Showing posts with label Guide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guide. Show all posts

Friday, 21 January 2011

How to prepare your Windows disk for a Ubuntu installation

By default Ubuntu will install itself alongside your Windows partition and create a dual boot system, giving the ability to boot into Ubuntu or Windows. A dual boot setup is ideal for first time Ubuntu users.

In order to achieve this the Ubuntu installer will shrink your Windows partition and make space for its own partitions.

To help make this process run as smooth as possible it is recommended that you do the following steps,

1. Clean up your Windows installation
2. Defrag your hard disk

Below you will find guidance on how to perform these steps. *Based on Windows 7, Vista and XP may vary


If you are a Windows 7 or Vista user, you have the ability to shrink your Windows partition in Windows rather than relying on the Ubuntu installer. If you wish to do this instead please refer to the last section titled 'Shrinking your Windows partition' at the end.

Clean up your Windows installation (Windows 7 / Vista and XP users)

Click on Start > Computer

Right click on your (C:) drive and select properties.

Click on Disk Clean up

Click on Clean up system files

Click on the 'More Options' tab

If you have any programs you no longer use click on the 'Clean up' button in the 'Programs and Features' box. Also click on the 'Clean up' button in the 'System Restore and Shadow Copies' box to remove old and outdated restore points.

Now go back to the 'Disk Cleanup' tab

Tick all / the appropriate files to delete and click on the 'ok' button.

Defrag your hard disk (Windows 7 / Vista / XP users)

Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter

Select your (C:) drive and click on the 'Defragment disk' button

The time it takes to complete the defrag depends on the speed of your system and amount of disk space in use.

Shrinking your Windows partition (Windows 7 and Vista users only)

If you are using Windows 7 or Vista, you have the ability to shrink your Windows partition in Windows rather than relying on the Ubuntu installer.

In either case, I recommend creating a backup disk image of your Windows system before shrinking your Windows partition since this is more or less a permanent change.

Redo Backup and Recovery is a great free disk cloning program, see How to use Redo Backup and Recovery to clone your Windows disk for more details.

In the Windows start menu search for 'Computer Management'

Click on the 'Computer Management' program

Navigate to Storage > Disk Management in the left hand side plane

Right click your mouse button on the (C:) drive partition

This will bring up a context menu, select the 'Shrink Volume...' option

A dialogue resembling the above will appear, enter the amount of disk space you wish to shrink your (C:) drive partition by. As you can see I have entered 30000 MB (in other words 30GB).

If you are interested in the minimum amount you can use for a default Ubuntu install I would recommend not lower than 15GB. More space is obviously better as you can then install more programs and create / download more files.

When you have entered your amount click on the 'Shrink' button.

After a while, Windows will return to the main Computer Management interface and you should see a partition described as 'Unallocated' with the size you specified, in my case about 30GB.

You have now successfully created space for your Ubuntu installation. Please do not format this 'Unallocated' space, leave it as it is in its unformatted state.

Now proceed with your Ubuntu install.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

How to use Redo Backup and Recovery to clone your Windows disk

Redo Backup and Recovery is a Linux based disk imaging program similar to CloneZilla but with a big difference, it has a very nice easy to use graphical user interface.

It also has a number of useful features,

This post will show you how to use Redo Backup and Recovery to clone your Windows disk to an external USB storage device.

Step by Step: How to use Redo Backup and Recovery


USB External Storage Device / Hard Drive
Redo Backup and Recovery CD -

Creating the Backup Image

Boot your system from your Redo Backup and Recovery CD. You may have to alter your system BIOS boot order and set the first bootable device to CD/DVD.

Select 'Enhanced Video Mode' and press 'enter'

If your system has difficulties loading Redo, try a different video mode.

This is the Redo main menu interface. Connect your USB external storage device to your system and then click on the 'Backup or Restore' option.

Click on the 'Backup' button.

The source drive is the drive you wish to backup, the drive containing Windows XP / Vista or 7.

