As you may or may not know, getting Windows to not boot anymore is not hard. Doing it accidentally is a little harder, but I managed to do it nonetheless.
One of the [STRIKEOUT:current] last (this post is taking longer than expected and I keep getting sidetracked) Weekend Deals on Steam [STRIKEOUT:is] was the GTA complete Pack for 5 pounds. Needless to say I bought it (i.e. got a British friend to buy it for me - it's neither available in Germany, nor is it as cheap in €), despite 1 and 2 being available for free and already owning 4. I was later shocked to find out that its being uncut reportedly depends on the system language - Germans get the cut version.
In theory that's easily fixed, of course: Change the language to English. I meant to do that for quite some time since I like English. Trying it once again I remembered why I didn't already do it - you need Windows 7 Ultimate to be allowed to. But you can circumvent this by downloading the language package and changing the registry - I changed the registry first since that's obviously less legally questionable, then looked for a way of legally acquiring the language pack and didn't find one.
So I looked for other ways of acquiring an English Windows - an Upgrade to Ultimate would cost me €190, as opposed to $140 in the US - almost as unfair a pricing difference as Steam's other Weekend Deal, Alice: Madness Returns, which costs €25 as opposed to $15. (Needless to say I acquired it through a US contact.) Even $140 is too much for my liking though, since I really don't need any of the other features Ultimate has.
Then I remembered I'm a student now. There are special student deals. Unluckily no Home Premium -> Ultimate upgrades, but I could get a Professional upgrade for as little as €35, though I don't know if that's available in English. (Incomprehensibly the US price is $65 and not something ridiculously cheap as one might expect after the previous differences...) Actually, since the FH Wedel takes part in the MSDNAA program, I can get it for free. In English, if I want. I do, of course. So once I've got some spare time at College, I'll probably get that.
Forgetting about the registry change I later shut my PC down, only to find it not booting yesterday since it was looking for a non-existing language pack. Whoops. I could've partially reset the registry to an earlier state but I didn't like the possibility of unforeseen consequences. Besides, I knew exactly what I needed to change. But the regedit live CD I found online wouldn't start properly.
Oh well, my 40GB Windows partition was getting awfully full anyway. Besides it's on the Samsung HDD and I already lost two of those, one of them the exact same model (the current one being the replacement), so I'd rather reinstall Windows on my 2TB Western Digital HDD.
But first I needed to make some space. Here, let's shrink this 500GB partition by 110GB, of which we will use 25 for Ubuntu, 65 for Windows 7 and 20 for Windows XP in case I ever need to use that printer with no recent drivers or replay Sam & Max Season 1 or 2 or anything else that doesn't work on 7. And on the old ex-Windows partition I could install this copy of Snow Leopard I've recently gotten from someone who got a Mac and uses Windows on it. I hope I'll be able to get it to run, there are some promising guides on hackintosh.com.
For the partitioning I used a GParted Live CD, though I should've used an Ubuntu Live CD which not only includes GParted, but also a browser and some other stuff to pass time. Because resizing/moving partitions takes forever. Well, not forever, but over 12 hours in my case and that sure feels like forever. So I wasn't done with that until today.
The first thing I installed was Ubuntu. I still had an old 8.10 CD from... probably 3 years ago, so I figured I could install that and use automatic updates. Turns out automatic updates only bring you to the next version, so I'd have to do six incremental upgrades. And 8.10 is no longer supported, so getting updates is hard. In the end I just downloaded 11.10 and did a fresh install.
For some reason I'm feeling a sudden urge to play Devil May Cry 4 right now. Yes, that is totally unrelated and I'm pretty confused about where it came from. I'm ignoring it.
Everything worked pretty much out of the box, except for sound on any other than the left and right speaker. No showstopper. And the ATI drivers wouldn't let me save changes, I had to recreate the X11 configuration file as described here to get my multi monitor setup to work.
I experienced the only other problems so far during writing this blog entry - in the default settings, some accessibility features are enabled, most annoyingly mouse keys (i.e. moving the mouse cursor using the numpad, as opposed to writing numbers) and sticky keys. (Pressing e.g. shift once keeps it active until after another key is pressed. The only time I let go of shift before writing something is when I reconsider and conclude I'd rather write in lowercase. Sticky keys make me write in uppercase instead. Wonderful. No. Infuriating. Luckily togglable.)
Later I told fellow Jedi Academy Coders on irc://irc.arloria.net/#jacoders about my registry woes. They told me about linux registry editing tools, this one in particular. I rejoiced and fixed my registry. Windows is working again. I should still move it to the 64GB partition and install XP some day, but for now, I have more important things to do.
This programming assignment being the most important important thing at the moment. I have until next monday to code a console Tetris in Pascal, adhering to a couple of rules, otherwise I'll have to do the programming assignments this semester, learning interesting things like if conditions and loops. I'd rather not, especially since that's the only subject I have on monday. So being relieved means free mondays. Yay!