My Asus Eee PC 1000H shipped with Windows XP, and it runs pretty well. But what’s the point in having an 80GB hard drive if you don’t partition it and try installing an alternate operating system every now and again? There are several Linux distributions that reportedly run well on netbooks like the 1000H with an Intel Atom CPU. But I decided to give Ubuntu Eee a try since it’s a custom version of Ubuntu designed especially for the Eee PC.
First off, if you want to install a more traditional Ubuntu desktop environment, you can totally do that. but it takes a bit of tweaking to get all of the hardware working. There are two advantages to going with a custom distro like Ubuntu Eee. First, everything including the Fn keys and the wireless drivers work out of the box. And second, you get to try out Ubuntu Netbook Remix.
I’m still trying to decide whether the latter is a good thing or not. On the one hand, Canonical has added some tweaks to Ubuntu that help the operating system take advantage of the Intel Atom processor’s power-saving abilities. On the other hand, the custom interface which is designed to make it easier to use Ubuntu on a device with a small 9 or 10 inch display can be a bit limiting at times. Fortunately, it’s easy to tweak. But I’ll get to that in a few minutes. First, here’s all you need to know about installing Ubuntu Eee. Note that while I installed the operating system on an Eee PC 1000H, it should work on the Eee PC 901 or 1000 just as well.
Following the instructions at Simple Help and Ubuntu Eee, I decided to try installing Ubuntu using a USB flash drive instead of an external CD-ROM. Both methods will work, but it typically takes a bit less time to install from a flash drive.
- First you’ll want to download the latest version of Ubuntu Eee (currently 8.04.1). You can find a direct download link or download the disc image using BitTorrent.
- Next decide whether you will burn the image to a disc or use a flash drive to install. The flash drive should be 1GB or larger. If you have a USB CD/DVD drive, all you need to do is burn the image to a disc, and then skip ahead to step 5.
- If you want to boot from a flash drive, you need to download UNetbootin-Ubuntu Eee tool, which comes in Linux and Windows versions. Make sure to grab the correct version for the operating system you’re currently using.
- Launch UNetbootin to transfer the ISO image to the flash drive. Make sure to select the correct ISO file and the drive you want to copy the ISO to. Click OK when you’re ready.
- When you’re done preparing your flash disk or CD, shut down your computer.
- Make sure the flash drive or USB CD/DVD drive is plugged in and power up your Eee PC.
- Hit the ESC button when the Asus splash screen appears.
- Select your boot device
- Ubuntu will boot up. This is a Live environment, meaning you’re running the operating system from your external media. Even though the installer will automatically start up, this is a good opportunity to poke around and decide whether you want to install this Linux distribution. Just cancel the installer. You can always start it again later.
- To install, follow the on-screen instructions. If you want to have a dual boot system, make sure not to overwrite any partitions that already have operating systems on them. You can use the Ubuntu installer to create new partitions if necessary.
And that’s it. I didn’t time it, but the whole process was pretty quick (not including downloading the ISO, which took a few hours).
When all is said and done, you have an Eee PC that can run Ubuntu and doesn’t have some of the common problems that plague users who install a stock version of the Linux distribution. For example,if you install Ubuntu from scratch, the wireless drivers will stop working when your Eee PC resumes from sleep mode. But there’s no such problem with Eee Ubuntu.
That’s not to say everything is perfect. First off, it does take longer to connect to my wireless router using Ubuntu Eee than it does using Windows XP. We’re talking seconds, not hours here, but it is a significant enough difference to be mildly annoying.
Also, while the built in speakers are pretty quite under Windows XP, they’re even more quiet when using Ubuntu Eee. I’m not really sure why there would be a difference and I’ll be looking into possible solutions soon. Update: It turns out that some of the volume controls are a bit funky. You need to crank up the headphone volume as well as the master volume to make the speakers louder.
And finally, battery life doesn’t appear to be quite as good. With Windows XP, I routinely get 5+ hours of battery life. Ubuntu Eee provides closer to 4. I haven’t scientifically tested this yet, so it could just be a difference in how the operating system reports remaining battery life.
