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I have a machine with 3 hard drives; the primary, which is 750GB (drive 0), and 2 others, each of which is 640GB (drives 1 and 2).

On the last screen before the actual installation begins, this is how my hard drive configuration looks:

/dev/sda [DISK0, 750GB]

/dev/sda1 ntfs 104MB [Win7 System Reserved]

/dev/sda2 ntfs 499,997MB [Windows 7 Pro]

free space 250,052MB [This space intended for Windows 8]

/dev/sdb [DISK1, 640GB]

/dev/sdb1 ntfs 400,085MB [Windows XP Pro]

free space 240,049MB [This space intended for Ubuntu]

/dev/sdc [DISK2, 640GB] [This drive intended for various backups]

free space 160,033MB

/dev/sdc5 ntfs 480,101MB [Acronis Secure Zone]

As you can see, I have 3 drives, all SATA. I have Win7 on my first drive (0), WinXP on my second drive (1) and a secure zone for daily backups on my third drive (2).

I want to put Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot on the drive that also has XP. I've already used 400GB for XP and I have 240GB remaining, for which, my intention was to create a 4GB swap file and use the rest for Ubuntu itself.

This is what my second hard drive looked like, for my intended setup before installation:

/dev/sdb

/dev/sdb5 swap 4,095MB [Linux swap]

/dev/sdb6 ext4 235,951MB [Ubuntu 11.10]

Needless to say, this is only the second time I have attempted to install Linux. I managed to get 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon working on an old machine. I have two problems with this installation:

  1. Ubuntu asks for a location to install the boot loader (i.e., "Device for Boot Loader Installation"). I already have a boot loader; namely, Acronis OS Selector (from Acronis Disk Director 11). So I decided to put the Ubuntu boot loader in /dev/sdb6 (where I intend to install Ubuntu), to keep it from interfering with my Acronis OS Selector.

  2. Once I hit "Install now", I ended up with the following error: "No root file system is defined. Please correct this from the partitioning menu."

What am I missing? Did I attempt to put the boot loader in the wrong place? I assume I did, because as I am writing this entry, I am looking at LinuxIdentity.com's Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal magazine, and I see a screenshot (Figure 7 on Page 13) that implies that the boot loader can be installed anywhere, including the first hard drive (in the MBR, which would obviously force me to reinstall the Acronis OS Selector) or even on a floppy. But why do I get an undefined root file system error? I thought /dev/sdb6 was the root file. Obviously I'm missing something in the installation procedure.

Should I try installing it in Windows using the WUBI Installer? I assume that, if I attempt to install Ubuntu from WinXP (on the second drive), it will automatically install Ubuntu on the empty partition alongside XP. But will I have the option of creating a swap partition? And what if the WUBI Installer searches all of my drives and decides to install Ubuntu on my first drive's empty partition (which I have left empty for Win8 upon its release)?

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Edit partition dialog, cursor pointing at mount point option

That's what you are missing. You just created a partition but you need to clarify how the installer should use that partition. Without a partition for the root file system the installer does not know where to put the files. Also I would recommend that you install to primary partitions (1-4) not to extended ones in a logical partition.

You can install the boot loader to a partition instead of the MBR, but GRUB - the default boot loader - discourages this by complaining that this is a very BAD idea (error message when executing grub-install in terminal).

Installing with WUBI would be the better choice than saving the boot loader of XP with dd and installing GRUB. WUBI installs to the Windows partition and you can only configure a limited amount of space for the Ubuntu volume WUBI will create, but it's the easiest way to install when you don't want to mess with boot loaders and partitions.

With so many installed OS, why don't you install VirtualBox or some other virtualisation software so you can use Windows and Ubuntu at the same time?

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I thought there was something critical missing. Now, if I use WUBI (which I haven't tried yet) in WinXP on my second hard drive, will WUBI allow me to create a swap partition before installing Ubuntu to the remainder of my empty partition following WinXP?And again, would I avoid any problems or bottlenecks between my Acronis OS Selector (a boot loader from Disk Director 11) and the GRUB boot loader by simply installing the GRUB boot loader to a floppy or a USB flash, to get it out of the way so that I may be able to configure Ubuntu to boot from Acronis OS Selector? –  CookyMonzta Apr 2 '12 at 8:12
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