A quick update about my situation - the RMA got the first module, but they demand the second module as well (despite the fact that all tests show that it's OK). They say that the manufacturers can only take both modules at one time (actually, something similar happened to me when buying the RAM in the first place - the pack, 2x2GB, had half the price listed, and in order to buy it you have to select the quantity as 2 - which logically would mean 2x2x2GB, but it's not).


Anyway, that means I won't have any RAM left, so I won't be able to use this PC. However, it shouldn't take long - the package will be sent either after 2 days (85% chance), after 4 days (97% chance) or more if I'm really unlucky; and in the mean while, I can use my parents' laptop to stay in touch (though all projects will, naturally, be on hold).

In other news, due to a bug (or, rather, disabled feature by Micro$oft) in Windows 7 sound management that causes EAX effects in Unreal Engine 2 games to be static (that is, they don't change from room to room), I can't test nor play the games normally (EAX is a really important thing - you should enable it, the sound becomes a lot more realistic!), so I decided to install my Windows XP x64 back, and using new technology methods (read about it on my other blog entry). So I will be setting it up for a while and checking how things work there, and if everything works as expected, I'll probably move the main system there.

I had quite some interesting time using the new technology to install it, actually. Basically I wanted to set up my USB drive to be a kind of CD-storage volume, where I could boot different CDs via GRUB, due to the fact that Windows XP doesn't support AHCI by default, and my original CD doesn't have Service Pack 2 (I used nLite to slipstream everything into the CD - I highly recommend it). However, making the USB volume into a multiboot environment wasn't simple. Firstly, I tried to use UNetbootin to set up my Windows XP CD there, but it wouldn't boot due to a missing boot kernel file, which UNetbootin didn't install for some reason. Secondly, I tried GRUB2DOS CD emulation, and it was a partial success - it managed to boot the Memtest86+ CD and the Windows XP CD, however, it BSoDed every time it tried to load the Windows kernel. GPartEd CD (which is basically a linux LiveCD) also didn't boot, and that's expectable - the GRUB2DOS manual says that it can't handle complex kernels.

Thirdly, I decided to partition my USB drive so I could have a real multiboot environment. However, Windows refused to do it, so I used GPartEd (from my HDD Linux installation) to do that. It was successful, but Windows still refused to see the partitions! Well, actually, not really "see" - the Disk Manager reports that the partitions are there, but it mounts only the first one for no good reason. And since most direct LiveUSB creation tools are for Windows and ask you for a drive letter instead of a partition, it was no go. So I just used the dd (Convert and Copy) command from Linux to directly record the ISO images to my USB drive. However, even that didn't work as well - GRUB couldn't chainload anything except for GPartEd, but it complained about a missing file... So I reformatted the GPartEd partition as FAT32 and installed it as a LiveUSB as written in the readme, and it worked this time. And since it already contains memtest86+ in it, I don't bother with its own partition; as for Windows, see my other thread.

Then I repartitioned my drive to add space for the Windows XP installation, but ran into problems here as well. I had two OSs installed - Windows 7 and Linux, but they took a lot of partitions - Windows 7 by default installs two partitions - its main and its bootloader, both as primary partitions. Then I also had GRUB installed as a primary partition, too, and finally Linux with all its partitions was on an extended partition, which is also counted as a primary partition of sorts. And since the maximum primary partition count is 4, I had already reached the limit, and Windows XP requires a primary partition to function (one of the many Windows limitations...).

I still attempted to install it on a logical partition, and used GPartEd to resize my Linux partition (had only one, except for /boot, installed at that time). However, it seems that I experienced a bug in GPartEd's resize techniques - instead of resizing my ext4 partition, GPartEd corrupted it! It and all other partition managers reported it as "unpartitioned space"... Well, at least no harm was done, I didn't have any important files on that partition, it was set up sub-optimally and that allowed me to create the primary partition for Windows XP (I just reinstalled GRUB on a logical drive - it runs just fine there as well).

And then I reinstalled Windows (had to use Windows 7 Startup Repair several times due to installing the XP boot loader to the Windows 7 partition - oops!), and it's all fine now. Don't forget to read my other blog entry here, too - this is a really awesome method of installing Windows XP!

So yea, overall I got quite some experience and I didn't lose anything in the process. Woot!