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Old 11-29-2006, 11:28 PM   #1
iamback
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Default Trouble in Amsterdam

If you missed me, that's because I've been offline...

If I've been offline, that's because I was desperately trying to squeeze the last bit of space and speed out of poor old Grace - taking all precautions, as usual - and she refused to boot up after that. And of course my resident gremlins, who'd been playing with my ADSL modem/router and irregularly took me offline - all it took was reboot the modem, but it was still highly annoying - chose this moment to declare the modem their exclusive playground, and not let me in anymore.

So... I now have a "repair" installation of Windows on Grace - but all attempts to revive the original one have failed; I suspect an already slightly corrupt (?) registry got irreparably damaged by reorganizing the partitions. That means using the "repair" windows to move more stuff around, create a new "real" windows partition, and reinstall all of my software. Aaarrrgh! If only I could get at the Registry on the old Windows partition, but I don't know of any software that can access a regsitry on a non-active partition...

Meanwhile there was the big fair of the largest computer club in the world, the "HCC dagen"; in spite of troubles with Grace and internet connection I went anyway (twice!) and got a load of stuff to at least rebuild my LAN from a 100Mbit to a Gigabit LAN (and thus create faster access to my external media storage as well). And a new ADSL modem/router... installed now.

So, technically I'm back online now, but I'm typing this from Alan - on Grace all I've got is the "repair" windows, not a "real" installation with my software (including Moz). I'll still be mostly offline, while I rearrange the room to make place for the extra hardware I got and rebuild Grace.

(At least, when all that's done, I'll be getting a new computer - I've decided that will be George (as in Boole) - to take over from Grace, but Grace needs to be revived first.)

So, if you still miss me, that is because I'm still (mostly) offline... Sigh.

If anyone would like to adopt my resident gremlins, let me know. They're quite friendly - most of the time - and all they seem to need is some old hardware to play with. But their sense of humor clashes with mine.

   
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Old 11-30-2006, 12:44 AM   #2
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They can come over and play with mine if they like: I'll put them all out in the back garden to chase leaves! When they are tired of that, they can inhabit the 10 or so old machines we have stacked in dusty corners: I am hoping to move to a new office early next year with much less kit, so they will then go to the recycling centre with all the other hardware.

Seriously: what a drag for you, hardware problems (or software ones for that) are a real pain. Every time I've moved from one computer to another, I've found something that won't re-install as I no longer have the original diskettes from about 1995, etc.
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Old 11-30-2006, 05:45 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by iamback View Post
I don't know of any software that can access a regsitry on a non-active partition...
Too bad you have run into trouble.

I think Linux should be able to do that just fine. It depends a little on your configuration how hard it will be. If your partition is a FAT32 one and not NTFS it is easy. NTFS should be possible as well nowadays.

The effort needed of course has to be compared with other options such as a full reinstall of Windows. Just copying the registry to another medium is a question of booting Linux, mount a suitable disk, thumbdrive or whatever you prefer including Zipdrives and copy the files over.
Copying the repaired registry back to a FAT32 partition takes the same time.
Total excluding repairing the corrupted registry I estimate no more than 30 minutes at most.
NTFS will take around an hour, but that will be less predictable.
You could consider putting back a backup of the registry if that exists and see whether that works.

Do you want me to continu?

   
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Old 11-30-2006, 06:02 AM   #4
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Oh, sorry. And we have been missing you.

Good luck with getting it all sorted out.

   
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Old 11-30-2006, 06:32 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by LoisWakeman View Post
They can come over and play with mine if they like: I'll put them all out in the back garden to chase leaves! When they are tired of that, they can inhabit the 10 or so old machines we have stacked in dusty corners: I am hoping to move to a new office early next year with much less kit, so they will then go to the recycling centre with all the other hardware.
Sounds like they'll have a good home with you - I'm sending them over! (I just hope they don't get homesick and bounce right back.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoisWakeman
Seriously: what a drag for you, hardware problems (or software ones for that) are a real pain. Every time I've moved from one computer to another, I've found something that won't re-install as I no longer have the original diskettes from about 1995, etc.
At least I've always been pretty good at keeping stuff (packrat!) and I have one external drive for "downloads" - with not just downloaded software but lots of related links and documents as well. But some is still stored on CDs and ZIP disks. And then there are CDs and DVDs, either from boxed software or magazine covers. But at least I still have practically everything. Having it all on one HD makes me nervous, though - so as part of my general reorganization here I'm going to double that up and keep a mirror. I bought a small cheapo (but new and just powerful enough) PC at the fair that's going to be my external storage hub, to replace the oh-so-handy but limited Samba box I have now; at least the PC can take a Gigabit network card, so the network won't be the bottleneck any more.

