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Amonkira, Lord of hunters July 20, 2012

Posted by Rich in laptop, linux.

In my last post, I alluded to getting a new laptop, replacing a six-year old Dell laptop. It’s a Lenovo Thinkpad T420 with some of the following specs:

  • Intel Core i5-2450M processor, which is a dual-core hyper-threaded CPU based on the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture
  • 8 GiB DDR3 (came with 4 GiB, I bought another 4 GiB from Newegg)
  • 14″ LCD at 1600×900 resolution
  • Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics
  • 300 GiB hard drive

I’ve named it Amonkira (a Mass Effect reference) and have enjoyed playing around with it. The bloatware has been surprisingly minimal, but in the interest of running a lean Windows 7 installation since most of time/hard drive space will be devoted to Linux, I’ve decided to re-install Windows 7.

My previous post concluded that I won’t bother switching to UEFI/GPT since it’s probably too much of a hassle. Well, I’ve decided to renege on that since I have to re-install windows anyway so…why not?

I’ll make another post on installing Linux, but here are the steps I’ve taken to reinstall Windows:

  • Make a set of recovery DVDs with the included Lenovo recovery program. Too bad it only lets you do it once.
  • Use clonezilla to copy the three partitions (“system reserved”, Windows 7, and the Lenovo recovery) as a backup to my server
  • I’ve found this amazing guide for reinstalling Windows 7 on the T420, and am following it for the rest of the way. I have the following comments on what I did to follow the guide:
    • I burned the Windows 7 ISO to a DVD rather than bothering with formatting a USB flash drive/hard drive to GPT and copying over UEFI boot files and such. I use the DVD drive so little and I have a stack of unused DVD-R’s, so why not?
    • I backed-up the Windows activation certificate and copied over the drivers and such to a USB flash drive (just a MBR/FAT32 partition, nothing fancy), as directed
    • I booted from another USB drive with gparted to blow away the parititions on the existing hard drive. Then I used gparted to reinitialize the disk to GPT instead of MBR. In case anything bad happens from here on out, I have the partition backups I made with clonezilla.
    • I booted into the BIOS setup and switched modes to UEFI only
    • I booted from the Windows DVD and installed, using a 60 GiB partition for Windows
    • I installed the drivers and such as the guide directed

Some post-install steps:

  • Installed some (not all) of the Lenovo utilities with their system updater
  • Windows updates several times
  • Used ninite to install a few programs that would be helpful in the rare times I would be in Windows
  • I also set the hardware clock to UTC instead of localtime, since this makes a lot of sense and is well-supported in Linux (and apparently mostly so in Windows 7)

All in all, it was fairly painless, it just delayed things for a few days, which is okay with me. I now have a UEFI/GPT setup with a fairly lean Windows 7 installation. Next step is installing Linux!



1. Installing Arch Linux on a Thinkpad T420 with system encryption « Onions are delicious - July 22, 2012

[…] a basic install of Arch Linux over the weekend on my new Thinkpad T420. As mentioned in my previous post, I converted to UEFI mode and partitioned the hard drive in GPT format. I wanted to install Arch […]

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