Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fresh XP Install continued

After formatting (see previous blog) I was ready to install. Actually I have to take a step back: before repartitioning my hard drive (and deleting everything on it that I had backed up) I used nlite to slim down my XP pro SP2 OS. I took out all languages but UK English, all keyboards but US standard, the tour, movie maker, briefcase, and made some tweaks to the appearance. The ability to take complete control of the appearance of the desktop through a simple UI as well as creating an unattended install are my favorite reasons for using nlite. When I first started using nlite I took out everything I could and kept ending up with stability problems, so I just took out the complete non essentials and some of the services that were just security risks and still cut the install image by half.

Soon I plan to try and use RyanVM's integrator to update the install disk before installation. I would also like to learn how to add programs pre-installation, although this would not make much sense with those that are frequently updated. All stuff for future blogs!!

The nlite install went very well. I made a backup image first thing, and then, before connecting to the internet, installed bitdefender 10 free for my antivirus and Comodo Firewall, both of which I had downloaded prior to reformatting and stored on my backup HDD (the 250G SATA). Then I connected to the internet and updated both.
Incidentally, I chose to have automatic updates turned off during the nlite process. After a full virus scan I used Autopatcher May core, june, and july patches to bring my system up to date as well add IE7 and WMP11. This little program worked very well. I had used it in a couple virtual machines so I knew how to navigate it. Just be aware that the initial update from a 'bare' SP2 install will take about an hour and a half (probably depends on your processor somewhat?) After that I turned on Automatic Update to download but not install updates and commenced to setting up my favorite, can't live without programs - the subject of my next blog....
Any tricks or suggestions from your own experiences with re-installing your OS?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fresh XP Install/ Re-Install

I figured a great place to start would be the fresh, or rather re-fresh, install of my XP OS. This is about the third time I have re-installed my OS, the first one being because of a virus problem and the second because of a new hard drive purchase. Oh yeah, I tried one other time when I bought an SATA HDD that wasn't supported by my mobo and which I had to thereby run from a PCI card and learn the hard lesson that A) the drivers for SATA drives have to be installed from a floppy (which I do have) when installing XP (via F6 at the beginning of the installation) and B) even with said floppy I still could not make a drive controlled through the PCI slot the boot drive. Oh well, this is why I love to play and make mistakes, to learn these things. And this is one reason, really the main reason, I started this blog - to create my own manual of sorts... A record of the mistakes and the solutions that I was (usually) able to come up with.
I have found the web to be somewhat filled with others making the same sort of documentation and have frequently found such blogs/ sites/ forum entries to be very helpful and usually fairly specific to the problem I am having, as compared to a manual or faq, and so this is my contribution as well.

So, I reformatted my 300G WD HDD using puppy 2.14 booted from the cd drive, and then gparted. I love puppy!! But that is for another blog or seven...
My partition table ended up looking like this:
Primary: 30G NTFS OS and all installed programs; I like to keep these separate and make frequent backups so if anything goes wrong I can quickly re-install. My previous partition was about 14G total size with lots of crap I didn't need or use

Extended: 25G total
19G free space for installation of a dual boot, probably ubuntu, when I decide to. I did this once before and it was fine, but I prefer to just use virtual machines rather than going through the 'trouble' of dual booting. Oh, I'll write a lot about virtual machines in future blogs...
3G ext 2 for 'frugal install' of puppy - eventually
1G linux swap
2G fat 32 for file sharing between puppy and windows

Primary: 95G NTFS VMWare Workstation Machines and downloaded installation (exe) files

Primary: 150G NTFS Documents, file storage, etc. I tried to make this an extended as well to break up my documents and storage, but it would not let me so I am assuming you are only allowed one extended partition. I think I remember some way to make a partition as storage only - so that nothing (like a virus that I might download with a torrent ;) ) can be executed from it. I can't remember and any advice would be appreciated!

Okay, that's enough for now - next time the installation process (which promises to be just as boring)