I haven’t entirely made up my mind about Ubuntu Netbook Remix’s user interface. It is easier to customize than the Easy Mode interface Asus built for Xandros Linux. But it still feels a little bit like Linux for dummies. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you’re trying to make your operating system simple enough to use that people who have never tried Linux should have no problems with it. But after spending the last decade or two getting used to the start menu and taskbar paradigm, it takes a little while to get used to tabs that say things like Internet, Graphics, and Games.
You can choose to disable the ume-launcher application that ships with Ubuntu Netbook Remix and use an old fashioned menu bar. I’ve decided to take the middle ground and I’ve added the menu bar to the panel atop the screen while leaving ume-launcher in place for now.
I’m also still trying to decide whether the “maximus” application is a good idea or not. When it’s running, eveyr program you launch will run in full screen mode. This is a simple way of making that most applications will be as easy to use as possible on a small screen. But it also means you don’t see those little X or _ buttons you’re used to that let you minimize or close applications. Instead you have to right click on their icons in the system tray or use the File menu to exit.
I’ve also installed Gnome-Do, which is a keyboard application launcher sort of like Launchy for Windows or Quicksilver for OS X. Gnome-Do makes it easy to launch almost any application installed by hitting a keyboard shortcut (Super + spacebar by default, although I changed it to Alt + spacebar because that’s the same combo I use for Launchy) and typing the name of the application. No menu bar, ume-launcher, or Easy Mode needed.
I’m still working to find Linux alternatives for some of the Windows applications I used most often. For example, I use IrfanView almost every day on Windows to capture and edit images for blog posts. I’ve had a heck of a hard time trying to get it to run on Linux using WINE, so instead I’m using a combination of the Gnome screenshot application and gThumb Image Viewer for editing images. They work, but they’re not nearly as efficient.
That said, I’ve played with Ubuntu and other Linux distributions a number of times over the last four of five years. And I’ve usually gone back to Windows because of hardware incompatibility issues. For the first time, I’m actually thinking of sticking with Ubuntu for a while. Because it runs well on my Eee PC 1000H. Very well.
I would like to note that my pc is running Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope and under system/administration/ there is a “USB Startup Disc Creator” program. It worked perfectly for me.
Got an Asus Eee 701 4g Surf about 6 months ago and at first was somewhat disappointed.
The small size and the Xandros distro with it’s easy menu interface really makes it look like a toy.
I soon found out about Ubuntu Eee and “Easy Peasy” ,installed it am very pleased.
Great article thanks. I tried to do the install using Easy Peasy and there doesn’t seem to be an auto install option. Unless you want to use your entire disc you must choose Manual when it comes to partitioning your drive. The only options I got were Guided Entire Disk, the flash drive, and Manual. If you select manual you must select the partition from a list of partitions, and you need to understand what type of file system to format with. A bit frustrating if you’re not Linux savvy. I chose Manual, the program scanned my discs and again you are shown the file partitions in Linux parlance, i.e., /dev/sda1 ntfs, etc. You are also asked if you want to check a box for formating. I would think this is obvious, but it’s not so it can confuse you. If you click Format the “edit partition” dialog opens up. Now you get to make more choices. You must determine the size of the partition and you have a “Use As” drop down choice. The choices are numerous, including “Use As” swap file, Ext3 journaling file system, ext2 file system, ReiserFS journaling file system, XFS journaling file system, Fat16 and Fat 32, as well as ntfs, swap, and do not use the partition, all of which is very daunting for those of us unfamiliar with Linux. I exited at this point to do some more research!
did you ever find answers to the “Edit a partition” stymy? I’m having the same block.
I read and read but no answer comes. The 904ha. Think its the same as the 1000ha with a smaller screen. (annoyed at this, but oh well)
Anyway THERE IS NO EEE flash. The Escape method doesn’t work. Now what?
I’m having the same problem. I updated the bios a couple of days ago and had the same problem then. I just kept rebooting it and finally saw a splash screen. it’s infuriating, let me tell you.
