Tips for new Ubuntu Users

Here are some extra tips if you’re just getting started out on Ubuntu.

  1. You don’t have to go through the UI to shut down or reboot your computer. You can do it from the command line. The commands are:
    sudo reboot # to reboot
    sudo poweroff # to shut down and power off the computer
  2. You can get a lot more information on your computers startup and shutdown sequences by removing the default Ubuntu splash screen that obscures this. You should definitely do this if you want to learn more about what your system is
    actually doing under the hood, especially if you need to troubleshoot what it’s doing. To do this:

    sudo nano /etc/grub/default/grub
    # find the line where it says GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT and remove 'quiet splash' 
    # from this variable. If that leaves the variable empty make sure it is
    # still set as an empty variable, e.g. GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=""
    sudo update-grub
    sudo reboot

    Now you will see everything that is happening when your system starts up and
    shuts down, or reboots.

Restoring Ubuntu 10.4’s Bootloader, after a Windows 7 Install

I installed Windows 7 after I had installed Ubuntu 10.4. Windows 7 overwrote the Linux bootloader “grub” on my master boot record. Therefore I had to restore it.

I used the Ubuntu 10.4 LiveCD to start up a live version of Ubuntu. While under the LiveCD, I then restored the Grub bootloader by chrooting into my old install, using the linux command line. This is a fairly complex thing to do, and so I recommend you use this approach only if you’re are confident with the linux command line:

# (as root under Ubuntu's LiveCD)

# prepare chroot directory

mkdir /chroot

# mount my linux partition

mount /dev/sda1 $d   # my linux partition was installed on my first SATA hard disk, on the first parition (hence sdA1).

# mount system directories inside the new chroot directory

mount -o bind /dev $d/dev
mount -o bind /sys $d/sys
mount -o bind /dev/shm $d/dev/shm
mount -o bind /proc $d/proc

# accomplish the chroot

chroot $d

# proceed to update the grub config file to include the option to boot into my new windows 7 install


# install grub with the new configuration options from the config file, to the master boot record on my first hard disk

grub-install /dev/sda

# close down the liveCD instance of linux, and boot from the newly restored grub bootloader