Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Dell pre-installs two hidden partitions on the harddisk; the idea behind them is sound as it eliminates the need to remember your XP’s product code and automate the activation process and when something goes really wrong, the option to restore the computer to its original factory state is always there.
Hidden in small prints under one of Dell’s FAQ, which no one will read until after disaster strikes, is a warning not to use FIXBOOT or FIXMBR (two of the most powerful tools under the XP’s Recovery Console). Now comes the most popular Linux distro – Ubuntu. Ubuntu6.06 LiveCD is perhaps the only distro on earth which doesn’t give you a chance to specify where to install its Grub Loader – it installs itself on the default boot disk’s MBR – something that will nicely mess up Dell’s special MBR.
Ubuntu will run fine after the installation. Windows XP will run too but not for long. And the useful Dell Utility Partition is gone (because the MBR has changed). You think you can fix it by FIXMBR and get the Windows NT Bootloader back. Great. You just mess up your harddisk further.