Best design for a recovery partition EVER.



  • So I'm catching up on the threads after few months of absence, and the 4-pager about .NET GC with derail into registry corruption and the "binary config blobs required for system startup are baaahd", reminded me of a WTF I've encountered a few years ago.

    Apologies if I've mentioned it before somewhere, the forum fulltext search seems to contain only fulltext info since last tag purge.

    See, my friend bought a netbook in the UK, of some weird offbrand, and brought it to me when, one day, it failed to boot. After a quick check, I've found that "something" (I'd expect himself when drunk) killed the BCD folder on the C:\ drive, so the Vista bootloader choked and died.

    Then came the "Wait... this is a XP machine, with a XP sticker... why Vista bootloader?!" question.

    After some research, I've got the pieces together. The UK "TechGuys", who was apparently responsible for preparing a system image for these for the importer, conjured the following setup:
    - Visible XP partition for system and user data altogether.
    - Hidden recovery partition containing a "Vista era" WinPE image containing TechGuys' custom rescue / recovery / create backup media applications.
    - That WinPE required Vista bootloader. What's the best place to put its files on (Bootmgr & BCD)? Why, of course, on the user-accessible XP partition!
    Thus, if the C:\ partition is damaged / formatted / etc, there's no way to boot into the recovery, despite it being intact!

    It was a while ago, I had near zero experience with Vista/7 back then, so I ended up asking on a UK netbook forum for someone with this model to zip up his BCD and post it. Fortunately, someone did and it worked.
    With NT/2k/XP, not only I could recreate boot.ini manually, ntldr also defaulted to trying \Windows on the first partition when there was no boot.ini available.

    Bonus crap: their "create recovery USB stick" application inside the WinPE had a cute bug in algorithm.
    1. Check if the USB disk's size is at least <minimum> by looking at the "max free space" of the partition on it.
    2. Reformat it into NTFS.
    3. Queue a copy of all the files onto the stick, loop while size_to_copy > size_copied, no matter what. Error checking is for the wimps.
    If you gave it a minimal size FAT16-formatted stick, there was a chance the extra few MB reserved by the NTFS structures would make the files not fit, and make the whole application hang waiting forever.
    Of course, the first one I tried caused exactly that problem.



  • @bannedfromcoding said:

    ...the forum fulltext search...
    ... is generally crappy on any forum. Are you really unaware that you can use [site:<forum url> <search terms>] on google. Which even beats the 3-letter restriction on full-text search on MySQL (which most forums will be using)?



  • @bannedfromcoding said:

    Thus, if the C:\ partition is damaged / formatted / etc, there's no way to boot into the recovery, despite it being intact!

    There is a solution for that. You create a bootable DVD with all the software you want to recover. And then you delete the recovery partition so you have more space to save bad CAM repacks of the new Spider-Man movie.



  • @PJH said:

    @bannedfromcoding said:
    ...the forum fulltext search...
    ... is generally crappy on any forum. Are you really unaware that you can use [site:<forum url> <search terms>] on google. Which even beats the 3-letter restriction on full-text search on MySQL (which most forums will be using)?

    This one is using MSSQL. And if you can find a way to tell Google to search only posts made by a particular user, you're Chuck Norris.

    @Speakerphone Dude said:

    There is a solution for that. You create a bootable DVD with all the software you want to recover. And then you delete the recovery partition so you have more space to save bad CAM repacks of the new Spider-Man movie.

    It wasn't my laptop, it was brough to me after it died. And bootable USB - more and more stuff, including the netbook in question, is lacking optical drivers.



  • @bannedfromcoding said:

    And if you can find a way to tell Google to search only posts made by a particular user, you're Chuck Norris.

    there you go



  • @bannedfromcoding said:

    @PJH said:
    @bannedfromcoding said:
    ...the forum fulltext search...
    ... is generally crappy on any forum. Are you really unaware that you can use [site:<forum url> <search terms>] on google. Which even beats the 3-letter restriction on full-text search on MySQL (which most forums will be using)?

    This one is using MSSQL. And if you can find a way to tell Google to search only posts made by a particular user, you're Chuck Norris.

    Fuck I just want a simple feature to list threads I've started, that doesn't seem to exist at all.



