Hardware Junkie’s Incremental Fix

May 28, 2008

This is totally irrelevant (yeah, I know, not different from the rest of the blog), but I blew few hundred bucks on few new toys for my home:

a) Even more Power Over Ethernet (PoE). I now have a dedicated home network for non-multimedia data.

b) A nice 24″ 16×9 monitor for … I don’t know for what, but I bought it and it looks great even when it’s powered off.

c) A “home” (read: el cheapo) GbE switch for the five data-intensive computers. Wow, I didn’t realize I’d use up all the ports the first day… If the thing had four ports (or if I had six computers), I’d go nuts.

What’s my point? Well, this was one of best investments in my hardware junkie carrier.

Benefits (so far):

  1. Can watch TV and movies over existing Power-over-Ethernet and at the same time copy ISOs or run backup over the new PoE network.
  2. My notebook backup that used to take like 6-7 hours over WLAN (during that time I couldn’t do much with it) now takes 2 hours. I do connect the notebook to GbE LAN now (for some reason the notebook connects to GbE switch at 100Mbps – maybe it’s the cable – but at least the backup server runs at 1000Mbps).
  3. The monitor is awesome. This was the most expensive of the three and I have to say I bought it “just like that” (snapping my fingers) – didn’t do any research, just pointed at the nicest & largest of the monitors in the shop… Ah well. Anyway, the benefit is that I can open like nine shell windows at the same time (of course, I mean without overlapping, cascading, etc.) . And when I start Excel and leave Excel Zoom at 100% I can still see up to column W and row 57.

Windows Live Messenger: Do They Analyze Crash Reports?

May 19, 2008

For close to a year (well, at least six months) I noticed that my Live Messenger crashes easily when network connectivity gets flaky (especially on wireless networks).

I’ve been diligently submitting crash reports, but it’s bene close to a year, so I can’t help but wonder:

a) Does anyone look at those reports?

b) As I’m (probably) not the only person encountering this bug (and to me it happens weekly), why is it taking them so long to fix it?

Windows XP x64 as Hyper-V Guest

May 4, 2008

After another late night of fruitless trying, I have to ask: has anyone managed to get Winows XP x64 to work (including network) as guest OS in Hyper-V?

Last night I tried for 3rd time (less than 3 hours before that I deleted the OS VHD from my HDD :-)), this time using a “Legacy Network Adapter”. The result was consistent with previous attempts (failure). The x64 display drivers seems to work, but others (most importantly, the NIC driver) don’t and after installation Device Manager shows a yellow exclamation mark. Maybe I should just trust the docs – not supported and can’t work.

Out of despair I previously tried the same guest OS on VirtualBox and VMware Workstation 6.x – neither support x64 guests. And this was on Windows Server 2008 SE x64 on which Hyper-V RC0 does support x64 operating systems. I ran that VMware test proggie to make sure and indeed my fairly new Intel Core Duo processor obviously won’t do. Luckily I’ve no this problem with Hyper-V.

Update (2008/09/28): In the meantime Hyper-V RTM (with Windows XP x64 SP2 support) shipped, but for some reason my OS didn’t get the update (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/95005) so I just wasted a day on  troubleshooting  this stuff…  Wonderful.

Expected to Crash Often

May 3, 2008

Today I came across this page with some tips for NFS clusters (emphasis mine):

“The server side of NFS allows no real configuration for performance or reliability. Default asynchronous writes are not very risky unless you expect your disk servers to crash often.

Maybe the fact that the page is about redundant NFS clusters tells us that do expect the servers to crash often enough 😉

Getting Windows 2003 Service Pack into a Hyper-V Guest VHD

May 3, 2008

You install Windows 2003 Hyper-V guest and you can’t install add-ons required to get access to the network because it’s a pre-SP1 Windows OS. You can’t copy/download the SP to the VM because it’s got no network adapters.

Solution 1: the VHD mount script posted here. Shut the VM down, mount the VHD and copy the SP (and whatever you want) to that disk. I used the PowerShell version because it’s shorter and – of course – again got stuck with the unsigned PowerShell script problem. This time, though, I reused the “worst practice” workaround that I wrote about here. Done! To unmount, Save As… and add “un” before “mount” in the last line.

Solution 2: In your Hyper-V manager right-click on your (host) server and select Edit Disk.

So far I’ve been happy with Hyper-V although I’ve unnecessarily wasted too much time trying to get Windows XP x64 going (not supported).