Category Archives: Administrative

New VB Problem

So, I gave up on trying to solve the problem, but just found a page that explains how to install it properly, and when I followed those instructions, it went fine.

Now when I try to create a new Windows machine, from what appears to be a good Windows boot disk (and the one that I created my previous Windows machine from), I get a message “Creating process for virtual machine,” at 0% progress, and it’s stuck there. I’ve done a search, and come up pretty much empty. Any ideas?

Virtual Box

OK, so I’ve given up on restoring my previous Windows guest machine, and am going to create a new one (I only lost a couple files that I cared about). But now VB won’t work properly. Without getting into detail on the error messages, I’d like to just completely remove it, and do a clean install. But I can’t figure out how to do it.

I apparently installed it from a script, so there are no Fedora packages for it, so dnf can’t do anything. When I click on the details of the icon in Gnome, and select remove, it just shrugs its digital shoulders. Anyone have any suggestions?

[Tuesday-afternoon update]

Continue reading Virtual Box


Well, the place in Studio City kept my hard drive for weeks, then finally gave me a quote of $1200 to recover the data. The catch was that there would be no directory structure, and they’d all be renamed, retaining only the file extensions.

I told them that I had no budget to pay someone what I could do for free with photorec, so I went back up to get them Wednesday. I ran photorec overnight, and am now the proud owner of a bazillion numbered files with extensions. Fortunately, one of the main files I was looking for was the VMDK for my virtual Windows installation, and “find” grabbed it quickly. I moved it into the Virtual Box directory, and renamed it Windows10. But when I try to start the machine, I get the message “No bootable media found.”

Any ideas?

[Update a few minutes later]

When I try to add the VMDK to the VM, it “fails to open.”


[Afternoon update]

I wonder if the file was corrupted by the failing drive? And if so, if there is any way to repair it?

[Saturday-morning update]

In looking at the file, it seems to be three orders of magnitude smaller than it should be. It may be that it was either corrupted by the failing drive, or that the photorec recovery was incomplete. Fortunately, it didn’t have much data in it, so I guess I’ll just create a new Windows machine from my existing product key.

Disk Disaster Update

So I got the estimate from the recovery company.

The good news: They can recover the files.

The bad news: There will be no directory tree or filenames, just numbered files with extensions.

The worse news: They want a minimum of $1700. That’s if I’m willing to wait weeks. More if I want it sooner, up to five grand$2700.

So have to find another solution. I could probably live without the file names, given that I’m primarily looking for mailboxes, and the virtual Windows machine file.

VirtualBox Issues

While I’m waiting to get my disk repaired, I’m trying to get Windows running again as a guest in the machine using VirtualBox. It was working fine until the disk disaster. I have a Windows installation on an SSD, in SATA port 2. But when I try to start the machine, it says no bootable source found. I’d like to tell it /dev/sdc, but there is no way to do so. The manual only talks about pointing to an img file on the host’s hard drive, but not about how to use a physical device (though one would think telling it port 2 would be adequate). This seems like a different procedure than it used to be, when I would have a configuration file telling it where the boot drive was. Has that changed?

[Thursday-afternoon update]

I’m still hoping that my drive will be restored, and that when it does, my virtual Windows installation will work as well, but I’m trying to figure out how to get Windows going in the meantime, because I need it to trade (I’m currently using Patricia’s computer, but she needs it, too). So I thought I’d just install a new machine. Problem is, I don’t have my product key, because it was also in a document on the lost drive. Even though I’ve restored from my notebook from October, and it should be there, I can’t find it. All of the advice I see on line to recover a key requires having the drive that Windows is installed on, so I’m out of luck for that. Do I have any alternative to purchasing another license?


OK, New Problem

I’m going to take the drive to a recovery service in Studio City this afternoon to get an estimate. Meanwhile, I want to boot back into my regular OS, but I doubt if I can do it without sdb1, because the fstab specifies that it overmount /home at boot. So I either have to set up one of the other drives as /home (not sure how to do that, other than mounting it and adding myself as a user) and make it sdb1, or get into the fstab on the SSD to tell it not to do the overmount. I haven’t been able to figure out how to read or write to sda3, which is my Fedora partition, to get at etc/fstab. Any ideas?

[Update a while later]

OK, I’m now booted into my regular system, with one of the new drives as /home. But since I currently have no data, there’s a lot of rebuilding and reconfiguring to do.

Off to Studio City now to drop off the drives.

More Computer Fun

So I finally got most of the data off the failing drive, and I backed it up to a second new drive. But when I attempt to fix the filesystem I get this:

[root@localhost-live home]

# e2fsck /dev/sdd
e2fsck 1.45.6 (20-Mar-2020)
ext2fs_open2: Bad magic number in super-block
e2fsck: Superblock invalid, trying backup blocks…
e2fsck: Bad magic number in super-block while trying to open /dev/sdd

The superblock could not be read or does not describe a valid ext2/ext3/ext4
filesystem. If the device is valid and it really contains an ext2/ext3/ext4
filesystem (and not swap or ufs or something else), then the superblock
is corrupt, and you might try running e2fsck with an alternate superblock:
e2fsck -b 8193
e2fsck -b 32768

Found a dos partition table in /dev/sdd


Are those the actual superblocks it wants me to try, or just potential examples?

[Update a while later]

OK, when I run it on the partition, instead of the drive, it says the file system is clean.

New problem: When I mount it to /home (where it normally lives on my system), I see nothing in it except lost+found. That’s not encouraging.

[Tuesday-morning update]

For anyone curious, who wants to go through the entrails, I’ve posted the entire session in comments. It remains a mystery to me why none of the drives seem to have data, or how I could have done anything to my source drive that I was trying to rescue.

[Update a few minutes later]

Yes, I clearly screwed the pooch. I accidentally formatted the drive I was trying to rescue.

Strange Computer Problem

When I started using the machine this morning, it seemed to be running like molasses in January. I tried rebooting, and it took forever to boot, and then wouldn’t let me log in. I fired up a clean Fedora from a stick, and fscked my drives. The /home hard drive had a lot of errors on it, that got fixed, but there was no problem with the SSD where my OS resides. Then I rebooted. It took a long time, but finally came up. Everything continues to load and run slow. Nothing seems to be bogging down the CPU, and there is plenty of free memory. Any ideas what the problem could be?

Continue reading Strange Computer Problem