Monday, December 15, 2008

New cygwin install: "cannot create directory" for mountpoint

I installed cygwin on a 'new' machine (well, a fresh disk, after Encryption Anywhere made my old one unsalvagable). After the install (and a reboot, I believe) a new bash window gave me this message:
cygwin mkdir: cannot create directory `/cygdrive/m': No such file or directory
where M: is the (network) path to my home directory (aka %HOMEDRIVE% in windows). M: was available, but I couldn't get to it from cygwin. Also, I couldn't manually mount it.

After doing some research, I didn't find a solution. People who weren't logged in to their domain at the time seemed to have the problem occasionally, but I was logged in. Maybe rebuilding the passwd/group files? It wasn't affecting me at the time; I had other things to do, so I put it on hold.

At some point, I rebooted, and the problem was fixed... kind of annoying for a problem to fix itself like that, but that's Windows for you--good enough that you sometimes forget it's a substandard operation system.

Maybe this will help someone else from wasting time on a problem that might be fixed by rebooting Microsoft Windows. Remember when you had to reboot after any change?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Accessing non-selectable text

When installing new software, or signing up for a new service, I actually read the license. Sometimes. For services, especially financial ones (such as credit cards) it can pay to read the fine print. I usually save a copy of the text in a file so can refer to it in the future, in case I need to.

When installing programs, there is usually a window with a scrollbar and a whole lot of text. I find it easier to copy and paste it to another (bigger) window.

Problem: sometimes you can't copy the text out of the box.
I remember a few years ago some tool or tweak on Windows that would let you copy the text from arbitrary dialog boxes (this was useful for getting error messages). Does that tool still exist/work? Something to dig deeper into the objects on the screen.