Sunday, 5 December 2010

More PC Stuff

The picture above is a screengrab of what's happening and where I am right now.

The pink pies near the top are my hard drives. The blue slices that have been taken from them are what's been used. The pink stuff is free space. As you can see, I have plenty of room. I could swing the biggest virtual cat around to my heart's content in there.

Of course, I now have no music, or videos or pictures on my system. They're all on DVD's, labelled but not indexed. You'd need a bloody big index card to contain a complete list of everything on many of these disks.

I also took care in the way I went about reinstalling important files. Previously, I had problems because I'd done windows updates (like service pack 2) before installing the drivers for my graphics and sound cards. This meant that the computer would hang for several minutes before giving me the option of switching off, restarting or hibernating/standing by. It also meant that firefox would crash regularly when asked to deal with wesites that contain any flash content. Sorting out the hardware before I sorted out the operating system seems to have solved this.

The other thing I wanted to do was to install a linux operating system.Having two hard drives, it seemed tidy to use XP on my C drive, and install linux on my D drive. I could then choose which environment to boot up into on startup.

This unfortunately has not yet happened. I followed all the instructions to the letter, yet when I try to install by having the ubuntu CD in the drive as I boot up, I get nowhere. The machine restarts and dumps me back at the beginning of the process. The only thing I can think of is that once again, there is some conflict caused by my sound and/or graphics cards. Whatever the cause, I cannot do an install from the boot CD.

So the other option is to boot from within windows.

This seemed more promising at first. It reckoned it would take about 10 minutes to install, but this time rapidly fell to 6, then 3, then 2 minutes, and soon enough, the process moved on to the next phase. Despite having already downloaded the ISO file, ubuntu insists that it needs to bring it in from a torrent. And that's going to take... Well it's up to around 97 hours at the moment.

Ah. As I speak, progress... Suddenly there is movement in my progress bar. Now down to 17 hours and falling rapidly. It's stabilised at 13 hours and 46 minutes. How exciting!!!

Reassembling my system also meant I had to reinstall Google Earth. The latest version initially dumped me into street view when I zoomed close to ground level. Fortunately, this is a selectable option. I turned it off, but it's there should I need it. It also doesn't flatten the view automatically as you head towards sea level. That too may be optional.

Well, I'd better wrap this post up now. My ubuntu torrent is only 8 hours and 49 minutes from completion.

Edit: Completed the torrent download. Installed ubuntu on my D drive. Rebooted. Started up in ubuntu to complete installation and....

It crashed.

Rebooted again and started ubuntu in demo mode and....

It worked! I got a ubuntu desktop!

For about 30 seconds, then it crashed.

So now I'm uninstalling the dedicated drivers for my sound and graphics cards. Then I'll uninstall the existing ubuntu installation and try again with my disk.

Why am I bothering? Well I like the idea of using an open source operating system. If I'm familiar with it, and at some point I can no longer use my windows disk, I won't have to use a dodgy copy, or give microsoft a load of money. I guess that was the whole point of spending all that time backing everything up. It gives me the freedom to experiment. If I end up reformatting both drives, and starting from scratch using ubuntu instead of XP, well that's not going to be such a big deal. Just more time. No files to lose.

Anyway, here goes nothing.

And that didn't work either. Next step was to start right from square one. I formatted both drives and booted up my PC with thelinux disk in the drive.

This time it would work! This time, with nothing to stand in it's way, it would pop straight in and I'd have a lovely ubuntu only system, onto which I could then install XP.

Well it just goes to show how wrong you can be. Here am I sitting with my laptop on my knee, looking at the screen of my desktop. the mouse, frozen. I could reboot again, but this is the third time I've tried, so I'd only get the same result. It's not a driver conflict. It's nothing to do with windows. Ubuntu just doesn't like my hardware configuration.

So having exhausted plans A-Z, I'm now onto plan %$&*. I'm wondering if I've somehow downloaded the wrong version of ubuntu. My desktop computer is reasonably well specced.

I shall put the specs below, not to boast, but in the hope that someone will say, "Ah yes. You need the 64bit version" or "You need to go into bios and change the spot settings ao that they match the grillip in the sping

So: Got 2 hard drives. My C drive is a 250Gb IDE drive. My D drive is a 200Gb IDE drive. My E drive is a DVD reader/writer.
4096Mb of DDR2 memory, in 4 1Gb sticks. Two of them came with the machine. The other two I added later.
The CPU is an athlon dual core thing. Each core runs at about 2.6Ghz. According to my BIOS, My cureent CPU clock is 2611.7Mhz. My FSB clock is 200.9Mhz and my DRAM clock is 400Mhz.
Also in the case are an Nvidia Geforce 8600gt graphics card, and a Creative Soundblaster Live Platinum soundcard.

So looking at the ubuntu page, there are options about how it's created. Previously, I used the windows option. So I will be creating yet another couple of CDs. One with the 32bit "run from ubuntu" option, and one with the 64 bit "run from ubuntu" option. And if they don't work, ubuntu can go stick it's head in a pig.

Well after all that, it turns out that I was trying to use the wrong version. The 64bit version is stable, and is just completing it's installation now. I suppose I shouldn't count my chickens, but it's just not doing the messups it was doing before. 5 or 10 minutes from now I shall hopefully post to this blog from  my linux based desktop!

1 comment:

Pete said...

I applaud your persistence. I would have packed this in a long time ago.