I finally went ahead and installed Ubuntu 13.04. I had to google a few things from my phone during the installation, but all in all everything went pretty smooth. The only problem worth mentioning was that I lost my internet connection at some point (though I was still connected to the wireless network), but that was solved pretty easily.
It had been a while since I used Linux, so I forgot all about file systems, partitions etc. What partitions to create was the first thing I had to look up. The only thing I remember was that there had to be a separate swap partition. After I made a little research, I found out it was okay to have just the swap partition and another partition mounted at the root directory, but following some advice I made a separate partition for the /boot directory as well. It also took some reading to decide which file system to use, since there were many options. From what I could find, Ext4 had a nice balance between performance and stability, so I went with that. I ended up with the following partitions:
- 9.3 GB NTFS Recovery Partition (Primary)
- 105 MB NTFS System Reserved Partition (Primary)
- 429 GB NTFS Windows C Drive Partition (Primary)
- 61 GB Extended Partition containing:
- 299 MB Ext4 Boot Partition mounted at /boot (Logical)
- 53 GB Ext4 Main Partition mounted at / (Logical)
- 8 GB Swap Partition (Logical)
I was a little concerned that all the Linux partitions were logical partitions, it had to be because Windows is already using three primary partitions and when I created another primary partition, the remaining space would be labeled as "Unusable Space". I was also concerned that installing grub to /dev/sda would give me problems when I tried to use Windows. In the end, however, I didn't end up running into any problems, grub works fine and I can choose between Ubuntu and Windows on startup.
After making sure both operating systems were running fine, I decided I would install Google Chrome (which turned out to be another adventure by the way). While downloading Chrome, I noticed my internet connection was gone. The wireless connection was still active and I could even ping ip addresses, but none of the domain names would resolve. I thought it was a problem with DNS, but then I read a comment on some webpage for a similar problem from my phone, which basically said that setting the wireless router's channel to "auto" could sometimes confuse Ubuntu and cause connectivity problems.
To look at my wireless router's channel settings, I visited http://192.168.0.1 from my phone and found out that the channel was set to 5, not auto. I changed the channel to 1 just in case and restarted the wireless router. What do you know? Internet is back again (I am not going to post any screenshots for this because the configuration windows for every router is different). At the time it seemed to me that it was indeed a problem about wireless channels, but according to this article, it could also be a problem with drivers. Maybe a simple wireless reboot was sufficient to solve the connectivity issue, I don't know.