Back in 2009 I did a lot of web development and that usually results in changing around the Windows host file all the time. Back then I used Windows Vista for windows development and wrote a quick sidebar gadget that can view, edit and temporarily comment out entries in your host file. It runs on Windows 7 as well if you unzip it and put the KCHostEditor.gadget folder into: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets
Then you can just right click on the desktop an select "Gadgets" and add it. Just tried it out before running of so I'm not sure if it works for editing, I remember that I had to be admin on the machine. The machine I'm on now just gives me standard user, for now.... But try it out if you like and if you want to do your own gadget refer to this guide: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/bb456468(v=vs.85).aspx
Worked late last night, on a friday I know! One of my laptops, an XPS M1530, have been making a strange noise. The speaker locks it self in some strange scream. Sometimes I was able to get it to shut up by tapping on it but other times I had to connect headphones to get it to shut up. Last night I was tired of it so after a did the shutdown I took it apart and ripped out the broken speaker and cut out the cables. Then I put it all together again and tried to start the computer. My entire hard drive is encrypted with True Crypt and I also have a hidden operating system on the machine (both win 7 x64). On start up I got the password screen for True Crypt and entered my password for the decoy system and got this error:
Error: error no bootable partition found
I goggled a bit and didn't find anything useful. I realized it probably was the boot properties that was messed up but none of the tools I had could access the disk because it was encrypted. So I did have the recovery cd created by True Crypt so I started it up and decrypted the entire system. Then i restored the original boot loader and tried a reboot.
Missing operating system
So I only got a new error message instead. Google didn't give me much more then that I should use the windows install cd to repair it. I have been working with windows for a long time and I don't have any good experiences with Microsoft repairs. So I didn't want to do some universal end user fix that would f*ck up my system. I booted from the windows dvd with hope of a command prompt. When I selected "Repair my system" it couldn't find my system but I could read the disk from the prompt. So I took the disk out of the computer and hooked it up to my other laptop and activated the C:\ drive of the decoy system. Now the repair function of the Windows 7 install DVD could see the installation. I got a dialog that told my that my boot options was messed up and asked me if I wanted to repair them and reboot. Yes please that would be lovely! Did it boot, of course not!
But I got even a new error! Just a blank black screen with a flashing underscore cursor. So what now? I already know that my master boot record (MBR) and probably my boot manager was broken. So I tried to boot from the Windows 7 install DVD again and issued two commands:
Restarted the machine and got a new error again!
BOOTMGR is missing
But this was the first good error message so now I could really get down to fixing the issue. Started the Windows 7 installation DVD repair function again and entered the prompt. Issued the following commands:
To check for errors and "repair" them. If chkdsk finds anything the disk is usually about to fail. Really don't like when that finds anything.
Bcdedit /export C:\BCD_Backup
ren c:\boot\bcd bcd.old
This rebuilds the boot options for the boot manager. But this command only sacans all the disk trying to find windows installations. I couldn't see that it found anything but I could access c:\ so then i entered it manually:
Then I ran bootrec again:
Then I restarted the machine and it booted without any problem. But only my decoy system, my hidden operating system is still on a partion that looks "RAW". In my case it doesn't matter becuase I rarly used my hidden system anyway and really only created it for fun. But I think it would be possible to get the system back but I didn't try. I'm just glad that my primary system was back on track.
I have, as many others, tons of stuff on my desktop. The windows box in question is a Vista machine and I really like the fixes MS has done to the user experience since XP. But I always had trouble with all my desktop icons and my fetish to save to the desktop when it's only a temporary file, that always stays there for weeks or months when it's not so temp anymore. The biggest issue is that it's a laptop running at 1440x900px docked but not so high resolution undocked. When I have placed all my tools and stuff neatly along the sides of the screen and undock my laptop all the icons go together in a big pile in the top left corner. So when I dock again I have to tidy up all the time. Now I don't have that problem anymore! Fences really cleans up the desktop and take care of all the problems. It's good, it's easy and free!
Check it out: http://www.stardock.com/products/fences/