Our Next Meeting: Wednesday 15th July
- The Ubuntu Phone and its development - Gareth

Please note we have had to rejig the programme again as Michael is not in a position to give his CAT5 talk yet.

At our next meeting we'll introduce the first phone running Ubuntu, the Aquaris E4.5 from BQ. We'll discuss the development of Ubuntu's phone/tablet OS variant, the vision of converged devices combining desktop and mobile functionality and the currently available hardware.

Our Last Meeting: Wednesday 17th June - Computer Surgery
- Gareth and Peter

Gareth has written the bulk of this report but I have added a few extra details and a postscript.


Due to holidays only Gareth and Peter were able to attend our last meeting.

Nevertheless we managed to pack a lot into the evening trying to recover access to files from Peter's failed old Windows XP PC. This had two physical drives the smaller 100GB drive was partitioned into approximately two halves of 50GB each. The first C:/ was the windows system disk with extra docs and applications.

The second partition F:/ contained some utilities and other video data. Peter's original intention was to make this a Linux partition; but that never happened.

Initially Peter had thought he had a virus with occasional errors popping up about missing or unreadable files and damaged sectors but most of these were fixed by checkdisk, however eventually the system failed to boot at all due to a missing system file, and later to not detecting Windows to boot from at all. The drive became invisible was not seen by the Linux environment. (not mounted?)

The first diagnostic/recovery CD Peter found to attempt recovery was called Hiren's BootCD. This is a self container bootable Linux system comprised of various utilities for checking and repairing both Windows and Linux system installations some operating at DOS level.

Peter demonstrated the Linux Rescue Environment option. Although initially suspecting a hard drive failure the SMART disk health checking utility claimed the drive to be OK.

Next we attempted to check the partitioning of the drive with both Gparted and Fdisk utilities on Linux, both of which showed an empty partition table but did mount the disk. At this point we started wondering if something had somehow wiped the partition table of the drive, hopefully leaving files themselves intact.

Peter then demonstrated another Linux based recovery CD called BootMed Plus 1.2. In the advanced menu we found and ran a utility called TestDisk, which claimed to be able to detect partitions and recover partition tables.

TestDisk was able to successfully scan the drive and built its view of the partition layout, detecting Peter's main Windows partition (C:/ drive ) and his "Miscellaneous" (F:/ drive ) partition. We then selected to do a deep search which did a further scan of the drive finding nothing new. Writing a partition table itself should not wipe any data so given the current state of the drive Peter opted for us to continue and write the new partition table.

Rebooting the machine Windows still did not load, but after rebooting again into the BootMed Plus CD the two partitions on the drive did mount and become visible in the File Manager. We were running out of time at the meeting at this point, but this at least would allow Peter once home to back up his files to a USB drive before attempting any more risky recovery processes. Before the meeting Peter had been tying out various programs and reading up about editing partition tables with Gparted and Test Disk this suggested that it was better to create a disk image before trying to modify partition tables etc. To this end Peter had already purchased a 500GB external USB hard drive but had not had time to try the image copying and was put off by the suggestion that it could take days!

As a final piece for the evening Gareth briefly talked about upgrading the storage in his 2012 MacBook Air. This was originally fitted with a 256GB SSD drive which eventually got to the point of constantly running out of space.

Gareth bought a model specific upgrade kit comprising a new 480GB SSD module together with the required tools and a small external USB 3 case for the old module to enable it to be used as a portable storage drive.

The migration process was relatively simple, swapping in the new module and fitting the old unit into the provided external case, then booting the Mac's recovery mode and using the built in Disk Utility software to migrate the system across.



You will be pleased to learn that I did manage to copy off both partitions onto my external drive rather than as a disk image. So I can access all of my files.

I then returned to use the diagnostic software again and decided to recreate the MBR (Master Boot Record). This appeared to work but I still couldn't boot windows. One of the oddities encountered by looking at the partition table was that the first partition (windows system ) was shown as not bootable, but the second partition (Miscellaneous) was. How do you make a partition bootable? On further inspection the boot.ini file was found in the wrong partition. So I copied the boot.ini file back to where it should have been and renamed the original without deleting it.

I tried a reboot and actually got the Windows loading screen but it got stuck after a few seconds and I had to power off. On rebooting it wouldn't even get that far and gave a DOS message that hal.dll was corrupt or missing. I had a copy of this file on a backup drive and tried replacing it but it still complains about hal.dll. What is this file? Does anyone know? Googling indicates that like some MS error messages it doesn't mean that file is missing/corrupt but there is some other problem. I've not had time to get further with this problem. Hopefully Michael will have some bright ideas.

It was a very hands -on evening and I think Gareth and I learnt a lot!


ICENI Future programme

Please note we have had to rejig the programme again as Michael is not in a position to give his CAT5 talk yet.

There were a few other topics considered for example software used by Radio Amateurs, Model Railways and Machine language translation. All of these need a bit more research before being included.

ICENI Future programme 2015/2016
July 15th The Ubuntu Phone and its development Gareth
August 26th Summer Social Evening
- Wooden Fender, Colchester
( Provisionally Booked)
September 16th Networking
- HDMI over Cat 6 and CCTV
October 21st Arduino - Raspberry Pi
Peter. Duncan and John
November 18th Slide / Video Evening All
December 16th Gadgets and Party Evening All
January 20th Winter Social Evening - Venue TBA All
February 17th Free Software All
March 16th Accounting Software Peter et al
April 20th AGM +MS Office 2016 and
OpenOffice/Libre Office
May 18th Programming All

Meetings are now on the Third Wednesday of the month unless otherwise stated.

Our meetings are held at the Bourne Vale Social Club, Halifax Road, Ipswich IP2 8RE , for a map and other details please see the website.


Membership fee currently £10, visitors free.


We are continuing our publicity for EAUG events , however their website has not been updated for a year now. So if you wish to know information please phone one of their contacts.

Meetings are at the Great Baddow Village Hall, on the second Tuesday of the month

opening at 7:30 p.m. for a start at 7:45 - 8:00 p.m.


For directions see below (note the new web addresses)

http://www.eaug.org.uk or 'phone one of the contacts on http://www.eaug.org.uk/ppl.htm

Drinks usually available.

See the Membership page of the website for more information:


Special Notice - Insurance

"ICENI does not have any Insurance cover for computers or other equipment so please be advised that you bring machines to the club at your own risk."

However many household insurance policies will include cover away from home often with no increase in premium. (Ed.)

Our Website and Email

Our website has had to be moved since BT is no longer giving free hosting to customers and Peter was running the old website on his account. So Gareth has been fortunate to register a web address of our own and has generously hosted it on his own woolridge domain. All our old website data has been ported to the new site and a redirection placed on the old address. The old site will disappear some time soon.

If anyone would like a copy of the CD of our old newsletters this could be arranged.

I am open to suggestions on what people would like to have included in the website.

Our website URL is


Email to: iceni@woolridge.org.uk