When the Windows installer thinks it’s smarter than you…

If you are going to install Windows 7 on a brand new drive, you’ll run into something of a small fight with the installer when you want to partition your drive.
Everything will look as usual… But when you try to create that first partition the installer will throw this in your face:

“To ensure that all Windows features work correctly, Windows might create additional partitions for system files.”

Translated to English this means: “Windows will ALWAYS create a pointless 100megabyte partition that you don’t want.”

If you click Yes, you’ll get your partition, but also a 100MB partition just in front of it. A partition that you didn’t order.

If you click No, you’ll get nothing done at all. Not even the partition you just defined. Basically Microsoft made it impossible to skip this step.

So is the partition really that important?

  1. No, If your drive is already partitioned when you start the Windows installation, Windows will install and the installer will not complain/warn you about a single thing.
  2. No, This partition is used for the windows bootloader, and is only required if you want to use the Bitlocker feature. However, Bitlocker is only available in Windows Enterprise and Ultimate editions. A normal Windows Home installer will still try to create it for some obscure reason.

So, how do we get rid of it?

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Nexuiz

Nexuiz is an open source game and therefore completely free. It’s been under constant development since 2001 and has also recently been forked into a new project Xonotic due to some controversy on Nexuiz being licenced and ported as a console game.

Nexuiz is one of my favorite free games so I decided to make sort of a review of it here. The review is supposed to be part one in a list of free games that are actually worth playing.

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Function pointers in Java

Java does not have function pointers. They are not really needed… and I have never needed them either in my 10 years of Java coding. However, I came across a rather interesting solution at work. This solution was coded in a completely different language and utilized the fact that programmers could write small bits of code, and these bits where then connected, at runtime, identified only by their name. The system makes it possible to have a model outside the actual code. And then by changing the model, the behavior of the system will change as well without needing any compilation.
“Is this even possible in Java?”, I discussed with a colleague… and we quickly agreed that it was not “the Java way” to do stuff. However, of course this needed to be tested 🙂

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Tricks to make your reinstalls quicker

Lets face it. No matter what Microsoft (and Apple by the way) says, there are times where you just need to completely wipe your machine for everything thats on it, and start over.

In fact some people who are not afraid of messing with their pcs do reinstalls fairly often. Reinstalls are good for your pc. Reinstalling cleans up your mess. Reinstalling forces you to make a backup. Reinstalling cleans out bad things like virus and malware. And as an added bonus your pc will often feel like it got a speed boost as well because a lot of all that crap you just installed for fun is gone after the big clean up 🙂

A typical excuse, of why not to do a reinstall, is that it takes a long time. Luckily there are a few simple things you can do to greatly speed up the time it takes for you to reinstall a pc.

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Backing up your data before a reinstall

When helping people do a reinstall the question always comes up: “We’re going to delete the entire harddrive. What do you need saved?”  and the answer is always a stupid: “Just save everything!

Because this is usually some sort of “work situation” I usually resort to a long kind explanation. Really, inside my own mind, I do a facepalm while shouting “Look pal! If we save EVERYTHING, we’re also bringing the ERRORS and the entire MESS along to your new installation. That would sort of make this a huge waste of time, right?
The person who knows best what to save is not your favorite IT geek, it’s someone else….

Yes, its YOU!

Creating a backup of your important data is the beginning of every reinstall and while it can be time consuming its actually really easy. This article will tell you how to do it, and give pointers to where to look for all your stuff.

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PC reinstall from A to Z

As a “computer geek” I often find myself helping with reinstalling peoples pcs from scratch. For some reason this still seems like a task that people can’t seem to manage on their own. Some people see this task as something that takes several days… but really, if you just follow some basic rules on your setup, a complete reinstall does not need to take more than an hour.

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Life is too short for old hardware

During some cleanup I found a bunch of old pc’s at my parents house. One of them was in the original casing from my first pc back from 1995. A nice Baby-AT case. It looks cute compared to todays bulky ATX cases.

I also found some old games: Phantasmagoria, Civilization 2, MDK 2, Populous 3 and Die by the Sword.

Unlike very old games for DOS, I haven’t been revisiting any of these games lately. DOS games are easy to run in DOSBOX and usually work great, but the games above are from that strange area during the late 90ies where everything related to computers skyrocketed. These games have great accelerated graphics using some of the first 3D graphics cards available. They have loads of data on CD-rom. They have great sound. But all this comes at a price: Hardware support.
DOSBOX, compatability mode etc. just doesn’t help if the game needs a Voodoo 2 card to run.

The plan was set. I was going to build these old PC’s into one big bad king of late 90’es games. Including windows 98 and everything!
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Playable game

Yesterday was sunday and I had no plans what so ever. Finally some time to do some coding 🙂

The little java game is actually playable now. Its possible to complete levels, and the game now has four tutorial levels.

I’ve compiled a runnable JAR file for download here. If you have the JAVA 1.6 runtime installed you just need to double click it to run it.

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