Unboxing the new laptop

Volume 16, Issue 14; 26 Dec 2013

Much to my delight and surprise, despite an ETD of early January, my new laptop arrived on Monday, two days before Christmas.

The Thinkpad is a black slab, no unboxing photos seemed required.

The configuration I ordered had an SSD as the primary disk and a second spinning rust disk in place of the optical drive. I was slightly annoyed to discover that Lenovo didn't ship me the optical drive, but I guess that's ok. I went out and bought an inexpensive USB one.

My first configuration attempt was simply to shrink the Windows partition and install Linux along side it, but the SSD is only 256G, Windows won't go smaller than about 100G, and in the end I decided there just wasn't enough space that way.

My second attempt was to move Windows to the spinning rust drive. Step one: make the recovery media. I don't know what I found more frustrating, the craptastic tool for this or Windows' wreckless arrogance. The tool starts with two warnings: you can only do this once and, for the love of all things you hold dear, do not stop once you've started!

So I started. I made the boot disk, figuring I didn't need the “data media”. Step two: boot from DVD, begin install, discover that you do in fact need the “data media”.

Reboot, run the tool wondering if it'll work a second time. It does. It won't make the data media without making the boot media, so now I have two of those. And it doesn't say how many DVDs it's going to burn. After about four disks, I'm getting sleepy. I put the laptop aside figuring I can finish in the morning.

Come three thirty in the morning, I am awakened by the Windows boot chime. MOTHER %$#@!&*ING WINDOWS decided to reboot to install some %$#@!&*ing update!

Now I really wonder if the tool will work again. It does. And it starts over at the beginning of course.

Eventually, I have a set of disks. Boot from the DVD, install Windows on the second drive. Reboot…naturally it boots off the first drive. Go back into Linux, update grub, now I can point to the second drive. Boot Windows…and it doesn't work. Some part of some craptastic install script is clearly unprepared for the possibility that Windows might be on drive D: instead of C:. (Really!?)

I have now physically swapped the drives, so that the spinning rust will be C:. And I'm going through the entire reinstall dance again.

Wish me luck!


I understand the need to have Windows installed ( and I really dislike Microsoft for forcing their bits on businesses, which in turn forces that on people with different preferences), but at least you can install it in a virtual machine. I tried Linux host with Xen virtual machine for Windows and it worked for me. There's also Virtual Box, but Xen seems snapier. This setup simplifies regular backups, too. Just dd the whole partition which acts as Windows drive and you're good.

—Posted by Lucian Pintilie on 26 Dec 2013 @ 06:41 UTC #

Just a small comment re: optical device and linux install: I've done my last couple of debian and Ubuntu installs using PXEBoot from dnsmasq, which serves as DHCP server and DNS server in my home LAN.

No need to create a boot image on a CD/DVD, or SD card or USB pen, or whatever.

—Posted by Steinar Bang on 26 Dec 2013 @ 08:22 UTC #

Sheesh Norm. If you're struggling I'm tempted not to bother! What a waste of space. I did wonder about removing crapware prior to creating the installation media, to remove the DVD count. I (naively) assumed I'd get a M$ boot DVD for re-installation (remember the 'good' old days?).

I seem to recall hearing that Windows is 'expected' to be on C drive... which I believe is always the first disk. True/False anyone?

the last ditch option might be to have Windows only as inst media, and just install Linux ... which presumes you won't want to run it again

Final option (decent sized disk?), use vmware et al as your windows partition?

Apart from that, have you used it? Is the keyboard anything like decent? The screen - guessing you want for the 1600 option

—Posted by Dave Pawson on 27 Dec 2013 @ 08:58 UTC #

I find that I am more productive on Windows because I know all the keyboard shortcuts, looking forward to hearing how your experiment works!

—Posted by Jose on 02 Jan 2014 @ 06:21 UTC #