How to Lose ~40 GB in Minutes!

February 25, 2008

Do you want to lose ~40 GB off your hard drive? Here’s how I did it.

You’ll Need:

1 Microsoft Vista Home Premium (a flavor of Windows that is particularly lousy)
1 Ubuntu 7.10 (a flavor of Linux)
1 Hard disk (in my case, 250 GB SATA hard disk – you’d think losing a mere 40 GB wouldn’t hurt, but you’d be wrong!)

Procedure – In Five Easy Steps:

  1. Load Windows Vista
  2. Enable System Restore (don’t ask me how – there was an option somewhere and apparently I checked the checkbox)
  3. Partition the drive and load Ubuntu into the ~150 GB partition, leaving Windows with ~75 GB (apparently, with a 250 GB hard disk, you actually get only ~225 GB memory; who knows why?)
  4. Now, you’ll find after a few months that your Windows partition has run out of space. This is – as you discover after a great deal of research – because your data is taking up only about 20 GB; sundry program files and data are taking about 10 GB; the recycle bin has about 5GB; and something called System Volume Information is eating up about 35 GB!
  5. Since you habitually use Ubuntu to access Windows files, you can easily navigate to the $Recycle Bin and the System Volume Information folder and check that there’s nothing that looks remotely relevant in there. So, you simply delete the contents of these folders (or delete the folders themselves), thus freeing up 40 GB on your disk, right?

Wrong! If you do this, Windows, being kinda stupid, doesn’t realize that you have actually deleted 40 GB, and will not free up that space. Even if you made a copy of that data before deleting it, and then you copied it back afterwards, trying to fool Windows into thinking it was never deleted at all, it won’t work. Windows will not copy it back onto the freed up memory, but will gobble up another 40 GB for that data (a 40 GB which I did not actually have to spare in that Windows partition). In fact, there is just no way (that Amit has been able to discover after some research on the Net) to get Windows to realize that 40 GB of data has been deleted and that it should therefore politely let go of that memory, thank you very much.

In short, don’t try this at home.

And if you happen to know of a solution to this one, please, please tell me, pretty please, I need my 40 GB baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack…

Vista Sucks… Ubuntu Rocks!

January 10, 2008
Having got myself the latest-greatest Intel processor with coke and fries on the side, I found that Microsoft XP could practically not be loaded and that’s why I got stuck with Vista Home Premium. I don’t know whether Microsoft has it in for me personally, or whether they just enjoy making loyal customers suffer, but Vista was never kind to me. First, due to some peculiarity of the hardware/software combination, it took my geeky husband and one friend more than a week of after-office hours to get it up and running. Once they finally managed to get it to work, it took me only a very short time to find out just how defective it was.From day to day, I was constantly faced with new problems. One day, the front USB hubs stopped working; the next day, it was the back USB hubs. Not, mind you, that the front ones ever resumed work once the back ones went on strike. The microphone never worked, and pen drives plugged into whatever USB hub happened to be working at the time promptly claimed to be corrupted, despite working sweetly on other (older and less sophisticated) computers. My digital camera, which comes along with original software on a CD, worked at random, sometimes asking for a driver, sometimes happy to drive itself. The network connection mostly never worked, except sometimes, when the display claimed that it wasn’t working, when it was. Connecting to another computer didn’t throw up any error – it just took about 45 minutes to copy 6 Kb of data (on an 11 Mbps WLAN!)

I finally got so frustrated that I mentioned to Amit that even Linux would be better than this.

Now, to fully appreciate the depths of my frustration, you have to know that Amit is a hardcore Linux loyalist who has spent about 80% of his waking hours trying to persuade me to switch to Linux. I have stoutly remained a Windows loyalist – in the face of much adversity, I must say – claiming that typing gibberish into a black screen and getting gibberish in reply was not my idea of fun. Give me GUI, I said, and turned resolutely back to Windows.

Now, here I was, in complete and utter despair, pleading for Linux!

Hardly had I uttered the magical words, than Amit was on the Net downloading a fantastic amount of data that took about 48 hours to complete. Once done, I had a brand new Linux-based OS – Ubuntu!

When Amit starts messing with my computer, I usually get out of the way real fast. This time, I didn’t really have to. Before I knew what was going on, my OS was up and running – off a CD. I could access all my Windows files, the network connection worked the way it should, the USB hubs worked, even my camera was detected and connected without a hiccup. I had Open Office for documents, GIMP for photo editing, FireFox for surfing the Net, and some other stuff that I don’t need. What’s more – everything worked! The only things that didn’t work were the microphone, and certain Windows-specific applications like Nokia PC Suite.

I have to admit that running an OS off of a CD while accessing files stored on the computers hard disk was a new concept for me. I have never really been able to mentally separate the data from the OS and imagine accessing one without using the other. Apparently, the computer has no such problem – apart from being a bit slow due to the OS being on a CD, there was no apparent difference at all.

Instead of spending days and weeks installing stuff, Amit spent not even a few hours and my computer was a good as new. Better than new, in fact, considering what a pain it was when it was new and loaded with Windows.

I’ve been a staunch Ubuntu convert for a couple of weeks and I have to say that the OS has not troubled me at all. It has a decent Windows-like GUI and is far, far more usable than ruddy Vista. I’ve taken it off the CD and got it running off an external hard drive now, so the speed is pretty good too. It seems that I’m not using SATA on my hard drive any more, but if this set-up works, I really don’t care. I still have Windows on the hard drive and I have the option to boot from Windows any time I want to, but I really really don’t want to.

Ok now, if you’re thinking this reads like an advertorial for Ubuntu or that I’ve been paid to write this (hey, there’s a whole industry that revolves around that concept) – I haven’t. It’s just an honest, genuine user experience – and a good one, for a change.

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