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Rant Mode Equals One: How To Uninstall Linux AND Microsoft Windows 2000

Dec 24, 1999, 13:20 (15 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Ferris)

By Paul Ferris
Editor, Linux Today

You would hope that the clue meter would be functioning up there in Redmond anytime soon, but no. You'd think that they would just stop the Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) marketing tactics.

Not just because FUD is unethical. After all, what's unprofitable about the truth?

Not just because they're bad for Microsoft's long-term reputation. Microsoft has no reputation to lose. Compare passing botched video tape evidence before a federal judge in light of a few misconceptions about computer operating systems and disk drive partition tables. Heck, the latest advice on how to remove Linux is merely a trip in a squad car in comparison to that...

No, those are good enough reasons, but the main reason for Microsoft to stop using these marketing tactics is simple: FUD isn't working..

I couldn't help but laugh when I read the article. It's bad enough as technical advice, but even worse, I couldn't help but wonder why they made it so difficult. Installing any Microsoft operating system over Linux and vise versa is in reality much simpler than the instructions lead you to believe.

Clueless Mode Equals One

I started thinking about it, though. I thought "Let me just go with the flow. What do I know about operating systems?" I started believing that these wizards at Microsoft were just being helpful, so maybe I should just try it.

So I was just sitting here thinking about this advice and how I was going to have give up Linux, a stable, secure, fast, trustworthy operating system and install Windows 2000 with the help of my good ole' buddies in Redmond, and then along comes this fine article that explains how I can go back to Linux!.

I thought "Heck, this is getting confusing!". What was I supposed to do then?

And it hit me like a ton of bricks, the answer is obvious.

I needed to de-install both operating systems!

What with Linux not being compatible with Windows 2000 and things, I could make better use of my computer as a high-tech paperweight if I just gave it all up and resorted to looking at an error message that said "Could not load ROM Basic".

At least now, I won't have to worry about Y2K issues. If it's already crashed like this, it's certainly not going anywhere on midnight of Jan 1, 1900, er 2000. No, this way it's as safe as it's ever going to get.

So, here are the simple instructions for un-installing Linux and Windows 2000. These instructions assume that you already have Linux. If you don't have Linux installed on your computer then you need to go out and buy Linux, for example RedHat, Caldera, Suse, TurboLinux, Corel -- you know, one of those fragmented Linux operating systems -- and follow the simple set of instructions already mentioned above for un-installing Windows and installing Linux.

The instructions I'm about to give you aren't compatible with instructions that assume you are only running Windows. That's why you need to go through all this work before you remove everything. I know some of you smart technical people are going to point out that you can easily un-install Windows using strictly Microsoft commands, but those commands aren't compatible with my instructions, so you need to install Linux first.

Now, after you have a running copy of Linux -- what is that -- Oh.

Disclaimer Mode On

These instructions are meant as perverse humor. Paul Ferris is one sarcastic guy. If you haven't figured that out by now, you need to understand that he's clearly joking. Kids, don't try this at home -- even at work. These instructions can seriously hork up a running copy of Linux, Windows 2000 or any other operating system loaded on a personal computer. They are intended here to add an ounce, however small, of realism to this article. Keep hands and feet away. Do not use in any kind of direct, indirect, artificial or imagined sunlight. Running electrical appliances is not recommended in the tub or shower.

You get the picture, I'm only joking. DO NOT TRY THIS -- IT'S A JOKE ALREADY...

Disclaimer Mode Off

OK, start by opening a terminal window on your running Linux box and use the "su" (Switch User, or Super User) command so that you are the root user for your machine.

