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Books & Articles I wrote.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Installation Nightmare

The last week has been a nightmare.

The idea came to me in a dream. Store all data on an external drive. Re-format the hard drive. Run everying on virtual machines. The PC has proven it can do all that with no hassle.

What i didn't account for was the hell that re-installing a Dell PC is. The result was machines running with hard drives hanging out, cables being detatched and re-attached, PATA drives in one machine, SATA in the other with a mish mash of cables....

It all happended because i removed the "factory" partitions and created my own. The Dell startup didn't like that. In fact, it said the disc was damaged "Return Code 7". My Dell setup disc would check for hardware and just go blank. So would every other disc i could get my hands on. Unless of course i turned off the primary drive and put my external drive in. This time however it would detect the drive was external and wouldn't allow me to go any further.

I just could not believe that by some coincidence the hard drive stopped working that very day i formatted it - yet many of the forums say it is broken, so give it back. Dells own hard drive utility tells you the disc is damaged. "No, I don't believe you" i said at 2 am in my underpants.

After opening up some machines and playing for a bit and temporarily borrowing some wires i managed to set up the hard drive as a slave on an existing box. I deleted all partitions, created a single partition and re-formatted. I installed Windows, took it back to my own machine and .... it fekin crashed. However, i had suspected the hardware between the two machines would be different and so i re-formmated and installed and everything worked. No damaged disc. All runs faster. I have my VM's all running and life is good.

I can now get Suse Linux installed and put Mono on as was the intention. I will leave the base alone and put put all the potentially shady stuff in VM's.

The lesson here - don't go with the crowd. If you got a hunch, then go with it. Go with it with a whisky, late night telly and your favourite underpants. Make sure you've every box open in the house with wires hanging out. Your 3rd old son gets to know what memory looks like, what a capacitor is, what resistence is (like he needed to know that) where the fan is - the only remaining question will likely be "Why is daddy doing this?".

Don't let the bastards grind you down and get that PC working.

Either that or spend the £50 for a new hard drive.

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