Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Windows done Wrong (pg. 2)

The past, and a total wipe of a hard drive, has a way of coming back to haunt you.

I have to admit that my reintroduction to Windows should have gone smoother. My fault. After becoming frustrated with the mess of an installation Dell had saddled me with, I nuked my restore partition. My only means of installing Windows then became an unused OEM disk I had on hand, WITHOUT service pack 2. Yes, I know, NOW.

Booting from my XP disk, I partition my drive and begin the install. All together this process takes from 45 minuets to about 1 hour, not bad. This gets me to a basic XP install, but unexpectedly little of my hardware worked properly. Using another computer, I surfed over to and burrowed 6 layers deep to the drivers I needed. I picked out seven files (~120 megs) from the 57 possibles to burn to disk. The drivers were all, mercifully, runnable or self installing, but then it began..

I can't remember which program it was. It may have been R122161.EXE or I would not put it past R114079.EXE, that dog! Whichever, at some point my laptop needed to reboot. And reboot it did! For the next three and a half to four hours it was an endless, insane cycle of downloading updates, rebooting, and then downloading more updates.

To cover my basic computing needs I had to install the Flash player, Java RE, and Firefox. I also grabbed PuTTY for my SSH and SCP needs. MD5sums was a quick get and ISO Recorder, to burn CD's, rounded out my list.

Some times you just don't think things out, all the way. For example, I thought it would be o.k. to install the Visual C# 2005 Express Edition from the disk I had. The software installed fine and even included SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, yay, but then they're BACK!! Like the monster in a B-movie, our nemesis, Dr. Reboot and Mr. Update roll me for another 30 minutes.

At this point I have a clean, fully updated AND HOW, Windows XP installed. I can't listen to my shoutcast streams, but having been at this for over six hours, I don't care. I'm curious as to how much time I would have saved by having SP2 and drivers, or how quick Vista installs. This "raw" install of Windows has been both extremely frustrating and quite an eyeopener.

I vow to return. I want to play with Visual C# Express more because it looks really slick, but after such an investment of time just to get XP up and running, I've had my fill for now.

Let's move on to Linux Mint.


Anonymous said...

I've had to reload Windows XP for two of my friends - one because he felt a two year old expired anti-virus was good enough, the other because Google Desktop hosed hi system. In both cases a reload was required. And yes a multitude of maintenance and countless reboots were required. Took one complete day to do for each. One lost his Windows CD and waiting for MickySoft to send a replacement, not to mention some receipt of my order. The other lost his CD as well (Dell) and received it in quick order, but alas, no maintenance installed on it. Thank God I there is Linux and I use it.

Anonymous said...

Probably what you wanted to do was to create a slipstreamed Windows XP SP2 CD. Something like Bart's PE Builder would have saved you a lot of time (rebooting, not downloading).

I keep an XPSP2 image with updates right up to a reasonably current IE7 so that I don't have to go through this. My reason is that downloads are slow in my location, the best I can hope for is about 30K/sec which makes keeping ISO images around quite important.

I think you are making a mistake by having to choose OSes. Next time get a Macbook or something and run your alternate OSes as virtualized systems. Your investment into RAM and a big hard disk will reap many happy computing days, especially when you aren't doing virtualization, which is generally most of the time, once one has decided on a favored OS/operating environment.