Posts Tagged ‘windows


Mounting External HDDs at Startup on OpenSuse

OpenSUSE 11.2

Image via Wikipedia

Although Linux Mint will be my favorite flavor of Linux, I am trying hard to give OpenSuse a chance. Last month, I was telling you about a couple of small annoying things I came across on OpenSuse and how to “correct” them. Since then, I switched back to Mint and back to OpenSuse (since yesterday) and I’m hoping to stick to one particular OS for a while, because frankly, it’s becoming some kind of habit…

Anyway, back to our topic. Now I know what most of you are thinking: “Why the hell do we need instructions on how to mount an external HDD? Since the Dark Ages, you have your standard plug n play on Linux mister! Pop it in and all your files are there!” Well, yes, but as it usually happens, mine was a slightly different case than usual. Yeah I know, I got to do something about it.

I have three external hard disks, which host most of my entertainment. These are permanently hooked on my PC and I want them shared via Samba, so I can access them through a Windows 7 box that acts as my current Media Center. For an explanation on why I am using Windows and not XBMC with Linux, have a look at this post. As you probably guessed, the disks are formatted in NTFS and this is what complicates matters.

In case my disks were formatted in a Linux format, such as ext4, things would be simple enough: I would choose to automount them in KDE (I think Gnome has a similar option) and every time I turned my PC on, they would be mounted in /media folder under folders matching their label. Then, I could set up file sharing as usual and everybody would be happy.

NTFS, does not support the same permissions as extended file system. This means that upon mount, Linux applies “fake” file permissions which you cannot change! If you were using ext4 for example, you could easily chmod the files to suit your needs, but in this case, although chmod will report nothing strange, no actual changes were made. Even so, for most of you this will not be a problem, since you will be the only one using this disk and by default you are the owner, so you can do pretty much everything. In my case, I wanted to be able to allow read/write access not only to myself, but to all members of my group too. So here’s what I did:

Since automount through KDE was not good for me, I had to do it the old fashioned way, by adding entries in fstab. First I created a folder for each of my drives under root and gave them the appropriate permissions:

sudo mkdir /Videos
sudo chown -R rosenred /Videos
sudo chgrp -Rv users /Videos

Now, we need to add the mount commands in fstab. The safest way to go, is with each disk’s uuid, a unique identifier that will remain stable even if drive letters change. So we need to find our what is the uuid of our disk:

sudo /sbin/blkid

In case you followed my advice (or are using a different distro) you don’t need to add the /sbin to the command. Write down the uuid of your disk and then edit /etc/fstab using your favorite editor and add the following line:

/dev/disk/by-uuid/7A7ACDEA7ACDA2ED /Videos       ntfs-3g users,locale=en_US.utf8,uid=rosenred,gid=users 0 0

If you wish to add more than one disks, add more lines to fstab accordingly. Reboot and hopefully everything will work just fine.

I don’t plan on writing a separate post about how to configure Samba, there are a ton of tutorials on the subject, however I have one tip that might save you a lot of money from a broken screen/desk/wall:

If you set everything up and for some reason Windows refuses to see the shared directories, go to YAST and disable AppArmor. I know, makes little sense, but apparently it’s a bug in OpenSuse 11.4 as I found out here.


Migrating to Linux pt.1: The basics

Tux, as originally drawn by Larry Ewing

Image via Wikipedia

I have been using Linux for many years. I have tried many flavours, many distributions and I have written some of my experiences down, in this very blog. I am especially proud about managing to run my Intel Classmate on Linux, I have installed Mint on my eeePC and Peppermint on a VIA Epia ML, mini itx motherboard. However, my main PC would always run on Windows. Most of my work and pleasure (i.e. games and porn) would be under Windows and I have been somewhat sceptical about switching. Many years ago, I had tried the dual boot approach, but as it usually happens, one gets to constantly boot on Windows and soon the Linux installation becomes nothing more than wasted space on the HD.

Since my PC needed either some serious clean up and maintenance or a format for some time now, the thought of moving on to Linux was on my mind, but I guess I needed something to push me the right way. That something was a new machine that found it’s way to my house. Nothing out of the ordinary, an Intel E7400 sitting on a Foxconn motherboard. Still, it was a bit better than what I’ve been using, an Athlon XP 3800+, so I immediately decided I would be using the newcomer. Without much thought, I did a quick installation of Windows 7 and then I downloaded and installed Linux Mint 11. I know what you are thinking, I do have two OS’s on my PC, but this time, Linux boots first.

