June 17, 2006

Breaking the partitions

Yesterday was my day off and I thought, "What would be a fun thing to do today?" and decided to install Mac OS X for Intel on one of the computers … just for kicks :p OK, I exaggerate. I had been planning on trying out OS X and yesterday was the first chance I got to give it a whirl.

The first machine I tried would not get beyond the boot up stage. But then again, that one’s about two years old. So I decided to try the newest machine we have in the house – my work machine. Yes, bad idea :p But you know how it is, when you really want something badly, you gotta go ahead and do the best you can … or something like that :)

Anyway, I had about 20GB free on an extra partition that I’d used to install Windows Vista on. I had heard so much about how Mac OS X would not install in a partition but needed a drive of its own that I wasn’t sure that this was going to work the way things were set up. But I wanted to see for myself and so I booted up with the OS X disk and what do you know? It came up fine but had no destination disk selected. However, on nosing around a bit, I found a utility which would allow me to browse my disks, create partitions, format them etc. I discovered that all I had to do was actually format an existing partition into HPFS+ and I could install OS X on that. And that’s what I did.

It took about two hours to complete the installation and once it was complete, I ran into my first hurdle. The new OS X installation would not boot up. It would boot fine with the installation CD but not into the OS X installation on the hard disk. After some nosing around, I figured out how to get things to boot into the OS X installation but then I hit my second hurdle – there was no dual booting and so I was unable to boot back into my Windows install on the same machine!

I spent about three hours booting via a Windows XP installation CD into the recovery console and trying various disk fixing methods but nothing worked. I knew what had to be done – just set the Windows partition as the active one so that the computer would boot into XP. But there was no fdisk in the recovery console and diskpart did not seem to have the option to set an active partition :-( I also spent quite a bit of time trying to get a USB thumb drive bootable so that I could boot via the USB stick and use fdisk but that didn’t work either. Finally, I remembered that I had an old LiveCD of Mandrake Move (or Mandriva Move as it is now known). I booted into Linux using that CD, ran fdisk and set the Windows partition as the active one and was finally able to boot into Windows :) (And the interesting thing was that soon after that, I was able to get my machine to boot using the USB stick as well. Then again, that’s how it always goes, isn’t it?)

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Tags: Personal, Software, Technology
Posted by Fahim at 5:36 pm   Comments (1)