HTML5, CSS3, jQuery, JSON, Responsive Design...

Windows is crap, part 583 - reinstalling

Michael Brown  January 9 2013 01:53:02 AM
Frying in the heat!
We had a power outage last night due to the ferociously hot weather: 43 degrees Celsius!  (That's 110 degrees Farenheit.)  Not just any power outage though; not a clean one where the power just goes off.  No, this was more of a brown-out: the power was still trickling through, but massively reduced in ... ermm.. power!

So, the lights were on but very dim.  The digital clock on the microwave still displayed but did not tick over; it remained at the same time.  And so on.  This went on for about 10 minutes before we lost power completely.  Two or three hours before it came back on again and everything was back to normal, or so it seemed.  Until I tried to boot my PC in the morning, and it didn't want to play.  It gave me a grub boot error, saying that it couldn't find something or other.

Bottom line, one of the five (yes, five!) had drives in there was fried.  It was a 60 Gig SSD that contained my Windows 7 and Linux/Kubuntu partitions.

Off to Orange IT on Sydney's George Street this afternoon, and picked up a new 128 Gig SSD for a mere $69!  A year or two ago I was paying over $100 for SSDs half that size.  Got the new drive mounted in place of the fried one, put in my Windows 7 install CD and rebooted.  Off we go!  Except, we didn't.  It got as far as letting me select my new drive for the installation of Windows, before throwing the error "Windows 7 setup was unable to create a new system partition".

I tried every option I could think of: the drive empty, the drive pre-formatted as FAT32, the drive pre-formatted as NTFS, and so on.  A quick trip to the forums brought the solution straight away, but I spent another half and hour searching because I didn't think that the problem could be anything so stupid.  (I forgot I was dealing with Microsoft.)

Other OSes?  What are they?

What I had to do was power down the PC, open the case and then disconnect every other drive in there except for the one that wanted to install Windows 7 on!!!  Yep, Windows is too damned stupid to cope if it sees multiple drives, or maybe there was something on one of those drives that freaked it out.  Hardly surprising given how Microsoft's been demonstrating their breathtaking arrogance in this field for years.  No need for them to write an OS installer that can cope with the presence of - whisper it - other operating systems.  It's simply not in their DNA.  After all, their OS is the one that dominates the desktop (for now) so why should they bother?  Everybody else can program around them, as far as they're concerned  Incompetence or malice?  It's so hard to say: Microsoft has both commodities in abundance.

Drivers You Mad

So, I got Windows 7 installed and to give Microsoft credit, the installation was commendably brief.  Time to download the latest graphics drivers then.

Stop right there!  There's no internet connection!  Huh?  This isn't wireless: I'm connected directly to the router over ethernet.  Where's my internet connection?  Then I seemed to remember... yes, I rummaged through my shelf of installer CDs and there it was: the Windows drivers for the motherboard.  Yep, Windows, which is famed for its supposed compatibility with like everything, needs a special driver just to work the freaking ethernet port!  That's a little trick that Linux - you know, Linux, where you have to compile everything from source using arcane command line switches - has managed to do out of the box for as long as I've been using it (about six years).