No doubt you've heard about Dell preloading Ubuntu onto a few of their models, as a result of their customer's desire (voiced on Dell's Idea Storm) for a non-Microsoft option.
At any rate, I had a license for Vista I purchased that I was using on an old pentium 4. What a beast; even with a 1GB of Ram, it ran like a turtle. So it made a lot of sense to purchase the Dell with Ubuntu – no extra license of Windows to pay for, and I get to support the cause – I wonder how many people that voiced their opinion will actually come through with a purchase? I chose the Dimension E520n; mainly because it was inexpensive, but also because it's plenty good enough for most anyone's desktop requirements (Intel C2D1.8Ghz,1GB,250GB,DVD+-R,Geforce7300LE). Total cost: $465.
In order to dual-boot to both Ubuntu and Vista, I had to first resize the 250GB hard drive in order to create an empty partition to load Vista onto. This was accomplished easily enough in a few steps:
1) Download Gparted live disk, boot off of it, and resize the largest partition in half, creating 100GB unallocated space.
2) Turn off the boot flag on the partition that had it active; Vista won't install if it exists. Be sure to click apply, and wait for Gparted to resize the drive.
3) Boot off the Vista DVD to install it. It's straight-forward, be sure to format the unallocated space before you install to it. When complete, you'll have a computer that will only boot into Vista.
4) Reinstall grub in order to boot back into Linux. I booted off my Ubuntu live CD, ran terminal, and issued the following commands:
$ sudo grub
# find /grub/stage1
this returned the drive (hd0,2) which is used below:
# root (hd0,2)
# setup (hd0)
5) Now the computer only boots into Linux, but by adding the following (as root) to /boot/grub/menu.lst, dual-booting is now possible: Be sure to add this to the VERY BOTTOM of the file!
title Windows Vista
You may have to experiment with the drive numbering, but this can be done by editing grub when you reboot.
There you have it, an extremely easy way to dual-boot Ubuntu and Vista, without reinstalling anything!
Dell's Open Source page:
Gnome Parted LivCD: