[plug] Windows 7

Brad Campbell brad at fnarfbargle.com
Fri Dec 13 04:53:43 UTC 2013

So I've been doing a heap of 3D work recently. I achieve this using the windows CAD program in a VM 
and display it over the network with Spice (which rocks). I've been struggling with apparent UI 
latency and not having ever used, nor seen this program on the bare metal I thought it might be a VM 
artifact, so I shrunk my home partition and made room for Windows on the disk.

It's been a *long* time since I've used windows outside a VM, so I booted the install CD and told it 
where to put itself. Away it went.
What the installer does not actually tell you is it will put Windows wherever you tell it to, 
however it will also install the bootloader in the first partition it comes across that is marked 
active in the MBR. Yay, so Windows installed and simultaneously wiped my root partition.

I painstakingly restored everything from backups and then found of course windows would not boot 
because I stomped it's bootloader, so booted Windows into rescue mode and used the old /fixboot to 
re-install the bootloader. Of course it dutifully installed it (you see where this is going?) on the 
first partition that was marked active and thus stomped my root *again*.

*grumble*. For future reference, create your partition for windows *and* mark it active before you 
boot the Windows CD, then swap it back to allow grub to chain to the windows partition on the rare 
occasion you want it.

How can such a defective POS be so popular ?!?

Anyway, after a second root restore and much fiddling I got it working, installed the CAD software 
on the Windows bare metal and found out it's no faster. So from a real usability standpoint for 
*complex* and very hungry windows software a VM is now a very practical and competitive solution. 
The only thing the bare metal brought me was nicer 3D textures using the fruit on the graphics card, 
but from a day-to-day usability perspective the VM is just as good (it's actually better as my 
desktop has 16G and a 3.6G proc while the VM box has 32G and is overclocked to 4.7G).

Hooray for KVM. Boo for Windows.

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