I'm now alternating between having fun rearranging everything (including furniture to make place for the new hardware) and being depressed with all the extra work needed to revive Grace. And all the extra money I'm necessarily spending which I don't really have.

   
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Old 11-30-2006, 07:42 AM   #6
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I think Linux should be able to do that just fine. It depends a little on your configuration how hard it will be. If your partition is a FAT32 one and not NTFS it is easy. NTFS should be possible as well nowadays.
I'm afraid I didn't make myself clear on that: I can get at the files that together form the registry - but what I need is a program that can actually read those files as a registry and allow me to export keys to .reg files in order to "transplant" the data of installed programs. I have a bunch of Registry tools - but all read only a registry of an actually booted system (local, or even across the LAN), but not that of an alternate Windows installation that is not currently booted. I'll do some googling but I suspect all registry tools just use Windows' own system calls - which access the currently-booted Registry.

Oh, and practically all my partitions are NTFS now - so much more stable in case of a system crash: I've never lost anything from an NTFS partition, even if there are errors after a crash they get automatically repaired with chkdsk after reboot; whereas with FAT(32) all "repair" usually consists of making useless files with bits of lost clusters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jvecht
Copying the repaired registry back to a FAT32 partition takes the same time.
Total excluding repairing the corrupted registry I estimate no more than 30 minutes at most.
But what would I repair the files with? Same problem...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jvecht
You could consider putting back a backup of the registry if that exists and see whether that works.
I tried that, of course. But even if I tell the backup program to put it back at the "original location" it overwrites partly the currently-booted Windows, and partly the non-booted version. With the result that the currently-booted Windows would not boot any more after a reboot; and the original windows still would not fully boot.

   
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Old 11-30-2006, 11:31 AM   #7
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I'll do some googling but I suspect all registry tools just use Windows' own system calls - which access the currently-booted Registry.
(...)

But what would I repair the files with? Same problem...
I actually may have found something...

First, I found it's my NTUSER.DAT (the "personal settings" in Windows) that is indeed corrupt - bits of executable code and emails should not be part of it and that's what I'm seeing when I load it in WordPad (ugh, not a viewer but it doesn't break on null bytes at least)) - but I hope the corruption is limited to just that hive.

Second, I found a utility that claims it can read "alien" registry files:
Quote:
Alien Registry Viewer is similar to the RegEdit application included into Windows, but unlike RegEdit, it works with standalone registry files. While RegEdit shows the contents of the system registry, Alien Registry Viewer works with registry files copied from other computers. Alien Registry Viewer can be extremely useful for system administration and forensic computer examination purposes.
So I'm going to download that tomorrow. Not cheap but if it really works it could save many day's work. That is, if it can export keys, too, like RegEdit.

Having an internet connection makes so much difference!

This is a good moment to go to bed (early, but hopeful)...

   
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Old 11-30-2006, 11:36 AM   #8
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Oh, sorry. And we have been missing you.

Good luck with getting it all sorted out.
Thanks, Kathleen! Working on it and things are looking up a bit now that I can at least go online and google and ask people for help.

   
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Old 11-30-2006, 03:12 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by iamback View Post
I'm afraid I didn't make myself clear on that: I can get at the files that together form the registry - but what I need is a program that can actually read those files as a registry and allow me to export keys to .reg files in order to "transplant" the data of installed programs.
Start regedt32
Select HKLM within the HKLM window
From "Registry" select "Load Hive"
Select the Hive (e.g., \WINNT\System32\Config\userdiff)
Assign Key (name, e.g. "USERDIFF") for the Hive.

Regrettably neither "Save Key" nor "Save Tree" results in a regedit-importable file, but perhaps you can figure out something from that point.
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Old 11-30-2006, 09:01 PM   #10
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If only I could get at the Registry on the old Windows partition, but I don't know of any software that can access a regsitry on a non-active partition...
You might also want to look at Registry Tool at the following link:

http://www.registrytool.com/index.htm

It says you can "Repair a registry hive file from a non-booting machine, another partition, send settings from one installation or partition to another" and "edit the registry of a different computer, send registry settings to a different version of Windows" etc.

The personal edition costs US$24 but you can download a demo.
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