Finally I replaced the dying hard drive on my Thinkpad and went on to install both XP and Ubuntu. First I installed XP because I’ve had trouble installing it second before. I couldn’t use the XP that came with the Thinkpad because that was on a corrupt partition on the old HDD that was dying. So I found another XP CD and installed. It didn’t have the drivers for either the wired or the wireless ethernet so I couldn’t go online to download the rest of the drivers (video, audio, touchpad etc.)
Next I installed Ubuntu. It found drivers for everything and was working right out of the box. This new 7.10 version finally fixed all the problems I had with 6.06 (such as crappy wireless settings, no hibernation etc.) and nearly everything just worked right out of the box. Once Ubuntu was installed I managed to download all the windows drivers for the laptop. I got the wired lan working on the thinkpad. XP refused to accept that the wireless drivers were correct so I had to force it to use the drivers that I gave it. Finally the wireless was working and I started Windows Update after activating the copy of Windows.
At some point during the Windows Update, a power failure made the internet connection go away and Windows Update stopped downloading further updates and started installing all the downloaded updates, then asked me to reboot. So I reboot and now Windows will not start saying it cannot find ntoskrnl.exe. I boot in Ubuntu and look for the file. The file exists but it is of unknown size and of unknown type (other exes are all labelled as DOS/Windows executable) which means that Windows update put in a corrupt file.
Back goes in my XP CD and I select Repair this time which puts me at a command prompt. I type “dir” and I get an error telling me it cannot show me the directory. So my Windows is completely busted. I have been living without Windows on the laptop for over a year now because my previous Windows installation also died thaks to HD corruption but Ubuntu lived on and was able to atleast boot in command prompt and I could run fsck and fix hard drive errors and reboot with a gui.
The only reason I need Windows is to run Visual Studio.NET so I will give it another try, maybe I’ll just give VMware a try and install Windows in a virtual environment and do away with a separate install.