Friday, April 27, 2007

Dual Booting Your Dell 1501

Lauren wrote:
this is great, I've been reading the posts and I haven't seen any about dual booting yet, I was just wondering if it's easy to get my laptop (dell 1501) to dual boot and if so how. I've read about the whole partitioning with gparted and all. is that all I need to do? just make the swaps and install feisty fawn or am I missing something? thanks alot

The reason you haven't read anything about dual booting is because I don't on my Dell Inspiron 1501. But it really is that simple. The only thing you have to do is place the disc in the drive and Ubuntu does the rest. Best way to do it is to do a complete reinstall of Windows Vista or XP. The 1501 ships with some weird partitions so reformatting your drive as one large partition at first is best. Plus it gets rid of all that trail software your PC comes with. Then Ubuntu will create another partition for itself. Install Windows first then Ubuntu.


Only one thing to worry about is if you dual boot with Vista, the operating selection screen will list it as Windows XP. It really is Vista. You can change it but I wouldn't bother. Maybe another reader can help out with instructions.
edited by pHreaksYcle


Sylvain said...

Hi ! I'm French, so excuse me for my English ;)

I have the last Inspiron 1501 since two days ! And first i would congratulate you for this blog.

About the dual boot, my laptop was order with Vista, not the choice now en Dell, and i read many things about the difficulties to install a gnu/linux system, because the NTFS of Vista bad resize with Unix tools (like Gparted or install tools).
The visibly only solution is to resize NTFS partition with Vista tool (in panel tools) create a free partition and then install Linux (i install Feisty too).

With this precaution, all are good. I use the live-CD and install from Ubuntu with the automatic install.
After reboot, Grub is OK too, with entries for Vista.

Hope this help :)

Lauren said...

Hey thanks! I really appreciate it keep up the great work! yeah I think I'll do that it'll give me a good excuse to get rid of all that trial software that bogs down my system. I'll let you know how it works out.

Lauren said...

Ok, so I'm a little nervous about installing feisty. so i need a little help I don't want to format my laptop just yet I'd rather install feisty and use it for awhile then do the whole reformat, but I'm unsure where to put the swap and the root I'm a little confused. If someone could just give me some help I'd really appreciate it guys, thanks.

redDEAD said...

You don't need to worry about any of this, just let Ubuntu do it's thing. It will put everything in the proper place. If you don't reinstall windows just make sure you run the disk defrager tool.

good luck, it isn't hard at all.

Lauren said...

Ok, now I realize I'm a complete noob and that I'm going to be mocked endlessly forever but....I don't get it! I reformatted my dell to get the extra stuff off it. Then I installed XP corporate, then I booted Feisty then clicked "start and install" now everything goes just fine until I get to the part where it says how I want to partition. It says "guided" "manual" ect...... so I did the guided one and when I was done the process I ended up with Ubuntu, and nothing else. I tried rebooting my laptop to see if it would switch between xp and ubuntu and it didn't. Basically now I've reinstalled Xp (again) and want to install Ubuntu. My question is this , what do I do when I'm asked how to partition the drives in order to make it a dual boot, there's no setting that says dual boot or anything close to it, frankly there should be a big red button that says "dual-boot press here" cause I ain't getting it. So please refrain from laughing at me, help please!

Rich said...

Hey Lauren,

Try the following(it works perfect in my case running XP and Vista): When running Vista, create an empty partition with the size of your entire future ubuntu file system (so, maybe 50% of the entire disk). Then, install ubuntu to that partition. It will then create a few sub partitions, such as the swap and the root partition.
This way, all your Windows stuff can still be used.
In my case, I am even mounting my Windows partitions in ubuntu using NTFS-3g.
Make sure you always shut down windows (not hibernate!!), if you want to use your windows partitions in ubuntu.
I hope this helps! Good luck!

- Richard

Anonymous said...

Hi guys and girls,

Why not try WUBI??? It's a Ubuntu windows xp installer. That means that you install/deinstall from windows. There's no partition created, your ubuntu system is in a file. Anyways for more details check
I tried it on my 1501 and it works fine! It's a piece of cake!

tipichris said...

I installed Gutsy yesterday onto an existing XP system. Not quite as straightforward as this suggests :(

Out of the box my 1501 has three partitions, two fairly hidden. These are Dell Recovery and Dell Utilities - both FAT. I wanted to keep these (I have another second user Dell which has been reformatted in the past and not having the utilities is a right PITA when problems appear).

Ubuntu offered me only the choice of 'Guided - use whole disk' or 'Manual'. Manual doesn't seem to allow any resizing.

So I had to resize the main (NTFS) partition first. I used a gparted live CD, not realising that I could have done it from the Ubuntu live CD.

