Complete text -- "I knew it!"

17 March

I knew it!

"Large enterprises should not use Linux because it is not secure enough, has scalability problems and could fork into many different flavours, according to the Agility Alliance, which includes IT heavyweights EDS, Fuji Xerox, Cisco, Microsoft, Sun, Dell and EMC."

Linux is insecure and unscalable state the usual suspects. I knew it. I guess I'll just delete it now and go back to using Windows. Oh, wait...

The other day I needed to retire one of the hard drives of my work computer. It was old (from around 2000), only 8GB and had started making suspicious noises. So rather than letting it crash completely, leaving a complete reinstall as the only option, I decided to move the contents of it onto a new partition on the other, large harddrive. I have done this procedure many times on my Linux box(es) and it's usually a quick and painless procedure.

Obviously, Windows does not come with standard tools that let you do useful things. So, out comes Partition Magic to shrink my F: drive to make room for the current C: drive. Before this adventure started, my system drive was C: (master on IDE1). Then the CDROM drive was D:, CDRW drive was E:, and large HD (slave drive on IDE1) was F:. Lots of programs plus Windows' page file was stored on F: since it has plenty of space.

So, once PM had done its magic and shrinked my F: drive to make room for the old C: drive at the beginning of the harddrive, I copied the old C: partition into the newly created empty space on the slave harddrive, powered down the system and removed the old, faulty harddrive.

Now I had pretty much the same configuration as before. Two harddrive partitions, and two optical drives. So everything should be fine and boot up nicely. Oh, wait...

Of course, since I have moved the partitions onto the same physical harddrive, Windows has decided that it must randomly swap the drive letters around to ensure that at least something goes wrong. And it does. As I mentioned previously, the Windows page file was set up on F: since the old C: partition was nearly full. Since the drive letters have been swapped around, F: is now either non-existent or an optical drive and either way it does not work for swapping.

So now I can't log in. I enter my name and password, but after a minute of pondering Windows simply returns to the login screen. "Ok, I'll just manually configure the drive letters" I, naively, think. But since I cannot log in to the damn system I can't configure the drive letters, and the thing won't even boot to command line. So out comes the install CD, and I go into rescue mode. Nope, no way to inform Windows what the drive letters really should be there either (oh, how much easier this is in /etc/fstab). Hours of blood, sweat and tears follow.

Final solution: Get a new HD from storage. Copy old system partition onto new harddrive. Make two small dummy partitions on new HD to act as D: and E:, which made Windows' random drive letter assignment agent leave the old F: as F:. My optical drives are now G: and H: and Windows boots. I dread the next time a program installed from CD wants to read something from D:.

So.. while this certainly is not an enterprise class problem, it clearly demonstrates how Windows isn't quite ready for the desktop yet. It's still lacking proper system tools, and looks like something you'd buy in the Fisher Price section of a toy store. And is about as useful. But at least it only comes in one flavour..?
Posted by thomas at 08:30:16 - Category: General
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