Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

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Building a Linux Desktop?

April 13, 2013

For the past 3 years, I have been happily running some version of Linux on my home laptop and almost NEVER switching to the Windows side.  For most of that time, I ran Ubuntu installed with Wubi.  And it worked great ans still ran faster and used less resouces than Windows.  I highly recommend this route for anyone squeamish about making partitions.  I finally went ahead and carved out a real partition for Ubuntu 12.04 just because I wanted Ubuntu to have much more space.  It still involves some buggy steps to go back and forth to Windows, because of nvidia issues.  But right now I rarely have to switch.

I present work for the largest virtual school outfit in the country and they are married to Windows.  Everyday while working I am reminded of why I love Linux.  But with no substitute or Outlook compatible program in Linux, I too am married to Windows for work.  But my work laptop is proving to be anemic on power.  So I want to build a desktop that can run Linux and Windows with a minimum of fuss.

One of the biggest complaints about Linux is that there are hardware vendors who do not support Linux or that there are problems with linux.  So it stands to reason I would start out with Linux-compatibility in mind and then get Windows to play with that, instead of the opposite which most people seem to do.   Living totally without Windows is not an option at the moment.

SO, which of the latest components are going to work?  Is there a particular brand that is more Linux Friendly Like Acer, Asus, HP?  Or does it depend?

I’ve never used VMware or anything like it before.  Would that be the best way to integrate Windows and the associated Office products on my new machine?

 

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Running Second Life?

November 23, 2009

Basically, I am in search of a good, reliable distro that will work.  Of course, every time I review a distro, the definition of “work” changes a bit.  For instance, working within Google Docs is a must-have, as is finding my flash drives and other partitions.  And at the moment, running Second Life is a major quest.

Second Life is a virtual reality program/game in which you interact with the environment and people using an avatar.  It is fun and somewhat addictive, but it also exacts a heavy toll on system resources.  Finding an OS that supports it reliably has been a challenge.

One thing that this hair pulling has resulted in, is me learning more about the command line interface.  CLI is sacred ground unique to Linux.  I know of no Windows users who currently profess the virtues of DOS although there are some geeks who will use the cli in Windows on a rare occasion.  And I don’t know if such a thing even exists in the Mac world.  But to die-hard Linux geeks, CLI remains the ultimate passport to Linux nirvana.

So I’ve worked through a portion of the tutorial at linuxcommand.org.  While I do have an appreciation for the power of the command line and its elegance and power it does rely on memorizing exact syntax in order to be of greatest use.  You can look and poke around with a few basic commands, and there are aspects of it that make it infinitely easier than the old DOS commands of 1989.  Once I get comfortable with it, I might even use it to install packages more often, as it is pretty slick.

But my most fundamental question remains unanswered: how do I get that SL executible shell script to actually run? I can search it, list it, copy it, move it and do all sorts of nifty things.  But somewhere the most fundamental of all commands seems to elude me.  Where is RUN? Or EXECUTE?  LAUNCH?  How do you get a program to actually DO anything other than be redone, renamed, looked at and admired?

In Mandriva 2008, it did run almost without fail, although it did crash.  A lot.  I’m just now learning that this is a constant in SL.  In Windows, it lags hopelessly much of the time.  In Linux, it runs much faster if you can get it going at all.

When I updated to Mandriva 2010, it quit running and constantly opened the file in kwrite or another text program.  Getting the SL viewer to run was impossible.  I then began experimenting with some other distros and options.  I liked Mandriva, and would stay with it if not for that one fatal flaw.  I arrived at a few other possibilities:

1.) A 4 G flash of 0.7 ArtistX I had lying about.  This is built off of Ubuntu 8.10 and holds most media programs in the Ubuntu repositories, and specializes in 2D and 3D graphics.  It actually was the most seamless solution in that it most easily detects and connects to my wireless network.  However, the sound is very flaky (will often cut out and stop) and it is slower.  I would have installed this, except none of the Ubuntu distros to date detect the partitions on my Dell Vostro 1500.  Ubuntu won on my wife’s computer, as it detected all of her partitions but it is a FAIL here for an install.  The settings on the persistent USB do not persist, so I have to re-set each time.  Painfull, but doable.  I would stick with this if the sound stayed on and if it was a smidgin quicker.  The sound it the biggest dealbreaker here.

2.) Puppy Linux 4.1.3 – gave it a shot but never did get it to run.  If thArtistX had the persistence of Puppy and its speed, it would be a natural.  I only mention it because I did try it.  I didn’t think it would work, but definitely worth  a shot.