Sorry for double reply, but I just read that it’s because the boot booster has been enabled. Just reboot and hit f2 repeatedly. It’ll put you into the bios where you can enable/disable the boot booster. But I’m pretty sure the point of hitting esc at the splash is to get to bios, so just try that.
Ya know I found that already as well. Was a bugger in finding it. I also then had issues with my usb stick…. and that fix was to try an sd card. some usb sticks just won’t work as boot devices. Then I had to figure out the partition thing. I deleted the d partition and made a 4096 swap file and the rest of the 60 gig partition as my root dir. you also have to name the windows partition so ubuntu can see it. Then everything worked out of the box other than my bluetooth mouse. I can sync it, but it looses sync if the computer goes to sleep. A coworker sits here using his modified kernel Ubuntu load, and he’s not having any issues. Seems to either be an issue with my dongle or with Eeebuntu 2.10 standard. I’ve posted but noone knows an answer so far.
Can I boot Ubuntu from an SD card on my Asus Eee PC 1000HA? And how come the battery life is shorter than XP?
yes u can boot ubuntu from any sd card or usb devices 🙂 just use the program netbootin if u have already linux….about the battery life….i should know what version of ubuntu u are using on eee?? normal one or adam’s kernel? this could make the difference i would suggest u to try eeebuntu or the new easypeasy….for further explanations…i m here 🙂 🙂
Can I boot Ubuntu from an SD card on my Asus Eee PC 1000HA? And how come the battery life is shorter than XP?
i wanna buy eee pc 1000h go. does ubuntu eee supports 3g module???
great guide!! 😉 does the 3g module embedded in eee pc 1000h go works with ubuntu eee????
very good article!!!! i m interested in buying 1000h GO…does the 3g embedded module works with ubuntu-eee????????
The MSI Wind U100 has the same specs as the 1000H. Will the OS work on the Wind then?
Good article, thanks for writing it. Would have liked to have seen a bit more about battery life comparisons, but I enjoyed the article nonetheless.
You have been stumbled.
You’ll get a choice of operating systems during bootup, but the default choice will be Ubuntu. You’ll have to manually choose Windows XP during bootup if you want to load Windows. If you want to change the default option or the order of OSes listed, follow these steps:
being new…. once it is installed following the above guide then at startup are you prompted to boot into unbuntu or xp? Is this something that is taken care of during the install of unbuntu or does a bootloader need to be created separately??? Thanks for the respons
I tried running from a USB flash drive and it worked.
However, when it comes time to do the actuall install the instructions I am not sure how to partition the hard drive. The 1000H 160GB came with two 80 GB partitions.
Also how do you make the dual boot system default to boot into XP?
I have found a number of suggestions doing a Google search. Most are written in Linuxese. I haven’t had to worry about Linux (it was called Unix back then) for 20 years.
One of the partitions should have data on it. That’s most likely your
Windows system partition. Don’t overwrite it. If you’ve been saving files to
both partitions things get a little trickier, but the most foolproof method
is to copy anything from the second partition to the same partition Windows
is installed on so that you’re unlikely to muck anything up.
Then you can either choose to install to the second partition or you can
resize that partition if you don’t think you’ll need 80GB.
As for making sure Windows XP boots by default, you’ll need to edit the
menu.lst file in your GRUB menu. The easiest way to do this is to pull up a
terminal either from the application menu or by hitting Ctrl+ F2 and typing
Next, type “sudo nautilus” to pull up the file manager with root privileges.
Enter your password when asked.
Now you want to navigate to the File System, find the folder that says Boot,
and inside it openn the folder that says Grub. Double click on Menu.lst to
edit it. If you didn’t type Sudo before opening Nautilus, you won’t be able
to save your changes.
Finally, scroll all the way down to the bottom. You should see a list of
operating systems. Just highlight the chunk that starts with something like
“title Windows XP Home Edition” and ends with “chainloader +1” and copy this
so that it’s the first operating system listed (above Ubuntu). Now when you
reboot, Windows XP should load by default.
