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Thread: LVPM: Upgrades Wubi installs to dedicated-partition Ubuntu installs

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Palo Alto, CA
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    LVPM: Upgrades Wubi installs to dedicated-partition Ubuntu installs

    LVPM currently does not work with installs generated by Wubi 10.04 (patches welcome). If you wish to do a standard install of Ubuntu without a CD, please use UNetbootin instead.

    LVPM's website and screenshot-based guide is at

    LVPM currently supports installations generated by Wubi 8.04, Wubi 7.10, Wubi 7.04, and Lubi 7.04. It has not been updated to work with newer versions (8.10, 9.04, 9.10, 10.04), patches are welcome. Please use the "Alternative Instructions" (see below) instead.

    Rationale for using LVPM to transfer your Wubi install to a real partition

    A major feature of Wubi is that it installs Ubuntu onto a virtual disk, eliminating the hassles and risks of repartitioning. While such an install is adequate for everyday use, there are several advantages to having a "real" Ubuntu installation, that is, one in a dedicated partition, rather than a virtual disk on your Windows install.

    1. Full independence from Windows: Wubi relies on Windows to store its virtual disks, and for its bootloader. Thus, should you decide that Ubuntu serves your needs and you no longer need Windows, you cannot simply delete your Windows partition, as that will remove your Wubi install as well. To switch entirely to Ubuntu, you will first need to transfer your Wubi install to its own partition by following this guide, and only then can you delete your Windows partition.

    2. Performance boost: There is a slight hard drive performance penalty in a Wubi install due to the usage of virtual disks. While it shouldn't be noticeable in everyday usage, if you regularly edit and copy large files, such as in movie editing, there should be a speed improvement if you transfer your Wubi install to a dedicated partition.

    3. Regain hibernation functionality: Even if your hardware supports hibernation under Ubuntu, you will be unable to do so in Wubi, since the swap is within a virtual drive. However, if you transfer your install to a real partition, you will have dedicated swap, so you will be able to hibernate if your hardware supports it normally under Ubuntu (check in the forums for information on any particular hardware models).

    Before starting...

    Always remember to back up data, just in case something happens. Back up to a USB flash drive, CD/DVD, anywhere EXCEPT your hard drive.

    Also make sure you have a spare partition to install to. To do this, just use the Partition Manager tool (short video tutorial at ) to resize the Windows partition with GParted and create a new primary partition formatted as ext3. You'll also need to create another partition with a size greater than your ram size, and format it as swap.

    Creating new partitions and resizing existing ones

    This is only required if you don't already have a spare partition to install to. Also make sure you have a swap partition of greater size than your RAM memory, in addition to the partition you will install Linux to (the filesystem type for the main partition doesn't matter, it'll be made ext3 anyhow, just make sure the swap partition is formatted as swap or it won't be used). If you do, just move on to the next section.

    To do this, you can use the Partition Manager tool (short video tutorial at ), boot it up and open GParted, then follow the guide at

    Resize your Windows partitions (NTFS) and create a new primary partition (format doesn't matter, it'll be formatted ext3 by LVPM, but it should be at least as large as the Wubi virtual disks, at least 5 GB) and a swap partition (of greater size than the amount of RAM memory). Also note what the device string of the new system (not swap) partition is (something like /dev/sdb1, /dev/hda2); you'll need it later.

    ONLY resize the Windows (NTFS) partition, DON'T delete it just yet, even if you plan on getting rid of Windows, because your Wubi install is still on it.

    Installing and running LVPM, the Loopmounted Virtual Partition Manager

    You can either follow my step-by-step video tutorial at, a screenshot-based guide at or follow the instrctions below:

    Boot the Ubuntu install created by Wubi/Lubi, and download and install the latest lvpm deb package.