3.) PCLinuxOS 2009.1 – I have rediscovered PCLOS and really like it.  And I was able to successfully get Second Life to run…at least until I updated from the repositories.  Then I was back in Kwrite land instead of Second Life. But the video was very shaky and erratic, while the sound and speed were superb until then.  I had random visual distortions in the game, but easily this was the best solution of the lot, so far until it crapped out totally.  The other thing was that it had a hard time getting up on my wireless network.  I put my ndiswrapper .inf files on a flash to speed up the configuration process that gave me an idea…

4.) PCLinuxOS Live CD – Obviously, the update after the install spelled doom for my Second Life experience, so I decided to see if I could get it to run in Live CD.  And in fact it did work very well, once I got on my wireless network.  Again, I flashed the Linux version of the software to speed up configuration.  I was able to play for several hours without a single crash or hang, even with conditions that would otherwise have been very laggy.  But the next time I tried, it failed to grab my wireless network.  It detected it, but getting on failed repeatedly.  This would repeat on the installed and updated version in #3 above.

5.) Windows XP – I do have to mention it because it is always a fall back of choice.  The program always executes, every time.  And there are no wireless isues….ever.  However, it is incredibly slow and laggy.  I can not interact or talk to more than one person at a time and it still bogs down to a crawl.  My experience with SL with Windows is not very positive at all.  The Linux experience is much better if not for the flakiness of those other issues.  And Windows will crash and hang…often.

Anyone else playing Second Life?  Which Linux distro works best for you?  I suspect Ubuntu might be a clear winner here, if it wasn’t for the issues I have with installation and sound.  I can more easily compromise video quality than sound.  Second Life as a deaf person is possible but not very much fun.  And I have no idea why Ubuntu’s partition manager fails to detect my windows partition.  Doing fsdisk or whatever the cli is renders up the correct partitions and I am even able to mount them all, but the installation partition manager still fails.  I am ready for Ubuntu but it doesn’t seem ready for me!

Second Life isn’t THE deal maker or breaker in what I need from a distro, which is why running it from removable or temporary media is fine with me.   But it is just one other program and experience that helps to differentiate the strengths and weaknesses of the different flavors of Linux.  And even similar distros across different machines, renders differing experiences as illustrated between installing Ubuntu on my wife’s HP Pavilion and my Dell.  We both have XP NTFS partitions, but hers was detected and mine wasn’t.

Right now, PCLinuxOS occupies the linux partitions and I love the simlicity and little features that make this a great distro.  But if it fails to hang on to my home wireless connection between boots, it will get the boot.  That IS a deal breaker for me on this laptop.

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PCLinuxOS 2009

April 22, 2009

I’m not trying to grab a headline or an audience, but I do feel an obligation to at least blog this distro. PCLOS 2007 had totally won my household over when we tried it. Since that time, it became the main distro of the family computer as well as the linux that my wife (a total Linux nOOb) put on her machine. Every machine in the house (my laptop, the family desktop, my wife’s laptop) is dual booted between a Linux and Windows XP. XP still is the main gaming machine and still does the heavy video and graphic work. Linux is mainly surfing the net with a few odd applications thrown in. I really like Open Office for 90% of my office applications but still have to go into my old office XP program for a few specialized templates.

I was totally amped up and waiting for PCLOS to come out with the new version. While 2007 was working fine, it seemed like a lot of the packages needed updating and I was looking forward to some new functionality which other distros were already starting to incorporate. Then one day, it was time. I went for the Big Update. PCLOS is supposed to be a rolling release, which means it sort of updates as it goes along. However very few updates have been issued over the past 6 months and then finally came the Big One. And it was huge, being nearly 500 mb in size. I patiently waited for this thing to download on the old desktop and then it installed. Then it promptly would not allow me to log in. I got to the Grub bootloader, selected PCLOS and it went to the login screen. I selected my icon or typed in my name, then tried the password. the password would not type in after the 2nd or 3rd character and the whole thing froze. It was done.

My initial assumption was that this update overwhelmed my machine, as it was a bit long in the tooth. But I read reviews of other people who were successfully running it on less that what I had, so I wasn’t sure. Maybe the update was munged. So I downloaded and tried a live CD and had the exact same problem. It still froze on the password login. This was odd, but I chalked it up to some sort of hardware thing.

