Sunday, June 24, 2007

Windows on MacBook Pro | Some personal thoughts

I have been using Parallels virtualisation software from its first beta. I am considering upgrading to the latest version (3.0) but awaiting a response from VMWare to a query about Fusion, which I have also been testing from the first beta.

I managed to install Win XP Home Edition (with SP1 only - Boot Camp insists on SP2) and have had it up and running smoothly for quite a while now, at least until the other day. Then things all went pear-shpaed. Not, I hasten top add, due to either Parallels or VMWare. No, this time it was a Mac program that was to blame. I was getting a full hard disk and as I work with Photoshop quite a bit I was getting fed up of the constant nagging about my lack of disk space for my scratch disks. I do have 3 external disks (2 FW and 1 USB) totaling some 900 GB, which with my 100 GB internal drive in my MacBook Pro makes 1 whole Terabyte. It doesn't seem that long ago I was working with hard drives of just 20MB!

However, despite all this external disk space (which I use for backups mainly) I needed to make some space. So, I thought about Monolingual, a program for deleting all those languages you never use and stripping out the PPC bits (as I am using an Intel Mac). Silly me, I forgot that Microsoft Office is still PPC and so is Photoshop 7.0. So, it was a stupid thing to do as it meant that these programs would no longer work. They now took ages (like 10 minutes!) to load and then refused to print. At first I couldn't work out what was going on, until I read a few forum postings and discovered my mistake. Also, to make matters worse, it seemed to have screwed up my Win XP installation. Whether I booted up with Boot Camp, Parallels or VMWare, I got various errors, mainly about a missing system file.

Searching the forums for a solution drew a blank and I was facing a re-install of Tiger and so a backup was called for. However, Carbon Copy Cloner was also refusing to work, which was a real pain as I found this excellent software a great way to archive your whole system and then do a clean install. So, it was the slow process of backing up manually key files etc, jsut in case. Then it was onto a re-install of Tiger using the option to save system files and Home Directory into a folder. Eventually, I was back up and running and ready to try again with Win XP.

Initially, I had no joy with any of the three ways of running XP, Boot Camp, Parallels and VMWare all refused to start up XP. Eventually, I had to do a complete re-install of XP using Parallels Boot Camp wouldn't work with my XP Home Edition as it was only SP1 and SP2. Once XP was up and running I was back to where I wanted to be. I include an image of the installation in progress, taken using Parallels screenshot facility.

The install failed at first but a restart seemed to cure whatever the issue was. Also, the SP2 update failed at first and again a restart cured that, something that used to happen a lot on a beige PC when re-installing XP and re-updating with SP2. Man, what a drag!

So all that remains is to try VMWare Fusion Beta 4 again and also update Boot Camp. I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

New Job!

After 4 years of spasmodic work due mainly to health, I now have a new job as General Manager and Clerk to the Trustees of the Winsley's Charity. Based in Colchester, the Charity provides Almshouse Accommodation for older people.

I will be creating a website in the near future for the charity as well as a database, along with lots of other duties. I'm looking forward to it and even though the job is part-time, its just what I've been looking for the past 18 months.

I'll post the url for the site once its up and running but as the job starts 1 July it will be a couple of months or so before it goes live.

Behind the scenes at Harewood Speed Hillclimb

If you have read some of my earlier posts, you will have no doubt picked up on the fact that I recently attended an event at Harewood Spe...