  • @Speakerphone Dude said:

    @bannedfromcoding said:
    And if you can find a way to tell Google to search only posts made by a particular user, you're Chuck Norris.

    there you go

    haha that is... hilarious? I guess? WTF.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Speakerphone Dude said:
    @bannedfromcoding said:
    And if you can find a way to tell Google to search only posts made by a particular user, you're Chuck Norris.

    there you go

    haha that is... hilarious? I guess? WTF.

    The requirement was to "tell Google to search only posts made by a particular user". If the results are not satisfactory, it's either bad implementation (Google) or poor requirements (bannedfromcoding). I'm the only one who can say mission accomplished.



  • You know, Chuck, that is sorta brilliant.

    Blakey, he just made Google search for the pages of the "Show posts of user" list that actually works... and might be the answer to your own question. (Click your name in the "Signed in as blakeyrat" at top of screen, then "Search for posts by blakeyrat" at bottom left.)

    Said that, this Google search will catch only the stuff from the exceprts visible on these search pages.

    And I again suffer from not proofreading the specifications. I meant "search only posts made by" in the "search only text inside posts made by" meaning, but it wasn't spelled out literally, so he could interpret it in the most dickweedish way possible.



  • @bannedfromcoding said:

    You know, Chuck, that is sorta brilliant.

    Blakey, he just made Google search for the pages of the "Show posts of user" list that actually works... and might be the answer to your own question. (Click your name in the "Signed in as blakeyrat" at top of screen, then "Search for posts by blakeyrat" at bottom left.)

    I don't see any pattern whatsoever in the results his search term returns.



  • Yours: <a href=http://forums.thedailywtf.com/search/SearchResults.aspx?u=13769&o=DateDescending>http://forums.thedailywtf.com/search/SearchResults.aspx?u=13769&o=DateDescending.

    The u= is user ID. The Google query tries to pick up various SearchResults.aspx for this userID that have been crawled.



  • @bannedfromcoding said:

    See, my friend bought a netbook in the UK, of some weird offbrand, and brought it to me when, one day, it failed to boot. After a quick check, I've found that "something" (I'd expect himself when drunk) killed the BCD folder on the C:\ drive, so the Vista bootloader choked and died.

    Then came the "Wait... this is a XP machine, with a XP sticker... why Vista bootloader?!" question.
     

    I have a Samsung NC10 netbook (so one of those weird Korean brands) and installed Ubuntu on it, in dual-boot. The grub list has the usual Ubuntu options plus "Windows XP Home" and "Microsoft Vista" so I guess using Vista for a recovery partition is quite common. I haven't tried it though so I don't know if there's other WTFs in accessing it. There are certainly many WTFs in your experience!

    As an aside, everything in Ubuntu worked out of the box. Even the built in 3G networking: just had to select my ISP from a drop down and hit next a few times and was online outside wifi range (which did work when in range). In fact the 3G works better than the Windows software, which has to wait for a minute or two to "read SIM data"; under Ubuntu I could connect immediately after booting.



  • @bannedfromcoding said:

    With NT/2k/XP, not only I could recreate boot.ini manually, ntldr also defaulted to trying \Windows on the first partition when there was no boot.ini available.
    That reminds me of what happens with Vista or Windows 7 if ntldr can't be found (moved, deleted, corrputed or whatever).  One day I turned my computer on and it wouldn't boot and displayed the following message:

         ntldr is missing.  Press Ctrl-Alt-Del to restart.

    So what happens if I press Ctrl-Alt-Del ?  The computer re-starts and once again fails to boot because . . . . .  ntldr is missing.  Gee, imagine that.   And it just displays the same message again.

         ntldr is missing.  Press Ctrl-Alt-Del to restart.

    WTF?  No matter how many times I press Press Ctrl-Alt-Del  and restart,  ntldr is still going to be missing.  It isn't going to magically re-appear.  Why would you display instructions that literally do nothing?



  • @El_Heffe said:

    @bannedfromcoding said:

    With NT/2k/XP, not only I could recreate boot.ini manually, ntldr also defaulted to trying \Windows on the first partition when there was no boot.ini available.
    That reminds me of what happens with Vista or Windows 7 if ntldr can't be found (moved, deleted, corrputed or whatever).  One day I turned my computer on and it wouldn't boot and displayed the following message:

         ntldr is missing.  Press Ctrl-Alt-Del to restart.

    So what happens if I press Ctrl-Alt-Del ?  The computer re-starts and once again fails to boot because . . . . .  ntldr is missing.  Gee, imagine that.   And it just displays the same message again.

         ntldr is missing.  Press Ctrl-Alt-Del to restart.