I then decided to try to update my wife’s laptop, which is a lot newer and more powerful. This time I was able to run a good update. The splash screen is very attractive. However, the first glitch was that it totally lost the wireless connection and no amount of cajoling from me (albeit limited) would bring it back. This was a major disappointment for me. And for my wife, who was just really warming up to to Linux. She actually took it a bit better than I did by simply deciding that she would just go back to using Windows XP. Her tolerance for fiddling is lower than mine, but she’s more agnostic about OS’s.

It was at this point when I ran my little comparison where Mandriva 2009 became the distro of choice on the family desktop. But the damage is done because I’m the only one who really uses it. My wife and kids are back to using Windows XP. Mandriva has its share of flaws that I’ll share later, but this release of PCLOS turned out to be less than spectacular for our family. I did briefly visit the the forums and there were many complaints, even so far as one thread comparing PCLOS 2009 to Vista. It’s difficult to argue about that since it did result in our family mostly going back to XP, which Vista has done for a lot of people. But the forums seemed to consist of someone complaining about an issue (somewhat snarkily) and then replies would be:

  1. Give me more specifics so we can help you work it out

  2. We’re a very small development team and can’t configure to every hardware variant

  3. Report your specific problem and hardware configuration

  4. I don’t know why it doesn’t work for you because it works great for me.

  5. I have problems with it too.

  6. I can’t be bothered with it and have moved on to [insert another distro here].

I’m not going to niggle about the responses or which is right or better, especially since I didn’t bother with the support forum at all, but am just blogging it instead and optioning #6. But unlike PCLOS 2007, PCLOS 2009 is not climbing the distrowatch charts. The 2007 version actually dethroned the mighty Ubuntu for several weeks and is the only distro in the past few years to have come as close to really competing in numbers of hits per day, being in excess of 2,000 for several days and weeks. But PCLOS 2009 has never even approached that level of competitiveness even though it remains (barely) in the top 10. In fact, it appears to have gotten less hits per day since the new release came out than the old version! So I know I am not the only one who has found this release disappointing.

I think if the development team had stuck with incremental updates, as they had originally intended, they might have avoided the avalanche of problems. But by going for a Big Update, they invited Big Headaches. Instead of a steady trickle of small adjustments and problems, they ran into a deluge of problems and a large population of formerly happy people who were no longer happy. A 6 month release cycle does seem pretty frequent, but other distros probably figured out that this caused less headaches in the long run and I think the PCLOS team probably are also figuring this out as is Microsoft with a (relatively) speedy Windows 7 release after the Vista debacle.

Is there a way to downgrade back to PCLOS 2007?

So now I’m again searching for a family Linux. As it stands, my laptop is running Mandriva 2008, which is okay. It seems easier for me to work with than Mandriva 2009 at the moment. The 2009 version is also running on a lower powered machine so I’m thinking about considering a lighter distro and Antix might be the answer there. And my wife still has the crippled PCLOS 2009 on it but is totally XP at the moment.

What I liked about PCLOS 2007:

  1. Everything seemed to work out of the box even with older hardware

  2. Lots of useful programs included

  3. Deep repositories (even if some packages were a bit old)

  4. Very easy to set up and maintain

  5. Easily worked with key hardware: wireless and printer. Mandriva 2009 can not deal with our Epson CX7800 printer (let alone the scanner portion of the all-in-one)

  6. KDE interface

  7. Played nice with Google Apps (Google docs, Google Earth, Picasa)

It’s tough watching such a favorite fall from grace, but this is a very key feature of why I like Linux so well. Unlike the proprietary OS’s, Linux offers a ton of options. When Vista sucked, users were left with the sole option of “downgrading” to XP. Like other people, I chose to stick with XP on my laptop rather than hassle with Vista issues. Oddly enough, I’m probably better prepared for a new MS OS after having gotten used to using open source programs than I was a year ago. Even Apple, whose OS X is seen a bulletproof is burdened with getting everything perfect every time. One screw up can be deadly. While PCLOS might hurt as a distro, Linux as a whole remains on a robust trajectory of improvement. No one has to please all of the people all of the time because there are plenty of choices. And I plan on trying s few and look forward to reviewing them here.

D.D.

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A couple of comments on PCLinuc OS 2007

March 19, 2008

This was originally supposed to be a response to comments to the posts below (thanks guys!), but I needed to make it a post of its own.

