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Letters home to mom

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    November 2009
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  • RSS Cat Cartoon w/o the Cartoon

    • Coda
      Posting these cat-cartoons-without-the-cartoon was a long journey that I don’t know if I’ll repeat soon again. A daily blog is tough … even when you have your material handed to you! But, I couldn’t have done it without the artwork … Continue reading →
    • December 31, 2011
      Father Time is riding out his last few minutes of being the temporal keeper for 2011; he sits in an easy chair with a calendar showing “Dec 31” behind him and a grandfather clock pointing to the time of 11:53. … Continue reading →
    • December 30, 2011
      A happy young lady shares a table at a tony restaurant with her cat; they both wear festive, cone-shaped party hats. The woman gaily says to the tuxedoed server, “One martini and one glass of milk.” The cat does not … Continue reading →

Why me? The saga of installing a new OS

Posted by joeabbott on November 18, 2009

OK, I’ve had Vista on my home machine for a few years now and, while it hasn’t been a love affair and despites it’s quirks, the OS has been stable and treating me fine. Along comes Win7.

I’ve had it on my work machines, both my desktop and my laptop, through the betas and it’s been a rock. Great performance, drivers haven’t been an issue, and compatibility (for what I use) has been top drawer. Time to upgrade the home machine. But, I was in no hurry so I didn’t need to be the first guy. Unfortunately, my home machine decided for me: it essentially blue-screened (or “AV-ed”) with a message about a “stor.sys” failure or somesuch. No worries, I have my Win7 disk and I’m ready to go. A bit of a bummer, though.

Anyhow, the first problem was that I couldn’t get the machine to boot into the BIOS so I could instruct it to boot from the DVD player. And, as such, it would just cycle through trying to load Vista, fail, take a crash dump, and reboot. Occasionally I’d get a message about “do you want to start from a safe checkpoint” or something like that. Sure I would! Unfortunately, the machine couldn’t help me. Every option I tried led to the same thing.

I brought the machine into work and someone asked if I’d tried hitting the “del” key while booting. Sure I had. He tried, and into the BIOS it broke. We set the system to boot from the DVD and off we ran.

I reloaded Vista and figured I’d just get enough going to pull off some data I hadn’t backed up in the previous three days. My backup ran on Wednesday, I crashed on Saturday. We got it, I took the machine home, and the next time I tried to install Win7 I hit the next problem.

I couldn’t upgrade from a running Vista 32-bit to a Win7 64-bit. Damn. So I just boot from the DVD, right? Unfortunately, I had a thumb drive burned from an ISO image and my machine wasn’t capable of recognizing removable USB storage devices as boot drives. Crap. Well, I had the ISO but I didn’t have the special use-this-and-nothing-else-boot-drive-creation-software on the machine I had at home. Only on my work boxes.

 I could have tunneled in with my desktop system but when I reinstalled Vista I blew away those settings. I couldn’t connect to the corpnet through my work laptop because while I’d been away the last two days they changed some setting and I wasn’t able to pull down the network certs or whatever through my home network … had to be connected. Damn!

So, I went into work (after taking Thursday and Friday off), did a bunch of work, and got the ISO burning software. But, by that time it was late and I didn’t get back to it at home. Took a break.

The next day I attacked things with the DVD and had a devil of a time getting the machine to boot from the DVD player. It looked like the DVD player was being detected during boot-up but by the time it was looking for the DVD to start from, it wouldn’t find it and would move to the next device in the start chain. But, through trial and error, I found that if I left the disk tray open and closed it when the system was starting up, it would load from the DVD player. And I needed this trick a lot.  >:-(

I’ve tried a number of installations and what it appears to be coming down to is that my former main drive is bad, had bad sectors, or is otherwise screwed up. Fine, get that piece of trash out of there … I can replace it for $50 from Fry’s if I need to. But, what could be happening, is the scratch drive that is being used to load Windows from (during an installation, a subset of the files are copied to a small system partition and then installed from there … it helps in the event of reboots to have all the files local and ready to use) is bad.

I built this machine back in 2006 and while it was super fast back then, it would be time to replace by now. That is, if I wanted a super fast system. But I’m no longer playing a lot of games and all the stuff I do use it for it’s just a fine machine.

When this installation fails … oops, am I being negative already? … I’ll go into the BIOS, change the main drive to a slave (or just pull it) and then install to my former backup drive.

Just frustrating to have the darned thing fail right now. Ugh. Well, I can use my phone for a few things (mail) and my laptop a bit (Internet stuff) but I really want a desktop for some of my picture and modeling activities. Oh well, I have next week off … what else would I have done but work on getting my computer running?

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