Officially Windows-free

Yep, you heard me, Windows-free. And what, you may ask, could the possible cause for this radical state of being?

I turned on my Toshiba laptop over the weekend (actually just to shut it off, as I saw it was sitting in sleep mode), and was immediately presented with a spybot message to the effect of ‘something trying to change my registry settings, did I want to proceed?’ Of course not. After sending the pop-up on its way, I was presented with another. And another. And another. I checked the little ‘remember my response’ checkbox, and sat, open-mouthed, as the thing spat out pop-up after pop-up: ‘registry change denied’. I watched it for a few minutes before dragging my eyes away.

Well, that wasn’t the end of the world (though I’d be damned if I was going to connect it to the internet). It’d been years since I’d reformatted the beast, and to be honest, I’d been thinking about doing it for a while. I’ll just get my recovery discs and…

I couldn’t find them. Anywhere. They weren’t in any of my boxes of software. They weren’t floating around in the basement in another box. I found the recovery discs for the M30 that was stolen, but for the life of me, the M40 recovery discs had vanished.

Ah, well, s’ok. I’ll just, for the time being, install Windows 2000. I HAVE those discs. May as well use them, right? Oh. Not backwards compatible. I guess that makes sense. I’ll just reboot to DOS and…

Ah.

I’ll just google (on the mac) and see what other people do when they need to re-format their drive from WinXP…

Ah.

In the meantime, the pop-up ‘registry change denied’ boxes are flashing away on the screen…

I wound up downloading all 700 MB of Ubuntu on the mac, burning it to disc, and then updating the BIOS boot order to hit the DVD first.

Ubuntu installed like a dream, behaved itself, and looks awesome. I’ll probably have to dual boot when it comes time to try and get Spore to run on my machine, but for the time being I’m malware free. Yippee!

Lest you think that was the end of my computering woes, think again! I’ve also been having problems with my TimeMachine backup that I set up on an external HD. For the last week or so, whenever I plug it into the mac, it chugs and whirs, and the little TimeMachine logo spins around, displaying ‘preparing to backup’. Then nothing. It sits there, going round and round, for hours. Nothing happens, the status never changed from ‘preparing to backup’.

OK, I’ll just open the disk utility and suss things out from there. No luck. It takes an hour for the thing to actually detect the external drive (little spinny progress icon working away), and then errors when I try to either validate the disk or erase it altogether. Plugging it into Steve’s laptop doesn’t work, as Windows doesn’t even detect the drive.

Bada-bing, Ubuntu to the rescue! Even though I’ve never used Linux before in my life, after spending a few minutes on the Ubuntu forums, I’ve equipped myself with a few basic terminal commands, and hey presto, a Fat32 partitioned disk ready for action.

Plugged that into the mac, which prompted me to re-format it (finally!). And TimeMachine has never worked so well.

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