31 Jul 2010

How Dumb Am I?

, , , , ,

NYM readers may at least be amused.

It’s like this. I bought a Sony Vaio laptop a good while back. It was a bargain, but it came with Vista installed.

At that particular moment in history, I was feeling experimental. I felt like playing with Linux, and I had a hankering to see if I could possibly adapt to the MAC OS environment, one button mouse, all that. So I got a free copy of Ubuntu and bought a copy of Leopard on Ebay. I had been reading that it was possible to install Leopard on a Vaio with some fiddling.

None of this worked out for me.

Leopard could not relate to the notebook’s videocard, and I simply gave up and installed XP on the second hard drive partition. I wasted hours trying to use Linux, but it was just too much trouble to overcome the absence of a readily available driver for the wireless modem. Linux worked fine. It just could not contact the Internet.

So there I was with 80 gb of my hard drive devoted to a Linux installation I was not actually using. But, hey, I still had about 60 gb with Win XP on it, which was working fine.

But, over time, that 60 gb was beginning to fill up. I trashed the games I wasn’t actively playing and purged several large programs. Then, I started moving all the image files off the PC onto various backup drives. But, finally, I had just installed Lightroom and Visio, and C: was getting close to full again. There were getting to be fewer movable items. I got to thinking last night that I ought to do something about all this.

So I Googled on the phrase “eliminate partition” and, lo and behold, there was a link to a discussion explaining that you could do that by hitting START>Control Panel>Administration Tools>Computer Management>Storage>Disk Management, then all you had to do was right click on the offending 80 gb Linux Partition, and select Delete.

What could possibly go wrong? I thought to myself. Ubuntu goes bye bye. The 80 gb Linux Partition returns to being part of the ordinary C: drive. I have lots of disk, and everyone is happy. So I hit “delete.”

Then I looked at the properties of the C: drive, so I could admire all the great new space I had created.

Hmmm. No change. The only difference was that second partition was now unlabeled.

I guess I need to reboot before the change goes into effect, I concluded. This would be the moment of truth. If I had screwed the pooch, I would soon find out. But, how likely was that?

My keen mind, doubtless impacted by age and senility, had overlooked the obvious consideration that I had installed Ubuntu first, and Ubuntu had put itself in charge of the boot-up process.

So the PC turns off, starts to come up, and GRUB (Ubuntu’s Grand Unified Boot-Loader) starts looking for that now-unlabeled Linux Partition, can’t find it, and sits there… permanently, announcing Error 17.

Error 17 means that GRUB can’t find the partition it’s looking for. It then freezes and sulks.

So, this is how to disable your PC and create a fine opportunity to research sub-operating system levels of PC operation in both Windows and Linux lands.

Blogging will be less frequent for a few days. I’m using an older, slower machine.

3 Feedbacks on "How Dumb Am I?"


I sympathize. I bought a Sony Vaio laptop a little over two years ago, and spent a long time stripping the bloatware, taking off AOL, and installing Firefox, Safari, Thunderbird, and the like. Nothing ever worked properly. I think Sony has gremlins installed that go into action if you try to take their ads and preloaded rubbish off. It was the slowest, buggiest laptop I ever had. I eventually gave up and gave it to the kids to play PC games on. But perhaps part of the problem was Vista?

Just get a Mac. The newest Macbook Pro is only a little over 1100 if you get a 13 inch, and it has built in everything, backlit keyboard, 9 hour battery life, etc.

I also tried recently to find a netbook that still came with LInux preinstalled (my initial Asus 7 inch netbook was great but couldn’t connect to secure networks, and my middle aged eyes need at least a 10 inch screen now). Basically tne netbooks have sold out to Microsoft, tho there are a few from Dell with Linux preinstalled that are pretty cheap.

Good luck.


Actually, all of this is fixable. Though you didn’t help things any.

Linux can usually work with that wireless. Google can tell you such solutions. Sometimes, it may involve Linux using a ‘wrapper’ on Windows drivers.

To get the size back for the XP partition you need special software to resize it, or perhaps back the partition up, delete all partitons, then restore to the whole drive.

You just need to find someone local who knows all these tricks. Or study up on them yourself.


Installing Mac OS on non Apple hardware is an operation for serious guru’s – and in Apple’s view illegal even if you paid for OS X. I can attest that if can be accomplished and in many instances even works well. But it is usually very hard to do.
Ubuntu is different. Today’s computer user norm’s do not include installing an OS. Ubuntu is possibly the easiest OS to install. But getting all the drivers properly installed and working can be difficult whether the OS is windows, Linux, OS X, … Ubuntu is extremely easy to install, but nothing is to the state where everything works with every install on every system imaginable. Linux systems tend to be behind in providing seemless support for the ever changing panoply of wifi adapters. Windows out of the box wireless support is even more pathetic – but windows is usually installed by the system vendor who usually provides a rescue system tailored for their hardware.

My recommendation would be to install Ubuntu on your older system, rather than the newer one. The install is more likely to go seemlessly, and you might even discover that you like Linux on your old system makes you happier than Windows on your new one.
After that if you want OS X buy an Apple. If you are serious about putting OS X on non-Apple hardware find an expert – and there are very few.
All the other issues on your newer system – whether it is getting wifi working under ubuntu or removing the ubuntu partition are all resolvable, but require a fair amount of learning. Again it is probably cheaper to hire an expert.


Please Leave a Comment!

Please note: Comments may be moderated. It may take a while for them to show on the page.

Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark