From Dual-boot Back to Single-boot

Album Cover: Sea Change

"How could this love, ever changing, never change the way I feel?"
Beck / Lonesome Tears

Posted on May 17, 2012 8:54 PM in Computers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

When I bought Vader, my ultimate plan was to dual-boot Linux Mint along with Windows 7. Little did I know that the HP Envy 15 was a "tricky laptop to use with Linux."

After shrinking my hard drive and setting up a dual boot with Linux Mint 12, I learned the hard way that "tricky" was the nice way of putting it. The proprietary drivers for the video card didn't work, the experimental one I tried downloading resulted in Linux Mint no longer starting up, and apparently the Beats Audio hardware features are still an enigma to the guys working on Mint's (and other distributions') audio drivers.

It wasn't long before I realized that installing VMware Player on Windows 7 itself and adding a Linux Mint virtual machine was the better way to go, but by that point I already had a real installation of the OS on my hard drive. To make matters worse, I also had GRUB set up as the default bootloader, so tracing my steps backward to something closer to the factory settings seemed like it was going to be a hassle.

Fortunately, that wasn't the case. Reverting from GRUB back to the default MBR was as easy as firing up the Linux Mint live CD and following Robert Penz's straightforward instructions. Once I had done that, I deleted the Linux Mint partitions from my hard drive and used the "Expand" option on the partition dedicated to Windows 7, and I was back where I started, with a laptop that immediately booted into Windows 7 and had no partitions being wasted on a bad Linux Mint install.

Believe it or not, Linux Mint actually behaves a lot better in a virtual machine in VMware Player than it did running natively on the machine. I'm now using virtual machines on Vader and Skywalker to make use of Linux Mint, and it has been nothing but smooth sailing so far. I don't think I'll go back to dual-booting anytime soon, if ever, and I certainly won't even think about it until my hardware is no longer associated with that "tricky" rating.

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