Monday, December 29, 2008

Iron and Wine Free Download

Just an exciting email that I received today and would like to share with anyone who likes Iron and Wine.

There's a free download of eight tracks which are alternate takes of songs from the Shepherd's Dog album...and they sound great!

You can get it from their site or here's the direct link in case it goes away for some reason free songs.

Stuck in Windows XP Safe Mode Loop

One day I was trying to delete one of those 'file in use' type of files so I jumped into Windows XP Safe Mode. However, instead of just hitting F8 during start up, I did the terrible mistake of running 'msconfig' then setting the /SAFEBOOT flag in the BOOT.INI tab.

Well, due to some glitch, whenever I got to the Safe Mode login prompt the system would restart leaving me in this infinite loop as I couldn't get out of it since the /SAFEBOOT flag was set in boot.ini. What a nightmare!

So here's what I had to do to fix this problem. Basically you need a way to access your drive and modify C:\boot.ini.

- Download NTFS4DOS, install it in your computer and create a bootable Floppy of CD.
- Boot from that Floppy or CD*
- Once you're at the A:\ prompt, just type this:
A:\ C:\windows\system32\edit C:\boot.ini
- Now navigate through the file with your arrow keys and move to the right. Remove (using Backspace) /SAFEBOOT:MINIMAL
- Use the Alt key to access the menu options. File->Save then File->Exit
- Remove the Floppy or CD and restart your computer (Ctrl+Alt+Del)

Welcome back to your computer!

As a last step after logging in, you should run 'msconfig' again then in the General tab select Normal Startup.

* You might need to modify your BIOS to allow botting from a floppy or CD. Restart your computer and hit F1 right after boot. When in the BIOS, just make sure that in the boot order, your floppy and/or CD comes before your HD.

You could remove your harddrive and access it from another computer with one of those USB enclosures or go the *nix route such as from an Ubuntu bootable CD and then mount the C:\ drive.

Good luck and hope this helps.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

How to fix FreeBSD "Can't work out which disk we are booting from"

I had just installed a fresh FreeBSD 7.0-RELEASE, cvsup the latest sources and ports and followed my standard procedure to build and install a new world and kernel (without any big changes).

Everything ran beautifully and after installworld I was ready to reboot and here's where the problem started. Upon reboot, the system wouldn't load!

It was getting stuck with the following error:
Can't work out which disk we are booting from.
Guessed BIOS device 0xffffffff not found by probes, defaulting to disk0

After some online research I found a lead to fix the problem...well, at least to get your system started again.

Here's what you'll need to get started:
1) The installation CD/DVD that you had just used to install this release
2) A LiveFS CD/DVD. You can get it from the FreeBSD site. I'm a i386 so here's the direct link

Now time to get to work:
1) Boot from your installation CD/DVD
2) Select your region which will you take you to the usual sysinstall screen
3) Select the Fixit option to repair an installation
4) Select the CD/DVD option (#2) and it will ask you to insert the LiveFS CD/DVD
5) You should now be on the #fixit: prompt
6) Make a directory where we will mount the old root FS
# mkdir /old
7) I assume you know your drive and where you had installed your FreeBSD partition. If you need a little reminder, you can run the command below to see your drives. I only have one at "ad0"
# dmesg
8) And to verify you can look at /dev
# ls /dev
9) The root partition ends with an 'a'. So let's mount it.
# mount -t ufs /dev/ad0s1a /old
10) We will now replace the faulty /boot/loader (also back it up just in case)
# cd /old/boot
# cp loader loader.bad
# cp loader.old loader
# exit

Now just exit the sysinstall screen, remove the LiveFS CD/DVD and your system should boot up normally.

I found this Wiki to be helpful and it also provides a patch which I haven't tried yet.