I recently bought a Samsung N150 Plus netbook, model N150-KP01AU. 160G hard drive. Came with Windows XP “Ultra Low Cost PC” edition.
My plan was to install Ubuntu netbook edition as my primary OS but still have Windows XP as a dual boot option.
Because I generally have low tolerance for things like hidden recovery partitions and automatic Windows backup solutions, the default hard drive partition scheme and all the associated cruft wasn’t going to cut it. Without thinking about it too much, I formatted the entire hard drive, hidden partitions and all, with the plan to reinstall Windows XP from a XP Home OEM SP2 CD, using an external USB CD drive.
I also wanted a partition shared between Windows and Linux for things like downloads, photos, videos, music etc. I formatted it as FAT32 for maximum interoperability. This is working pretty well. Basically I divided the 160 GB hard drive into three more or less equal partitions of around 50GB each. The final scheme I ended up with looked like this:
To cut a long story short, everything installed just fine. Windows appeared to accept the licence key from the sticker on the netbook, no problems.
However! When it finally got to the login screen, it would tell me “This copy of Windows must be activated with Microsoft before you can continue”. Fair enough. So I activated. And it told me yes, all good, it’s now been activated. But now when I tried to log in again, it once again told me activation was required.
It was stuck in some kind of loop where it thought it needed to be activated but upon checking, realised that it in fact HAD been activated. I tried multiple times, via the internet, via the Microsoft activiation phone number, diligently typing all those numbers in to Microsoft’s automated phone service. But no, every time it would still get into the same login loop.
Anyway, the solution for me was AntiWPA. It basically tricks Windows winlogon.exe to make it think it was booted in safe mode, and hence skips the WPA-Check. After running this and successfully logging in to a non-safe mode desktop, I then successfully activated Windows with the sticker licence key in the normal activation app and all was well after that. All now up to date and legit with Windows Update, “Microsoft Genuine Advantage” and everything.
The second part of this story is installing Ubuntu 10.10. The install worked great, and almost all the hardware works out of the box, e.g. wireless with the proprietary Broadcom driver, sound, network, display were all fine.
Screen backlight brightness and the keyboard function keys, however, did NOT work out of the box, but a keen Ubuntu user going by the name of “voria” provides extra packages to support backlight and function keys, amongst other things. Installing the voria PPA solves all these problems.
The only remaining gripe is that resume from suspend is broken in the Maverick current release Linux kernel, version Linux 2.6.35-22-generic. It also seems to be broken for me in the current Linux mainline head. This is a pretty irritating bug for a netbook where typically you want to be able to suspend to RAM and resume all the time instead of shutting down and cold booting or resorting to hibernation.