Bloat

I have been familiarizing myself with Vista in preparation for my credit-by-exam test for ‘Windows Operating Systems’. As a student Microsoft has made all versions of their operating systems available to me through the MSDNAA program. Unfortunately it took them several weeks to get their confirmation emails out (and more time to approve of my request). In the meantime I ‘found’ a copy of Vista Ultimate that some enterprising person had gutted all of the bloatware out of so that the install fit on a CD. It didn’t take me long to find that the textbook (and likely the test as well) goes into the use of many of the applications that were missing. I got tired of coming across exercises that I couldn’t actually explore so the other day I installed the copy of Vista Business that I got from MSDNAA. Holy cow! After installing firefox, antivirus, acrobat reader and all the updates the 13.6GB disk partition had about 500MB left.

This would not do. I still needed to install more software If I was going to actually use the OS. Now I have had five operating systems on this computer, Windows Vistal, Windows 7, Mac OS X, Ubuntu, and gentoo; with an additional storage partition none of the operating systems had much room. The Windows 7 installation was about to expire so It could safely be destroyed unfortunately it didn’t adjoin the Vista partition, the OS X partition was in between them. I could have tried deleting the Windows 7 partition and sliding the OS X partition into its former place and then enlarging the windows Vista partition, but last time I did that much shuffling of partitions with gparted I ended up with a scrambled partition table. Besides, I may not use more than one OS at a time but I like having them all available.

I have another hard drive that I keep in an USB enclosure for backups that is a lot bigger it seemed less risky to copy the partitions onto it and enlarge them there. This way I would still have a backup of the original partitions. Everything seemed to go well, no errors. I knew from the gparted website that after the move I would need to run windows chkdisk and use the install disk to repair the the boot loader, but since I was going create a fresh install of Windows 7 I figured I would let it take care of these details. The install went fine, it even detected that the Vista partition was flagged for a run of chkdisk and scanned it during the install. After the last reboot into Windows 7 I gave Vista a try. It would boot up fine but after login it would just stall. I poked around and found that I could bring up the task manager and manually load explorer, but doing so brought up numerous dll errors (actually failures to find various procedure entry points in various dll’s). In this way I could get a desktop but only with guest privileges. I poked around the internet and found that other people had similar problems but none of them had the dll errors and they where able to fix it using the administrator account. Since I could only get guest permissions I couldn’t even make any system changes or even set up a new login account, but since I was getting additional errors my problem was different and undoubtedly bigger.

I finally gave up and decided to re-copy the partition with gparted. Just as it had the first time it completed without errors. This time following the directions from the gparted website exactly I put in the Vista install disk, selected the repair option and when it rebooted it ran chkdisk. Watching what it was scanning I noticed that it was rebuilding security descriptors(I assume this has something to do with User Account Control) . After scanning and rebooting it was fine, although it then requested another reboot. I can only guess that when It was scanned the first time by Windows 7 the security descriptors were set for it (7) instead of Vista.

A side note; The clean install of Windows 7 is only about 5GB, although I still need to update it and install antivirus. I still don’t see that ballooning it out to 13GB

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