Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Ashes and my home PC woes. Nothing really Oracley

It's already been mentioned here but being a Pom living in Australia, I have to mention the Ashes victory too. The urn holding the Ashes stays in England whatever happens. Ironically, it has made one trip to Australia in 1988, after England last won the trophy in 1986/1987 and now England have won it again, is expected to make another journey for 2006/2007.

Meanwhile American readers are wondering how a game can go on for five days and STILL finish without a result. And anyone who has experienced an English summer wonders how the English could come up with a game that actually takes five days of fine weather to play anyway.

A few months ago, my home PC got an overhaul. The main bits was a new 80Gb hard drive, more memory and a switch from Windows 98 to XP. All in all it went pretty well (except for a new firewire card which won't talk to my videa camera).

Then two weeks ago, the PC got stroppy, and said it wouldn't talk to my new hard drive without an 80 wire cable. Apparently the 40 wire cable that I had for my old 4Gb hard drive wasn't good enough any more. A web search indicated that the 80 wire cable, while not mandatory, was faster and since it was only $5 it seemed a cheap enough fix. Swapped the cable, and the PC seemed fine.

I wanted Linux on the machine for many reasons. One of which was the install of Oracle10G on XP didn't go well (possibly because I refused to let Java.exe through the firewall, possibly because I try to rush these things in an hour or so between getting the toddler asleep and falling asleep myself). But hearing of someone who had his internet savings account hacked, and that Windows really needs twenty gazillion variants of spyware checked to be safe, I moved up my plans.

I didn't think far enough ahead when installing XP, so my 80Gb hard drive had two partitions taking up the first 30Gb of the drive. Apparently Linux likes being installed, at least in part, within the first 8.5Gb. So I created a third partition, moved all the windows stuff from the second partition to the third and wiped the seond one to give linux a clean slot within the first 8.5Gb and another slot at the end of the drive. I also (finally) moved a load of old pictures and documents from the Windows98 era 4Gb drive to this new windows partition, and wiped that old drive.

About then, the PC started thowing another wobbler, this time reporting a Disk Boot Failure.

The XP disks said they couldn't find an XP installation to repair.

So I tried to see if I could trick it and get Linux installed (at least to get access to my files again). Ubuntu went in quite happily and recognised that I also had Windows XP installed. Shame Windows XP couldn't find it. And it also recognised the existing NTFS partitions and was quite happy to create ext3 partitions for linux in the spaces between.

It was still coming back with Disk Boot Failure. However I gave it a night's rest powered off. Last night I rebooted and the GRUB menu came up and both Ubuntu and Windows XP are running fine. Hopefully I'll be able to get Oracle installed and running sometime soon.


Before anyone asks why I want Windows XP, my three-year old is already practising mouse and keyboard skills with Winnie the Pooh, Bob the Builder and some Matchbox FireTruck/Police Car game.

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