On Computers

Behind the Scenes with GailLA

Gail Allinson, gail@oncomputers.info

13 April 2003

This Week's Segment

This week we welcome our very special guest Jane Roberts, a.k.a MissM.  Thanks, Jane, for helping out!

Last Week

Jack was ill.  I think he is doing a little better now, but please join me in keeping Jack and his wife Jayna in your thoughts and prayers.

The Big Upgrade

This was another busy week, but not in the way it usually is with office work and all that kind of icky stuff.  This week the work was decidedly more fun.  I got a great birthday present and was able to make a major upgrade to my computer. In deciding just what to get, I did have a some help from some of my OC friends on a few questions.  Thanks y'all (you know who you are) for the great answers.

The big upgrade was a three day project.  The first day was spent making a full backup to CD.  That way, if things really went "south" (forgive me for that expression MissM), I would at least have all of my personal data.  Day two was the big upgrade itself.  The day started with dusting and vacuuming the room I was going to work in, and gathering and laying out all the tools I would need, including the anti-static bags I would need to preserve the components I was removing from the computer.  Then I emptied the case, took everything out of it, thoroughly cleaned it.  Next came installing the CPU (Arctic Silver 3 is good, but it is really gooey) and memory.  Next I mounted the motherboard in the case, put the other stuff back in, hooked it all up and powered up for the first time.  After looking in Setup (CMOS) and checking that everything was working, I did a repair install of Windows XP. The last day I spent a lot of time cleaning the deadwood out of Windows XP and making sure that the patches and updates to Windows were all in place.  Bellarc Advisor was a great help in accomplishing that. 

If you have noticed the lack of angst in this process, it is because there wasn't any. Sure, it was time consuming; but amazingly, it went smoothly. Other than taking the precaution of backing up, handling components carefully, having the tools gathered, and using good quality components; I did nothing to deserve it. In fact, I wasn't prepared for it. The first time I fired up the upgraded machine, I expected one or more problems. There were none and there are none, though the MIDI font system of the new APU (audio processing unit) is largely undocumented and difficult to figure out. But that is a very minor thing and it is not like the MIDI doesn't work. Windows is very, very stable on the "new" machine, even though it was not a clean install.

So here I sit with a virtually new computer that is rock solid and running smoothly! What a concept. Since I can't resist sharing what the new system consists of, bear with me. Besides, I only upgrade like this once every 2 to 4 years, so it is a big deal in my computing life.

Here's my new stuff:

Combine that with my existing hard drives, CDRW, DVD, Radeon 9000 Pro AGP graphics, Antec case and power supply, floppy drive and USR PCI modem and you have a computer! Next week I'll pretty up the inside with some round IDE and floppy cables, and cable tie all the wires into their final positions.

Cya next time!



© 2003 Gail Allinson

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