I will say one thing: It’s a good thing this distro “just works” because trouble shooting on the PCLinuxOS site can be a bit iffy.  It’s a relatively small community, and if it were assailed by too many problems, finding answers might be difficult.  I was trying to install the printer and was getting a bit frustrated until I “discovered” the PCLOS command center right there on the tool bar.  Much of my ignorance comes from having so much Windows experience that my mind couldn’t so easily get around the idea that it could be just that easy to set it up and configure!  But it was just that easy to find and install my Epson CX7800 al-in-one.  I haven’t tried the scanner yet.

However, the online help forums and documentation are not nearly as smooth, easy or fleshed out as the OS itself.  In fact, the support documentation can be descfribed as sparse, at best.  For instance, I’ve been hunting around trying to find what PCLOS’s minimum system requirements are because I have an old PIII 550 MHz with 128 Mb RAM that needs a new look and a new home.  How old and how small can I go with this?

It truly is the closest thing I’ve seen to being a Windows Killer as far as Linux distros go.  Would I wipe Vista out for it?  Considering the Vista retails at over $200, it would be tough to do just from a monetary standpoint.  I’d sooner buy a second hard drive and devote that to PCLinux and let Vista sit around, just in case I wanted to sell the machine.  However, if I was buying a machine without an OS (at a discount) then it would be a no-brainer that this would be the operating system me and my family could live with.

Would I wipe out XP?  Considering MS has said they are no longer going to be selling XP in the near future it’s a tough call.  I’d be more tempted to get a smaller extra hard drive for PCLinuxOS.  If I had a copy of XP or vista just sitting around that was new and authentic, I would be more keen to wipe the OS off.

If I were going to give a Win98 machine away (which is what the PIII was) to someone who needed one this is what I would prefer to have on it at the present time.  However, I have not tested the modem support of this OS.  For people in the market for these older machines, that could be a critical component just as it was for me last year.  The second issue involves finding an affordable ISP that can easily work with this distro.

I expect the PCLOS community to grow along with its popularity, at least until the next best distro comes along.  I did get Minime 2008  to work on my USB drive, and that is fine if you have broadband and all you need is a connection to the internet.  However, for a family desktop machine, the full-featured PCLinux 2007 version works very nicely.

dick

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New Need: Streaming TV Shows

February 23, 2008

So my PC is acting up and is getting infected (and later cleaned up) at an astonishing rate.  I would really, really like to leave Windows for games and assorted picture/video work and not have it on the internet at all.  But I recently discovered that I can watch my favorite TV programs online.  ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX are all offering selected shows and episodes online, some of them in HD programing.  HD is not a big issue for me at present.

I recently tried cruising in using a MEPIS 7.0 live CD and discovered, to my dismay, that the ABC site does not have streaming available for  Linux.  The have it for Mac and Windows Firefox but not Linux.  what is up with that?  I did email them my feedback but haven’t heard anything.  that’s the latest thing that keeps me on a Windows machine.  Trust me, if I could go without it, I would.

I notice that while the programming does not show up, the commercials come through just fine.:-/  What is up with that?!?

With more applications and content being delivered over the web, it will help to loosen more users from the grip of Microsoft.  But if I’m watching stuff with Firefox, why can’t I watch streaming content regardless of the OS?

As it is, I am tired of playing nursemaid to this old Windows machine.

dick

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Just trying to get a job done

November 19, 2007

I’ve really neglected this blog!  Almost as much as I’ve neglected the Linux machine I’ve had sitting here since May.  It is a dust collector, largely because of issues I listed in the last post.  Namely, despite the hoo-ha of the community, Windows programs seem to work better.  Quality is defined as a combination of performance, speed, utility, features, availability and stability.  Only Windows has been offering up this sort of combo on a consistent basis.  And that is disappointing considering my enthusiasm for Linux was fueled by frustration with M$.

 

But that doesn’t mean that Linux has no place around here.  I still read and write extensively with my Zaurus, which is still the dandiest little gadget in my house.  I just never leave home without it.  But I demand more from my desktop machine or even a laptop.  And the following represents a case in point.

 

I had a need this weekend, and for awhile it looked like Linux might prove to be the answer.  This would be highly fortunate, since this would be a public presentation, thus turning others on to Linux or at least showing them an alternative.

 

I had downloaded a 13 minute video that I was going to show in my adult Sunday school class.  The video was downloaded and turned out to be only available in QuickTime’s .mov format.  And that is where the pain started.