Reasons I still need Windows: I like games. I would not call my self a hardcore gamer, I get dizzy while playing an FPS, but I do like to play. I really like RPGs and one of my all time favourites was Baldur’s Gate. So, not being able to enjoy a good game was not an option. I have also purchased games from Steam and while I have read some articles about using Steam with Wine on Linux, I chose to keep it on Windows. I also do some video editing from time to time. Not professionally but still. I have heard about Linux solutions, such as Cinefx and I do intent to try that, but just to be safe I want to have something I know how to work with.

Despite the fact that I have installed Linux many many times, many different distributions on a number of machines, I still don’t call myself an advanced user. There are many things I have not encountered, things that to some of you might seem like a piece of cake, but none the less I decided to document my progress on using Linux for every day work here, hoping that I might be able to offer some help to those who face similar problems. Leaving all this mumbling aside, let’s see what was the first problem I had to solve:

The Printer. When you are a Windows user, things are quite simple. After finishing the OS installation, you are to install all drivers for the devices you have. Graphic cards, printers, scanners, in most cases, you just have to pop in the CD that came with the device and you are good to go. I had no idea how things were with Linux, since I never had to use a printer while on Linux. So when I turned my HP Laserjet 1020 on and a pop up message informed me that it was successfully installed and configured, I was more than happy.

That is until I tried to print something and although everything seemed normal, nothing would come out of the printer. No noise, no lights flashing, nothing. I imagined that the printer was not properly installed, so I started searching on line for help. I read a lot of things, mostly on how to go to HP’s website and download Linux drivers, but the problem was solved quite easily. I just opened a terminal window and typed:

sudo apt-get install hp-plugin

That downloaded and installed the print head firmware and my PC was able to communicate properly with the printer. So, in case you are facing something similar with an HP printer, give this a shot. Next time I will tell you how I set up my 5.1 surround sound.


Very Slow Windows 7 Installation

Image via Cheeseburger network

A friend of mine wanted to set up a new PC. She chose some parts, she decided what to keep from her old rig and we got to assembling her machine. Everything went as expected, so we came to the part where we would install Windows 7.

To our terror, the installation process was slower than a senile turtle with chopped off legs (she was a bit more frightened than me because she had paid for all that stuff).

Google is our friend though and blah blah, I did a quick search and I found this extremely useful post.

So basically, what you need to do if you are experiencing the same situation (don’t worry, you will know), just go to the BIOS screen, and disable the floppy drive.  Note that in our case there was no floppy drive present and probably that’s what causing the problem.

I have absolutely no idea how Microsoft let this one get away. I mean what did they do when testing Windows? They disabled the floppy to begin with?

But anyway, if you find your installation to be painfully slow, give this a try. If it doesn’t fix things, well, how can I put it subtly? You’re screwed…


Windows 7 on eeePC 900

Yes I did! I installed Windows 7 on the eeePC. Yeah I know, I am not the first person doing it, I just thought it would be nice to try, so I found this excellent post and followed the instructions to the letter (well, not exactly but who does anyway?). The reason? Well, why not? No seriously, I was dying to find out how well (or not) it would perform.

I used an external DVD drive, so I cannot verify whether you can port Win7 on a thumbdrive or not, but I have no reason to doubt that. Be careful to install the vga drivers (click on the above link for more info) with compatibility for windows XP. I chose Windows XP Service Pack 2 from the available options and it worked fine.

So, how was it, I hear you ask. Suffice to say that I returned to eeeBuntu. Although Win 7 are supposed to offer support for SSD hard disks, my experience was slow and painful. I am not sure, since I kept 7 for about half an hour before I re-installed eeeBuntu, but I think that the user experience was worse than XP (and that makes sense). I tried to bring all graphics down, disable indexing, play around with some settings, but that didn’t change much.

It seems that vLite can be used on Windows 7 but I did not feel brave enough to try. So if anyone reading this, manages to do better than me, give me a hint in the comments ok?


Win7 Bug: Wallpaper better than solid color desktop!

