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Saturday, September 03, 2005

A clean slate ...

After well over two years, countless installs and uninstalls, a creeping sluggishness, and one horrific event, I finally bit the bullet and rebuilt my laptop computer. Yep, I've formatted the hard drive and reinstalled everything.

Along the way I learned a few things:

  • You have to install Outlook just to transfer mail messages into Thunderbird. Hopefully it will uninstall OK.
  • JDK 1.5 will only install into C:/Program Files/Java/, which gives Ant fits (the space in the file name is a problem). After trying things with shortcuts, I eventually copied C:/Program Files/Java/jdk1.5.0_04/ to C:/.
  • I no longer can remember how I got svnserve (the Subversion server) to start automatically! Woops! Perhaps its a difference between the cygwin version and the Win32 native version?
  • I'm having trouble getting my SSH and PGP keys back. This could cause some grief.

I'm still picking up the pieces but I'm very close now. A key tool for me in this endeavor was Acronis True Image, which can take a snapshot of an entire partition and put it on backup media (or an external drive, in my case). Even better, you can "mount" the image as a new read-only drive, making it easy to locate and retrieve individual files you need.

Will my Dell Inspiron 8200 return to its former glory? Hard to say ... I think Windows is getting slower with each release and security patch. But so far, things are much quicker. We'll see once we get to real development.

Update: I have Subversion for Cygwin working great. The missing piece was the --foreground argument. My repository is at c:/svnrepo, so my command line is: cygrunsrv --install Subversion --path /usr/bin/svnserve --chdir /cygdrive/c/ --args "--foreground -d -r svnrepo"

After that, I can start Subversion:

cygrunsrv -S Subversion

Once started, it appears to restart automatically on each reboot.

You can verify a correct start:

bash-3.00$ cygrunsrv -Q Subversion
Service             : Subversion
Current State       : Running
Controls Accepted   : Stop
Command             : /usr/bin/svnserve --foreground -d -r svnrepo


Ben Eng said...

Whenever you encounter issues "C:\Program Files\", be aware that there is always an equivalent DOS-compatible 8 character form of the same filename. In this case, it is "C:\PROGRA~1\".

Anonymous said...

FYI I was able to tell the JDK 5 installer to use a different directory, e.g. c:\java\jdk1.5...


Anonymous said...

I'm certainly no linux zealot, but about 18 months ago I was facing the same situation. I needed to reinstall XP in order to get my computer back into shape. Instead of reinstalling XP (again), I bit the bullet and switched my development desktop from XP to Linux. It was initially painful to relearn so many of my habits, but now I couldn't imagine going back. I started on Fedora Core 1 and I'm now using Kubuntu (KDE focused version of Ubuntu). My office mate still uses Windows and we of course give each other a hard time, but I recently caught him installing Kubuntu on a second partition of his drive. Who knows if it'll stick, but I'll try to be surpportive and not an "I told you so!" kind of guy.;)

Brett Porter said...

If you are using Thunderbird, I recommend MozBackup at http://mozbackup.jasnapaka.com/. Works great for getting all your emails, prefs, etc into one backup file. Can be used for Firefox as well.

FWIW, I don't seem to have any problems with that installation path and Ant by using Cygwin.

Anonymous said...

I have installed JDK 5 several times and never had a problem with using a non standard directory so it should be possible.
If you move the JDK files on windows be sure to check the registry settings HKLM/Software/JavaSoft, the file association for JAR-files (Folder Options->File Types etc) and look for a java.exe in c:\windows. At least jdk1.4 (I think it was the JRE actually) installed a wrapper there.

Anonymous said...


The JDK 5 installer uses a different convention than previous Sun Java installers. There's a button in the lower right-hand corner of the install dialog that lets you change the install path.


Anonymous said...

hmmmm, howard, the JDK 5 really can be installed everywhere you want, on any drive. I personally install every new JDK under c:\jdkXY , then make a compressed archive of it (currently self-extracting 7zip), unistall the JDK, then unpack the archive under X:\java\jdkXY .
that way I always have all JDK's at hand, for the different project requiring 100% compatibility during development:

Don't laugh, my last project requiring JDK 1.2 closes with end of current month.
Hurrah! But pssst, don't tell anyone ;)

Anonymous said...

Of course, 'X' is your preferred drive letter. My current one is 'E'.

Unknown said...

Howard, on the first screen of the Java 5 installer you agree to the license agreement and hit Next. Then on the second screen, there is a "Change..." button in the lower-right corner that allows you to change the installation folder. I missed this the first few times I installed Java 5. It is clearly a usability problem, I'm glad I'm not the only one who missed it.