Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fragmentation Hell

I've become so acclimated to the ext4 filesystem under Linux that I have all but forgotten disk fragmentation, a haunting memory of a more... unsophisticated past. So when I reinstalled Windows 7 on my desktop, I thought nothing of installing 20+ programs simultaneously, the thought just never crossed my mind. Congratulations Ballmer, you win again. Killing Floor, a game I play frequently was lagging and crashing uncontrollably and I couldn't figure out why. Later on when I went to reinstall Linux Mint 8 on the same disk, It wouldn't let me make any changes to the NTFS partition. After looking at the more detailed data, it was immediately apparent why. The NTFS file system on that partition was in a state of disarray of cosmic proportions. After finally convincing Windows that I do need to analyze that disk for fragmentation, It tells me that a whopping 17% of my data is afflicted. So I set chkdsk to run at Windows start-up, and I'm defragging the disk as I'm typing this. With any luck, I'll soon be able to install Mint and put this whole nightmare behind me.

In other news, my wireless card works beautifully under Linux, and acts like a recovering alcoholic who fell of the wagon under windows. It will not deal with any type of network protection (WPA2-TKIP, WPA2-AES, WPA-TKIP, all variations of WEP, et cetera). I'd never thought I'd see the day. My Linux-based operating system Mint is maintained by a handful of unpayed volunteer developers, and they managed to do what a multi-national billion dollar corporation could not. But then again this is not the first time. The only reason I continue to use Windows is for gaming, PC is still the best gaming platform out there. However multiplayer games begin to seem a little lackluster when you can't connect to the internet to play them. The second there's a viable Windows emulator for Linux, that is capable of allowing me to run steam and all of it's games I'm never going back. And no wine is not what I'm looking for. Spending 13 hours configuring all sorts of parameters so I can run an unplayably buggy Civilization 4 is not my idea of 'viable'.

I'm hoping that I will eventually be able to put the modem/router in my room so I can have direct access to it, thus cutting the number of network-related technical nightmares I face on a daily basis in half, If not more. I'd also then be able to distro-hop like a madman without having to spend hours finding the proper wireless drivers, though to be fair in light of this whole Winblows situation, the *nix Operating Systems are not a problem.

Disk Defrag is still taking place, I'll update when it's done.

Update: 1:30pm 1/13/2009

Defrag finished, performance is much much better. I was able to install Linux Mint 8 x64, however the wireless card is still all but useless under windows. I'm looking into getting the Xtreme N Desktop Adapter (DWA-552) as soon as I verify that it works out of the box on all of the distro's I use.

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