Select the drive you wish to backup and click on next.

Leave all parts selected and click on next.

The destination drive is your external USB storage device. Select your USB storage device and click on next.

Click on the 'Browse...' button.

Create a new folder by clicking on the 'Create folder' button.

Then type a suitable name for your new folder, for example here I am typing 'Windows XP backup'

After typing the folder name, press the 'Enter' button on your keyboard.

This should take you into your new folder. If not, double click on your folder.

Now press on the 'Save Here' button.

We have now returned to Step 4. Note the destination folder, it should match what you typed above.

Click 'Next' to continue.

I decided to leave the date as suggested by Redo. Click on 'Next' to continue.

Redo will now start to backup your Windows disk, saving the disk image to your chosen external USB storage device.

When the operating is complete, click on the 'OK' button.

Now click on the Home button, top left of the screen. This will return you to the Redo main menu screen.

You can now either reboot or shut down your system. To do so click on the 'Power off' option.

Click on the 'Restart' or 'Turn Off' button.

Remember to keep your external USB storage device safe and do not erase the disk image.

Restoring the Backup Image

Restoring your disk image will erase all data present on the disk you are restoring the image to. Therefore make sure you save any important files before proceeding.

Boot your system from your Redo Backup and Restore CD.

Connect the USB external storage device containing your saved disk image to your system and then click on the 'Backup or Restore' option.

Click on the 'Restore' button

Since recovery is the opposite of backup, the source drive is the drive containing the disk image. This will be your external USB storage device.

Select the USB storage device and click on next.

Open the folder containing the disk image, eg Windows XP backup.

Select the disk image to restore, eg 20110109.backup and click on the 'Open' button.

We have returned to the Step 2 main screen, notice the disk image name is present. Click on 'Next' to continue.

Select the drive you wish to restore the disk image to. This will be your Windows drive. Click 'Next' to continue.

Click on 'Yes' to proceed with the recovery.

The recovery process should now be under way.

When the process has completed, click on the 'OK' button.

Return to the main menu by clicking on the 'Home' button, then reboot or power off your system by clicking on the 'Power Off' option.

Your system should now be fully restored.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

How to open a Samsung R510 Notebook / Laptop


Make sure you have and use the right tools. Many small screws require a sharp small screwdriver and using the wrong size may damage the screw and screwdriver.

Opening your Laptop will void its warranty.

You are responsible for your Laptop and open it at your own risk.


This guide will show you how to fully open and disassemble a Samsung R510 Notebook / Laptop.

Laptops are always tricky to open but I am happy to say the Samsung R510 isn't that bad. Essentially to fully disassemble a Samsung R510 involves doing the below steps more or less in the order as follows,

Step 1 - Remove battery, CD / DVD unit and Hard Drive
Step 2 - Keyboard removal
Step 3 - Disconnect SPK, MIC, Touchpad and remove top cover
Step 4 - Disconnect the LCD connector, WiFi module, Internal hinge screws and Monitor screen
Step 5 - Removing the Motherboard
Step 6 - Fan and Heatsink removal
Step 7 - Cleaning and Refitting

Putting it back together involves reversing the steps above but if you decide to take the heatsink off you must renew the thermal material before re-attaching the heatsink.

This means removing and cleaning the old thermal material completely from the Processor, Northbridge chip and heatsink.

I used Isopropanol Alcohol (IPA) to clean the old thermal material and applied Artic Cooling MX-2 thermal compound.

Step 1 - Remove battery, CD / DVD unit and Hard Drive

Place the R510 on a flat surface, upside down. Place a soft cloth to protect the piano black lid.

Underside of a Samsung R510

Remove the battery.

Remove the securing screws for the KDB and CD / DVD

There are 2x keyboard screws and 1x CD / DVD

 Slide the CD / DVD unit out.

The CD / DVD unit is easy to slide out

Remove the 2x screws securing the HDD cover and slide the cover off.

