finds the Grub loader on the Linux partition and activates it.

Easy! 🙂

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