Vista vs. XP vs. Ubuntu on my M1330

24 02 2008

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My M1330 came pre-installed with Vista, but as someone who is never happy with the OS they have running on their computer, I wanted to try out a few different OSs before settling on just one (or two!). After a few days of using Vista, I had had enough. It was slow, buggy, and simply did not feel as snappy as I would have expected from a machine that had 2GB of RAM and a dedicated video card. Following instructions from Notebookforum, I quickly removed Vista and had Windows XP installed on the laptop. Now that was better! The interface looked old, especially compared to Vista or Leopard. But reliability trumps looks, so it was an easy decision to pack away the Vista recovery CD.

All was well for a few weeks, but then I decided to give Ubuntu a try. I had used Ubuntu on many different machines in the past, but always ended up moving back to XP on my primary machine, usually because of problems with hibernation or poor peripheral support. I installed Ubuntu in a dual-boot configuration, and with a few exceptions, everything worked right away. Hibernation was a bit tricky, but eventually I had it working.

Over the next few days I found I was spending more time working in Ubuntu, but I still had the need to occasionally use Windows XP for a few reasons, namely Office applications when working with students and teachers, as well Internet Explorer when configuring or posting to Sharepoint. Rebooting into Windows was a pain, so I settled on VMware as the best solution, as it would allow me to run a Windows virtual machine from within Ubuntu. Not leaving well enough alone, I didn’t want to have to create a new Windows image, so I used these instructions to run my existing Windows partition in VMware Player. After some issues (I had made a mistake in the cylinders calculation), I was able to run my Windows partition in VMware Player from within Ubuntu. It wasn’t easy, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who doesn’t like tinkering, but now I have a setup that allows me to boot into Windows or Ubuntu, or alternatively access all of my needed Windows applications when running Ubuntu if I need to do something quickly and don’t want to reboot.

I think I have found the best configuration for my needs… at least for now!

Jason