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Another morning Ativan thanks to Microsoft.

Sorry to bore all of you to death with my petty problems, but I just discovered since updating to Windows 8.1 the sound on my computer no longer works. You know, I feel like I’ve gone backwards rather than forwards in terms of technology. I feel like I just want to abandon whole thing and hand out mimeographed ‘zines instead of a blog. It’s really damned frustrating. I’ve never had this many problems with technology before Microsoft came out with Windows 8. I had to uninstall Windows 8 and replace it with Windows 7 on my desktop.

I only “updated” to Windows 8.1 because the prompts from Microsoft kept bugging me. I really feel like my arm was twisted to do something I didn’t want to do and Microsoft has essentially wrecked my computer. I feel like they should fucking fix it or replace it, but tech companies don’t take responsibility for shit.

Seriously toying with putting some flavor of Linux on here, though that’s kind of a pain in the ass when traveling. Better a crippled computer than none at all.

BTW, does Windows 8.1 lag weirdly or am imagining things? If that’s the case, then they really went and fucked everything to hell. I didn’t like the interface, but everything else seemed to run fine, at least on the laptop. Not so on the desktop. I’m going to tag this stupid, whiny post with “Linux” in case some nice person can come here and give me the benefit of his or her experience.

I’m trying to get my brain working in French, so I’d really like to listen to the news and not just read it.

Anyway, I want to put this up, not simply because it’s self-indulgent, but so I can warn people away from Window 8.*.

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A closeup of a motherboard.Today, I partitioned my boot drive and installed Linux.

While a was poking around on the internet trying to figure out how to do this, I found a number of forums posts in which someone asked how to do what I did today in simple step by step directions. That would have been convenient for me too. Instead, for just about every step, I had to look up how to do the previous step. Sometimes the steps seemed unclear or, when I was trying to do it, I’d come to a point where I’d say to myself, “Which choice do I make?” I’m going to try to write it down while those questions, and the answers, are still clear in my mind. This is the first time I’ve set up a dual-boot system, so if anyone has information to add, feel free to leave a comment.

The system I set up has a solid state drive (SSD) to use as a boot drive and a hard disk drive (HDD) to store user files. This added some additional steps to the setup, but this kind of system has become rather common at that moment. Although they are quickly becoming obsolete, I also put in an optical drive (CD/DVD burner).

The overall outline of the steps is as follows:

  • Install Windows to the SSD
  • Move the default location of the user files and the library files to the HDD
  • Partition the Drives
  • Burn an image of Slackware
  • Install Slackware
  • Move the default location of the user files in Slackware

When you purchase a new, individual license of Windows, you should receive a DVD. Turn on your computer. While the computer is booting, hit the delete button repeatedly until the bios (basic input/output system) or uefi (universal extensible firmware interface) setup utility appears. This is pre-installed on the motherboard and each one will be a little bit different. Mine has a menu option labeled boot. In that screen, you can change the order of the boot drives. For first boot option, select your optical drive. For second boot option, select your SSD. Do not exit from the uefi(or bios) setup utility yet. Open the optical drive and insert your Windows disk. Close the drive. Save the changes and exit. For my motherboard, that meant going to the Exit screen and choosing “Save Changes and Exit.”

The computer immediately tries to boot from the optical drive.

If the Windows logo appears, all is going well so far.

The first screen asks for your preferred language, time, currency units and the keyboard layout you will be using. These choices should be self-evident. (If anything I say is self-evident is not, ask in the comments.)

After accepting the license terms, you are presented with choice between an Upgrade and a Custom installation. Since this is a new installation, Custom is the only possible option.

After that, you are asked where to install Windows. You want to choose your SSD. In my case, the SSD appeared first, but you can usually identify the drives by the size since they’re unlikely to be the same size (for reference: byte < kilobyte < megabyte < gigabyte < terabyte). Unfortunately, Windows doesn’t give us a choice at this point about where to put the user files and the default is the same drive as the OS and the program files. We’ll change this later.

The next stage of the installation continues without user input. Your computer will shutdown and automatically restart.

In the next several screens you will enter the product key, set the date and time, and set up your network. Windows will automatically detect internet connections. If it is your own, click “Home.” If it is not, click “Public.” If you choose “Home,” write down your password when you are presented with it.

Windows will start up. You will be prompted to create a user name and a password.

Next, we’re going to format the HDD, so it’s usable. Since this is done in the same utility program as partitioning, we will create a new partition on the SSD for the Linux installation while we’re at it.

Go to the Control Panel. In the Icon View, choose Administrative Tools. In Administrative Tools, choose Computer Management. The Computer Management window will open. In the left hand panel, under the category “Storage,” click once on “Disk Management.” You might need to resize the window to view the information comfortably.

The central portion of the window is itself divided into upper and lower portions. The upper portion lists the drives, or volumes, seen by the operating system. The lower portion shows this graphically and also allows you to see the physical drives on which they are located. Disk 0 should be divided into two portions, one small and without a drive name, the other one significantly larger and labeled “C:”. This is your SSD Below that will appear your HDD, which will also be unlabeled. It will say “unallocated” within the box. Right click on it and, from the context menu, choose New Simple Volume. In a new window, The New Simple Volume Wizard will appear.

Under Specify Volume Size, the default number will be the entire amount available. Click next. Under Assign the Dive a Letter, I chose “D.” You can choose any letter not already in use. Under Format Partition, choose “Format this volume with the following settings: File system: NTFS, Allocation unit size: Default, Volume label: New Volume.” Check “Perform a quick format.” Click Next, then Finish. Do not yet leave Disk Management, because now we have to partition the SSD. That’s slightly different.

First, we need to shrink the volume that contains the Windows operating system to make room for the partition which will contain Linux on our boot drive. Right click on the box labeled “C:” and, from the context menu, choose Shrink Volume. The Shrink dialog box appears. Divide it roughly in half, I gave a little more space to Window since I will have more programs loaded that run on it. You may decide differently. The dialog box asks for the size in megbytes; remember one gigabyte is 1024 megabytes. Enter the number and click shrink.

Close the Computer Management utility.

I’m going to have to pause here because I’m getting sleepy. I will continue tomorrow.

Assembling a computer was no more or less difficult than I expected. It was time consuming and perhaps took about two hours more than I anticipated. What I thought would be boring and routine, loading the operating systems, turned out to be a long, convoluted mess. Windows 8 installed without incident. Then, it froze. It felt like the movie Groundhog’s Day as I rebooted the computer yet again and it froze within the few minutes. I loaded Ubuntu, which worked well. Then I tried to load Windows 8 again. Just to see if Ubuntu had some magic powers I don’t understand, I tried Slackware. Slackware worked as well. I was about five minutes’ patience away from no longer being a Windows user. Then I went online to see if I could find Linux replacements for the programs I use most frequently. Um, not really, at least not for all of them. The thought of creating a Hackintosh even went through my mind. However, I’d chosen the hardware anticipating a Windows 8/Linux dual boot system, and I doubted that I’d have suitable hardware for that. So finally, I broke down and, believe it or not, I purchased Windows 7.

So now I’m working on my nice comfortable desktop with a nice big screen with my fantasy computer all assembled by yours truly. Windows 7 appears to be running smoothly and I’ve made little adjustments, like moving the user files to a hard disk drive. That should be easier to do than it is. I haven’t yet partitioned the solid state drive or loaded Linux onto it. I just need to give myself a little break for a few hours. After all, it’s almost 5:00 am on Sunday morning and I’m only just now putting up my Saturday post.

Sweet Bedstraw. The leaves are opening in the form of a spiral around the cluster of small buds.