Techie Talk by Judy @ 6:00 PM
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I’m interested in playing around with Linux. I have several different distros laying around and want to install them and start messing around to see what they do. Seems simple enough, right?

So I started out on Friday evening to get ready to install Linux, while attempting to make sure that everything else remained as is.

My computer has two hard drives: A 160 GB drive configured as three partitions (C:, D:, and E:); and a 40 GB drive configured as one partition (F:). C: holds the OS (Win XP right now), D: is where I install non-OS software, and E: has projects, data files, etc. F: is where I stick stuff like new drivers and software delivered via downloading. It’s sort of like a storeroom. Then I have an external USB drive that I use for backup only. The plan was to get an external enclosure to move F: to and get a new 2nd drive to install Linux on. Seems simple enough… Right?

Friday I was at CompUSA for CDs, and while I was there I looked at drives. Sometimes CompUSA can have really killer prices (it’s either that or they’re over-priced – never a happy medium). The Customer Service guy came over while I was looking at the drives. I had a 120 GB Maxtor in my hand. He said that they had a better 200 GB drive for the same $$. And it was a good price. So, who am I to turn down 80 free GB? I took the 200 GB drive home.

Since the new drive was a better drive than my old master drive (C:, D:, and E:, if you’ve been paying attention), I decided to make the new drive the master and clean off the old master to install Linux. So I installed the new drive first as the slave so that I could Ghost the drive images over to it. Since it was on as the slave, XP decided that it was the F: drive — even when I swapped it to master and booted with it. Since XP was installed on the C: drive, this didn’t work very well as you can imagine. Of course one can change the drive letter of every drive except the system drive.

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get the damned thing to think it was the C: drive. I even wiped the old master drive and reinstalled XP in it so that I could boot to that version of XP and change the designation of the other drive. Which worked just fine – for that installation of XP but not when I rebooted to the new one. I ended up having to change the drive designation in the registry. And then XP complained that it didn’t know if it was a valid copy or a bootleg and refused to boot. But reinstalling XP over the top of itself taught it the error of its ways.

This took up all of Saturday.

On Sunday, what with one thing and another it was late before I got back to it. I had found a cool external enclosure at Fry’s and moved the F: drive to it. So now I was almost ready.

The last thing before installing Linux, of course, was to back up C:, D:, E: and F:, just in case. For some reason Drive Copy started saying it couldn’t see the external drive I use for backup. I could see it fine in Windows Explorer. hmmmm… try something else… Then Ghost complained that there were bad sectors. Uh oh! Then Partition Magic said that the partition size was wrong. Oops! New drive time! Sigh. So, Monday night it was back to CompUSA for a drive. The deals weren’t as good, but I didn’t need as good a drive anyway and they had a good enough price on one. I wanted to shred the data on the old drive. I deleted everything, wrote random 1/0’s over it, deleted the partition. And it died. Dead as a doornail. I had planned to create a new partition, reformat it, and write random 1/0’s over it again several times (it’s got stuff I don’t want to share backed up on it). I tried several times with several methods to reformat it. No go. So I guess I have to consider it good enough.

Everything is now backed up. And tonight I install Linux. I hope.

This is Tuesday, and I expected to be at this point on Saturday. Oh well.



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