Triple Boot XP BSOD

After installing Ubuntu yesterday I found I was no longer able to boot into Windows. After the XP splash screen it would BSOD then restart. Not wanting to waste time reinstalling XP, I had to fix it.

It turns out that Windows doesn’t like having its partition’s position changed – prior to installing Ubuntu, there were two partitions on my disk (Leopard and Bootcamp). As OS X’s Disk Utility does not support non-destructive resizing of NTFS partitions, I resized the HFS+ Leopard partition to make room for Ubuntu. This bumped Bootcamp, XP’s partition down one position on the partition map. Which made it sad.

Windows stores its position on the partition map in the ‘boot.ini’ file, located in the base directory of the Windows partition. To cheer Windows up and get it booting again, all I had to do was change two numbers in this file – basically just update the file manually, telling Windows where it should look … to help it find itself.

When researching this problem I couldn’t find more than an old forum post about it, so for the sanity of my future self ( and you ) I’m documenting the solution here.

The first code block below shows the file as it was before the change, in the state that caused the horrible BSOD at boot:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

And this block shows the file as it was after I made the necessary changes:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

All I did was change the 3‘s with 4‘s.

When the cause of a BSOD is located and fixed, the become funny again. Before the fix however:

“Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death
No one hears your screams.”

From the Salon Haiku Contest.

For more hilarious BSOD information: try bsod.org.

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Tekagi Recognize

Today I had to install Ubuntu (yay) so I can use it for some site testing – important to test things in all operating systems, not just Windows / OS X!

While I was waiting for some development tools to finish installing, I browsed the software available in the repository…

Which by the way is extremely easy to use – I’m amazed at how far Ubuntu has come since I last used it – it’s only been about a year and half since I went back to using OS X almost exclusively.

So anyway, I was browsing through the software and I came across this little application – Tegaki. It’s a Chinese / Japanese handwriting recognition tool. I’ve only played with it, but what I’ve seen so far is pretty cool. I don’t know how I would use it though, I’m perfectly comfortable using SCIM / OS X’s Pinyin input systems… Whatever, it works well, even with my terrible writing-chinese-with-a-mouse skills. It recognized what I meant most of the time, but after successfully writing something it took me a little while to figure out how to get the characters from the program into whatever program I was trying to write Chinese in. Turns out that I’m a moron – one just ensures the textarea in question is selected, alt+tabs into Tegaki, write, then click the ‘enter’ button. The characters will be dropped into the text field. Magic.

Cool idea, works really well, but I’m sticking with the traditional pinyin based methods. Writing characters by hand, with a mouse just doesn’t do it for me.

What could work is writing with my Bamboo Fun tablet – I’ll try that as soon as I get some free time, and report back. I think it could work MUCH better, and have the added effect of forcing me to actually remember the characters, instead of just Pinyin.

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Normal User Unable to Write to FAT32 Partition Ubuntu

Just when I though I had finished reviving my parent’s computer with Ubuntu, I discovered that the normal user was unable to write to the shared FAT32 partition.

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Partition Displayed as ’40.0 GB Volume’ Instead of Mount Name Ubuntu

Installing Ubuntu on my parent’s computer today I ran into this problem: though the Windows and Storage partitions were being mounted correctly at login, they were displaying as “40.0 GB Media” and “80.0 GB Media” respectively.

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Thunderbird 3 Beta in Ubuntu

Instructions on how to install the excellent Thunderbird 3 beta from Mozilla’s Daily Build PPA

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