In the old days, when every byte of RAM counted, I would always strip down every machine I built, removing all kinds of eye candy (well back then, it was eye candy) and leaving my self with only the bare minimum. I’ve never used active desktop, never had custom pointers or system sounds (I had tried WindowBlinds once but that was a tragedy) and most of the time I did not have a wallpaper. Yes, not even that. My PC would look something like the image below:

Windows 98 typical desktop

Not much fun right? Well, yes but as I said, every bit of RAM counted. All this did not change much later, with Windows XP. I would still use “Windows Classic” theme only (I still do whenever I set up a WinXP box), but I confess I did have a wallpaper 😛 Now, that I have Windows 7, I honestly did not bother with any of this. I did not even turn off Aero. See, when I noticed that it would run faster than XP without tweaking anything, I decided to keep all these little nice touches. So, I am not one of those that found out about a bug, that I personally consider to be more than ironic.

If you happen to chose a solid color for your desktop, you might find yourselves waiting for 30 or so seconds before you can log in and start working…

According to Microsoft, it has something to do with Window Manager Session Manager service, so if you do have a solid color background and do not experience the 30 second delay, this service is stopped or disabled. You can download a hotfix for this problem, or as people from LifeHacker propose, create an image with the color you want and set it as wallpaper.


Bump Top Desktop – Bumped

minority-reportWe would all like to use an interface like the one in minority report wouldn’t we? Waving our hands around and opening files, browsing through pictures and doing all sorts of “Tom Cruise stuff”. Maube, just maybe that time isn’t that far…

Some time ago, I came across a youtube video, showing the features of a desktop alternative, called Bump Top Desktop.

Nice isn’t it? Yeah, I know… Most of you will think it’s probably eye-candy and nothing more, but I beg to differ. I downloaded the free version, installed it on two PCs (home and work) and worked with it for several days. What the developers tried to achieve, was a more natural way of working with your computer desktop, just like you are used to working with a real desk. Having piles of papers, sorting out your more important documents on a different pile, sticking post-its all over the place or having picture frames with nice photos to make your work more tolerable.

At first I was excited about this new toy. So excited, I was ready to order the professional version, so I could have all the additional features. I must say this is a very very good program. Carefully designed, with only a few bugs, I expect to be corrected soon and very user-friendly. Today, I decided to uninstall it though. It was not the bugs.

I just felt this was not for me. I mean, its for people who actually work on their desktops. I keep all my files elsewhere, organized (kind of) in folders, and I try to keep my desktop free from large files – we all know that having large files on your primary partition slows down your pc, right?

I recommend a download though. Try it out. See if it makes your work easier and if so, buy it. ^^


Terra Copy

I break my silence to tell you all about a nice little program I’ve been using lately. I used to work with a single PC but now I constanly use two machines and I need to move files back and forth. Now don’t get me wrong but despite all the wrong things about Windows, I would rarely use something else to do standard things. See, I want to keep my machines with as few extra stuff as possible. Over the years, I had read about different file handling proggies, including those who would replace windows copy.

Up to now, I hadn’t have any reason not to use what my OS provided, but since network traffic is involved, I started to look for an alternative. And I found one. It’s called TerraCopy and it guarantees to make your transfers faster and more comfortable.

But, I am sure, you don’t want me to reproduce what’s already on their website right? You want to hear my testimony. The best feature for me, is that when you want to copy a number of files and one of them is corrupt, TerraCopy will continue with the rest of them, without breaking the whole transfer. If you’ve ever tried to copy files from a CD only to get frustrated because one of those files could not be copied, then you know you will love TerraCopy. Speed is also something I took into consideration although I have no presise numbers to share with you. What I can tell you though, is that when I used windows copy to move a large number of files, the process would become slower and slower and the only thing I could do , was to break the transfer in batches. Now I don’t have to do this, TerraCopy is very reliable.

It is free for personal use and although the pro version did not offer that many more features, I would consider a pro licence for company use.


July 2018
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Yeah, I got one o’ those…

  • Θέλω να πιστεύω ότι υπάρχει κάποιος λόγος που το Paypal δεν μου εγκρίνει την πληρωμή στο Steam με Visa debit της @Alpha_Bank. 1 year ago
  • RT @JohnPliotas: Θα γίνει πόλεμος με #Τουρκια αύριο και τα ελληνικά sites θα ανεβάζουν άρθρα "δείτε τα 20 καλύτερα tweets για την κήρυξη το… 2 years ago
  • @ZERSOFIA σωστά πρέπει το κοινό να έχει επιλογές 2 years ago
  • Εν τω μεταξύ στην ΕΤ2 δεν έχουν πάρει χαμπάρι . 2 years ago
  • @koukos Προς το παρόν OneNote γιατί ήταν εύκολο να μεταφέρω όλα μου τα notes εκεί. Θα δω όμως. 2 years ago