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do you hate microsoft?
yes. everyone heard that, right? YES. 20%
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Votes: 20

 Windows 2000 and the joys of a healthy computer.

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
May 17, 2002
 Comments:
Yesterday I finally upgraded to Windows 2000 Professional on this computer here, my main computer.
diaries

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excellent [REDACTED] post on slashdot.
Compared to Windows 98, Linux is actually an improvement in most respects. The hardware support is much better, and the memory management and stability seem better (to my untrained eye).

However, I never knew that the real Linux alternative, Windows 2000 (or XP--I'm talking more about the kernel base than anything else), was this good. I had previously been considering some computer upgrades, as performance on Windows 98 was oftentimes unpleasant and Linux had become too much of a hassle to be a viable option. There was always BeOS, of course, but that's a less viable option (for support reasons) every day. Windows 2000 has eliminated any suspicions I might have had that my computer was inadequately equipped. I may still get some upgrades, but rather than raw performance upgrades, I'll likely choose an amenity such as a high-speed CD-RW drive instead.

In fact, the sole problem I have encountered with Windows 2000 is that it doesn't play very nicely with one of my hard drives. Then again, this hard drive's partition tables were garbled by some angry Linux distribution a year ago, so it was unsurprising that it didn't work. I'm a little sad, because it did work in Windows 98 and all the Linux distributions I tried. If anyone has any suggestions about how I might go about convincing this drive to work, I would love to hear them, as I miss its comforting presence.

All in all, I advise Linux proponents to sample the real competition rather than railing against defects that no longer exist in the Windows arena.

       
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Good sir, you need not be defensive (none / 0) (#1)
by Adam Rightmann on Fri May 17th, 2002 at 12:41:04 PM PST
in your choice of operating systems. Many of the computer professionals here (present company included) use a variety of operating systems, and chose the best one for the job. Daily I use 98/NT/2k, Solaris 8, Linux, and Mac 9/X. At home I run 98/Linux and a BSD, all properly licensed, of course.

Blind zealoty for an OS is not welcome here.


A. Rightmann

I agree (none / 0) (#13)
by DG on Fri May 17th, 2002 at 11:42:37 PM PST
I use anything i can to get the work done, "Blind zealoty" very good term by the way, is rather bad in most computer circles.

why people accuse me of being a linux zealot, i'll never know. i point out that people are wrong in some things. then they call me a zealot for it, feh.. type something correct and i won't bitch about it, whining that I'm wrong when i'm not is so childish

I try not to claim one is better than another, It's kind of silly since all OS are pretty much crap. better crap than they used to be but still crap, linux is bloated, windows is bloated, macos is bloated, hell beos is bloated. but oh well i'll use what i can


2002, DG. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

 
HDD repair (none / 0) (#2)
by The Mad Scientist on Fri May 17th, 2002 at 12:59:36 PM PST
If it is really just a partition table, I suggest to take any partitioning program of choice (ie, fdisk), and erase all the partitions, then install the OS from scratch, by booting from a CD.

A brute-force alternative is to obtain Norton Disk Editor (or any other disk-editing software), and in physical-sector mode fill the zeroth track with zeroes. This will make the disk think it is fresh out of the manufacture, for most of practical purposes.

If there are doubts it could be a physical disk problem, visit www.seagate.com and download Seagate SeaTools disk test software. It can do a full test of any Seagate disk and a basic test of any IDE disk.

Also, check the memory of the machine (look the Net up for MemTest86 floppy image creator - this is a Linux-based heavy-duty memory tester, used by one local big hardware vendor). I seen a machine that behaved like it has a bad disk, while it turned out later to be a faulty DIMM.

I'd just wish W2ks wouldn't be so opaque. When something fails and decides to start crashing, there is no way to figure out what-the-hell went wrong.


Thank you. (none / 0) (#4)
by anti filidor on Fri May 17th, 2002 at 01:25:10 PM PST
I will certainly give your suggestions a try. I'm fairly certain that it is the partition table that is corrupted, as the disk has been worse than this. One Linux installation or another actually seemed to fix the partition table, at least to the point where the disk has been usable for Win98 and Linux.

I've been hesitant to go the route of erasing all partitions, as, well- I have a lot of important data on there that I'd rather not remove. However, it seems that I no longer have much choice.

I doubt it is the memory, as the computer runs just fine with the bad disk disconnected.

Anyway, thank you very much, sir.


Backup the data. (none / 0) (#6)
by The Mad Scientist on Fri May 17th, 2002 at 02:13:48 PM PST
Then reformat the disk.

Yes, it is unlikely in the light of the new facts that the problems are memory related.

A good partitioning tool is Linux's cfdisk.

A boot floppy with diskedit.exe or something equivalent should be in the arsenal of each field circus technician. I keep a small website for personal needs where I keep images of floppies that could save my posterior when out in the field; usually I have Net access in all the locations.