Having done that Ubuntu offered me a further option, 'Guided - use largest contigous free space'. I suspect this would have been fine, but having followed it through it didn't give me much clue about what it was going to do, which made me nervous. So I went back to manual.

It isn't possible to have more than four primary partitions on a disk. With three primary partitions already, I had to start by creating an extended partition covering my freed up space. I could then create logical partitions within that for root and swap.

redDEAD said...


delete the 3 partitions dell puts on your pc, everyone knows you buy a dell you pop in the windows disc and install windows yourself.

then put in the ubuntu disc create a partition and install it.

yes its a pain, but you know what? only a fool lets dell take up their hard drive space with their junk.

tipichris said...

Hi Reddead

Like I said, I have my reasons.

Basically, the Dell Utilities are useful for diagnosing faults should they arise. They require you to boot to a DOS prompt, which you can't do in XP. So boot from an older disk. But if the utils are on your main 'doze partition, it is formatted with NTFS so can't be read by an older OS.

Of course, you could create a bootable CD that will boot into a command prompt, load the drivers needed to read the CD further and then run the utils from the CD. But that really isn't straightforward.

Besides, I don't want to reinstall XP and loose all those settings I've tweaked over the last months.

redDEAD said...


You're gonna have to reinstall Windows every six months anyways.* zing! fanboy flamebaiting

Well dude I don't have answer for your problem, any help readers?

*at least with Ubuntu you can take your home holder (self worth, pride and manhood) and settings with you

Violeta said...

I have a big problem...

My dell inspiron 1501 that I bought 11 month ago was getting slower, then I decided to buy a memory card of 1GB to increased performance and everything was good. Then, after a while I noticed that my Dell was slow when starting the computer.. I mean to enter the system and I thought that way because of some programs that were installed but I did not use. Well turn out that for being so curios (and stupid) I made something wrong and the Help and support thing was not working and I thought was better to install the operating system again and everything went extrange, some programs were not working.. and then I thought the solution was on Dell support page and I download by accident a BIOS thing and I installed it and now when I start my computer it goes a message that says that the system cannot recognize the battery and will not be charged by the system and if I want to continue I have to press F2 twice and so on.. I can "boot" (enter? sorry my english) to the system but I dont like to press all the time a key.. so my question is.. How do I fix the problem and put my Dell 1501 the way it was? :S please HELPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP

redDEAD said...


Same thing that happened to you happened to my sister. Your power cord is broken. It's that easy and simple. Call Dell and get yourself a new power cable. They may want to walk you through a bunch of silly tests but be strong and make sure you get a new power cable. They're going to ask you to take the cord apart, take out the battery, make sure the cord isn't damaged and etc. but at the end of the call make sure you get your new power cable.

If your Dell isn't under warranty, your going to have to buy a new AC adapter. They sell them at most computer stores or you can buy one from Dell. It's only $65 bucks from Dell.

Nyx said...

I got a Dell 1501 with Vista pre-installed. I reinstalled Vista and my 1501 will not boot Ubuntu from the CDROM!


Can you help?

redDEAD said...


did you set your BIOS to boot from the disk driver before the hard drive?

Nyx said...

Ya it was actually the disk I was using...

Got linux installed now... now I have to figure out how to partition without being able to access the internet.

Ed said...

reddead..I love your blog site. This is just the info I was looking for. I have AMD Turion x 2 TL-56 laptop w/ Vista preloaded. I am actually going to do a fresh intstall of win xp pro w/ sp2 and I'm planning to do the ubuntu installer. My questions is... Does it matter to use the disk or download from the Ubuntu site for the o/s? I figured it would be more reliable from a cd, but if I just download from the site on win xp and follow the instructions wil I be able to make the partition for ubuntu and dual boot? Might be a stupid question, but I'm just curious because I would like to have UBUNTU asap.

Ed said...

To add to my last comment...I have a question. I have an 80GB hard drive and I am partitioning it 50/50. One for XP Pro w/ SP2 and for Ubuntu. The XP installer is only giving me options for NTFS and NTFS quick ...I wanted to do it all in FAT32... my question is with NTFS as my Win XP SP/2 partition I can still create a FAT32 for Ubuntu? Like I said, I'm planning to have a dual boot system. Thanks for your help. Keep up the good work here.

Ed said...

Ok...I installed ubuntu from livecd... I got some weird stuff after I installed it to hard drive... it had me restart saying to make sure the cd was out so that it won't boot from livecd the next time. Then I clicked restart...I wouldn't restart so I went to the top lefthand corner to restart and all this crazy stuff came up that I couldn't read on a black screen when I restarted. Then I just powered down my inspiron and it gave me the options to boot certain os's so I chose Ubuntu. Now it looks good. Guess I have to start configuring everything and your site will help reddead. When I did my partition I just did I guided using largest continuous free space. It's in ext3 file format and my win xp in ntfs.