On Computers

Behind the Scenes with GailLA

Gail Allinson, gail@oncomputers.info

25 May 2003

This Week's Segment

Having totally ruined two keyboards by spilling liquids on them in the past 5 years, I'm pretty excited about Jack's segment on keyboard cleaning.  While not strictly a Windows topic, without input devices accessing and working with Windows is pretty difficult.  While Jack's method is great, a keyboard killer like me needs more help.  So I have a very ugly, but very effective, keyboard skin.  Part of me really hates it and part of me really loves it as I eat my Sunday morning breakfast and listen to On Computers over the ol' keyboard. Coffee spills? No problem!

Last Week

I did a segment about software utilities.  Jack very kindly wrote an addendum to that article that I didn't get posted until this morning.  So please take another look at last week's page and scroll to the bottom to read Jack's very interesting comments.

Clean Windows XP Install

As is usually the case, single-handedly and with malice aforethought, I hosed my Windows XP installation this week.  That was the bad news.  So what is the good news?  Well, I took it as the opportunity to do a clean install.  This was the first clean install since I upgraded my motherboard. I only thought I had cleaned out the old sludge after my repair install. This clean install has convinced my that a repair install will keep you going until you have the time, but a clean install is the best way to go after a motherboard upgrade.  It also reinforced the wisdom of installing most of my programs on a directory other than the drive Windows is installed to.  This means that any files that older programs have saved to their own installation folders are preserved.  I only really had to back-up my user folder, do the clean install, restore essentials from my user folder and then install programs from the their archives if downloaded, or original distribution CDs. As of today, I feel that my system it totally restored and it only took a few hours to get it up and operating well enough to perform essential functions.

If you are wondering, I purposely did not use the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard.  I chose instead to recreate my settings by hand because I did not want to reintroduce old, unneeded files for programs long uninstalled.  However, if that is not an issue, FAST is a perfectly legitimate tool and another approach to preserving your user files. 

You Just Might be a Geek If

If you don't already know this from reading my reinstall story, I'm not afraid to totally trash my computer. I sometimes even revel in the joy of fixing it all and making it work again after a self-induced disaster. That is how I learn and it feels almost as good as making a perfect landing after handling an in-flight emergency (you pilots know what I'm talking about).  Last evening. I discovered that Asus had released a BIOS update for my motherboard.  Yes, I immediately had to download it and flash the BIOS.  I think that a real, true geek gets a bit of a rush waiting while the floppy, the most unreliable storage device in the computer, grinds away in DOS completing a task that can potentially transform a working computer into a paperweight in a blink of an eye.  What fun! :-)

Intuit Backtracks

The people have spoken. Read this interesting article at ExtremeTech about Intuit's decision to abandon the Macrovision SafeCast product activation scheme. This proves that we can make a change by voting with our pocketbooks. Now, I only wonder if TaxCut will lose the share that it gained this year. Since I personally moved away from TurboTax several years ago, it won't change my buying habits. 

Cya next time!



© 2003 Gail Allinson

Back • Home • Up • Next

© 2002 - 2004 by On Computers and the Videotex Services Coalition.