    WTF?  No matter how many times I press Press Ctrl-Alt-Del  and restart,  ntldr is still going to be missing.  It isn't going to magically re-appear.  Why would you display instructions that literally do nothing?

    One time I installed Windows 2008 R2 on a machine in which I had left a used hard drive in addition to a new RAID mirror. I installed Windows on the RAID volume, and I was happy to see that I did not have to provide drivers. A few weeks later a friend needed a hard drive after all the shops were closed. So I took a backup of the few files that were on my old drive (except for the creepy videos, which I did not needed anymore), wiped the old drive, powered down my machine, removed the old drive and gave it to my friend. After he left I noticed that I could not boot Windows anymore - for some reason the boot information was on the old drive, even though it was not the one where I installed Window. I had to boot with a linux disk to fix things. Annoying.



  • Using Vista to recover XP? Boy is that backwards!

    For years the pattern was that the recovery partition ran the previous version of the OS. That makes sense; if the OS doesn't work maybe the old OS will. When a notebook running Windows 98 had a recovery partition, that partition booted into MS-DOS. A notebook which ran Windows XP had a partition that booted into Windows 98. It wasn't obvious - you had to watch the recovery boot carefully. But it was practical. 



  • @AndyCanfield said:

    Using Vista to recover XP? Boy is that backwards!
    WinPE received a ton of enhancements in Vista, which makes it very suitable for such recovery environments (it's also much simpler to configure).



  • @bannedfromcoding said:

    ... And if you can find a way to tell Google to search only posts made by a particular user, you're Chuck Norris.

     

    Chuck Norris doesn't search for things on Google, he just hits "I'm Feeling Lucky" and gets the results he wants.

    Chuck Norris can Google the term "Google" without the internets breaking.

    When Chuck Norris searches for information on the Internet, Google says "bing!" when the results come up.



  •  Google Chucknorrises the internet.



  • @RichP said:

    @bannedfromcoding said:

    ... And if you can find a way to tell Google to search only posts made by a particular user, you're Chuck Norris.

     

    Chuck Norris doesn't search for things on Google, he just hits "I'm Feeling Lucky" and gets the results he wants.

    Chuck Norris can Google the term "Google" without the internets breaking.

    When Chuck Norris searches for information on the Internet, Google says "bing!" when the results come up.

    You do know that Bruce Lee beat up Chuck Norris, don't you?



  • What is this. What are you doing. Stop. Stop now. Seriously. You are killing humor. Killing it dead.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    What is this. What are you doing. Stop. Stop now. Seriously. You are killing humor. Killing it dead.
     

    When Chuck Norris tells a joke, the joke laughs.





  • @OzPeter said:

    @RichP said:

    @bannedfromcoding said:

    ... And if you can find a way to tell Google to search only posts made by a particular user, you're Chuck Norris.

     

    Chuck Norris doesn't search for things on Google, he just hits "I'm Feeling Lucky" and gets the results he wants.

    Chuck Norris can Google the term "Google" without the internets breaking.

    When Chuck Norris searches for information on the Internet, Google says "bing!" when the results come up.

    You do know that Bruce Lee beat up Chuck Norris, don't you?

    That is impossible. Steven Seagal, maybe; but not Bruce Lee or Jean-Claude.



  • @Speakerphone Dude said:

    @OzPeter said:
    You do know that Bruce Lee beat up Chuck Norris, don't you?

    That is impossible. Steven Seagal, maybe; but not Bruce Lee or Jean-Claude.

    Steven Seagal - A nancy boy who loves his own image

    Jean Claude - an idiot who thought he could act AND direct at the same time

    Bruce Lee .. the one and only - who beat the crap out of Chuck Norris in Way of the Dragon


  • @OzPeter said:

    Steven Seagal - A nancy boy who loves his own image

    Nah, Steven Seagal is the real deal, he is not only a martial art expert but also a marksman (see: shooting a match head off and shooting a basic target).



  • @OzPeter said:

    Bruce Lee .. the one and only - who beat the crap out of Chuck Norris in Way of the Dragon
     

    First US television role for Bruce Lee: Kato, the martial-arts master and automotive engineer who made it possible for the Green Hornet to fight crime while pretending to be a criminal himself.

    First US television role for Chuck Norris: self-defense instructor on Room 222.  Playing the part of "movie actor Chuck Norris", no less.


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