Customer needed some help with some monitor drivers… and the computer keeps resetting, & misc other problems…
Hmmm, its not often that someone want to install monitor drivers (I’ve tried it myself, to see how far I could push my Viewsonic PF790… (BTW: its an excellent Trinitron monitor!) but it never really works well)
So I pick up the computer (windows XP), and I note a few odd things:
- A 30 Gb drive with 2 partitions (one fat32 one NTFS)
- An 80 Gb drive with 5 partitions (mostly fat32)
- 2 CD / dvd drives
- Display is low resolution, only shows 16 colours, and cannot be moved to a higher res
- Very slow (for a P4 2.2Ghz, with over 500Mb ram)
- It freezes occasionally
- Motherboard has about 12 Capacitors that seem ready to fail (typical bulge… one is leaking slightly).
It seems that this system has been upgraded over the years (hence the many small partitions: a leftover from the days when win98 couldn’t go above 33Gb). 7 disk partitions & 2 CD drives can cause a lot of confusion (9 drive letters to remember!)
Anyway, it will be way too expensive to fix all the problems ‘individually’, so I give the customer a few options, but the only realistic one is to replace the Mobo, backup the drives, re-partition & re-install windows (with only NTFS).
Finding a suitable Mobo is not simple: I need to make sure it can take ddr400 Ram, it can take the agp video card (different agp cards can run at different voltages, so the mobo must accept the video card correctly), it has the correct CPU socket, it can fit into the case, and the customer wants 6 pci slots for future expansion.
I manage to find a suitable Mobo
I also do the backups, reinstall windows, update from SP1 to SP2, latest updates, some tuning and configuration, anti virus, etc.
It takes a while, but I eventually get everything going.
BTW: Don’t try to update the bios on an Asus P4B533-V socket 478 motherboard (using the windows utility)… it usually results in a bad flash, and a few anxious hours digging up old floppies, while praying that the bios is good enough to boot a floppy with the old bios on it…
I decide on making the 80Gb drive the primary, with an 8Gb windows partition, and a 72Gb ‘D:’ drive. I make the 30Gb drive the ‘E:’.
Since the whole family will be using this PC, I decide to allow for “expansion”. I’ve noticed that most people (particularly the ‘ipod generation’) will just store their data (music, assignments, etc) into my documents and/or the desktop.
Now, with WinXP, my documents & the desktop are actually folders under the ‘documents and settings’ folder, which is usually under C:
So as MP3 files get stored under my documents, the C: drive will quickly blow out.
With a bit of research, I found that it is possible to point the ‘documents and settings’ folder (and also the program files folder) to the much larger D:
I also setup the 30Gb drive (E: ) to hold the windows page file and the ‘temp’ folders.
A quick disk defragment, and the system is very quick & ready to take whatever the kids can throw at it.