The computer came with a 500 GB hard drive with Windows 7 pre-installed. The drive was partitioned in roughly this manner:
- "RECOVERY" partition, 16GB. Full of Windows 7 drivers.
- "OS" partition, about 200 GB. Contained a live install of Windows 7.
- "DATA" partition, rest of the disk.
Then I shrank the "OS" partition down to 60 GB. Which is more than enough, really. I install all non-MS software on the "DATA" partition, and I keep all my documents, music, photos, code etc. on there as well. How to shrink the "OS" partition? Well I used the MiniTool Partition Wizard, but I have since learned that Windows 7 is quite capable of doing this for you. No need for 3:rd party s/w any more. Simply right click "My Computer", which you should be showing on your Desktop. Select "Manage". Navigate to "Storage > Disk Management", right click on the "OS" partition and select "Shrink Volume".
Having shrunk the "OS" partition I freed up some 100+ GB for Ubuntu to play with. Time to download the Oneiric amd-64 iso! At the time of writing this, you can find the image here. Burn this image to a disk. You might want to experiment with creating a bootable USB disk, but there are several gotchas so I can't really recommend that option.
Boot from the Oneiric disk. Now, here is your first gotcha! Oneiric will not play with your Realtek 8168 wired connection, so your choices are either (1) install offline or (2) install online using a wlan or mobile internet connection. You may choose to install the base system offline, however, you will not be able to update and/or install anything unless you have unwired internet access.
Now, when you're done installing and have rebooted into Oneiric, this is what you need to do to get wired internet working. See this blog post for details. Warning! This assumes you have internet access, so you'd better sort that out.
Then you need to follow this wiki page to get 3D working. This is really not an option if you need any of Dual Head, full Unity 3D functionality, support for your adapter's native 1366x768 resolution or just about any kind of 2D acceleration. Ubuntu-supplied fglrx/catalyst drivers (via restricted drivers) just did not work for me. (This may have changed at the time you're reading this)
Happy Oneiricing on your spanking new laptop!