Friday, January 05, 2007


I haven't said this in a while but..... Fucking Windows! Why would you do that? At what point in your development did some evil little masochist, envious of our blemish free skin, pipe up at the dev meeting and say 'Hey! You know what would be really cool?....'

Allow me to elaborate. Nick came over with a PC carcass last night so we could make a PC for April's iTunes needs. The plan:

1) Matt orders an external hard drive (done)
2)Nick comes over with carcass
3)Matt moves all of the data on his 160GB IDE drive onto his primary SATA
4)Move IDE drive into carcass
5)Install Windows and iTunes
6)Deliver FrankenPC to April

Simple right? Well, no apparently.

I moved all my music and media onto my SATA drive, removed the IDE and proceeded to boot up my PC again. Or not. It kind of stopped on a black screen and refused to budge. I tried the Vista install disk and it looked like it was doing the same thing, only this time on a pretty blue screen.

We plugged the EMPTY IDE drive back in and it worked fine. After much prodding and poking we discovered the following (luckily Nick is a Windows expert!): The Master Boot Record, that is to say the thing that starts Windows, was installed on the IDE. The rest of Windows was where it was supposed to be ie: where I told it to be.

This is what happened and to be fair some of the blame has to go to stupid BIOS people who refuse to acknowledge the passing of the floppy disk drive or the prevalence of SATA despite being the BIOS for a SATA motherboard!

Nick thinks that BIOS has a preference for IDE devices, so when I put my Vista disk in it automatically defaults to putting the Boot record on the IDE device (despite it being set to Slave). Then it asks me where I want to install Vista, so the boot record is on one disk and the actual installation on another. Dumb ass thing! Anyway, after much cajoling and a remarkably lucid Windows recovery all is well.

After getting it to boot from the install disk (just needed to give it more time to get it to work) I started going through the recovery procedure which was long and irritating and involved several restarts and swearing. I should point out that this wasn't really Window's fault. The problem is that we didn't read the on screen prompts and advice when attempting the repair. And don't give me that 'typical man, never reads instructions!' garbage either, I read instrcutions I am just conditioned not to read Microsoft instructions. This is because they never make sense and I had no idea that they had decided to make Vista in such a way as to make the error messages and prompts relevent to the things they are complaining about. It's a radical break from tradition.

In fairness, I've had ten years of 'There is an error in memory location 000HHXX1, please wear an old pair of gardening trousers whilst making an omlette' so it's hardly surprising is it?!

Anyway. It works again now and if I had paid attention to Vista, probably would have happened a lot sooner!

XP is kind of installed on April's machine though has decided to revert to Classic for reasons best known to itself. Tonight I shall be installing other things that will doubtless fall over. Friday night is party night.


Olivia said...

Vista is out already???

Sheesh, this hick town (I am still in canada) probably won't know about the existence of it until next year sometime.

MattJ said...

It's been available on MSDN since about November, it goes on general release sometime this month I believe. I'm not just a hobby geek remember, it's also my job! ;)

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