2023 September 23
Disabled screensaver (blanking) for the kelvin account. We'll rely on the Power Management settings to handle this. Reformatted the 3 Tb drive I used for the doomed Windows 11 mirror backup for use as a mirror backup of both SSDs. super umount /dev/sda2 fdisk /dev/sda p # Shows NTFS formatting o # New DOS partition table n # New partition p # Primary 1 # Partition 1 # Start # End w # Write to drive This creates a Linux filesystem filling the entire drive. Unplug and plug back in. mkfs -t ext4 -L Roswell_Backup /dev/sda1 fsck -f /dev/sda1 Unplug and plug and it mounts successfully. Downloaded and installed Balena Etcher .deb package from: https://github.com/balena-io/etcher/releases This is a utility to write ISO images to USB drives. The dpkg -i balena-etcher_1.18.11_amd64.deb installation left unresolved dependencies. To fix these, I ran: apt-get install -f which installed the dependencies and then completed configuration of Balena Etcher. Etcher may be found in the Accessories section of the applications menu. Downloaded Rescuezilla from: https://rescuezilla.com/ and flashed onto the Kingston 3 Gb USB drive I last used for the Xubuntu install ISO. Restarted and booted into Rescuezilla. Selected English. A big black box appears, filling around 3/4 of the screen, and then nothing happens. The system is totally dead, and even Ctrl-Alt-Del doesn't reset it. The keyboard is still showing the boot colour pattern. Had to power cycle machine. This happened two times. So much for that. Moving right along, let's try Redo Rescue: http://redorescue.com/ When I try booting from its USB stick, a get a blue screen with "Security failure" and a peekaboo message that disappears before I can read it. This happens despite trying every way I could imagine to create the USB boot drive, wasting more than three hours on the process. It may be that we have to disable Secure Boot. You do this by booting with F2 and scrolling down (note, mouse scroll wheel does not work here) to Secure Boot, where you can turn off "Enable Secure Boot". It still boots Xubuntu and Windows 11 with Enable Secure Boot turned off. And...with Secure Boot turned off, it boots into Redo Rescue from the USB stick. Guess what? After a few seconds, Redo Rescue hangs with the big black box on the screen just like Rescuezilla. I'm beginning to get the idea that somebody up there really doesn't like the idea of customers making all-inclusive bare metal restore backups with free and open source tools. OK, two batters have come to the plate and both have ignominiously struck out. Batter up! This time, trudging from the on deck circle to the plate is an old timer, Clonezilla: https://clonezilla.org/ a venerable free and open source program for disc cloning and bare metal backup. In fact, Rescuezilla is a graphical user interface bolted on to Clonezilla. But Clonezilla is known for its primitive text-mode under interface but also broad compatibility, so maybe it will be able to break this no-hitter. It also runs from a USB stick, including its own Linux distribution to back up with discs completely idle. I downloaded and made a USB stick with Rufus on Windows and booted it. It came up OK, so I decided to see if it was able to boot with Secure Boot turned on. I went back to the BIOS and enabled it and, sure enough, Clonezilla booted just fine. I feel so secure now. Now I plugged in the 3 Tb USB drive we formatted at the start of this long day and started an image backup of all of the partitions on which Windows 11 is installed, specifying verification after the backup. This ran to completion with no problems, creating a directory on the external drive called Windows_2023-19-23-18.img containing the image files and metadata that Clonezilla uses to restore the partitioning, boot loader, etc. on a bare metal restore. The partition dumps mirror only occupied space (it understands most file system structures) and the data it dumps are compressed with gzip. The total dump of the Windows drive is 39 Gb. I then mirrored the partitions on the Linux drive. This also completed successfully, creating a directory called Linux_2023-09-23-19.img which is 16 Gb. As Clonezilla does not do incremental backups, every dump is a full mirror, but at present we have plenty of space on the backup drive for lots of dumps until we can get a smarter backup solution running. The advantage of the mirror is that it permits complete restoration in case of disaster, while most "smart backup" tools require extensive preliminary work bringing up the system before restoring the backup. Transferred the Wallpaper archive to both the Linux and Windows side and set up wallpaper to make it obvious which we're running. At the end of a very long day, we now have mirror backups of both operating system installations. This should have taken about an hour to accomplish. It took around ten. The Clonezilla boot is installed on the Kingston 32 Gb drive. I will reserve it for that until we sort out things further. When you search for "Google Chrome" in the pre-installed Microsoft Edge browser, it puts up a big panel at the top of the results saying "There's no need to download a new web browser." Then, when you ignore it and click the Download Google Chrome result, it puts a pop-up on top of the Google Chrome page saying: Microsoft Edge runs on the same technology as Chrome with the added trust of Microsoft. and a button saying "Browse securely now" that takes you to a puff page about the advantages of Edge. "Added trust of Microsoft, eh?" Sounds like some anti-trust action is in order here. Then, when you download the Chrome installer, another big banner appears at the top of the page with the same "added trust" message as the pop-up. This one has nothing to clearly distinguish it from the content which is provided by Google on the page. Oh my God! After downloading the Chrome installer, I looked for it in the Download folder and it was nowhere to be found. I displayed the Downloads panel in Edge, and it shows ChromeSetup.exe with a line drawn through it and a message below, "Removed". Let's try downloading it again. This time I clicked on the download before it disappeared, and a panel appeared at the right of the Edge screen with a multiple choice question asking why I wanted to install another browser. This is just ludicrous. This intrusion has a heading "We love having you!" "Detestation of everything Microsoft" is not among the choices. Finally, Google Chrome is installed and I can throw Microsoft off the Edge. Somehow, Windows spontaneously switched to a "Light" theme in which window bars, etc. are a sickly salmon pink. I switched Settings/ Personalization/Colors/Choose your mode to "Dark" to get rid of it. I don't particularly like dark mode, but that pink makes me bilious. When I launched the Alienware Command Center, it said additional components were required. I gave it permission to download, and it proceeded to do so. I gave it permission to install. Naturally, the "Alienware OC Controls Application" installer popped up *under* all other open windows. When I found it, I clicked Install. This popped up yet another Install dialogue, which I clicked. Finally, it said OC controls installed.