Desktop Woes Again

Well, from the looks of things, something bad has been happening with the desktop. Or, more accurately, Win-XP. But to most folks reading MystBlogs that’s probably not surprising. :-P

In my case that’s a bit exasperated by the install method itself, which was through a heavily nLite-modified CD. I just spent the past several hours reviewing what I did, and am likely to re-do this quite differently:

1) Slipstream of XP-SP3 (and hope my key does not get eaten again, as it did when I slipped SP2 onto an original-release CD *sigh*).

2) No slipping/adding of hotfixes after SP3, or of really wild things like Media Player 11. First of all, the steps were complicated. Second, I can’t find any info as to how I did any of it. And lastly, I’d rather have M$ deal with the problem, despite the need for multiple reboots (just fewer with SP3 in).

3) Do NOT go hog-wild in removing things from XP. My biggest regret so far has been removing Calculator (which in hindsight was also not worth the space savings). I’m probably just going to remove the 2-3 things that are vastly annoying or have severe holes, like Messenger. And as much as I’d like to ‘get rid’ of IE, its going to be difficult when and Steam both use core parts of it.

4) On the same note, do NOT to hog-wild on *adding* things either through nLite. My mantra in creating these CDs has always been ‘Back to Work.’ As this is now the only Windows PC I have (both notebooks went 100% Linux), its become even more imperative. So PuTTY is immediately on the list, along with one or two other things that can speed up my bootstrap (OpenOffice, FireFox, status stuff). Again I made mistakes here on the last CD, this is a good time to correct that.

4) I *will* go nuts this time with services (since they can be rolled back if a mistake was made). I’ve been waiting on SP3 registry files from BlackViper, and *cheer* they’re now available. That’s at least a start, and an excellent reference site (he even has Reg Tweak files for Windows 7!). I highly recommend looking over the site, just be prepared to lose an hour or two reading. ;)

5) In the hardware department, get a new gigabit card as a spare (preferably using PCIe-1x). Something absolutely screwy has been occurring on the one my motherboard has (probably weird drivers), and my only ‘spare’ is an ancient Intel 100Pro card (ordinary PCI no less). It had issues with how I ‘connected’ to my work desktop; Then again, it could be Windows, but better safe than sorry.


I’m also strongly considering a dual-boot with Linux, finally. Just too many stories recently by Myst-ers with crashed Windows installs, and their Linux boot saving the day. If that becomes the case, I’ll probably ‘test-drive’ the CentOS version since that’s what got installed on a couple systems at work (and may be our future variant there). OpenSolaris would be nice, but its not playing nice with the VPN (missing packages).

Right, onwards. We’ll see how this pans out…


Upgrades, Part 2

Two good pieces of news in the notebook front:

-> Pulled out the 40 gig from its little case (the one I’ve been using to make it my Debian Slug disk) and looked up the part number on Toshiba’s site. It’s a 5400 RPM, and is the same size as the old Sager and HP disks. I can live with the 100 Meg/sec spec as given, that’s more than I’ll normally draw in most instances, other than installs. The 16 Meg buffer is a *very* nice plus though!

-> Debian ‘lenny 2’ installed just as beautifully as Etch did, with the added bonus of a working wireless card (after getting the firmware setup of course – for which a link to the appropriate instructions was included in the ‘dmesg’ boot sequence). That is a first for me and Linux, and doubly pleased when I discovered that in Linux, I had more hotspots mapped out and with better strengths than in WinXP (most locked though, good move in an apartment building ;) ).

So, new plans:

1) Put 40 gig disk in HP, re-install ‘Lenny 2′ and get wireless up again.

2) 60 gig disk goes in the external case (which is USB-2 and FireWire), re-format with ext3 and FAT16 partitions. Probably 40/20, respectively.

3) Drop a VirtualBox Guest OS (WinXP) on the external disk. See if I can get the old Half-Life games running on it, plus a couple other things that are needed for work (and is only in, or works better with, Windows – like the Exchange webmail, that is a damn sight better to use in IE).

The eventual goal – if this all works – is to look into converting the desktop to Linux, or a Linux/WinXP dual-boot (the latter by dropping in a new SATA disk just for Linux). It will be nice to finally use all 4G of the current system’s memory; It can hold 8G IIRC but I’d have to consider a dual-boot with Vista instead of XP to make that upgrade a more viable reality.

The only major issues I see in the games department are Oblivion (’nuff said) and perhaps Uru (though the CC variant I believe will run on Wine OK). Hence the sad need for a dual-boot – I don’t know if even a Quad-Core will be able to run something like Oblivion in a VM well.


PS – As so the NSLU2 ‘Slug’ body, its been put away again. Once I’m happy with Linux on the HP, it can sit on the table when not ‘on duty’ and be used as the long-duration login system. Lord, I did not realize how much I depended on UNIX console access until I actually tried a system without one…

Well, slugs definately have no time sense…

OK, this little gem was worth the hell getting there:

SIDRAT:/etc# /etc/init.d/ntp stop
Stopping NTP server: ntpd.
SIDRAT:/etc# ntpdate
8 Apr 05:41:51 ntpdate[3426]: step time server offset 204327186.111730 sec

Note the time offset; I’ve had the server off since before the 2007 DST was supposed to take effect. Apparently it reverted to Oct 2001 (argh).

Anyway, having to change the IP on the durn NSLU2 ‘slug’ is extremely annoying, especially when the initial IP information is in the bootloader (and you’ve changed the router subnet in the interim!). I’ve still got to fix that, but Thank God for a Linux install on the HP notebook (which I do need to fix and/or change as well, bah!).

All this to get my irssi IRC logs saved someplace safe. Gotta love it. Plenty of work still to do on it, but at least I got the foot in the door again.