The end of my week with 0.4.7

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Kevin Castro
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Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:55 pm
Location: Australia

The end of my week with 0.4.7

Post by Kevin Castro » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:27 am

I had always believed that I would eventually find a way to copy files out of Katrora without having to first shut her down. The method I have been persevering with is to insert a USB stick (at any time), copy files to it, shut the PC down, then remove the stick. Without shut-down, the PC will not boot again without a reinstall of ReactOS.

I had already spent hours trying to network Katrora (onboard LAN, driver 8169) to other PCs.
In both Katrora and Shellbone (Win7), I had URL'd by VDSL modem. In both PCs, the modem showed the connected devices:
"Unidentified Device 10.0.0.21" (Shellbone)
"KATRORA 10.0.0.99"
But they wouldn't talk.

Each of my PCs has its own RJ45 4-way switchbox. They can contact either the modem, or someone else's switchbox. This allows me to connect any websurfing PC to my storage PC (Bellbird, XP, offline, no AV) while ensuring Bellbird is unable to contact the modem.
Switching Shellbone and Bellbird together works perfectly. I hurry the connecting-up along by mapping (from within Shellbone) Z: \\bellbird\d.
Switching Katrora and Shellbone together results in them attempting to talk but not quite getting there.
Switching Katrora and Bellbird together results in them also attempting to talk.
I have tried with the PCs on Subnet mask 255.0.0.0 and 255.255.255.0. Nup.
I have tried to get Win7 to set up a new homegroup, which would include Katrora. Nup.
(I have already documented my attempts to network Katrora to my Laptop, using some 192 addresses).

I need to be able to remove a USB device without Katrora realizing it is missing. I had tried two card readers and a USB hub. None of them would install.

So, I decided to try a USB sata-bridge tail. I plugged in my single-power Apricorn tail without a drive. Then I plugged my Crucial C300 SSD (64GB), which had been formatted in FAT32 and had a few folders put in, into the tail. In Explorer, I checked its contents—the folders and files weren't showing. I closed Explorer, removed the SSD from the tail (hoping that leaving the tail plugged in would trick Katrora), then shut Katrora down.
Reboot. No POST screen boot-loop. Victory Nº1.

I then tried my Toshiba 160GB laptop spinner (NTFS), but the old ASUS mobo didn't have enough power in a single port to spin it up (even with a bridge in the spinner's start-up power-reduction pins). Unplug the spinner, shut Katrora down, unplug the Apricorn.

Boot. Plug in my dual-power el-cheapo tail. Plug in the spinner. In Explorer, check the contents. Everything shows, but the drive is read-only. Unplug the spinner (spinning), shut down.
Reboot. Perfect. Will the spinner now start up properly in another PC? Yep.
Using hot-unpluggable USB, I can copy things into Katrora, but not copy things out. Victory Nº2.

Using Shellbone, I reformatted the C300 in NTFS and plugged it into Katrora. It behaved the same way as the spinner.
I spent hours plugging the drives in and out of Bellbird and Shellbone, looking for some kind of 'sharing' issue before concluding the problem was neither a security thing or a permissions thing.
Now into the early hours of the morning, I ended up doing something that alerted Katrora to the fact that I had hot-unplugged a USB device. POST screen boot-loop.
Reinstall ReactOS (had to do it twice), leave her running, and go to bed.
0.4.12: Gigabyte GA-F2A68HM-DS2 [mobo], AMD A4 7300 [APU], TP-Link TG-3269 PCI network card (XP Beta driver online), Samsung 850 EVO 120GB

Kevin Castro
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:55 pm
Location: Australia

Re: The end of my week with 0.4.7

Post by Kevin Castro » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:29 am

The following day, I awoke with a new idea. In Bellbird, I would use MiniTool Partition Wizard to reduce the C300's partition to 20GB and change it back to FAT32.
Image
0.4.12: Gigabyte GA-F2A68HM-DS2 [mobo], AMD A4 7300 [APU], TP-Link TG-3269 PCI network card (XP Beta driver online), Samsung 850 EVO 120GB

Kevin Castro
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:55 pm
Location: Australia

Re: The end of my week with 0.4.7

Post by Kevin Castro » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:31 am

Katrora won't show me the true size of the partition. Disk 0 is the Crucial M4 boot, Disk 1 is the C300.
Using diskpart is a lottery—it usually locks the PC; occasionally, it works.
Image
0.4.12: Gigabyte GA-F2A68HM-DS2 [mobo], AMD A4 7300 [APU], TP-Link TG-3269 PCI network card (XP Beta driver online), Samsung 850 EVO 120GB

