Active OEM/EISA Partitions confuse upgrading Windows

Thursday, 12 October 2006

I've been trialling Vista on a new Dell workstation.

This machine came configured with XP Home and an "OEM Recovery" partition.

I installed Vista onto the main partition by booting from a DVD.

What I didn't realise was that it appears the machine came configured with the OEM partition as the 'active' partition.

This didn't cause a problem until I then when to upgrade the build of Vista to a newer version.

The upgrade then complained that it didn’t have enough room for the temporary files to install Windows – even though my C: had 200 Gig free!

Turns out it was probably looking at the OEM partition, which was full.

How did I resolve this? After some clues about the cause of the problem from Darrell Gorter in the Microsoft Newsgroups, I did the following:

  1. First of all, I used diskpart.exe – a command-line tool to change the active partition to C: (it’ also in XP)
  2. This isn’t the whole solution, as now if you try and reboot the machine, you’ll get a "BOOTMGR is missing" error.
  3. So you boot off the OS media (Vista DVD in this case).
  4. Set the locale/keyboard settings and then choose 'Repair your computer'.
  5. It scans your disks for installs of Windows, then click 'Next'
  6. Then click on 'Startup Repair' - this figures out that BOOTMGR is missing and puts it in the right spot.
  7. The boot manager should now be fixed and you can reboot successfully.

If I'd originally booted XP Home, I suspect this problem would have been avoided. It appears that these machines modify the active partition when they boot the installed OS. As I'd just booted clean off of the DVD, this change never took place. I imagine this problem could affect any OS that tried to install on a similarly supplied workstation.

Acronym support - A Windows Live Writer Plugin I'd like to see

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

I try to make the effort to use the <acronym> element to explain any acronyms used in my posts.

What I'd like is a plugin for Windows Live Writer that lets me select text and add surround it with <acronym> element.

If there was a acronym web service out there somewhere, then it could hook into that to source the definitions of the acronym.

Selenium and AspNetTest

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

I came across AspNetTest the other day while I was looking at another project on CodePlex.

I have previously used NUnitAsp for doing some unit testing of ASP.NET UI bits, but as it emulates a "noscript" browser, it isn't very good at testing the "scripty" bits - e.g. AJAX, drag/drop stuff. It has also not been developed very much in the last two years.

Anyway, AspNetTest describes itself as being built upon NUnit and Selenium Remote Control.

It appears that it provides a nice way to automate unit testing of the web UI stuff, and I've seen some demos that indicate that it should handle the tricky drag/drop and AJAX kinds of scenarios that are of interest to me.

Add variables to standard CSS stylesheets in ASP.NET

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Mads implements a HttpHandler to allow C# to be embedded in CSS files so your stylesheet can be customized.

Microsoft ® Windows Mobile ® Device Center Beta 3 for Windows Vista™ (x86)

Monday, 9 October 2006

"The Microsoft ® Windows Mobile ® Device Center enables data synchronization between Windows Mobile ® powered devices and Windows Vista™"

Don't know much about this - looks a bit like it's ActiveSync for Vista.

I also got my replacement iPAQ today - with buttons that don't fall off, so we're off to a good start already :-)