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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Fri, 17 Jan 2014

Windows 8.1 upgrade fails, kills the bootloader, but I eventually find the fix

(I used a digital camera to capture the screen images of my Windows boot failure and subsequent 8.1 upgrade failure so you can share in my pain before reading below how I fixed what Microsoft broke)

So I figured I'd upgrade the Windows 8 portion of my Windows/Fedora dual-booting (and naturally EFI-running) system to the presumably shinier, newer Windows 8.1 with the offer of an upgrade via the Microsoft Store.

Big fucking mistake.

I go into Windows 8 and do the upgrade. It tells me at some point that "there will be several reboots."

The first reboot was the last. Windows would no longer boot. (Luckily Fedora continued to boot during this whole nightmare.) When I tried to start Windows 8, I got a blue-screen error with the code 0xc000000f.

I went into Recovery Mode via the BIOS.

The automatic repair didn't work. Then I went to Advanced Options, then to the Windows command prompt, to start trying hacks.

The easy hacks didn't work.

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Tue, 31 Dec 2013

Windows 8: Not my cup of pain

In the course of my day job, I use Windows 7 all day. I have really nice Lenovo desktop hardware with a nice AMD processor and lots of RAM. Windows 7 is fairly solid. It's not Linux, but when compared to Windows XP, it's a world and a half better.

So is Windows 8 better than Windows 7? I still dual-boot Windows 8 on my laptop, a newish HP Pavilion g6 with an AMD CPU and enough RAM to be comfortable.

The Metro interface is distracting, looks terrible and doesn't add to productivity. In a keyboard-mouse environment, it's hard to know what to do to make Metro (or whatever it's called now) do what I want. It's not intuitive.

The desktop portion of Windows 8 seems much like Windows 7. That is good.

I'm not saying I'm a Luddite. And I'm not saying I'm not. But there's nothing in Windows 8 that makes me say, "this is better."

There are so many things wrong with the Windows model from the perspective of a user who prefers Linux (currently Fedora, though I'm thisclose to moving to Debian or Xubuntu), but when it comes to basic functionality, I can get along fairly well in Windows 7. Windows 8? I can't believe it's gone on this long.

Thu, 09 May 2013

There used to be an article about Windows 8 here

Unfortunately the Xubuntu 13.04 live DVD ate it.

I was trying to run Thunar with gvfs to open a file over FTP in the Mousepad text editor. The thing crashed and wiped out the data in the file.

So my Windows 8 post is gone.

No big loss, I suppose.

I'm rebuilding it (as a Xubuntu post).

To see if Mousepad is the problem, I installed gEdit in the live environment. You can do things like that with Linux: Try whole systems out with live media and even add software until your memory runs out.

It's fucking awesome.

If you see these words, it worked.

Sun, 04 Nov 2012

Link: Windows isn't ready for general use


Wed, 01 Aug 2012

Don't let anyone tell you differently -- Windows still sucks

I'm here trying to get work done, and the Windows XP box I barely used today is totally locked up. The disk light isn't on at all, but nothing is moving on the desktop.

I'm rebooting, but I'd rather just do some f&^%ing work.

Sat, 20 Aug 2011

Windows for Linux Users, Part 2

Windows for Linux Users admittedly is an attention-grabbing title. I'd say the great majority of Linux users have either some or much familiarity with the Microsoft Windows environment. Very few have never used Windows before (though some might have come from the Macintosh environment and may be wholly unexperienced in Windows).

In my case I spent maybe a year using Windows as little as possible, doing as much work as I could on my Debian GNU/Linux laptop. Thus the performance issues I experienced in Windows didn't affect me as much as they do now that I'm not bringing the laptop to the office and must rely on the Dell Optiplex GX520 (Pentium 4 at 3 GHz, 1.2 GB RAM, 80 GB HD) running XP SP3.

Sat, 13 Aug 2011

Windows for Linux users, Part 1

I'm making a best effort to turn my Windows XP box at work into a usable system. I'm tired of lugging the laptop to the office, and I have neither desk space nor a network connection for it. I've run CCleaner and Defraggler. I used the freeware version of Revo Uninstaller to clear out a lot of applications I no longer needed and couldn't otherwise get rid of.

It is running quite a bit better. The 1.2 GB of RAM helps. Even Linux can be hell on the desktop in 512 MB of RAM, depending on what you're doing. Windows more so.

I run a lot of free, open-source applications in Windows. It would take me a good half-hour to list them all. Then I have a few critical free-as-in-beer apps.

I'm trying to make my environment as OS-agnostic as possible, hoping that XP will get out of the way (i.e. not stall so damn much) and let me work.

This means a whole lot less time running Debian, though I did set up a second machine at home running Squeeze with LXDE to see how that works for me. I still have the Lenovo G555 dual-booting Debian Squeeze (with GNOME) and Windows 7 (for Netflix streaming purposes ...) but am using it a lot less for the time being.

Mon, 01 Aug 2011

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 installs begrudgingly on my Debian Squeeze-running laptop

Thanks to readers who responded, Service Pack 1 successfully installed on my Debian-squeeze-running laptop.

Here's a chronicle of what I've done to the machine:

Those who read my previous entry on this topic know that SP1 refused to install on the Windows 7 Home Premium portion of my Lenovo G555's hard drive.

And it probably had something to do with my running Linux (specifically Debian Squeeze) on the same drive.

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Thu, 21 Jul 2011

Windows Update doesn't like my Linux-Windows dual-boot system

Just when I'm thinking, "Windows sucks less than it used to," here I am with my dual-boot system - Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit on one partition, Debian Squeeze 64-bit in LVM (with encrypted swap and home partitions) on another.

Everything has worked well until the arrival of Service Pack 1.

It just won't install. It won't install via the Windows Update mechanism. It won't install after downloading a 900 MB file.

A 900 MB file. For a service pack. Let's ponder that for a minute.

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Sat, 11 Jun 2011

What I need to work with Windows

Yes, I do use Windows. XP and 7, depending on the hardware.

So what software and services do I bring along for the ride?

  • Notepad++
  • IrfanView
  • Firefox
  • Thunderbird
  • FileZilla
  • Dropbox
  • Avast! Free Antivirus
  • Google Chrome
  • Pidgin
  • GIMP
  • Inkscape
  • Audacity

I'll write more about each of these applications in the future. They're sort of in order of most valuable to least. The Notepad++ text editor and IrfanView image viewer/editor are definitely my top 2 applications in Windows.