Run “wubi” from usb stick

As we move away from “burnable” media to solid state, then need to be able to use distros on usb sticks becomes more important. I have never yet tried wubi, but with a new PC on the way (with no optical drive) and Windows 7 pre-installed, I am tempted to try wubi as my installation method (even if only for a while! :))

So using unetbootin I setup a 1GB usb stick with Ubuntu Karmic Koala 9.10, booted up into Windows 7 and put in the stick.

Hmmm… no autorun of wubi.exe?

So opt to open folder and double clicked on wubi.exe. Accept the UAT control dialog and the wubi menu pops up. But with one problem. No “Install inside Windows” option. Not much good then.

Google away and find out its a bug. How to fix is quite easy and just takes one more step.

Open up a command window (or go Start > Run)

Type:    X:wubi.exe force-wubi

(where X is the drive letter of your usb stick)

and pass the UAT again and lo and behold,

your “Install inside Windows” option is there.

HOWEVER, wubi still seems to insist on downloading the distro from a torrent, as opposed to using the one you have on a stick. To overcome this, and if you have a big enough stick (!) copy the whole *.iso from your HDD onto the stick, into the same directory as wubi.exe. This will ensure you still have a bootable stick. Alternately, extract the wubi.exe from the iso, then with a blank formatted stick simply copy wubi.exe and *.iso onto the stick. Insert to a booted up Windows and go. You may nned to follow the initial instructions to get an install button, but I found with Xubuntu.9.10 I didn’t have too.

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