Tag Archives: ntfs

How to slipstream updates into Windows 8.1

I need a Windows box, so I figured I’d experiment with Windows 8.1. I know it’s terrible, but I want to see just how much less terrible I can make it.

The first thing I wanted to do was figure out how to slipstream updates into it. I recommend slipstreaming because you get a faster performing system, you get the system up and running a lot sooner, and you save a lot of unnecessary writes to your SSD. It’s very similar to slipstreaming Windows 7, but not quite identical.

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Cleaning a hard drive with Linux

A friend asked me a favor in church one Sunday: He had a computer he wanted to clean off so he could donate it, but since it had financial data on it, he wanted to make sure it was cleaned up securely. I recommended Darik’s Boot and Nuke, which I’ve recommended before, but he wasn’t able to get it working for whatever reason. So he asked if I would clean it if he dropped it off. I agreed.

Rather than burn a DBAN disc, I just took the hard drive out and put it in a Linux box and wiped it with that. It was easier than trying to find a blank CD.

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How to slipstream IE9 and hotfixes into Windows 7, step by step

Normally, after you install any version of Windows, you have a ton of patching to do. And that patching takes as long, or longer, than the installation takes, while leaving the system vulnerable to exploits in the meantime. Slipstreaming your hotfixes into your installation media sidesteps those issues, and reduces fragmentation. You get a faster performing system, you get the system up and running a lot sooner, and you save a lot of unnecessary writes to your SSD.

So I wholeheartedly recommend slipstreaming.

Continue reading How to slipstream IE9 and hotfixes into Windows 7, step by step

Tom’s Hardware asks: Is an SSD the best upgrade for a slightly old PC?

Not surprisingly, they find the answer is yes. Specifically, that a PC equipped with an SSD gets about a 30% across-the-board performance increase.

I don’t agree with everything they say in the conclusion, namely, that it’s pointless to put an SSD in a netbook. Indeed, when you put an SSD in a netbook, you get several benefits: improved latency, improved battery life, and much faster boot/resume times, all of which are useful.
Continue reading Tom’s Hardware asks: Is an SSD the best upgrade for a slightly old PC?

Too much experience with Recovery is Possible

Last night the computer worked fine. This morning, it greeted me with a black screen claiming that one of the system files required for booting (one of the registry files) was missing or corrupt.

Not how I wanted to spend Saturday after spending a week on the road, especially given last week’s travel conditions.

Continue reading Too much experience with Recovery is Possible

Spinrite 6: An overdue review

Spinrite 5 is an old friend. It got me out of some jams in the late ’90s, but as new versions of Windows that defaulted to NTFS came into my life, Spinrite 5 ceased being an option, since it only worked on FAT-formatted drives.

I’ve had occasion now to use Spinrite 6, its successor, which still runs under old-fashioned MS-DOS but now understands a multitude of filesystems. Other than that, it hasn’t changed much: It’s an obsessively thorough repair and maintenance tool for hard drives.

SSDs will eventually make Spinrite unnecessary, but there are still a lot more conventional hard drives being shipped each year than SSDs. Continue reading Spinrite 6: An overdue review

Attempting to tame C:\Windows\Installer

Nobody seems to know why the C:\Windows\Installer directory sometimes spirals out of control.

All I can add is that I’ve seen this kind of behavior. At a previous job, I administered a couple hundred servers. I had web servers, database servers, domain controllers, utility servers, installation servers, and the old web servers which basically served as a playground for the people who had more clout than me.

Everything but the playground servers theoretically started out identical to each other except for the IP address. They were built following the same instructions.

But invariably, one or two servers in each team would suffer from perpetual low disk space. To keep things running, I had a few Red Green-like solutions.
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Defrag scareware

This isn’t exactly news, as word has been going around for a couple of weeks, but if you haven’t heard about it elsewhere, there are some fake defragmenters going around.

I heard mention of it today, and it reminded me that I saw one last week when I was working on my mother in law’s computer. This was especially obnoxious, considering that at the time, I was running Firefox and I was visiting a mainstream site.

So there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind.
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Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 with USB media

I wasn’t in any hurry to switch to Windows 7, but when several places put the Windows 7 family pack on sale for $125 or thereabouts, I figured I’d better get it. The normal price on three upgrades is $100-$110 a pop. And you know how it goes. Once you get something, you really don’t want it to just sit on the shelf. Why let the software collect dust while I wait for 64-bit Firefox to arrive?

So I want to install it off USB. It’s easy, right? Well, it’s easy if you’re running Vista. But the instructions floating around for making bootable Windows 7 installation USB media don’t work if you’re running XP. At least they didn’t work from any of my XP machines. Continue reading Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 with USB media

Upgrade diary: HP Pavilion a305w

Wow, what a slug. Want me to tell you how I really feel?

Typical Black Friday special from years past. Cheap, but what a limiting future. Here are your handful of options. As far as I can tell, there are about eight of them.

Continue reading Upgrade diary: HP Pavilion a305w