Ubuntu and Associated Distributions/Continued conversation



It's me, Martin, responding to your last posting on my Toshiba/Ubuntu problem. The AllExperts page didn't offer me a reply button, so I'm starting again. You wrote (I'VE QUOTED WORD-FOR-WORD):

'So, tell me if this is a correct summary.

Hardware is a Toshiba Portege with Windows XP

You installed Ubuntu from a USB stick on which you'd installed a "Live" version earlier. Now the Toshiba has two versions of Ubuntu and Windows on it.

When you try booting it from the hard drive alone, exactly what happens? Also, can you still boot into Windows?;


I seem to have made a mess of asking my question, so I'm starting again.

Hardware is two computers. An old Toshiba Portege with a tiny memory and equally small hard drive, bundled with Windows XP. It struggled with Windows, so I installed Ubuntu and was very impressed.

PLUS a new Toshiba Satellite with no disk drive. It has a decent-sized memory, and was bundled with Windows 7.

The new Toshiba struggled with Windows 7, so I installed Ubuntu from a stick I bought from Amazon. I installed Ubuntu on it twice, but in the process removed Windows 7.

I'm not sorry about losing Windows 7, but I don't have Ubuntu.

When I try booting from the hard drive alone, I get the message: 'Reboot and select proper Boot device or insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and select a key'.

If I insert the stick and press a key I get the same message repeated underneath the first one:  'Reboot and select proper Boot device or insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and select a key'.

If I turn the computer off and on again with the stick inserted, I get a big rectangle and a list of choices:

* Try Ubuntu without installing
 Install Ubuntu
 OEM install (for manufacturers)
 Check disk for defects

If I choose 'Try Ubuntu without installing' I can use the computer (I'm using it now) but I cannot access the hard disk.

And I can't use Windows at all.

Hope this makes things clear.

ANSWER: When you're running Ubuntu open a terminal window.  (Search for a program called xterm).

In xterm, type:
$ sudo su -

The prompt should change to:

Then do this:
# fdisk -l
output will include all drives and partitions.  You should see something called /dev/sda. This is an  entire disk.  It will have partitions on it that are identified as /dev/sda1, /dev/sda2

# ls -al /mnt
If nothing shows then mount the windows drive on /mnt

# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/
If you get a message about filesystem type, you're probably trying to mount the wrong partition.  Use the next one (sda2).

Do this:
# man mount

Read what it says about NTFS partitions

The "problem" is that Windows automatically mounts everything.  A sane OS won't do that.  If you're used to Windows, you're used to seeing all things mounted automatically.  That's one of the ways Windows is infected so easily.  (think of USB stick infections)

Does this help?

[an error occurred while processing this directive]---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Didn't work, I'm afraid.

After" [HASH] fdisk -" I got:

"fdisk [TWO + SIGNS, ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER] unable to open -{TWO + SIGNS, ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER] No such file or directory


You need a reference book for Linux.  Sign-up on the O'Reilly Books website, to receive deals on their books via email.  Or go to Amazon and buy a used one.  There are other publishers to choose from but nothing (IMO) beats older (1990s to 2011) books from O'Reilly.

Windows shows this:  C:\

Linux shows either this: #
or it shows this: $

When the user is the root user (aka superuser), it shows #.
$ is the "mortal" user prompt.

The prompt isn't typed.  When you type '#' anything that follows it is perceived as a Comment, just as what follows "REM" in a DOS batch file is also comment.

The message "No such file or directory" is from bash.  bash is the name of the shell program.  Similar to cmd.exe in Windows.

So here's what you'll do after finding xterm, (or whichever terminal window you found):

$ sudo su -

Please view the man page for "sudo" and for "su".  If they don't make sense right away don't sweat it.

Then do this:
# fdisk -l

It returns as follows:
# fdisk -l
Disk /dev/sda: 1000.2 GB, 1000204886016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 121601 cylinders, total 1953525168 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x000d3fca

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1            2048   771426303   385712128   83  Linux
/dev/sda2   *   771426304  1928560639   578567168   83  Linux
/dev/sda3      1928564732  1953525167    12480218    5  Extended
/dev/sda5      1928564734  1953525167    12480217   82  Linux swap / Solaris

Under "System" you'll see something like "NTFS" in a row.  That's the partition you want to mount.

# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt

If you want to prevent overwriting on the Windows drive use this syntax to mount:

mount -o rw /dev/sda1 /mnt

Once it's mounted, do this:

# ls -al /mnt

This will list (ls) contents of /mnt.  YOu can do this regardless of how you mount it.  If you get an error that talks about accessing /mnt. do this:

sudo ls -al /mnt

Let me know how it goes.

Ubuntu and Associated Distributions

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


John Crout


The command line, configuration files, recompiling the kernel, maintaining a system, hardening a system, package managers, browsers. Questions about Debian, Ubuntu, KUbuntu, MINT, Knoppix, CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise, Linux Wifi, embedded Linux, Live CD, forensics tools, vulnerability and pen testing tools, virtual installations.


LiveCDs, Debian, Red Hat, CentOS, Running on VMware, MINT, Ubuntu Studio, NIST Working Groups,

Association for Computing Machinery Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, ISC2, ACM

RTCA/DO-178B, "Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification", (member of SC-167), RTCA/DO-160C, "Environmental Conditions and Test Procedures for Airborne Equipment", (member of SC-135) Student Doctor Magazine EE Times Network World blog Navy CIO blog Medforum CGAUX groups and CGAUX National Staff groups Analytic Bridge LinkedIn

Master of Public Health (Epidemiology and Biostatistics) Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (Computer Engineering Option) Digital Forensics Basics, Texas Engineering Extension Secure Software, Texas Engineering Extension Network Security, Texas Engineering Extension Infosec Basics, Texas Engineering Extension Information Assurance Awareness, Department of Defense Information Systems Security, United States Coast Guard Online safety for parents and children, Fort Collins Police Department Spear Phishing, Defense Information Security Agency, DISA Spear Phishing, United States Coast Guard, USCG Meeting the Media, Testifying, Presentations, Arch Lustberg FEMA (ICS-100, -200, -210, -700, 800) United States Coast Guard Defense Information Systems Agency United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Crosby Quality Workgroup Facilitator Trainer Crosby Quality Education System Wisconsin University, ISSA training workshops

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]