Dual Boot Ubuntu/XP (Ubuntu installed 1st) & Integrated Sound Card Quality

I’m in the market for a new computer, and Dell recently introduced a small line of computers that come with Ubuntu installed. The Ubuntu machines are cheaper than the Windows machines, and I have the assurance that Ubuntu will run on them with relatively few problems. However, they only come with the Integrated 7.1 channel audio. How much of a difference is there between this and a name-brand sound card?

For the first part of my topic, what am I going to have to do to get both OS’s up and running? Will I have to reformat to put XP on, and then in stall Ubuntu? I have an old copy of XP, will I be able to use that directly, or will I have to get a new license/copy? Where can I even purchase a new license?

(I could get an XP machine, but costs about $50 more and doesn’t offer a second DVD/CD drive. But, if this is the best option I suppose I’ll have to take it.)

Installing a dual-boot system with XP after Linux is more difficult than the other way around, but by no means impossible. There’s a good tutorial here

In order to install XP though, you’re going to need a proper XP install CD - one of those restore disks that you get with some branded machines will not be suitable, as that will want to overwrite the whole hard drive and will be preconfigured for the hardware it was sold with anyway.
You’ll also need your XP license key - usually found on the Certificate Of Authenticity sticker on the machine with which XP was supplied. You can’t peel off these stickers without destroying them and it may actually be the case that the license of XP you have is not transferrable.

And on the sound card thing… Unless you’re a seasoned audiophile (and quite frankly, I’m skeptical about many of the things those guys stipulate as essential), integrated sound is usually more than adequate - I’d say there are probably very few computers out there for which the actual quality of the integrated soundcard is the weakest aspect of the system’s audio. Upgrading to good quality speakers or headphones will get you far more bang for your buck than upgrading the sound card (which you can always do later anyway).

Thanks Mangetout.

As Mangetout said, whether you can use your old copy of XP will depend on what type of license it was. If it was an OEM version that came with a previous Dell or other system, you’re pretty much out of luck. If you purchased a proper retail version from a store, you should be fine.

If you don’t have a good version of XP that you can install on any new computer, you might be better of buying a Windows computer from Dell and just installing Ubuntu afterwards. As Mangetout said, it’s easier to install Windows first and then Ubuntu than the other way around. Sure, it’s a bit cheaper to buy the Dell with Ubuntu, but if you then have to fork out for a retail copy of Windows, you’ll probably end up paying more.

If you do get a Dell with Windows, make sure you fork out the extra 10 bucks or so to get a restore disc. They are no longer sent free with the system, i don’t think.

So? Copy the number to another piece of paper.

As long as no one else has the same key as you do, you can authenticate your key as many times as needed.

But it’s not as simple as that.

OEM copies of Windows shipped with OEM systems (Dell, Gateway, etc.) are tied to specific hardware configurations, and attempting to install them on a completely new machine is not only against the OEM licensing agreement, it could well be impossible to do. Even if the install itself works, i’m pretty sure Microsoft won’t let you activate an old OEM copy of Windows on a completely new computer. Hell, i’ve heard of cases where replacing just the motherboard on a computer caused activation problems for OEM versions of Windows.

As i said, if the OP has a full (non-OEM) version of Windows, he should be fine.

Yeah, my mistake. I was assuming a full version (or at least an update) of XP.

Hell, i’ve heard of cases where replacing just the motherboard on a computer caused activation problems for OEM versions of Windows.

Missed this first time around. IIRC, a MB “costs” 4 points, and XP allows 3 points every 90 days, so this is not really a case of “just a motherboard”.

I actually wasn’t aware there was a specific points system.

Also, in the cases i’ve heard of where motherboard replacement caused problems, activation was always approved; it just took a phone call and some explaining to MS.

Yes, there is. I don’t have an online cite, and my printed book is unavaible to me at the moment (hence my “IIRC” reference), but there are certain changes that can be made every 90 days w/o XP asking for reactivation, and they are based on “points”.

Of course, but I was mentioning it to warn the OP from destroying it by trying to peel it off.

Odd that this came out, I have to do a duel boot with Windows and Linux this weekend. Mine is the other way around: Windows first then linux.

Mangetout’s link had another link to what I need. Thanks! Mine may be a little harder because I have Vista on it…

Definitely Windows first - even Linux installation discs advise this.
However, do you really need it?
(Posted from an Ubuntu machine)

To answer the recurring question: I have a retail version of XP from around the time it first came out.

I’m not sure what “it” refers to. I’m sure that I’ll be given Windows only applications at some point. On the other hand, I am curious about Linux and I believe that a greater familiarity with it will pay off in the job market.

Sorry about the lack of clarity there - “it” refers to Windows.
It may well be that you can survive without Windows and just use Linux. Or not, only you can decide that depending on your requirements.