I've had lots of fun the last couple of nights!
The hard drive in Sarah's computer was making noises like it was about to die1, so I had to go out and buy a new hard drive to replace it. I managed to get all the important stuff off the dying drive before it carked itself (despite a moment of panic where it froze and then wouldn't even detect the drive on a reboot - before I'd even managed to copy the most important stuff off, i.e. Sarah's uni files). Have I mentioned that I hate computers?
So I've spent the last couple of nights setting up the drive and re-installing everything. Lucky me. There's soooo much to do to get it all running (Office XP is up to 3 service packs now!), so it's taken ages.
"Where's the irony you so tantalisingly referred to in the title of this post?" I hear you all asking.
Well, I tend to partition hard drives into 4 partitions - one for windows (NTFS2), one for Linux (usually ext33), one for Linux Swap, and one for all the miscellaneous data (which I format as FAT32, because that's the most portable filesystem between Linux and Windows). FAT32 is a Microsoft-developed filesystem - it's what windows 9x used to use, and windows 200 & XP can still use it now.
So I figured, it being a Microsoft thing, it's a reasonable assumption that you'd be able to format a partition as FAT32 from windows. But try as I might, the only option I could find for formatting the partition in windows was NTFS - which I definitely didn't want. In the end, the only way I could find to format the drive as FAT32 was to use Linux4!
How ironic - a Microsoft OS won't format a partition with a Microsoft filesystem, but the main competitor that they've been fighting against will, with zero effort. Nice.
- Also, the SMART parameters for the drive (as reported by smartctl) all had values with labels like "Pre-Fail" and "Old_Age". Good sign.
- NTFS is a windows filesystem. It's most user-visible benefit is that it recovers gracefully from unexpected shutdowns; i.e. no more scandisk runs at bootup, like good old win98.
- ext3 is a Linux file system used by many distros like Fedora Core. It's good.
- Knoppix - so handy. Saved me from several nasty computer moments.