Toshiba NB205 Dual Boot BSOD

3 10 2009

After using XP on my Toshiba NB205 netbook for a while, I decided to finally spent some time getting Ubuntu Netbook Remix to work correctly on it. Things went bad. Very very bad… The first thing I did was use gparted to shrink my XP partition, and then created a new partition and installed Ubuntu Netbook Remix from a USB drive.

First off, the following will not work correctly without a lot of fighting in Ubuntu on the NB205 right now,

  • Wireless (easy fix)
  • Bluetooth (not so easy fix)
  • Sound (speakers will not work without throwing away ALSA and using OSS sound system)
  • Hibernation (couldn’t find a fix)
  • Hard Drive Shock Protection (no fix exists right now)
  • Battery life goes down over an hour, I believe because of the CPU scaling not being enabled

I’m used to tweaking Linux to work, so fine. The bad things happened when I attempted to pick Windows XP from the Grub boot menu and was greeted with a blue screen of death and reboot. To stop the reboot when you get a BSOD in XP, you can hit F8 when booting and there is an advanced option to disable that. After that I managed to figure out the error,

STOP: 0x00000024 (0x00190203, 0x85BD2490, 0xC0000102, 0x00000000)

Lovely error, isn’t it? Spending some time Googling revealed this,

This issue can occur if a problem occurred within the Ntfs.sys file. The Ntfs.sys file is the driver file that enables your computer to read and write to NTFS partitions. Damage in the NTFS file system, damaged portions of your hard disk, or damaged SCSI or IDE drivers can also cause this issue.

It looks like Gparted inside the Ubuntu installer, for whatever reason, messes up the NTFS partition. The fix seems to be easy, you just run CHKDSK.  Only problem being, this netbook doesn’t have a CD drive, a floppy drive, and I also don’t have the recovery disks because Toshiba does not send them.

First idea, look for Linux tools. This didn’t go anywhere, Linux can hardly mount NTFS, no less fix it.

Second idea, use a BartPE disk on a USB drive. I got this to boot, but I can’t get the drivers to see the hard drive on the netbook. I even dumped all the drivers from the recovery partition onto the BartPE build, but it still will not see the hard drive.

Third idea, NTFS4DOS. This just sits there at a blinking icon like this guy said.

Fouth idea, use the recovery partition option in GRUB and just give up on Linux for the day. This gave me the following errors,

“Windows cannot find C:\Bin\ErrorDialog.exe”
“Windows cannot find C:\BootPriority.exe”

Fifth idea, there is a file on the recovery partition (which crashes just like XP) called base.iso. I pulled this out and extracted the files. Using a combination of PE2USB and 7-zip I tried to get this to boot off a USB drive, but for whatever reason I couldn’t get it to boot properly.

Finally, I managed to get it to boot into the recovery partition. I was so excited that it actually booted into it after 6 hours of trying to get my laptop to boot that I did a full system restore and didn’t tempt fate by experimenting further. What I did was, remove the “savedefault” option from the grub entry on the recovery partition. Why did this work? I haven’t the faintest idea. The menu.lst file mentioned,

# WARNING: If you are using dmraid do not use ‘savedefault’ or your
# array will desync and will not let you boot your system.
But I wasn’t even using the saved option to begin with. Maybe I did something else before and this wasn’t actually the solution, because I can hardly believe such a GRUB option would cause the troubles getting into the recovery partition. Whatever the cause of this entire mess between XP and Ubuntu on the NB200/NB205, I’m not alone. The following posts show other people with the same problem and no solutions,

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1272853

http://ubuntu-ky.ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=7800396

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-newbie-8/windows-xp-wont-boot-with-grub-after-installing-ubuntu-8.04-738769/

At the moment, I’m just glad XP is back to running… and would NOT recommend trying to install Ubuntu Netbook Remix on a Toshiba NB200/NB205 without backing up the hard drive, especially the recovery partition, and be ready to run into a lot of issues.

# WARNING: If you are using dmraid do not use 'savedefault' or your
# array will desync and will not let you boot your system.
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Sharing Firefox Profiles on Dual Boot Systems

27 01 2009

A quick fix for sharing your Firefox profiles/bookmarks in a dual boot system is shown here. I’m dual booting XP and Ubuntu 8.10 but the operating systems shouldn’t matter much. Simply create a partition that all your operating systems can read, FAT32 format in my case, and makes sure all the operating systems mount it. This is always a good idea when dual booting to keep your files available for all your operating systems. To auto mount that partition in Ubuntu you’ll have to edit /etc/fstab to add something like the following line,

what_to_mount    where_to_mount    vfat    auto,users,rw,exec,uid=username,gid=groupname,umask=017    0    0

For example,

/dev/sda8    /mnt/storage    vfat    auto,users,rw,exec,uid=pherricoxide,gid=admin,umask=017    0    0

Then, copy one of your Firefox profiles to that partition. The profiles are located in ~/.mozilla/firefox/. If you’re using Windows, this would be in c:\\documents and settings\user\application data. If in Linux, this would be in /home/user/. It should be the only directory if you never set you multiple profiles, something with a lot of random looking numbers and letters.

Once that’s done open up a terminal or command prompt and run firefox -profilemanager. In my case, this wasn’t in the XP path, so I had to cd to program files/mozilla firefox/ before running it. After it comes up, click create new profile. Hit next, and then change directory. Change to the directory on your FAT32 partition of the profile that you copied over, and then just hit next. Just stick with the default profile name. That’s it, now Firefox is using the profile in that directory. Do that with all your operating systems and you should be set.

Note: I’m not sure how well sharing a profile would work with multiple versions of Firefox. It’s likely best to update all your versions before you get started.

Note 2: This messes up some of the more complex plugins, and Firefox will often complain that it’s installed new plugins when you switch to the other OS.