Crashed HDD disk, Ubuntu to the Rescue (Day3: First Impressions)

Sunday my computer decided to crash, unlike most crashes, Windows didn’t start back up again.  After restarting several times, Windows appeared to start loading, but crashed before logging in with the dreaded “blue screen of death.”

I had most of my stuff backed up with Dropbox (see my review), so I wasn’t too concerned about data loss.  I was concerned, however, with whether or not Windows would install correctly on my system as there seemed to be something I didn’t understand going on with the partition.  I’m no computer expert, and after popping in my faithful XP disk, it said that no hard drive was detected.

My first instinct was that I would have to replace my computer or at least the HDD, but I’d been curious about trying Linux for a while.  I decided on a whim to see if it would do an install off of an Ubuntu 10 disk that I had made a while ago.  I did.  Flawlessly.  I’m really impressed with how easy the install process was, so if you’re thinking about trying Ubuntu out, don’t let difficulty of installation throw you off.

I plan to do updates on this blog from time to time about my experience using Linux, but after using it for one day, here are my impressions:

The Good:

  • Installed correctly and easily.
  • Free!
  • GUI in Ubuntu seems very good.  I initially installed version 10, and I like that much better than the native version in 11.  This can be swapped back, which I did.
  • Most of the programs that I use run in Linux, including: Draftsight, Inkscape, GIMP, Firefox, Dropbox.  The browser-based Quake Live, and WordPress work as well.
  • “Ubuntu Software Center” seems like a great resource for finding software you want.
  • Seems to access the HDD less than Windows did – hopefully will provide for better battery life.

The bad

  • For a Windows XP user, the GUI is different and takes some getting used to.  The verdict is out on this, I may think it’s awesome in a week.
  • The middle button on my Thinkpad doesn’t work for scrolling by default (apparently this can be changed).  Also, I liked how Windows would highlight everything in the browser bar on Firefox (probably can change this too).
  • File system and terminal commands are unfamiliar.
  • Some programs don’t run that I liked.  iTunes and CamBam are the two that I’m going to miss.  Hopefully I can find a substitute.

The Verdict:

As a longtime Windows XP user with some computer knowledge, I’m willing to give Ubuntu a try.  There are some good and bad things about it, but after getting used to where everything is, I will hopefully really like it.  If not, I’m out $0.  Check back to see how I like this OS after I get more used to it, or just subscribe via RSS!


  1. Welcome!!

    You can use Banshee to replace the iTunes experience.

    XP like experience “may” be found in using KDE desktop environment (only the desktop looks, not much else, which I believe is very very advanced).

    I don’t know what exactly is the function of CAM-BAM. But going by their site, I thought it was mainly about CAD. The following software may be a replacement, though I have never used CAM-BAM and still did not understand exactly what it does, so I may be completely wrong.

    The touchpad driver may need to be installed or configured in hardware drivers section to enable the button functions.

    You are most probably using the bash commandline (which is default on many systems). The commands and a good tutorial for bash is here

    And you can look about the filesystems here:

    Again welcome abroad!!

    • Thanks so much for that awesome response! I’ll have to check those links out.

      CamBam is a piece of software for computer aided machining. Basically taking an engineering drawing and converting it into something that a computer-controlled machine can read. There are a few substitutes, like PyCam, but I’m just going to have to figure out which one I like if there is a good one.

  2. i could have repaired the installation of winxp. insert the winxp installation disk and select R for repair the system. but now that you have ubuntu, check the disk utility and check smart data if the hdd have to much bad sector or unit is healthy. very fast to check on ubuntu. but more than 2 hours to repair winxp…

  3. New Convert to Ubuntu from Windows XP: Day 11 | JCOPRO.NET - pingback on December 29, 2011 at 10:08 am
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