Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One small unforeseen error can really mess you up

Alright, this is another of my rambling tales that is unlikely to be of interest to many.
Anyway, on my Dell E520, I run a number of OSes: Ubuntu, Windows 7, Windows XP and two versions of Haiku.
However, I had just been looking, once again, at FreeBSD on another machine and wanted to install that too. After all, I do have a lot of HDD space (300 GB).
But there's one big problem. The two Windows OSes together with the Windows BootLoader partition take up three primary partition. Everything else on this machine is inside of an extended partition which means I have no primaries left and.............yes, FreeBSD can only be installed on a primary partition.
However, I had heard that for Windows, it's only the bootloader partition that needs to be on a primary. The rest can readily be placed on a logical partition.
I then came across this guide which principally told me that using the dd function is Linux is all you need to copy Windows XP from a primary to a logical partition.
But first you apparently need to

Use "regedit" and delete all entries in "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices". This does not harm Windows since Windows rebuilds these entries on the next startup.

Well, I did that and that's where my problems began. Windows XP would no longer boot. It got to the Welcome screen and went no further. I tried everything to get it to boot including a Repair Install but this stopped in mid-flight for some unknown reason.
So, I was forced to reinstall Windows XP. Of course, during the install Windows put its bootloader into the mbr without recognizing any of the other OSes on the machine, curiously not even Windows 7.
I quickly whipped out my Parted Magic usb-key to make sure that the Windows XP install had not eliminated the other partitions on my HDD. It hadn't but, again for an unknown reason, the Ubuntu / partition had been deleted but, thankfully, not the /home.
So, now I had to re-install Ubuntu but without formatting /home so that a recovery was quite rapid.
As a result, I then had Grub2 bootloading and offering Ubuntu, Haiku (two versions) and the Windows Bootloader. However, as the Windows bootloader hadn't recognized Windows 7, this latter was still unbootable.
However, in the meantime, I had another problem in the newly installed Windows XP -- there was no internet, no sound and the screen resolution was restricted to a pathetic 1280x1050 (I had been using 1920x1080 prior to this debacle).
Sounded like a drivers problem. For some reason, the Dell installer had not installed quite a few very important drivers.
But this wasn't difficult to resolve. Just go to Dell Support, Drivers Download, key in your machine product key and you'll get a list of all the drivers you need to run Windows XP on your machine.
I downloaded them all on another machine, placed them on a usb-key and then transferred them to my E520 where I was easily able to install all that were missing.
With internet available, I was now able to get to work.
So, I downloaded EasyBCD which had helped me out before in setting up the Windows bootloader for multibooting. This time I just wanted to get it to include Windows 7.
However, when I went to run EasyBCD, it said I need NetFramework.
Ran updates for my freshly installed Windows XP which included NetFramework but, incredibly, of all the available updates, the only one that failed to install was NetFramework.
Tried to download (version 1.1 which is what was offered in the updates) and install directly from the Microsoft site, but equally no luck.
In googling around I found that this is not an uncommon problem as attested by this article.
I tried first Method #1 but this did not work at all. Then Method #2 and this worked perfectly due to the Installation Cleanup Utility.
Happily, I finally got
NetFramework installed only to find that EasyBCD requires at least version 2 of NetFramework and won't work with the version 1.1 that I had installed.
So back to Microsoft to download version 2 and everything worked fine after that. As a result, I finally got Windows 7 booting.
What a rigmarole!

No comments:

Post a Comment