You can also edit the amount of time the GRUB menu will wait for you to make
a selection before choosing the default OS in this menu. Scroll up a bit
until you find the section that says “timeout sec” and change the number
from 10 to 5 or whatever you’re most comfortable with.
I have heard rumors about the dual boot method, that you actually loose the ability to do the restore set aside on the partition for XP. Any idea if that is true or not?
Unless I’m mistaken, there is no recovery partition on the Windows XP
version of the Eee PC 1000H, just the Linux version. You can use the support
DVD to restore your system, but you’ll need an external DVD drive to do
I just wanted to confirm that wifi does work on the 1000H Ubuntu-EEE install without much hassle? I’ll be getting a 1000H soon and really wanted to install Ubuntu on it, but want to be sure I can get wifi without any trouble ( I’m not good with trouble ;] )
Worked out of the box for me.
Got to admit I have never installed Linux on any system but seeing the boot up of an eee pc had my ears perked. After reading this article i may try the dual boot option. Thanks for the great read i will come back once i receive my 1000H on Monday Oct 6. Maybe I will try installing the eee ubuntu. Thanks again for the great tutorial.
Does it work well with Aspire One?
yes, very well, all fn keys works fine.but the right side sd reader. there is patch file and instructions fixed for it,
Just installed ubuntu-eee on my eee pc 1000h , but could not get the wireless to work. When i tried to turn it on (Fn+ F2) it would hang (freeze) the system. any suggestions?
It should be on by default. Just right click on the network icon in the top
right corner of your screen and select the network you want to connect to.
Hey! I wrote most of that wiki on eeeuser. Nice to see it getting used.
I haven’t used maximus but something else that I think helps with the screen size, is to select ‘show hide buttons’ on the Gnome panel. Clicking one of the buttons will hide your panel and let your window use the top 1/4 inch or so. You can also select auto-hide which will only show the panel when your pointer is at the top of the screen.
I also run avant window manager (awm)with Gnome so I can hide the Gnome panel but still have a quick launcher…you can even put a main menu applet on awm so you can get rid of the gnome panel entirely if you want. Using awm or one of the desktop effects to switch back and forth between windows or desktops, you can also get rid of the bottom panel and reclaim even more screen space.
Brad, could you put an update in there for those poor saps like myself who rushed out to get the very first eee, only for it to be instantly superceded by a more competent spec?
Ubuntu EEE can be installed on the 2G Surf, all you need to do is follow the instructions you gave above, except choose ‘No Localization’ on the first page of the installer, then when asked where to install to, choose ‘manual’ (it’s not as daunting as it sounds). Then choose ext2 file format, and select the mount point as ‘/’. It’ll give a dialog box about not having specified any swap partition, but that can be ignored. Then just contunue as per you instructions, and it’ll install just fine. The only addendum is that there will be very little space left on the internal drive/SSD, but unlike the default Xandros OS, you can actually remove apps you don’t need to free up a few Mb, and make sure you’ve got some SD cards or USB Sticks lying around for storage. It’s taken me 5 months to find this out, and I Google REALLY WELL 🙂
You can certainly install Ubuntu on an Eee PC 701. But I’d be careful about
installing this particular version since it comes with Ubuntu Netbook Remix
and includes optimizations for the Intel Atom CPU. If you want the
ume-launcher and Maximus software but don’t need the optimizations, it might
be better to install a different version of Ubuntu and load the Netbook
Remix manually. Or I suppose you could also just uninstall the Atom specific
bits. I hadn’t tried it myself, but I got the impression from the UNR page
that you might not be able to run a distro like Ubuntu Eee that has them
preloaded at all on a computer that doesn’t use the Atom processor.
Any issues with the buttons working after waking up from sleep?
Also, decreased battery may be due to bluetooth running. I pull about 5hrs with wifi running.
All the buttons appear to be working after resume. And I think I got to the
bottom of the volume issue. For some reason I needed to boost the
*headphone* volume in order to make the speakers louder. Go figure. I’ll
update the post to reflect that.
Good point about the Bluetooth. I’ll have to figure out how to disable it
when I don’t need it.
Great article and review!
I am gonna give it a try this week, too 😉
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