I finally decided to stop booting Ubutntu in a Virtual Machine (thanks to Virtual Box) and rather to dual-boot it along with my existing Windows 7. The reason for this being that Ubuntu now runs faster than in a virtual machine, and dual-booting would be the way to go if you consider using Ubuntu quite often.
I burned the 11.10 image onto a disc and installed it from there. I didn’t partion my hard-drive before hand (although I ensured that I had a backup), but rather partioned it through Ubuntu, as it gives you an option to install it alongside Windows and even offers options at the end of the installation for importing documents and Firefox settings.
Ironically, and much to my dismay, Ubuntu was ridiculously slow on startup. Drawing a rectangle on the desktop resulted in huge lag as the shaded shape slowly filled the screen. Turns out the problem was due to (lack of) graphics drivers. Ubuntu doesn’t seem to have native support for Nvidia drivers. The easiest way to install these drivers was to open the terminal and type:
apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
Note: This downloaded about 250mb of files.
After rebooting my computer, Ubuntu was remarkably faster. However, there was a notification for installing new drivers, so I clicked on that and installed the Nvidia drivers (version 173 at this time). There were numerous options, I just chose the recommended one.
After sorting out the speed issues, I changed to the old Gnome desktop environment as I had done in Virtual Box. I also added a taskbar to the Gnome 3 interface by opening the Terminal and typing:
sudo apt-get install tint2;
tin2 is a separate panel, so you have to add it as a Startup program. Do this by going to Activities > Applications > Other > Startup Applications>Add. The name is”tin2 task bar” and Command is “tin2”.
I also installed the Gnome Configuration Editor by typing:
sudo apt-get install gconf-editor
Once installed, you can find it under “System tools.” You can modify Gnome settings, I used it to add minimize and maximize buttons to each window. Refer to the screenshot for instructions.