    Once installed, open Applications -> System Tools -> LVPM, and select either the "transfer" option, and select a partition to install to. DO NOT SELECT A PARTITION WITH ANY IMPORTANT DATA ON IT; IT WILL BE WIPED OUT. ALSO NOTE THAT GRUB WILL BE INSTALLED TO THE MBR. If you want to resize your virtual disks, rather than transfer them to dedicated partitions, use the "resize" option.

    Now, reboot and hope that it works, if you run into some horrible boot error, plop in the Super Grub Disk, and hopefully, you should be able to boot your system.

    Getting rid of the original Wubi install (optional)

    If you're satisfied with your new real-partition install, and have no need to keep your original Wubi install, just boot Windows, go to "Add/Remove Programs", select Wubi, and press "Uninstall", and you'll be left only with your real-partition Ubuntu installation.

    Getting rid of Windows entirely (optional)

    AFTER you have transferred the Wubi install to a real partition, and it is working, boot the Partition Manager tool, open GParted, delete the Windows (NTFS) partition, and follow the guide at to expand your ext3 partition to use up the free space left by the deleted Windows (NTFS) partition.

    Resizing virtual disks using LVPM

    Run LVPM, and once the menu appears, select "resize" (to resize the root virtual disk, which contains both /home and the system files).

    Input the new size, in MB, of the virtual disk.

    Wait until the program finishes creating a new disks file and copying files from original home disk file; it will pop up a final instruction window instructing to backup the original home disk file and renaming the newly created disk file

    Boot into windows and navigate to c:\wubi\disks, move the old virtual disk to a different folder as backup, and rename new.virtual.disk to root.virtual.disk

    Reboot into ubuntu

    If everything works, make sure you leave your vote on the poll, and if there's some error in the instructions or something didn't work, make sure leave a comment.

    Alternative Instructions

    It's possible to migrate Wubi installs (any version, works on both 7.04 or 7.10), data, and settings (apps can be quickly reinstalled via apt-get) to dedicated-partition installs using an alternative approach (use this if LVPM fails), which also doesn't require a CD:

    1. Create 3 new partitions with the Partition Manager (download): a 5-10 GB (ext3 format) partition to use as root (/), a ~1 GB (equal to RAM size) (swap format) partition to use as swap, and make the rest a (ext3 format) partition to use as /home.

    2. Boot back into the Wubi-generated Ubuntu install, mount the new partition that will be used as /home in the dedicated-partition install to /media/disk, and copy the contents of the current /home recursively over to the new partition:

    rsync -avx /home/ /media/disk
    Additionally, if you want to avoid the hassle of manually reinstalling all the packages you currently have installed, run:

    dpkg --get-selections > selections.dpkg
    That'll generate a list of packages you have installed (back up that list to somewhere safe); after reinstalling the system, just open Synaptic, go file > read markings, select that file that was generated (selections.dpkg), press apply, and it'll reinstall all the software you have on your current system (details here).

    3. Reboot into Windows, and install UNetbootin (download).

    Download and install the .exe version, reboot, then select "UNetbootin" at the boot menu, then the Ubuntu installer will start up. After that, just follow the standard Ubuntu installation process (guide), just make sure that at the "partitioning" stage, select the "manual" option, and make sure tospecify the appropriate mountpoints (make sure the partition you copies /home to is mounted at /home, and make sure it doesn't get formatted). After that, wait for Ubuntu to be downloaded and installed from the net (it'll take a long time if you're on a slow connection, just give it a few hours to complete).

    4. Once done installing, reboot back, and your new dedicated-partition Ubuntu install, complete with data and settings preserved, should be there. You can re-install the individual applications via apt-get. Once done, you can reboot back into Windows and remove the UNetbootin installer (it'll prompt on startup), and remove Wubi, then you'll be done.


    If you ever get a GRUB error, or can't boot one of your operating systems, boot up the Super Grub Disk and it will allow you to repair GRUB and be able to boot Windows and Ubuntu.
    Last edited by tuxcantfly; July 3rd, 2010 at 10:33 PM. Reason: Wubi 8.04 instructions


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