 

My first idea was to simply burn this to a DVD and I would play it on the church’s DVD player.  But my DVD burning software choked every time I tried.  My old version of Nero was willing to burn, but the product would have no sound.  I then fiddled with downloading some conversion software to change the .mov to an avi or pretty much anything else.  Again, the programs I tried choked.  Keep in mind; I’m at home working over a modem.  I’d nabbed the video at work earlier in the week.

 

This is when I decided to try Linux, since I know some of these distros had DVD burning capability and just might be able to work.  It was worth a shot.  The only distro I’ve downloaded in the past 6 months is Puppy 3.01, so decided to try that.

 

This was my first go ’round with the newest Puppy and it was it’s nice and easy self, although the desktop seems to have gotten uglier since 2.15.  We were back to the 2.01 Win95ish theme.  But I persisted because we had a job to do.  Unfortunately, Puppy’s DVD authoring software had no more success with burning this video that my Windows programs. 

 

Okay, no problem.  I had my work laptop, and I would simply play it on there for the group that ranges from 5 to 25 people.  Right?

 

That work laptop is under IT lockdown, which means I had limited ability to change much on there.  And it didn’t have QuickTime.  Which means it would not even *play* the video!  ACK!

 

I pulled my Linux distros out again.  First there was Puppy 3.01, because it was the newest and fastest.  Gxine is the default player on this distro.  It played the video nicely except there was no sound.  Crap.  Okay, I’ll move on.

 

I reached for Ubuntu 6.06, next.  Dapper Drake was supposed to be the Big Deal, right?  The default player here is Totem.  However, Totem failed to play this video at all, saying it needed more codecs or whatever.  But since Ubuntu can’t spot a modem (we’ve been through THAT before!) it wasn’t going to get more codecs.  I needed something that could run off a live CD.  The video itself was residing on a 1 G memory stick and none of the distros had issues reading the thumb drive.

 

Next, I tried Mepis 6.0.  The default player here is Kaffeine.  And Kaffeine work *marvelously*!  So in this comparison of media players, Kaffeine clearly stole my heart.  And so I determined the Mepis would be a costar of this presentation, and was delighted at the prospect of showing off my nerdliness.

 

But I quickly discovered another problem.  The laptop LCD display was inadequate as you had to be right in front of it to see it.  While I could plug in a regular full-sized monitor, the thought of lugging that thing to church was prohibitive.  But no to worry, because I had bought a 19″ Polaroid LCD TV monitor that also had a VGA connection.  Unfortunately, Mepis was unable to show up on the thing.  I was stuck again.  Windows had no problems showing up, though.  Hmph.  Since there’s no Windows version of Kaffeine, back to square one.

 

I finally downloaded QuickTime Alternative and managed to miraculously install it.  Problem solved.

 

But this further highlights the twin problems of any Linux desktop.  Namely, software and hardware.  More recent versions of Mepis might have worked but I have no way of knowing.  Other distros that made an appearance in working with the monitor were SuSE 10.1 and Dream Linux 2.2.  The live DVD SuSE wouldn’t even boot up and Dream Linux looked dreamy on the laptop but never showed up on the TV. 

 

So Window$ XP wins again.

 

So here are issues that I’ve had to struggle with in my attempts at making Linux work:

– Printer/scanner support

– Modem support – even with a serial modem!

– LCD monitor support

– Media playback out of the box (DVD, QuickTime)     

– Lack of a usable Stepmania package

– Abiword’s lack of dictionary

– Lack of RTS games

– Various programs hang, and most distros rely on a command line kill.  Puppy does not, fortunately.

 

These issues could be overcome with more persistence and skill, perhaps.  But I, as an average Windows power user geek, am not going to invest a whole lot into fiddling with it much when I have a machine that more or less works fine running Windows.  There’s very little that I can do in Linux that can’t be done on Windows but the reverse is definitely not true.  If that machine breaks down, it will be nice to have the other as a back-up.  But Linux has not yet earned a spot in the first string. Many of these issues, like the printer and modem are the most basic of productivity issues.

 

I still have my eye out for the distro that can do the job.  Perhaps I need to make clear my criteria:

– Adequate support for my printer and other hardware

– Modem support

-Basic programs that are completely functional

– A working functional version of WINE

-Adequate multimedia support

– Relative ease of use

 

Mepis would be a clear winner except for the whole modem and WINE thing which is where Puppy fits in as the sole distro that has gotten me online.  Puppy’s other main advantage is speed, since it runs totally in RAM.  Mepis is heavy in the software and packages if one can get online to get them.

 

 

D.

