Monday, 26 January 2009

Windows 7 beta build 7000 – updated impressions and file permissions bug

As you may know, I had bought additional 2GB of RAM for my desktop computer so I decided to give a Windows 7 beta x64 a spin.

It all went very smoothly, and I had no problems at all. To my great surprise Team Fortress 2 did run acceptably good, which means it was better than vista/vista x64. So all was well and good for the next 4 days.

So I wouldn’t be writing this if all was well isn’t it?

You are right of course because yesterday I was stunned when I discovered that iTunes wouldn’t play songs. This was very fishy so I immediately copied my 70GB of iTunes managed songs on another backup drive. I cannot recall the exact sequence anymore because I was really upset yesterday so I’m just going to tell you what were the problems yesterday and what I did to solve them.

Problem 1: iTunes couldn’t play music from iTunes folder (70ish GB of music and podcasts)

Solution: Immediately copied the folder to another drive.

Later problem 1a: I couldn’t access iTunes folder at all (after xp reinstall)! Couldn’t unlock the folder (with Unlocker), couldn’t delete it, nothing.

Solution: formatted the partition of the hard disk with the itunes folder. Copied the folder from the backup disk.

Problem 2: Couldn’t read any document from My Documents. I could add new documents in the folder.

Solution/description: File/folder permissions were set up ok. Nor did I change something before so the problem manifested just now. Strange thing was that when I copied some file on to another folder I could read it without problems. I managed to copy some of the more recent documents to another folder for backup but this isn’t really a solution. This isn’t really a small problem, it is a huge one, and I was constantly afraid that the “iTunes problem” wouldn’t happen to My Documents folder as well. So I didn’t want to leave anything to bugs of some programmers, so I reinstalled Windows xp from ghosted image 5 days ago. In xp my documents seems to be intact, which means everything is ok with it. But iTunes folder afterwards was completely unreadable. So I reformatted the partition as described in the previous solution.

But this could be all forgotten as a showstopper beta bug, and I was thinking that was the end of it. But it wasn’t. The following morning (today) the very similar thing happened on my msi wind which is running windows 7 beta 7000 too (but 32bit version). Problem with my documents folder on the Wind I solved quite more easily with taking ownership, and giving myself permissions (didn’t work on my desktop computer as there everything was (re)configured correctly). I thought that was the end of the problem (as I really didn’t want to reinstall xp, as Windows 7 was working pretty much flawlessly (until today). But I realized that the My Documents problem was only a part of the a larger problem. I went to this site’s blogger dashboard and there I was greeted with the note that I need to set my browser to accept cookies (because the site failed to write one to my hard drive). As I never, ever disabled cookies on this computer I immediately figured that this was the same problem with file permissions as the problems I mentioned previously. As I have no intention to hunt down and try to get back permissions on random occasions, I decided to reinstall xp on wind.

This really is a showstopper bug because I’m always ready to accept some rough edges and beta bugs, but when you are actually afraid for the existence your own files/folders, I had no doubt in my mind to reinstall windows xp (which is saying a lot, so to be short yes, I do think that Windows 7 will be a replacement to windows xp worth installing and using). There is even some irony in this too, because I always considered msi wind for experimentation with other operating systems, but I just cannot pass over the security of my own files on my own hard drive(s).

Until they fix this problem, I’m not going back to windows 7 beta.

Finally, I have provided a file and a web page which is generated by the extremely cool Problem Steps Recorder program which is included in Win7 (I’m hoping in all versions). The mht file (compressed as zip) opens only in Internet Explorer and Word but I’ve saved the web page opened in IE as a normal html page so you can see it by following this link. Be warned though that the IE version (mht file) looks much nicer, but if you avoid IE at all costs you can see the (poorly) saved html page. The linked page/mht file is going to demonstrate you in detail one instance of the larger problem with write permissions. 

PS: There is ongoing (?) discussion on two forums concerning the problems I mentioned in this post. Seems too me that they are just instances of the large problem, even though on the forums they treat it as separate issues, and some even say it is the problem only with x64 version of Win7 which is not a truth at all.

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