Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) and Windows 7 dual-boot

by vivin

In my previous post I talked about the problems I had while installing Ubuntu and Windows 7 on my Alienware m7700 laptop. It took me about three days of hair-pulling before I was finally able to get it to work. First, I burnt a new copy of the ISO for Ubuntu 9.04. Then, I enabled RAID on my system. I put the disks into stripe mode (the FastTrak Promise 378 does not support JBOD). This time, I got past the COMRESET error (ata3: COMRESET failed (errno=-16)) and was able to boot into the LiveCD. However, my joy was short-lived. The install would terminate (around the 40% mark) with the following message:

[Errno 5] Input/output error

This is often due to a faulty CD/DVD disk or drive, or a faulty hard disk. It may help to clean the CD/DVD, to burn the CD/DVD at a lower speed, to clean the CD/DVD drive lens (cleaning kits are often available from electronics suppliers), to check whether the hard disk is old and in need of replacement, or to move the system to a cooler environment.

Fun stuff. So then, I burnt myself another copy of the install CD, making sure to burn this one at the lowest speed (1x) and then verifying the image. I also made sure that the MD5 sums on the ISO matched the one on the Ubuntu website. This time when I booted up, the install proceeded along further before dying at 78% with the same error. I restarted the installation multiple times only to see it fail at the same point. I started wondering if it was a problem with the hard-drive. Since the drive is SMART enabled, I decided to run some tests on it. From the LiveCD, I started up the terminal and installed smartmontools through apt-get (sudo apt-get install smartmontools). I then got some errors about unfulfilled dependencies and postfix (strange), but smartmontools seem to be installed so I didn’t think much of it. I followed the instructions at this site and tested my hard-drive. I even ran the long test which took about two hours to complete. The tests passed. At this point I was at my wit’s end. It wasn’t the image, the CD, or the hard-drive. It had to be a hardware problem. Was it the drive itself?

Finally I figured it out. It was mostly due to blind luck/intuition that I was able to figure it out. I vaguely remembered trying to install FreeBSD a few years ago and running into a problem with ACPI. So when the LiveCD booted up, I hit F6 and checked the first three options (acpi=off, noapic, nolapic). This time, the installation went without a hitch and now I’m able to dual-boot between Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.04!