 

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How Linux ruined My Day

November 3, 2006

There are days when I wonder; would I be better off never having heard of Linux? Today was one of those days.

It all started because I was trying to run an innocuous adaptiv technology program called Boardmaker. Elain and Loraine had recently installed it for me, but had failed to test it. So I thought it would work, and it said I had insufficient priviledges. Which is crap, because I DO have administrative priviledges on this machine and I proceded to attempt to invoke them. But still, the program failed to work properly, largely because it has issues with XP and multiple users. Making it work required all mannerr of jiggery and fiddling. I became frustrated.

Ever gotten frustrated and did something dumb that seemed like a good idea at the time?

I’m under a bit of pressure to produce something and I needed this program to do it. So I came up with the scheme of partitioning this 80 gig hard drive, installing Mepis in a dual boot situation and the using WINE to get Boardmaker to think I was on my home machine with unrestricted administrative rights.

So I used QT Parted to repartition my hard drive and then blindly let it install Grub, thinking I would get some sort of message with an option of which OS to boot at startup. All of this seemed to go swimmingly well. Too well.

While doing all of this, a young lady came to my room with some questions. She had been referred to me by Loraine and Elaine, who are the twins who do most of the basic IT stuff around the school. Apparently the young lady, who I’ll just go ahead and name Halle as in Halle Barry, had just bought a new computer. from Wal-Mart and it came with Linux preinstalled. I asked her which distribution and she said she didn’t know but I guessed Linspire. Yes, it came with Linspire, which I had tried once as FreeSpire. She was having trouble getting online, because she was using dialup and her ISP was Bellsouth.

I was kind of excited to find someone else around getting into Linux but sensed her frustration. I almost suggested she take it back to get an XP machine but she insisted she did kind of like it. So we brainstormed and came up with the fact that there was an ISP provider who had an icon on her desktop to try for 3 months while she looked in the Freespire community for someone who was also using Bellsouth.

While we’re talking, my machine is in the process of becoming the district’s only dual boot XP/Linux machine. Or that was the idea. While talking, I rebooted and then looked over and noticed it wasn’t booting. It kept saying there was no boot disk. It was not locating the hard drive. I went from feeling pretty good to feeling like crap in less than 2 minutes. I was totally distracted from helping Halle at this point, and mumbled something about me maybe not being the best authority since I had apparently fried the school’s computer…one of the brand new ones!

She thanked me and said it had been helpful and went off to lunch or class or wherever. I was now in deep shit. Putting Mepis or whatever distro on an old P3 destined for the scrap heap is one thing. Frying a brand new machine is a different matter entirely. Loraine and Elaine, who live and die by Microsoft and FUD would have a field day. And then there was the head of IT in my building, Ghengis Khan. I don’t call him that just for the hell of it!

Fortunately I had a student out and all my paras were present. They could do most of the real work while I attempted to save my system from my own folly. And so the race was on.

Again, Mepis 6.0 has a few issues that made life harder than it had to be. It’s much more difficult to locate partitions. I did a live CD boot with Mepis 3.1 and those partitions both appeared right on the desktop. Whew! A look around revealed the Windows stuff was all still there. Good. Now I just had to figure out how to get the thing to boot and do it without total administrative access.

I used my other networked machine (the new one I let the paras use) to search for a solution to get the system to boot. I really was not keen on losing all of XP because there are still things that HAVE to be done with XP. Important stuff like grades and attendance.

For the next 4 hours, I was diligently trying various things. Most Master Boot records need the XP install disk in order to be fixed. Since I did not have an XP disk, this was not an acceptable option. I tried copying a few suggested files from the sister machine to fix the crippled one. Nothing doing.

The tool that finally did it was a little program called Gag46 orr something like that. Very simple, very small (fits on a floppy) and fairly elegant. Using this floppy, I could have my dual boot, but more importantly, Windows would boot.

The first thing Windows did when it booted was to “correct” the partitioning work I had done, so now Mepis was knocked off. But that’s okay.

It was a long and frustrating day, and Boardmaker STILL doesn’t want to work!

Grub eventually decided to “work.” Actually, there is no menu to pick the OS like I get with Gag46. No, just a command prompt looking exactly like an old MS DOS prompt, with commands every bit as cryptic. The one I got to work was “reboot” and then used the Gag46 to get XP back up.

As it stands now, I can use the floppy to get back to where I was before I had my bright idea. I’m not saying I’m giving it up entirely, as I still think the idea has merit, but just not this second.

dick