Remember to use the correct size screw driver

Take out the hard drive by sliding / pulling it left. You can use the black to aid pulling it out.

Slide this entire silver unit left

Step 2 - Keyboard removal

Flip the R510 the right way up and open the screen. Along the bottom of the keyboard are three protruding plastic clips. These clips prevent the keyboard from being pulled out.

You will have to push and hold each clip inwards and at the same time pull the keyboard up. Once the base of the keyboard has cleared the clip, release the clip. This process will have to be repeated for each clip.

Notice the clip in the middle of the Fn and Windows key

The second clip, under the space bar button

The last clip, under the cursor key

I used a small flat head screwdriver to push and hold each plastic clip inwards, then carefully pull the keyboard up. I was just about able to use my finger nails to pull up from under a few of the keyboard keys.

Alternatively use a flat piece of card or plastic, eg credit card.

Once the keyboard is no longer being secured by the 3 clips, carfully raise the keyboard. Do not pull it out, as you will see it is still attached to the motherboard via a plastic ribbon cable.

The plastic ribbon cable

To detach the ribbon cable, simply lift up the black latch on the connector. Refer to the picture below.

Notice the black strip has been raised in a vertical position

With the black latch open, slide the plastic ribbon cable out, then close the latch.

You can now fully remove the keyboard.

Step 3 - Disconnect SPK, MIC, Touchpad and remove top cover

With the keyboard out you should now be able to see a few more connectors. These must be disconnected so we can remove the top cover.

Three additional cut outs provide access to more cables

Be careful when removing these connectors, some may seem quite hard to pull out.

Touchpad connector

Touchpad connector, another plastic style ribbon cable

To detach the touchpad, slide the darker beige plastic part downwards. This will release the ribbon cable for the touchpad allowing you to pull it out.

Notice how the darker beige part has been pulled

The plastic ribbon cable can now be freed

SPK and MIC connector

These are both straight forward, simply pull the connectors out.

Smaller connectors can seem harder to pull

Close the Laptop screen, and flip the R510 upside down so you can see the base.

A colourful illustration showing where certain screws are

We are almost ready to remove the top cover but first a number of screws must be removed.

Referring to the picture above, I have highlighted where the screws are. Different colours represent a different type of screw.

To avoid confusion it is best to remove screws of the same type, keeping them somewhere safe in their groups.

First remove the 15x screws highlighted in green.

Then remove the 3x screws highlighted in orange.

A close up of the 3x screws highlighted in orange (above)

Now remove the 1x screw highlighted in blue.

Close up of the screw highlighted as blue (above)

Finally remove the 2x hinge screws highlighted in purple.

Close up of the left hinge screw, right is identical. Highlighted as purple (above)

Flip the R510 back to its normal position and open the screen lid.

With all the securing screws now removed, the top cover can carefully be pulled away from the base.

The left, bottom and right side of the top cover are clipped to the base. The upper part which is under the screen has no clips and was secured only to the base by the 3x screws highlighted above in orange.

The left corner, the top cover is slightly raised.

I found it easier to start from the left corner, pull the top cover from the base working your way along the edge. You will hear a click noise when pulling the top cover from the base which will indicate a clip has been unclipped.

The top cover, partially away from the base

The top cover can flex sightly, working from the left corner I used one hand to keep the left corner of the top cover separated from the base and the other hand to work along the edge, carefully pulling the cover from the base.

Once you have unclipped the top cover from the base, push the monitor screen fully back. This will allow you to extract the top cover completely.

Step 4 - Disconnect the LCD connector, WiFi module, Internal hinge screws and Monitor screen

The LCD screen prevents the motherboard from being removed, due to the left hinge.

The top cover has been removed, revealing the motherboard

Be careful when handling the motherboard and try to avoid contact with any of the electronic components.

LCD connector

Carefully and partially peel back the orange tape, then disconnect the LCD connector and smaller sub connector.

The orange tape is not very sticky

Notice the white wire which is also secured by the tape, remember to free this wire.

