Monday, September 29


Yes, it's a new OS - BackTrack 3.

Running of a USB stick on a 1.5Gb FAT32 partition, with persistent changes on a ext2 partition. Runs smoothly, feels very responsive and fast - we'll just have to see how well it does on the "aggressive security" part...

Installation went suprisingly smoothly. I had found a SanDisk Cruzer 4Gb for cheap, and used PartedMagic (mentioned in my last post) to divide it into two partitions - one 1.5Gb Fat32, one Ext2 covering the rest of the avilable space. Once I had downloaded the USB Extended version of BT3 with my desktop, I mounted the ISO and copied the files onto the fat32 partition. Then I just ran the provided .bat file to make thestick bootable. Switching over to my Eee, I created a folder named 'changes' on the Ext2 partition, and edited the syslinux.cfg file as outlined in an article on's wiki. Then it was a simple matter of rebooting my Eee, selecting the correct mode to allow for persistent changes and wait for the boot to finish.

Boot times are - compared to the native Xandros running of the SSD - fairly long, but still a lot shorter than my desktop. I've yet to find my way around very well, and I haven't had a go at accessing the agressive security features yet. Expect a short post on that once I gotten around to testing it.

So now my Eee has three operating systems to choose from: Xandros (both Easy and Advanced Mode), XP on a SD card, and BT3 on an USB stick. I might reuse the stick for otehr distros later, or see if I can't manage to set up multiple OS's on it. Time will tell.

Wednesday, September 17

The joy of Windows....

Don't worry - I haven't decided to switch from Xandros to WinXP. I just figured it may be a nice challenge to have an XP install on a SD card in cause I needed it at some point. That, and we all need some self inflicted misery in our life =)

And if / when all else failed, I made sure I had a recent backup of my user partition (courtesy of gfoot's excellent eeeBackup - highly recommended). And not surprisingly, it came in handier than I thought

Reading up a bit, I thought I had the perfect solution for installing directly to an SD card, leaving my tweaked box untouched. Uhm.. no. No matter what trick I tried (granted, given for USB hard drives), I could not make the Windows installer see the SD card as the C-drive. And I wasn't about to trash my boot partition for no gain.

So, the next step were more research; what was needed to get Windows from the SSD to an SD card... and once again I found a workable solution.

I've started with my Eee, my WinXP desktop, a fresh SD (2gb) card, a USB stick, a legal copy of WinXP (in my case, a students edition) and a borrowed USB DVD-reader.

I then download the XP3eSD utility, the Hitachi Microdrive Filter Drivers, and a copy of Partedmagic.

First step should have been to burn and test a LiveCD with Partedmagic...

Following the instructions made life simple - the installation of Windows took longer than I remembered, but then it has been a year or two since I had to reinstall on my desktop. The one thing I made sure of was to installWinXp to a partition slightly smaller than 2Gb - I selected 1900Mb - to make transfer to the SD card easier later. Once WinXP was installed and running I turned of the swap file, system restore and the screen saver. I then loaded theMicrodrive Filter Driver for the SD card, paying close attention to the instructions once again. A quick reboot later to make sure I hadn't screwed things up, I powered down to boot withPartedmagic.

Remember I mentioned I should have tested the LiveCd first?

At any rate, another quick download - this time from PartedMagics homepage - I had a working copy of Partedmagic and could get to work again. I must say it was easier then the arcane commands in the instructions would imply; adjust the partitions to match (in my case, reduce the partition on the SD card with 20Mb), open the terminal and copy the commands carefully.

After the files were transferred, I rebooted again, this time selecting the SD card as the boot device. WinXP was a little slow loading (well, compared to from theSSD - not compared to me desktop) but came up. Putting the Asus Restore DVD in the external DVD, I rebooted from the DVD and restored Xandros. Next reboot was directly from my "USB Backup Stick", using gfoot's excellent and most recommended eeeBackup to restore my user partition. Yet another reboot - this time from the SSD - assured me that my Eee was back at it's own self, running Linux with all my software and tweaks in place.

All that remained was to reboot into WinXP on the SD card (which, for some reason, seemed faster the second time), put the support DVD in the external player and start installing the drivers... which took for ever.

Later, I'll install Firefox (probably with a few add-ons, SpyBot, AdAware and a lightweight anti-virus to make a usable system, and see about hacking bits of WinXP away. For now, I'm satisfied with the fact that I have managed to install WinXp on a removable media and running it on such a tiny box - couldn't have done it without others doing it before me though.

Oh, and I've found a use for it: as a "sand box" environment for letting others borrow my Eee. Supervised, off course =)