\Boot\BCD is missing required information

Inasmuch as a Windows partition that wouldn’t boot frustrated and inconvenienced me for nearly a week, and the solution, when I found it, took only a couple of minutes, I’m writing it up here.

The symptom when trying to boot into Windows was a black-and-white screen of death containing:

File: \Boot\BCD
Status: 0xc0000034
Info: The Windows Boot Configuration Data file is missing
  required information

The official Microsoft advice at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927391/en-us didn’t help.  What did work was the second option, “Manually Repairing the Windows Bootloader”, from http://neosmart.net/wiki/display/EBCD/Recovering+the+Windows+Bootloader+from+the+DVD:

attrib -h -s C:\boot\BCD

del C:\boot\BCD
bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd

Happily, I didn’t need to do the third, “Nuclear Holocaust” option from that page.

Websites returning

Inasmuch as I accidentally deleted most of my websites and this blog last night, my “Full backup of all your data to remote servers every day” webhost then only had a backup from 27 June, i.e., somewhere in the middle of my migrating between servers such that there was no backup for most of my sites.

The net result is (a) I will be paying a lot more attention to doing my own website backups in future; (b) I’m busy scraping pages from the WayBack Machine and Google’s cache to remake the web sites; (c) the graphics don’t feature in the caches, so they’ll take longer to get back; and (d) this blog’s styles disappeared along with everything else and is now using the current default. You probably won’t miss the blog styles all that much, but losing them left WordPress in a state where it was both configured to serve RSS and not configured to have the RSS link on the pages, with the result that it threw an error on each request and didn’t serve anything. Finding and fixing that just added to the effort.

So while the websites are mostly back, it will be a while before they’re pristine again. The http://www.mentea.net/ website design is due to be revamped real soon now, anyway, but I still need the old content in order to transfer it to the new layout.

Business card, cubed

Inasmuch as I taught how to make an origami cube as one of the practicals when I did the “train the trainer” course, it occurred to me to do the same with my business cards.  It doesn’t hurt that the business cards have a large logo on the back:

Six business cards folded in a cube.

Here’s how: Continue reading

Linux distro roundabout

Inasmuch as my computer had been flaky since the motherboard, the graphics card, and the OS were replaced in one go last year (and if I now replace the case and the disks, will it be my grandfather’s computer?) and as I had some time where there were no urgent deliverables and no conferences, I decided to replace the OS with a different version of Linux.  Since the computer would lock up with either the Xorg process or interrupts taking 100% of a core and nothing else able to run, I was looking for it to be a problem with the OS (free) rather than the hardware (not).

Three days, six-or-so Linux distributions, and many installs later, I’m back on the original OS but with a different X driver.  So far it’s been stable, but there had previously been times when it was stable for days on end between the times when it would crash with extreme rapidity. Continue reading

Cleaning the beach is like a “Columbo” episode

Inasmuch as there’s often a lot of litter on the beach either dropped (or, worse, deliberately dumped) by people or washed up by the waves,  you can often fill several bags as part of a Skerries Adopt-A-Beach cleanup, but even as you take the bags to the pick-up point you’ll see some more litter and, just like Colombo, you find yourself saying “Just one more thing…” as you nab another villain.

Imagine.ie drops DSL line daily

Inasmuch as DSL is usually seen as “always on”, it beggars imagination that imagine.ie drops the connection once every 24 hours for “billing purposes”. It’s just too bad about the SSH, IRC, Citrix, remote backups and other types of connections that you happen to have running at the time.

The time of day when providing a service is secondary to billing for it also drifts a little. Their technical support’s best advice? Turn the modem off then on again at the time that’s least disruptive so the daily dropout hurts less when it happens every 24 hours (plus drift) after that.

I’ve finished the twelve-month term for which I signed up so now I’m shopping for a new ISP. And I know one question I’ll be asking the next one.