WiFi module

The WiFi module, once the black screw is removed, it will spring up

First follow the back and white wire from the WiFi module and make sure to free both wires where ever they are secured by orange tape and the small black rectangle sponges.

Where appropriate, carefully pull back the tape to free the wire, then lightly stick the tape back down. You will need to use it again when putting everything back together.

The wires can effortlessly be pulled from the small black sponges.

There is no need to remove the silver tape, but remember to free the black wire from the plastic base.

Now remove the securing screw on the WiFi module, then pull the module out and place it inside the base on the right side of the motherboard.

Internal hinge screws

There are two hinge screws, one for the left and one for the right.

The left hinge screw

The right hinge screw

Remove both screws.

Lifting the screen

You are now ready to detach the screen, remember it is still being restricted due to the wires but you will be able to place the screen alongside the base as illustrated below.

Just lift the screen up and away from the base.

The screen is no longer attached to the base

As you can see the screen is laying on the left of the base, and the WiFi module plus associated wires are out of the way.

Step 5 - Removing the Motherboard

We are now ready to remove the Motherboard, which is secured by 4 screws to the base.

3x screws, a black and two silver

1x black screw, which also keeps in place a black cover

With the screws gone, the Motherboard can be lifted out. Try and handle the Motherboard by touching the edge of the PCB only.

Before taking the Motherboard out, prepare somewhere to place it. I used an inside out antistatic bag on a flat surface.

The motherboard of a Samsung R510, the wrong way up?

It helps to have plenty of space to work with. Just on the left of the Motherboard is the laptop base, and on the left of that is the Monitor screen.

Step 6 - Fan and heatsink removal

First flip the Motherboard the opposite way up.

The fan can be removed independently from the heatsink.

Fan removal

Flipping the motherboard, gives you access to the heatsink. Nice to see solid capacitors.

Disconnect the fan power connector, then remove the 2x screws securing the fan to the Motherboard.

The fan can now be easily removed.

The heatsink fan

Heatsink removal

Only remove the heatsink if you intend to re-apply the thermal material.

Out of choice I would pick Artic Cooling MX-3 compound but since I didn't have any I had to stick with the older generation MX-2 compound.

Artic Cooling MX-2/3  is an excellent thermal paste, especially given that it is not conductive or capacitative you can make a mess without drastic consequences.

The cooling system, is quite small but does the job

The heatsink is secured in two places, first by the Northbridge chip via 2x screws, and secondly by the Processor via 4x screws.

Note, these screws do not fully unscrew and detach from the springs. Simply loosen them from their mountings.

Once done, the heatsink can freely be detached.

Looks like more than enough thermal paste was used

Step 7 - Cleaning and Refitting

I hope you have enjoyed pulling your R510 apart. Putting it back together is the reversal of removal but you must clean off the thermal material and apply new thermal compound.

I used kitchen towel to wipe off as much of the current thermal material from the Processor, Northbridge chip and heatsink, then used Isopropanol Alcohol for a clean finish.

Sparkling clean, however the Northbridge also requires cleaning

If you were not sure what the Northbridge was, look at the above photo.

I have the Samsung R510 with the Intel X4500 graphics, which is part of the Northbridge chip.

Clean, but the copper base could do with a polish

Clean but why was aluminium used instead of copper?

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture showing how thermal paste should be applied on the Processor and Northbridge.

The idea is to apply a thin layer on the core, the tiny square / rectangle bit in the middle.

See page 6 of the Artic Silver manual in the below link which gives a good explanation.

Once you have applied the thermal paste to the Processor and Northbridge, carefully align the heatsink and screw it in place. Do not over tighten the screws but make sure they are tight enough.

Putting it back together

To put the R510 back together, just follow the steps in reverse.

If any parts are dusty, give it a clean.

For example, you can use a brush to clean out the fan and heatsink fins. Alternatively use a can of compressed air.

If the Motherboard is dusty, use compressed air only, do not wipe with a cloth. This may cause damage due to static.