I finally took the plunge and ordered a new Lenovo X201 laptop a couple of weeks ago. It arrived yesterday after some fun and games with DHL around the delivery and HBOS around the payment.

I ordered the machine with 6Gb of RAM and a 500Gb HDD as I’m planning on dual booting the pre-installed Windows 7 with Ubuntu. As I travel a lot the large 9-cell battery was a must and doesn’t add too much to the weight. After doing some research I chose the wifi card that appeared to have the best Ubuntu compatibility and the built in webcam as carrying an external camera is something I’d rather not do.

After installing the battery and switching on for the first time I went through the usual Windows 7 install q&a. After starting a few updates were installed (as usual with new software) but far fewer than I had expected (and far, far less than our new iMac required).

Using the current laptop I downloaded the 64-bit Ubuntu 10.10 iso and then used the Ubuntu Startup Disk Creator to create a bootable USB drive. This was the first time I’d used this app and it worked exactly as advertised. (Given some of problems I’ve run into before I was anticipating some trouble creating the USB drive, so the ease with which it was done was very pleasant.)

I rebooted the laptop after inserting the USB drive and used the F12 button to choose the USB drive to boot from. To make sure that I wasn’t going to have any problems with Ubuntu I chose to run the Live version. After a few seconds of disk activity Ubuntu started without any problems. Supplying the wifi network got me online straight away validating my choice of wifi card.

Next step was to resize the Windows 7 partition making room for a new Ubuntu install. The drive arrived with the expected recovery and boot partitions meaning the Windows 7 NTFS partition was around 450Gb so I resized it to 235Gb giving me room for an 8Gb swap partition and the rest for my root ext4 partition to be created. After resizing the partition I rebooted into Windows 7 to check that Windows was happy following the change. chkdsk ran and the boot was normal.

Restarting again I used F12 to choose the USB drive and this time the Install option. I manually set the partitions and then started the installation – crossing my fingers as it started!

Things progressed at a good rate and then it was time to restart.

A couple of warning appeared but the boot continued and then the login screen appeared. 🙂 I logged in and installed a few packages that I wanted before rebooting to see whether Grub 2 would work as advertised. The Grub menu brought up 2 options for Windows 7 so I chose the first and waited to see the outcome. When the login screen for windows appeared I relaxed. My work was done.