A very useful thing - and very arcane to use - is debug.exe; offers you raw access to all the ports and memory of the machine. I most often used it for resetting BIOS setup password when I forgot it (you write to certain CMOS addresses, damaging the checksum, so the BIOS loads the defaults in next boot). But you can use it even as an improvised diskeditor. It is a *lot* of hassle, but still far far far better than being stuck with no options.


Or you could just (none / 0) (#7)
by Fon2d2 on Fri May 17th, 2002 at 02:48:38 PM PST
pop out the CMOS battery for a bit.


Yes, but it is simpler... (none / 0) (#8)
by The Mad Scientist on Fri May 17th, 2002 at 03:10:22 PM PST
...to use debug, if the machine isn't already with covers removed. If the BIOS password protects only the setup, and not the boot itself.

There are even special utilities to decode the password. But they are BIOS-specific and they aren't necessary when you just need to reset it.

However, more modern motherboards don't have CMOS battery at all - they use an EEPROM chip instead. No battery, nothing to remove, no way in.

Seemingly.

There is a trick how to go through here as well, but you have to be a bit more hardcore. The chips used are usually serial EEPROMs, small 8-pin (usually SMD) chips soldered to the motherboard. Usually labeled as 24Cxx or 93Cxx. They communicate over a serial bus, usually I2C. You have to check the catalog spec sheet and get the chip pinout. Solder thin enameled wire to the DTA pin. Then boot up the machine. In certain moment (the moment of the boot itself, or the moment when it asks for the password, depends on the machine) you short the other end of the wire to the ground. Ie, when the BIOS asks for the password, you short the wire to the ground and press Enter. The BIOS then usually thinks the password is zero-length, and lets you in. Then you can use the debug trick, or you can use the same short-circuit trick again to get through the setup password and reset the password from there. Very simple, very effective. Works for most of the contemporary motherboards and laptops.

I developed this trick myself, few years ago, and got quite surprised when I found it actually works.


I was wondering (none / 0) (#10)
by Fon2d2 on Fri May 17th, 2002 at 04:17:57 PM PST
what one would have to do in the case of the CMOS being stored on an EEPROM. Personally, I would just call tech support and then, if there was no fix or it would be too costly, would I attempt something like you suggest. Fortunately I've never locked myself out of my own computer and I don't intend to.


I got used... (none / 0) (#11)
by The Mad Scientist on Fri May 17th, 2002 at 05:06:44 PM PST
...to the low-cost second-hand parts market. I had to be my own techsupport. I had to improvise. Figuring out some less-known tricks was a byproduct.


 
well.. (none / 0) (#9)
by anti filidor on Fri May 17th, 2002 at 04:15:12 PM PST
I was able to back the drive up and fdisk it whole again. MS's fdisk didn't work (don't know why), but the fdisk that loaded from Red Hat's rescue disk did the trick nicely. My drive has been liberated.

Thanks again for your advice.


Windows and FDISK (none / 0) (#16)
by detikon on Sat May 18th, 2002 at 02:41:43 AM PST
Let me guess. You either used START >> RUN or opened the command prompt and attempted to use it there. If so that's why it didn't work. You need to create a bootdisk with the latest version of FDISK.COM either from Windows or a third party program.

Despite what MS claims its version of FDISK cannot recognize partitions beyond FAT, FAT32 and NTFS. You can how ever simply back up your data then install Windows (clean install) from the CD. One of the first setup screens allows you to partition the drive. You can delete any paritions here then create your Windows partition(s).




Go away or I will replace you with a very small shell script.

actually (none / 0) (#18)
by anti filidor on Sat May 18th, 2002 at 10:23:45 AM PST
You're quite wrong. I originally used my Windows 98 install CD (when you actually buy it, they give you one) to boot with, and then used the include fdisk there. Though there were no fancy partitions on the drive, the utility just didn't recognize them.

I'm sure you will be pleased to learn that the Linux fdisk tool I tried next did the job quite well.


ps (none / 0) (#19)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat May 18th, 2002 at 12:27:56 PM PST
Detikon seems to have a much higher Asshole Quotient these days. Who pissed in his cornflakes?


His spirit is breaking (n/t) (none / 0) (#20)
by anti filidor on Sat May 18th, 2002 at 01:25:28 PM PST
.


 
The only service tool Microsoft made... (none / 0) (#21)
by The Mad Scientist on Sat May 18th, 2002 at 01:35:14 PM PST
...that isn't seriously botched and is actually useful is debug.exe.


 
Yes (none / 0) (#5)
by Fon2d2 on Fri May 17th, 2002 at 01:29:32 PM PST
If you can manage to fill the master boot sector with all zeros that is undeniably the best (if not most practical) solution. That's like completely blanking the entire hard disk. It will allow you to have a totally clean installation.


 
oh please (none / 0) (#15)
by detikon on Sat May 18th, 2002 at 02:37:20 AM PST
We have been reading about how linux meeses up your hard drive making it unusable. Amazingly, so called computer professionals at this site have never heard of FDISK or various other tools.




