Oh man, almost screwed myself over last night. So I spent the last several days preparing to install Windows 8.1 Enterprise (copying all my questionable media files to an external drive took quite a while!) and then actually installing it. I wanted to install it alongside Windows 7 rather than over it so that I could boot into either, but it refused, and I got really frustrated with the whole thing and wound up installing it over the old Windows 7 install (“upgrading” is what they call this, I believe). Interestingly, it kept my user account (with password) and all my “personal” files (whatever was in my user directory, plus any random directories I’d made outside of Windows. It then put all the old Windows stuff in a “Windows.old” directory. Interesting. Wonder if this can be used to bring Win7 back, should I desire to do so? Unfortunately I fucked around with it and deleted a bunch of items from it because they were things like installed programs which no longer worked (because they weren’t installed on Win8) so I guess we’ll never know. Oh well.

Once Win 8.1 Enterprise was installed, I started installing software… the first thing I put on there was MIRC, of course, so that I could complain about Win8 and Metro and software installs and stuff in my IRC channel. Hey, you gotta get that bile out of your system somehow. Anyway, I then installed some other things, including VirtualBox, and what do you know — some of my old files that were kept were my VMs, and when I installed VB, it immediately looked in that directory and recognized them. So even though I had carefully exported them to an .ova file, it turned out not to be necessary. I was happy but also a little sad that I didn’t get the chance to import my file and make sure the export/import process actually worked properly. O well. Maybe I’ll try copying a VM to a different computer sometime using the process.

Having done that, JB encouraged me to install “Hyper V,” Microsoft’s virtual machine software. It’s one of those things like IIS which is included in Windows, you just have to turn it on. I actually really like VB so I was meh on his idea of remaking my most important Linux box (my webserver which runs my websites and domain e-mail) in Hyper V and no longer using VB (at least for now) but I agreed to do it at least temporarily just to work with Hyper V… unfortunately, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. So it turns out that unlike VB, Hyper V does not have its own network adapter that you can bridge to your real network adapter (or leave as its own little LAN) if you want your virtual machines to have access to the internet. Instead, it wants you to create a “virtual switch.” I thought perhaps this was something similar to the VB network adapter, but I was wrong. Making the Hyper V virtual switch actually changed everything on my computer… as you can see in that article, rather than just being a network adapter for the Hyper V virtual machines, it actually takes over being the network adapter for your host computer as well, inserting itself between the real adapter and everything else. (The truly annoying this is that after doing all this, the internet still didn’t work in my Hyper V Centos 6 VM.) This broke all my VirtualBox VMs because, of course, they expected the old adapter. Even when I switched the network adapter settings to the Hyper V one they refused to use it and in addition my main Linux box, Leon, stopped recognizing that it was on a 64-bit processor and for some reason assumed it was on a 32-bit machine (why did this happen?? Totally mysterious). Even when I totally disabled the network adapter, it kept having the 32-bit problem, and under its Settings, the “version” was set to a 32-bit OS and there were no 64-bit options in the list to change it to.

I tried removing the virtual switch from Hyper V Manager, but it refused to delete it. “I can’t do that, Dave.” I had no idea what to do and was freaking out a bit. My friend Kali was like, “did you have a saved state?” and I thought, DO I have a saved state? Turned out there was a restore point that had been made 2 days prior, just after I’d installed Win8. Since the install was new and I had literally done almost nothing but install software and then ruin my VM, I decided it couldn’t hurt to try a system restore, so I did one, and whoa — it worked! Hyper V is gone (along with all my other software, other than MIRC for some reason), and the network adapter is back to its old self. When I reinstalled VirtualBox, Leon was still messed up (since a restore doesn’t affect your files) and wouldn’t start, but I was able to turn the network adapter back on and set “version” back to 64-bit Red Hat… and that fixed it. I had already deleted the previous backup so I was extremely relieved, because I dreaded setting up Postfix again on my own without anything to look at… I remembered how completely miserable it was to get my domain e-mail working the first time and so when the VM started I snapshotted it immediately (and I’ll probably export its current state to an external drive as well so it’s backed up twice). I have a bad habit of not backing up my important data, so I am gonna try to do better in the future…

I learned later I probably didn’t need to do a system restore (though I’m not sure I could have got rid of the Hyper V network adapter otherwise), just disable Hyper V… seems it can’t coexist on the same box as ViirtualBox.

In other news I got to help JB put together an expensive-ass HP server with a RAID card and 4 1-TB drives. The company who shipped it out somehow forgot to put the $671 Windows Server 2012 R2 DVD in the box (though they did include the client licenses… I’d never seen one before, they’re kind of amusing, little cards that basically say you can use Windows), so I didn’t get to see the server software installed, which was really disappointing, but it was interesting to put the hardware together (mainly putting in the drives and installing more RAM and the RAID card). I’d really like to learn more about hardware, I think, because it’s important stuff and I don’t know enough about troubleshooting, fixing, or upgrading it…

Also, installed VirtualBox Guest Additions on Centos 6 via command line (because for some reason, VBox had started grabbing the mouse again if I happened to click on my Leon VM). All went well… had to create a directory to be the mount point (turns out it won’t create itself) and learned about the “sh” command to run Bash shell scripts (for example, VBoxLinuxAdditions.run). Though I’m not sure how I can recognize a Bash script if I happen across one.

Also also, Kali sent me a pair of Space Invaders ice cube trays. So cute.
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“But if your mind’s neglected, stumble you might fall…”
— “Connected” by Stereo MC’s [note: this misplaced apostrophe appears to be part of the band’s official name, and is not my fault :P]

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