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Question about installing an OS

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8 replies to this topic

#1 of 9 OFFLINE   BarryS


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Posted October 27 2009 - 08:51 PM

So I have an old PC (Dell Dimension 4400, about 5 or 6 years old) that I believe is virus-infected. I'm not positive it's a virus but I'm pretty sure. The computer doesn't work right at all. It's very very slow. The antivirus software malfuctioned for some reason and it's old and bogged down with who knows what all. What I want to do is put the Linux OS Ubuntu on this computer. I've heard that Ubuntu uses much less space than Windows and works well on older computers. I think that the fact that that Ubuntu is being installed rather than any other OS is beside the point (but correct me if I'm wrong). My question is this: do I need to format the hard drive before installing the OS? Or can I just install Ubuntu and let it wipe out everything in its path? Obviously I want the PC to be virus free. I don't want Windows on the computer, just Ubuntu. I hope to avoid re-installing Windows particularly since I don't know where the startup disc is and it's an outdated version (Windows 2000 Professional). If I do format the hard drive can I then just install Ubuntu without re-installing Windows? Is there a way to format without using Windows? I want to accomplish this in the easiest manner possible. Thank you in advance for any replies.

By the way, please ignore my signature. I can't figure out how to delete it.

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   SethH



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Posted October 28 2009 - 10:23 AM

The hard drive will have to be formatted, but this can be done as part of the installation process.  I believe Windows 2000 used the NTFS file system.  While linux can read and write to NTFS with the correct drivers installed, I do not believe you can install the root directory on NTFS (and you probably wouldn't want to even if you can).  If you're not overly familiar with linux, you should probably select EXT3 as your file system during the installation process.  This will reformat your drive as EXT3 which linux can work with natively.  There are several other file systems available in linux, but EXT3 is roughly equivalent to NTFS in the way it functions.

#3 of 9 OFFLINE   BarryS


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Posted October 28 2009 - 03:44 PM

Thanks SethH. My plan now is to use DBAN to erase the drive since I can't format it, then install Ubuntu on the fresh clean hard drive. Would that be the easiest way?

#4 of 9 OFFLINE   Ken Chan

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Posted October 29 2009 - 12:23 PM

You can use DBAN with the quickest wipe option "just to be sure". This will also make the choice when installing Ubuntu pretty easy -- it will see a blank disk and offer to "do the right thing".

It's not necessary though. If you do the Ubuntu install, it should give the option to wipe the existing NTFS partition first. The only question is making sure you pick the right option. Depending on the wording during the install, and your level of knowledge, it may or may not be obvious.

Also note that they just released the latest version, Ubuntu 9.10 (today?). So you might want to download that first.

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   BarryS


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Posted October 29 2009 - 03:27 PM

If I install Ubuntu on the hard drive as it is right now (majorly screwed up), everything will run okay? The installation will wipe out the virus, or malware (whatever the case may be)? I am unable to get the computer to even recognize a disc in the cd-rom drive. Whatever drive has a cd or floppy disk in it, the computer will not access. Will I still be able to boot from the live cd?

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Keith Plucker

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Posted October 30 2009 - 02:05 AM

 As I recall the Ubuntu setup process, once you boot the LiveCD and select the install option. It should completely wipe the current drive.

I know you expressed a desire to dump windows, I will mentioned another alternative. Sun makes a free program called VirtualBox. It allows you to run operating systems as a virtual machine. You could wipe your drive and reinstall Windows and then install VirtualBox. You could then install Ubuntu as a virtual machine in VirtualBox and do all your internet access from within the VM.

This would give you the security protection provided by Linux for web browsing/email while allowing you to keep Windows to run other applications. I suppose you could also do it the other way around, run Linux as you main OS and install Windows as a VM.

Performance will vary but you would probably want at least 2GB of RAM if you go the VM route.


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#7 of 9 OFFLINE   Ken Chan

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Posted October 30 2009 - 11:53 AM

Ubuntu (and other distros) will probably default to co-existing with an existing Windows setup, since it's the safer alternative. It will install as a dual-boot. (There are various alternatives if the hard disk is fully occupied by a single NTFS partition.)

What you want is the choice to completely erase all partitions and start over.

As long as the computer's BIOS "boot order" is configured correctly so that the CD is tried before the hard disk, it should boot to the CD, even if Windows on the hard disk is compromised.

You can also run VirtualBox on Linux, and install Windows inside it. If the virtual Windows gets re-infected, you can easily wipe it or roll it back.

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   BarryS


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Posted October 30 2009 - 03:05 PM

Yeah I've heard about VirtualBox. The computer in question is too old and with too little memory to be able to handle that. I think I'm just going to use DBAN, then try to install Ubuntu. It's an old PC that I'm not too worried about, so if it screws up it's no big loss.

I appreciate all the advice! 

#9 of 9 OFFLINE   knife



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Posted November 04 2009 - 06:38 PM


Solution of these types of problems,

1) Scan your system with atleast two antivirus, (I prefer NOD then AVG)
2) Spybot Run
3) Advance Care system software
4) Blor your system (to remove the dust)

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