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As usual, the live system's GUI installer only requires a few mouse clicks and otherwise takes care of everything automatically – including making any existing Windows partition smaller if necessary. In our tests, hardware detection did not reveal any weaknesses. After installation, the operating system takes up 2 GB on the hard disk. The server version uses much less space.

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If you want to use a different boot manager to the standard Grub then click on "Advanced" in the last step of the overview of installation settings; otherwise, Grub will end up in your Master Boot Record (MBR) and overwrite the boot code there. On the other hand, there is no reason not to use Grub as your boot manager. Ubuntu automatically connects any existing Linux and Windows installations in Grub's start menu.

The text mode installer also takes care of most things automatically but reveals far more details about what it's doing and allows you to make adjustments in a few places. For instance, you can make settings for the Logical Volume Manager (LVM) for the easy management of mass storage, or connect several RAID volumes.

You can upgrade from the last LTS version, 6.06, or the more recent version 7.10. The developers recommend that all updates for the version you use be installed beforehand. The upgrade is possible across the internet or from a CD/DVD using the cdromupgrade script.

The Wubi installer is new. Ubuntu 8.04 uses it to install itself on Windows 98 or later without requiring its own partition. An entry is automatically added to the boot.ini file so that Hardy Heron will be an option in the boot menu the next time you reboot your machine. Wubi requires at least 256 MB RAM and 4 GB of hard drive space.

You can either use the new Umenu launcher to start the tool – Umenu automatically appears when the Ubuntu CD is inserted – or double-click on wubi.exe in the root folder on the CD. Wubi will ask you a few questions about settings for the target drive, the maximum space allotted to the Linux installation, and user data. Then, Ubuntu is installed on a virtual hard disk at \ubuntu\disks\root.disk. When you reboot, the actual installation process is launched, including the partitioning of the virtual drive.

When you are working, Ubuntu claims you shouldn't notice any drop in speed nor any other grave drawbacks compared to a normal installation, but Hibernate and Suspend do not work if you've installed the operating system this way. The Windows file system is mounted to /host with full write access. To uninstall Ubuntu, all you need to do is run Wubi again. The installer detects the installation and automatically asks if you want it removed from your system.

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