I have switched my computer back over to Windows XP for a spin with the Ubuntu .exe installer, Wubi (Windows Ubuntu Based Installer). I have been wanting to try Wubi ever since I came across the wiki page. Wubi installs a fully functioning Ubuntu installation in your computer inside your Windows installation. Think of it as a virtual hard drive in your existing C:/ drive, or alternatively wherever you choose.
The file is an .exe file, that can be downloaded from http://wubi-installer.org/. As soon as I downloaded the file, I double-clicked on the icon, and Wubi started up.
The application had several setup choices, such as: where to install, how much space to take, which distribution, and your username and password. After I customized the options to fit my needs, 15 GB drive and Ubuntu 7.04, I clicked “install”. The installation screen then goes to two progress bars, one above the other. The one on top was the overall progress of the installation, while the lower one had the progress of the download. The download is about 700 MB, so it may take a while depending on your connection speed. The file is an .iso file, just like downloading a Linux distro to be placed on a CD. The file folders were Ubuntu was also going to be installed were also created. After the file was downloaded, the installer told me to reboot my computer to start Ubuntu.
After I rebooted my computer, I was greeted by the Windows XP bootloader, of which Ubuntu was an option. On the first run of Ubuntu, it is unpacked from the .iso file and installed onto the virtual hard drive. I have found that after the first boot, Ubuntu will start up as usual, just as if I had installed it on my hard drive.
After the install, running Wubi again will give an uninstall prompt, allowing the user to easily uninstall Ubuntu.
In conclusion, this tool is certainly one of the easiest ways of letting people try Ubuntu without removing Windows or having to partition their hard drive for a dual-boot. I have enjoyed this tool, and although it is still in beta, it works very well and is very stable. So, if you are running a computer with Windows and want to give Ubuntu a try, then this is the solution for you.