Sunday, May 30, 2010

Too obvious a solution

Last week I decided to give my ageing desktop computer a much needed overhaul: the ancient 2.66 GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor powering the machine had become obsolete long ago. Since the new Intel processors of Core ix family need motherboards of newer chipsets and since those motherboards support only DDR3 memory, I had to buy all those components, too. After a little bit of research, I chose:

To house all these fancy stuff, I went for a rather nice-looking CoolerMaster cabinet as well:

Assembling the components was a no-brainer, thanks to the tool-less design of the cabinet. So far, so good.

But the problem was, as usual, with the Windows 7 OS. Although it was already installed on the hard disk, it refused too start. Although Ubuntu was running without any such fuss, I was really in the mood for playing GTA IV. I bought that game almost two years ago but couldn't play simply because my computer lacked the required processing power. Now with the quad-code cpu, it was not a problem any more. But it appeared that Windows needed to be reinstalled.

Now, installing windows by booting from a DVD-ROM drive was not an option. What I needed was a bootable Windows 7 installer USB disk. A little bit of googling revealed that it is quite easy to create such a disk from a Windows 7 DVD : all one needs to do
is create an NTFS partition, copy the comtents of the DVD to the partition and (here's the catch) make the partition bootable using the diskpart software bundled with windows. The problem was that I didn't have any working Windows installation on any computer. On my laptop, Ubuntu was the only OS installed.

I hoped that unetbootin might help, but it appeared that it can only create bootable disks of linux and BSD distros, although the software itself is available for Windows also. Finding no other solution on the web, I did the first thing that came to my mind: I just enabled the boot flag on the partition containing the win 7 installation files using Gparted. And Voila, it worked!