Go away or I will replace you with a very small shell script.

Fiddling with arcane tools (none / 0) (#22)
by walwyn on Sat May 18th, 2002 at 01:58:50 PM PST
is the preserve of others. I don't expect my airline pilot to know how to change the oil in the plane taking me to the Maldives.


Airline pilots... (none / 0) (#23)
by The Mad Scientist on Sat May 18th, 2002 at 03:22:31 PM PST
...should be bloody familiar with their planes.

I would be certainly happier if the pilot that will take me to Ireland will be that old seasoned kind that knows his plane down to the last bolt.

Knowledge of all the aircraft's systems (and how the plane behaves without them) can be the difference between life and death.


Oh dear (none / 0) (#24)
by walwyn on Sat May 18th, 2002 at 03:36:46 PM PST
I expect the pilot to to know how to take-off, navigate, and land safely. I'd be pretty annoyed if he had to get out half way to change to oil.


..alright. (none / 0) (#25)
by anti filidor on Sat May 18th, 2002 at 03:55:23 PM PST
I'd be annoyed too--but I would be infinitely more annoyed if the plane had such a problem and he were unable to fix it.


I'd agree (none / 0) (#26)
by walwyn on Sat May 18th, 2002 at 04:13:11 PM PST
but then I don''t fly with this crowd.


 
Pilots need to know a lot more than that. (none / 0) (#27)
by because it isnt on Sat May 18th, 2002 at 06:06:25 PM PST
For example, there are over one hundred engineering checks that need to be made before even starting the plane. These are all made by the captain himself, who is ultimately responsible for the safety of the plane, passengers and cargo.
I don't think pilots are required to know how to strip and reassemble planes, but they are required to know every procedure they might possibly encounter on a particular type of plane before they're licensed to fly that type of plane. This includes mundane procedures usually performed by lackeys at the larger airports, eg refueling, wing de-icing, closing the cargo bay door, etc.
adequacy.org -- because it isn't

 
Windows 98 (none / 0) (#3)
by Fon2d2 on Fri May 17th, 2002 at 01:22:01 PM PST
did have a few glaring and quite unfortunate oversights and being based on DOS it never really was quite all there. I still use it at home however since I like to use 2nd hand computing equipment. At work we've upgraded to Windows 2000 and I must say it is very nice.

As for the problem with your disk drive you mentioned it might be partition related. I have found that when dealing with Lunix, one must invariably take matters with the partition table into his own hands. It never fails either, there are just simply too many things that can go wrong. Personally I've had it come to the point where I had to fall back on arcane DOS tools and cryptic BIOS info just to get the disk ready to be reformatted. I am not joking. The problem is the Windows 9x fdisk utilities can get confused with akward or improper partition tables and become unable to remedy a problem. I would suggest trying the Windows 2000 fdisk utility and if that fails, then try other programs such as Partition Magic. The best plan would be to back up all pertinant information, delete all your partitions, and then start a clean installation.


I've found (none / 0) (#14)
by DG on Fri May 17th, 2002 at 11:55:18 PM PST
if you want to learn to install any os, and be certain you don't have any problems down the road is to store all your data then install the os more than once.. it may or may not be something you might do but you do learn, after awhile that partition problems don't happen as much.. hell installing windows more than once helps you..
2002, DG. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

 
Congratulations my good man! (none / 0) (#12)
by egg troll on Fri May 17th, 2002 at 06:33:48 PM PST
You've made a wise choice in installing Windows 2000. From now on, you may use your computer without fear of somehow violating the GPL and causing some draconian watchdog agency to hassle you. Peace of mind alone is worth the switch from *nix to MS.


Posting for the love of the baby Jesus....

 
Windows 2000 = Best Version (none / 0) (#17)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat May 18th, 2002 at 10:01:42 AM PST
Windows 2000 Professional is the only version of windows that I've seen work properly. Everything else has fucked up my computer. From my saying "never trust a an OS that has two letters" *coughs* NT ME XP, the only problem I have with win2k pro is it doesnt like my counter-strike very much and after 128mb DDR memory I still get errors saying I'm out of physical memory sometimes. But it has been pretty good to me otherwise, suprsingly stable. Linux and win2k are the only operating systems I use on my computer because they seem to be the only stable ones out there.


 
Thoughts on this discussion (none / 0) (#28)
by Anonymous Reader on Fri Jun 14th, 2002 at 04:43:44 PM PST
Ive spent alot of time reading the various articles and diaries here at adequacy.org and had come to expect certain things in the comments posted about each.

But the replies to this have surprised me. This is the first time I have seen a MS/Linux discussion here that has not degenerated into each side bashing the other and calling each other every name conceivable.

I look forward to more such adult discussions of the pros and cons of operating systems/software/tools/etc and will spend more time on the adequacy site now that I know that such discussions do happen her


 

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