Disasters and setbacks — 5 Comments

  1. Richard,
    You should perhaps give Amazon’s EC2 a try.
    Allows you to have multiple virtual machines (Linux & Windows) configured as you like & charged-by-the-hour.  In the past it was difficult enough to set-up and manage, but the new browser-based management console makes it much easier.
    Being “cloud” based they’re  more suited for server type activity, but certain client-work such as browsing (as long as the sound is not of interest, and there are ways around that too) and Excel (which I use a lot) work fine.
    For Linux you’ll need VNC (or similar, I found NX to be excellent); for Windows, the in-built remote desktop works a treat.
    My main development “machine” is a Windows 2008 (Vista without the quirks!) 64 bit EC2 instance, which I can fire up for less than 4c per hour (or 40c plus, for a larger more powerful versions of the same image when needs arise).
    As a result, my PC here on “earth”, is a 5 year laptop running XP3 (plus a 7 year desktop as backup) which I can run into the ground and replace with the cheapest option when required.

  2. Here’s where I think the problem is. When you get to the part of the installation process where it asks where and how you want to install Mint, it will give you 3 choices:
    1. Use the entire disk
    2. Side by side installation with Windows
    3. Specify partitions manually
    The first two choices are pretty much static and assumed when installing Mint on a Windows machine and will not change no matter how your hard drive is partitioned. The installer actually does find all your partitions even though it’s not obvious from this this installation screen and in the case of a Windows PC the first two choices are geared toward the primary partition only–the one that holds Windows and the MBR.
    Since you partitioned your disk prior to installing Mint, you can’t use the first two choices as they only apply to the primary partition. You have to go with the third choice and specify which partition you wish to install Mint into.
    This will take you to the another screen which is actually a partition manager built into the installer and you’ll find your partitions listed there. All you have to do is select you partition set aside for Mint, click the “Change” button, choose the type to “ext 4”, check the format check box and set the partition as “/” from the drop down menu. Once that’s done, hit the “Done” button (“Okay”, whatever), wait a few seconds for the partitioner to update the list to your selections then hit “Forward”. Mint will format your Mint partition to ext 4, set it as root (“/”) and proceed with the installation.
    Note: This will install grub2 into the MBR of the primary partition which allows you to multi-boot different operating systems. During your aborted installs, it must have removed grub2 from the MBR which left your laptop with no way to discern which partition was what.
    If Windows now uses the entire drive (1 partition):
    In case you have your Windows install back to taking up the entire disk, you can install Mint by selecting the 2nd choice during the install; “Side by side install with Windows”. If you select that option the next screen will take you to the partitioner and, in the field that shows how your disk will be partitioned after the install, you can grab the line that separates the Windows partition from the future Mint partition and drag it one way or another, increasing or decreasing the size of the Windows/Mint partitions until you have the sizes you want. I believe the default is to split the drive in half so Windows and Mint will have equal portions of the drive. If you want Mint to only reside on a 60GB partition, then drag the line separating the partition toward the Mint partition. Once you’re happy with the sizes, click the “Forward” (or whatever it’s labeled) button and it will proceed with the install.
    Yeah, a long winded comment but I hope it helps.

  3. @Tom.  Thanks for the suggestion but this is as much an experimental thing as anything.  I just wanted to brush up my Linux and see how far I could get.  There is a dud laptop lying around that I could probably use (and may try yet) but the whole point was to satisfy my curiosity.  It ain’t satisfied yet!!

    @Kirk.  This is the strange thing.  I get two options only – to erase the entire disk and reformat, or to specify the new partitions myself.  I tried the latter, but basically it was just giving me the option of how to carve up the full disk.  It is failing utterly to see any partitions.  It can see the full disk, but can’t see that it is currently subdivided into two partitions, and can’t see Windows at all.  I even tried partitioning within Windows, where I set up the swap file and a main partition (sda3??). The DVD couldn’t see any of it, and still insisted on grabbing the full space.

    I used the same DVD on another machine where there was a large block of free space and it found the full structure there, and installed with no problems.

    It isn’t Mint.  It is an error (non-fatal, TG) on the laptop where the partition table isn’t readable.

  4. Well now, in my professional opinion…that sucks! Doing a quick search it seems that Packard Bell does this purposely in order to keep anyone from installing anything but the original OS onto the laptop. That was just a quick Google on the problem and I’m sure there’s more that goes into it.

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