Kevin Castro
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:55 pm
Location: Australia

Re: The end of my week with 0.4.7

Post by Kevin Castro » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:33 am

And the drive appears in ReactOS Explorer.
Image
0.4.12: Gigabyte GA-F2A68HM-DS2 [mobo], AMD A4 7300 [APU], TP-Link TG-3269 PCI network card (XP Beta driver online), Samsung 850 EVO 120GB

Kevin Castro
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:55 pm
Location: Australia

Re: The end of my week with 0.4.7

Post by Kevin Castro » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:38 am

The drive was now read/write! Final victory!

But now came new signs of trouble.
Katrora would no longer shut herself down—I had to do a button-hold shut-down. Twice.
I tried the Apricorn again. Boot freezes at grey screen.
I spent another thirty minutes (including another install) with both tails—trying to come up with a combination that would work. And finally, another POST screen boot-loop. Hot-unpluggable USB just wasn't going to happen.

It wasn't that she had collapsed again that finally defeated me. It's that, to me, a PC that can't hot-swap files is not a PC. I don't mind not having a network if I can hot-unplug USB. That would at least allow me to hook up a USB two-way switchbox between the two PCs and have a USB stick plugged into the box's port where you would normally plug in a printer.

I look forward to 0.4.8.
0.4.12: Gigabyte GA-F2A68HM-DS2 [mobo], AMD A4 7300 [APU], TP-Link TG-3269 PCI network card (XP Beta driver online), Samsung 850 EVO 120GB

cernodile
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Location: Estonia
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Re: The end of my week with 0.4.7

Post by cernodile » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:21 am

That was an amazing read. Hope you have as much fun with 0.4.8 as you did with 0.4.7. If you want to get in early, check out the daily builds ;) I'm sure developers would appreciate your JIRA reports on real hardware esp if you get logs via serial or screen mode.
My working rigs:
Dell Latitude E5430 on 0.4.9-vgal - i5-3340M, 8GB (4 utilized) DDR3-1600MHz RAM, booting off a USB.
Image

dizt3mp3r
Posts: 1450
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:54 pm

Re: The end of my week with 0.4.7

Post by dizt3mp3r » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:46 am

It is possible to take discrete bits of Windows and use those as temporary replacements within ReactOS, for testing purposes of course when you are getting really frustrated with a specific function not working. However, you can't guarantee increased stability and of course this might cause its own issues but might be worth a try when you are really stuck.

Kevin Castro
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:55 pm
Location: Australia

Re: The end of my week with 0.4.7

Post by Kevin Castro » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:50 pm

Well, I cooled off for a couple of hours, hoovered the house, read google news, and then reinstalled.
In the past, I had had trouble with PCI USB cards in that motherboard. When that computer used to be "Kestrel" with XP, the USB card it had could only be used for power and mouse. It would also support the keyboard, but only after XP had loaded. I had tried three different cards and even tried installing some software for one of them. I removed the USB card before trying ReactOS just because I had no desire to invite any glitches. Little did I know.
Just today, I found a fourth card that I had purchased second-hand at the end of last year. I have slipped it into Katrora, and it supports data. The front ports of the tower are so old and worn, I have disconnected them from the motherboard.

I also downloaded an earlier version of OpenOffice (3.4.1) in an attempt to have it be more responsive. Writer is definitely more responsive and is a pleasure to use even when maximized. Spreadsheets are still basically unusable. Any minor change to the cells kind of freezes it. Then I just grab an edge of the window, move it the tiniest bit, and the sheet is then perfect and reflects the changes I made. Sure, it works; but so tedious.

I'll have to accept that I will find no back-door, as it were, to getting the USB to hot-unplug. I will simply have to change my routines to align with that kind of limitation. I'm not yet prepared to let go. ReactOS, and the install it gives me on my hardware, has really hooked me. I'm even going to keep trying with spreadsheets. I'm going to try slimming down the toolbars to see if that can make it respond better.
0.4.12: Gigabyte GA-F2A68HM-DS2 [mobo], AMD A4 7300 [APU], TP-Link TG-3269 PCI network card (XP Beta driver online), Samsung 850 EVO 120GB

Kevin Castro
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:55 pm
Location: Australia

Re: The end of my week with 0.4.7

Post by Kevin Castro » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:32 pm

Himbo moments, false starts, and a working knowledge-base.