# su
password:[type your root password here]

Delete all of your partitions on your hard drive using the "fdisk" (Fubar Disk) command. Here is an example sequence:

# fdisk /dev/null

# fdisk
Using /dev/null as default device!


The number of cylinders for this disk is set to 1650.
There is nothing wrong with that, but this is larger than 1024,
and could in certain setups cause problems with:
1) software that runs at boot time (e.g., LILO)
2) booting and partitioning software from other OSs
(e.g., DOS FDISK, OS/2 FDISK)


Command (m for help):


Disk /dev/null: 255 heads, 63 sectors, 1650 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 bytes


Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hda1 1 255 2048256 b Loose2000 PorkFS
/dev/hda2 256 319 514080 83 Linux
/dev/hda3 320 450 1052257+ 83 Linux
/dev/hda4 451 1650 9639000 5 Extended
/dev/hda5 451 516 530113+ 82 Linux swap
/dev/hda6 517 712 1574338+ 83 Linux
/dev/hda7 713 974 2104483+ 83 Linux
/dev/hda8 975 1650 5429938+ 83 Linux

Command (m for help):d 8

Command (m for help):d 7

Command (m for help):d 6

Command (m for help):d 5

Command (m for help):d 4

Command (m for help):d 3

Command (m for help):d 2

Command (m for help):d 1

Now hit the reset key and you'll find that your computer will simply refuse to do anything. It's a high-tech paperweight -- but you'll immediately realize the following benefits:

0) It's fully Y2K compliant!

1) You won't have to worry about software compatibility issues. Will that copy of Linux WordPerfect run on Windows 2000? Who cares, open another beer!

2) No one will ever convince you to switch operating systems again! Just explain to them that you've chosen the road to simplicity.

3) You can now use those tray-based CD/ROM drives as cup-holders! I recommend that you take a jig-saw and make the hole a bit bigger to hold the mug of your choice. Get a good coffee mug that's tapered at the top so it will sit snuggly and not fall through or worse, tilt and spill as the handle catches on the edges of the hole.

Long Term Benefits and Suggestions

After a few months, I can see some seriously good benefits from all of this. Likely your stress level is going to be greatly reduced from not having to make complex decisions and from reduced complexity in your computing life. Imagine the following phone conversation with your boss:

BOSS:"Did you get that e-mail that I sent you?"

You:"No, I'm not using Windows right now, so I won't be able to see it."

BOSS: "Well, then get your email under Linux and read it!"

You: "No, I'm not using Linux either."

BOSS: "What?!? What are you using then?"

You: "I refuse to use anything, because nothing is compatible with anything and none of it is Y2K compliant..."

BOSS: "Dammit, it's February 12, 2006! Why are you always yammering on about Y2K compatibility issues? It's been 6 years now since I asked for that memo -- You're FIRED!

You: "Good, now I can get back to watching this Browns game that you interrupted... [fwish*]"

*fwish -- The sound of a beer opening

Some Other Recommended Modifications

This brings to light some other modifications that likely you will want to make to your computer.

0) Sell the monitor and buy an equivalent sized TV set. I recommend a similar size, as it will look the most natural. Paint the outer shell of the TV to match your old monitor to lessen suspicion.

1) Remove the contents of the PC, and replace it with the game console of your choice. You may need to do some fitting with a jig saw (purchased for benefit 3 above) to get the full usability of the game console since they usually have top-loading CD-ROM openings. You can skip this step if you just want to play the same game over and over.

2) Replace the mouse with the TV remote control, and the keyboard with the game console controls. Most people, even in a work setting, will likely be hard pressed to really tell the difference. If they do notice you can tell them that it's a new virtual reality keyboard and that what appears to be a copy of Metal Gear Solid is really the new interface to Linux/Windows 2004 that you're beta-testing for IS.

3) A good printer/fax/copier/scanner replacement is a waffle-iron. Likely a lot more dependable to boot, and the added benefits of the toner being bio-degradable make it a no-brainer.

Tune In, Turn Off, Drop Out, Reboot

OK, that's a bit extreme, but it illustrates an important point. Microsoft is clearly in some kind of panic mode with these kind of stupid instructions being up on their web site. How many tech people that have actually installed Linux along side of Windows 2000, NT, or Windows 95/98 will need instructions like this, or even more to the point, will ever be motivated to use them? The obvious answer: None.

That leaves you with who these instructions are for: Pointy-Haired Bosses. No technical person in their right mind is really going to need these instructions from Microsoft or even my instructions for that matter. It's all part of a complex, clue-less FUD dance that is now getting to be so comical it's beyond prediction.

I do have one prediction about their future FUD, however -- It's going to be even funnier than this if the trend continues.

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