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I have installed Ubuntu with Wubi on a Windows XP partition (/dev/sda1). I had an Ubuntu install (8.04) which failed to upgrade on /dev/sda2. But now, I have three layers of boot managers stacked:

  • old grub on MBR, gives me choice to WinXP or old Ubuntu
  • windows boot selector (don't know its official name), gives me choice between real XP and new ubuntu
  • new grub, list all the available systems.

I would like to install a fresh Ubuntu on another partition (eg. overwriting the old install, I got dedicated partitions for /home and do not care about wiping out the old install), which is easy enough when you have a CD. Problem is I do not have a CD and I cannot convince my BIOS to boot from a USB device.

I did a little search on this site and google, and asked the same question in french on ubuntufr, and this seems to be impossible. this question is close to what I am looking for but not quite, and I really find this limitation strange: I would think that it should be possible to install a complete system without repartitionning, then configure boot system to point to this new root.

Here is a detailed description of the system's partitions (using script in this post, description is in the first post of the topic): post on ubuntu-fr

Thanks for your help,


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Indeed. I see no reason why you wouldn't be able to do that. It would be much easier if you listed your disks and partitions though. You've mentioned /dev/sda1 and 2, which is used for your Windows and Ubuntu roots. You mention a dedicated partition for /home and you do not mention swap. It would be nice to have a complete overview.

But not having a CD or a bootable USB is not necessarily a problem at all. For instance, you can use UNetBootin from It will "install" the CD image to your harddrive so that you can boot from it just like a CD or bootable USB (except it will be much faster, of course) and then you can install as normal. I believe that's what they call a "frugal install" since you don't have to throw away any CDs. This should be your preferred solution.

However, if you're interested in the challenge, then it should also be possible to install it manually from the Wubi install. It is not a virtual system, so you will have access to the other partitions in your system. The only one you should not touch, is the Windows partition where your Wubi install resides. So, you should be able to mount the 8.04s root partition, delete everything and copy the root file system from your Wubi install onto that partition, fix things and reboot. I haven't tried this though and there are things you'll have to fix. For instance, Wubi installs have a /host mount point that points to the Windows file system containing the Wubi file system. This will no longer make sense in a real install. You'll also need to update the bootloader. There's probably lots of other small issues. But it should be possible.

Using UNetBootin is quite easy, so unless you're interested in the challenge for the sake of the challenge, that is what you should do.

Good luck, and have fun :)

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Apparently there exists a script for migrating wubi to native partition: See [this thread][1] on ubuntu forums. I will give it a try and edit this answer accordingly. [1]: – insitu Sep 4 '11 at 19:31

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