This post is coming to you courtesy of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. While I could tell you I thought it would be cool to use Ubuntu Linux as my primary desktop OS for a while, I would be lying. The fact is I don't have a choice because I messed up the Windows 8 boot partition on my laptop last night while trying to install Ubuntu in a dual-boot situaion. I wasn't going to keep Ubuntu on for long. I had booted it from a USB stick previously. So why wasn't booting Ubuntu from a USB stick good enough, and how did I wind up stuck in Linux land? I'm glad you asked; it is a bit of a long story.
BACKGROUND: RIP Android on HP Touchpad, 2011-2013
I just can't come to terms with the fact that my Android Touchpad is actually gone. I know from when I plug it in via USB to Windows that it is alive in there someplace. The laptop makes the beep indicating that it has connected to something. I can't help but feel that my tablet is stuck in some deep coma and if only I find the right note it will awake and perform as well as ever. I know that the debrick process using Ubuntu will sooner or later work. I had visions of writing an article around Easter about my Touchpad. Maybe I could have called it "It Has Risen," or maybe my "Android Touchpad Zombie." Anyway, in scouring for clues on what may bring it out of its coma, I came across a thread that said because Ubuntu is not really running on the hard drive but off of a USB stick, it that may not let it do its thing during the debrick process.
This seemed like an easy enough problem to solve. Right when you boot Ubuntu from the USB stick, there is an icon on the desktop to install it on the hard drive. I knew that you can dual boot a laptop to run both Windows and Linux. Once I tried to fix the Touchpad, I could always uninstall Ubuntu, or maybe even keep it around for kicks. I clicked the icon and started the process. When I got to the part about partitions and disks I hesitated. I knew it was a mistake to mess around with it. I went and read some of the Ubuntu community forums. I figured that even though I don't know a lot about Linux disk partitioning, I could fake my way throught it. After all, wasn't desktop Linux easy now?
Once I chose which disk partition to install Ubuntu on, the process was pretty easy. I played around a while to get familiar and then of course plugged in the Touchpad. I wish I had good news to report, that I did all of this and saved the tablet. But alas it is not meant to be. I still get the same multi error I got when I tried it running from the USB stick. So, dissapointedly, I decided it was time to go back to Windows and check email and write and stuff.
I rebooted and came to the Grub screen. I selected boot into Windows 8. I knew it was a bad sign when I got the Windows automatic repair tool window at that point. After a few screens I got a message telling me Windows was not able to automatically fix itself. I tried booting from a recovery USB stick, but that didn't help either. I booted back into Linux and started doing a little Googling. It seems that my Windows partition size is set to zero. That's obviously not good. But, frankly, I am scared to death to mess with it, because I don't want to lose all of the data and files on my hard disk. I will head over to the shop this morning and let someone who knows what they are doing help me with this.
In the meantime, I had the chance to spend the night and this morning on Ubuntu. I downloaded Chrome with my password manager. It loaded all my bookmarks. I have had no problem cruising the usual websites I visit. I set up Thunderbird for my email and that is working fine. Viewing attached PDFs and docs, no problem. I am using the webmail for my hotmail account, though I can probably set up Thunderbird for that too. The only thing I haven't quite figured out yet is how to get my calendar in here. I can see my Google calendar online and can probably see my hotmail calendar via the web. For that matter, I can see my CISO Group calendar via a web browser too. But I can't see all three of them together like I do in Outlook.
I have to say that Libre Office, which comes with Ubuntu, has been a breeze to work with. So has just about everything I worked on using Ubuntu. I am going to get my Windows boot partition fixed, but I am going to leave Linux on the machine too. I think I will show it to my sons and get them used to Linux as well.
Anyway, this happens when you are a geek and you mess around. I don't think anything I did is too serious, and I'm hoping for a quick fix that will allow Windows back on my machine. But if I have to run Linux instead, as the old Gloria Gaynor disco song says, "I will survive."
As co-founder and Managing Partner at The CISO Group, Alan Shimel is responsible for driving the vision and mission of the company. The CISO Group offers security consulting and PCI compliance management for the payment card industry. Prior to The CISO Group, Alan was the Chief Strategy Officer at StillSecure. Shimel was the public persona of StillSecure as it grew from start up to helping defend some of the largest and most sensitive networks in the world.
Shimel is an often-cited personality in the technology community and is a sought-after speaker at industry and government conferences and events. His commentary about the state of security, open source and life is followed closely by many industry insiders via his blog and podcast, "Ashimmy, After All These Years" (www.ashimmy.com). Alan is now also a regular contributor to The CISO Group’s security.exe blog and podcast. Follow him on Google.
Alan has helped build several successful technology companies by combining a strong business background with a deep knowledge of technology. His legal background, long experience in the field, and New York street smarts combine to form a unique personality.
Disclosure: The CISO Group sells a software-as-a-service PCI compliance application called SAQPro. The company is independent and does not represent any other vendor's products as a reseller.
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