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I have been given the task to change OS of a HP Proliant ML350 G4 server, and I decided to use Ubuntu server edition for that matter.

The thing is that the server has already installed Windows server 2000 on the only Hard drive it has (SCSI).

My question is, could I install an IDE HD on the IDE connection it has and install ubuntu without overwritting the boot configuration, so if I wanted to go back to the windows 2000 server installation with no problems?

It also has a tape drive which is used for backups. Do you guys know how buntu deals with such devices?

Thanks for your time

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Grub (the bootloader Ubuntu and most Linux distributions use) is a lot more capable at detecting (and loading) Windows than Windows' bootloader is at detecting Linux. I would personally overwrite the Windows bootloader with Grub.

Otherwise the safest way would be to stick a new disk in there, unplug the Windows dive and install Ubuntu on the new disk. After that's done, plug the old drive back in and use BIOS to determine which one boots. That would guarantee the Windows partitions aren't touched at all during installation.

Ubuntu's hardware support is pretty awesome (infinitely better than Win2k's out-the-box hardware support) but I can't guarantee your tape drive will work as you haven't specified its make or model. Put them in google prefixed with "Ubuntu" and you'll find out if people have been having problems.

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And HP are pretty Linux friendly, so asking them directly might pay off too (especially if you get to a point where some of their hardware is unsupported out-the-box) – Oli May 21 '10 at 11:31
Thank you very much for your fast reply Oli. I had that idea in mind, but was scared with the fact that the server uses a scsi controller (havent touched a server in my life, only PC´s, and that is because im a programmer and never needed to install anything on an old windows 2000 server). I´ll try what you said and see how ubuntu deals with the hardware of that old grandfa. i will keep this topic updated so other people can make use of this information in the future. – eduardoavdr May 21 '10 at 12:22
Hi, I managed to install Ubuntu server on an IDE Hard disk, but when it finished the installation process, it restarted and gave me a "No os found" message. I tried setting it up in the bios to load from the IDE controller with no success. Any clue why this is happening? Thanks – eduardoavdr May 22 '10 at 18:28
Sorry for the delay. That would happen in two circumstances: Grub hasn't installed on the drive (unlikely) or BIOS isn't booting to the right drive (much more likely). I'm afraid I've no idea how your BIOS works but you can tell the Windows bootloader to hand off to grub using something like BootPart and bypass the BIOS issue altogether. – Oli May 25 '10 at 16:48
Just to be clear here's how the boot process would go: BIOS would look at your Windows drive and see the Windows Boot loader. That would ask if you want to boot to Windows or Linux. If you chose Linux, that would chainload grub and grub would load Linux. The alternative is installing grub on your Windows drive. Grub is pretty good at detecting Windows installations but make sure you've got a Windows CD to reinstall the MBR just in case things go awry. It's pretty simple to fix if it does go wrong. – Oli May 25 '10 at 16:50

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