I suppose my biggest himbo moment was failing to realize that an additional (outboard) FAT32 drive was never going to sing for me until I decreased the size of its partition—20GB seems just fine.

My biggest false start was trying to install Office 2000.
I discovered that installing it totally wrecks the existing "Fonts" folder. This means that all the desktop and theme and menu fonts will be either blurry or changed to something else. So the first thing to do is back up the "Fonts" folder.
I installed Office 2000, renamed the existing "Fonts" folder, "Fonts1", then reinstated the original "Fonts" folder.
Reboot, everything looked perfect!
The celebrations came to an abrupt halt when I opened Word and saw the wacky toolbar. Then I opened Excel and saw the crazy top row.

So, I'm stuck with OpenOffice (3.4.1 seems alright), which is rather quirky in ReactOS. I don't use the word "glitchy", because most of the things in ReactOS that are bizarre are consistent. So, once I know what it does bizarre, I know that it will always do that exact thing every time.
For example: scrolling in a document is one of the most difficult habits to break—I've been doing it since I got my first scrolling mouse (2004). But scrolling in Writer in ReactOS will bring me up to ten seconds of instant frustration unless I scroll slowly, notch-by-notch, allowing the page to respond to each notch in turn. I can't even drag the slidebar up and down. But the biggest annoyance is the lack of a blinking cursor (apparently, this is not unique to this OS). To find out where it is, I have to use the "Insert" key (but that won't show up at the end of a blank line). Very seldomly, the toolbar blanks out and I have to close and reopen the program.

I know we're not supposed to use the "S"-word, but my install seems quite stable even if riddled with oddities. I can leave Irfanview running a fullscreen slideshow overnight; but if I play solitaire fully out to the last card, the computer locks up requiring a reboot.
Apart from the solitaire thing; so long as I'm working and not experimenting, ReactOS never crashes or freezes. And that's why I was willing to pay for it.

So, what do I think I know about my ReactOS PC?
I know I can use it as a gorgeous but sometimes under-performing word processor. I can use it as a slick picture viewer (including basic photo editing); and there's a spreadsheet as well if I can summon up a good dose of patience.

I know it makes little sense to be creating documents and spreadsheets in Katrora when Bellbird (XP), Elite-baby (7-32), Krista (Vista), Semprix (XP), Shellbone (7-64), Silverfox (7-32), and Wombat (XP) all have Office 2000 and I also have two unused licenses/discs of Office 2013.

But life would be pretty boring without ReactOS.
0.4.12: Gigabyte GA-F2A68HM-DS2 [mobo], AMD A4 7300 [APU], TP-Link TG-3269 PCI network card (XP Beta driver online), Samsung 850 EVO 120GB

dizt3mp3r
Posts: 1450
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:54 pm

Re: The end of my week with 0.4.7

Post by dizt3mp3r » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:01 pm

What is a himbo? Normal vernacular English if you will please. Multinational audience here.


oldman
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Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:23 pm

Re: The end of my week with 0.4.7

Post by oldman » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:56 pm

but if I play solitaire fully out to the last card, the computer locks up requiring a reboot.
If what you are referring to here, is that when you click on the OK button, nothing happens, then just use the Enter key instead. That worked for me years ago, but I think that I have read a bug report where even using the Enter key did not work! But do try the Enter key to see if it does work.
Please keep the Windows classic (9x/2000) look and feel.
The layman's guides to - debugging - bug reporting - compiling - with some complementary scripts.
They may help you with a problem, so do have a look at them.

middings
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Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 9:18 pm
Location: California, USA

Re: The end of my week with 0.4.7

Post by middings » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:09 am

Oldman, is this the bug you reported in CORE-4799, "Solitaire, Last card captured by mouse"?

oldman
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Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:23 pm

Re: The end of my week with 0.4.7

Post by oldman » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:53 am

middings wrote:Oldman, is this the bug you reported in CORE-4799, "Solitaire, Last card captured by mouse"?
Yes Middings. The second part of the report covers this behaviour that Kevin Castro describes.
Please keep the Windows classic (9x/2000) look and feel.
The layman's guides to - debugging - bug reporting - compiling - with some complementary scripts.
They may help you with a problem, so do have a look at them.

milon
Posts: 969
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 9:26 pm

Re: The end of my week with 0.4.7

Post by milon » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:12 pm

I didn't know either, so I looked it up. Himbo is a male bimbo (attractive looking but empty-headed).

Kevin Castro, thanks for the time, energy, photos, story, and persistence! This thread is great!

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