All The Stuff You Didn't Know (Part 4) - Booting From Backup & Dead Island Is Dead

5/10/2012 9:01:04 AM

It’s Impossible To Format!

I have a 2TB external hard drive, now it's having a problem. When I try to format it, it keeps saying unable to complete format. I opened the cover and turned it into an internal hard disk drive. It still can't be formatted.

Description: external hard drive

External hard drive

Either the drive hardware is faulty or the low-level format is corrupted. You can sometimes fix problems with the latter by deleting the partition and recreating it, or by formatting for a different filing system (say FAT32, instead of NTFS) and then reformatting it back to the filing system you actually want. But even if this works, I'd take it as a strike against the reliability of the drive, so be prepared for this drive to fail. Note that you should always be prepared for your drive to fail, just as you should always be prepared for the outbreak of the zombie apocalypse, so this shouldn't change anything. Just back up regularly, stockpile tinned food and bottled water, and remember to floss.

Booting From Backup


Description: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit OEM Dell DVD

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit OEM Dell DVD

I have attempted this scenario on a desktop and laptop, without success. I have loaded Windows on an external hard drive, as a backup. This should then load once the BIOS boot sequence is changed accordingly. The system appears to not allow this. I have attempted this from the full version of Windows XP Pro and the OEM version of Windows 7 however both attempts have failed.

That's because Windows does not support booting from removable drives. Not being supported isn't exactly the same as impossible, but in this case, it's accurate to within two decimal places. There are some hacks and third-party drivers that can trick Windows into thinking that an external drive is not removable, but they all involve some pretty low-level rolling up of your sleeves. Since this sort of tinkering generally reduces the stability of the operating system and the purpose of backing up is to improve your total uptime,

I don't recommend it. The BIOS option to boot from a USB disk is there in case you want to install Linux, which does support it. This doesn't really change the viability of your backup strategy. In fact, it's the one I recommend. Continue to make a complete bootable image of your internal hard disk on the backup drive. If you only lose a few files or folders and Windows still boots, you can access the external drive as normal to restore them. If your internal disk dies completely, you'll need to crack open the case and take the external hard disk out of its housing so that you can swap it for the faulty internal disk. It's a bit more work than just plugging in a USB flash drive, but only a bit. It’s like changing a tyre, as I am always telling people that I meet on the hard shoulder.

Dead Island Is Dead


Description: Windows XP SP3 Professional March Final/ENG

Windows XP SP3 Professional March Final/ENG

I have been trying to load Dead Island for a while now but every time I install the game, an error message pops up while installing DirectX9. "The software you are installing has not passed Windows logo testing to verify its compatibility with Windows XP. The software will not be installed." There is only an option to say 'OK' and when I click 'OK', another message says "an internal error occurred. Please refer to DXError.log". Running Windows XP SP3, I have many other new games that haven't given me this error.

That error comes from the digital signing system that is supposed to prevent you from installing important Windows files that are corrupted or have been tampered with. The developer signs the files with a cryptographic hash and Windows checks this hash during the install to verify that the file hasn't changed.

Unfortunately the signing process changed for Vista and Win7 so that the XP installer doesn't always recognise the hash. If you get the version of the dialog that has an "ignore and install anyway” option you can just select that. But because this is DirectX, you don't. Instead, you'll have to right-click My Computer and select Properties > Hardware > Drivers > Driver Signing. Select 'Ignore - install the software anyway’ and ‘Don't ask for my approval'. Tick the 'Make this the default' box and reinstall Dead Island.

Be careful though as this is the equivalent of removing the battery from your smoke alarm. Something that's worth bearing in mind the next time you install some random piece of downloaded shareware willy nilly.

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