April 13, 2010

abomb Want to learn something from The Great White Shank? When a Dell technical advisor tells you that reconfiguring your PC’s mirrored disk array will reformat your hard drive, take his word for it.

It’s Day 2 of “let’s rebuild The Great White Shank’s PC from scratch” effort, and I have to tell you, our once-formidable, top of the line XPS 400 PC has seen better days. Oh, the guys from Geek Squad did a great job recovering all of our personal files – that’s not the problem. The problem is, never take for granted just how much software your computer already has on it when you unpack it at home for the first time. If you take a good, complete backup of your hard drive to start, you’re totally screwed if you ever have to rebuild it from scratch.

Me, I’m disappointed in Dell. Not as much as I am disappointed in us for not taking an initial backup and stashing it on a flash drive somewhere. They’ve been nice enough, but I would have thought they’d have a generic XPS system image available to be loaded by their customers for times like this. I mean, just imagine how much stuff you get out of the box and how much you take for granted that everything works great and everything’s, er, there.

Oh sure, I can boot my PC now. That’s a good start, right? Heck, I’ve even reloaded a bunch of applications – most importantly, Tracey’s Forty Thieves, meaning our PC can return to its prior, “most expensive solitaire machine on earth”, state of existence. I have the Internet, McAfee, our X Files desktop background, and a few other niceties.

But there are problems, and, I think, significant ones at that.

It was a bummer that my Microsoft Office 2003 copy from work no longer loads, meaning I’m out of luck and needing to find some other way of avoiding spending hundreds of dollars for a new Office Professional 2007 install kit. On the chance I might squeak by with a miracle, I called a co-worker who was our tech guru when we both worked out of the Phoenix office a few years ago:

Me: My home PC crashed and I can’t load Office 2003.

Him: Dude, that’s a bummer. What’s the message you’re getting?

Me: Er, CHR1904.CAB can’t be located, install cancelled.

Him (chuckling): Sweet. Try locating it in your c:I386 directory.

Me: I don’t have one anymore.

Him: That’s so intense. Dude, you’re screwed.

Of course, no Microsoft Office, no Microsoft Outlook. No Microsoft Outlook, no e-mail. And no e-mail for over two weeks, if (and I do mean if at this point) I ever get our e-mail set up again we’ll have hundreds, if not thousands, of them pouring in from friends and family members who can’t figure out why we’re avoiding them.

Well, we’re not. We’re just, er, indisposed.

Most troubling of all, however, is the fact that there’s something really funky going on when I scroll down an internet website’s page – the screen shudders and then rolls like a wave as the page scrolls. I’m afraid to even think what might be causing that….could be a bad video driver, a missing video driver, an incorrectly configured video drive, some memory config thing, God only knows.

It’s kind of sad, really. Our state of the art PC used to take over five minutes to boot with all the applications we had on it. Now it boots in 20 seconds. Doesn’t even seem worth it to click “Start” and “Shut down”; tonight I just punched the button.

So that’s my sad tale. I know in the grand scale of things it’snot that big a deal, but it’s still kind of disheartening. I don’t know where we’re gonna go from here. Frankly, I’m pessimistic I’ll ever get it back to where and what it once was. But that’s technology for ya.

Pool temp: 72 degrees!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:47 | Comments (5)
  1. Doug, over the years I’ve used lots of discount sites to order overstocked software including MS Office suite. All legitimate and all with activation codes. The site below has MS Office Professional XP (an upgrade to your 2003 version) for only $89.00 for a download version.


    Also, when your PC starts to get too loaded down with installed software that takes too long for your PC to boot, I use a product called Ccleaner available free from download.com to keep the number of applications in your start menu from taking up too much memory at system boot (among other great PC cleanup processes). Of course, you won’t have that problem of slow rebooting for a while. 🙂

    Call me and we’ll discuss.

    Comment by Dave Richard — April 14, 2010 @ 5:56 am

  2. I am ditching both my PC’s…it’s time and I cannot load Windows 7 on either one. I am really leaning toward a MacBook Pro laptop…17″ screen, 4 gig, etc.
    The other option is a new Toshiba which my computer geek/guru suggested.

    Gonna check both out…lap top will eliminate the 130.00 a month for a business DSL line and all I have to pay is 30.00 a month for the wireless network from the hospital. Then I can disassmble the giant computer desk in my bedroom and get a lovely piece of furniture instead, perhaps a chaise lounge where I can relax and email, play, bust the GWS’s chops now and again.

    I am pretty much over PC’s at this point and the MacBook Pro sounds very enticing. I have seen it and I think I could love it…love my iPhone.

    Comment by Jana — April 14, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

  3. Yep, can’t say I disagree with you. I think we’re gonna end up replacing this one. I can take my time trying to refurbish it (or hjave someone else do it) and we’ll donate it to someone who can use it and take a tax deduction on it next year.

    You can be sure before I start loading anything on the new one I’ll be making my own image copy of the new feller – having this happen (and, let’s face it, one head crash in 20+ years of computing ain’t bad), I’ll never go through this gain. What a freakin’mess!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — April 14, 2010 @ 2:05 pm

  4. Thanks bro, that’s exactly what I have at home here that won’t load. No upgrades apply anymore, there’s nothing to upgrade from 🙂 I’m gonna need a full-blown new install of Office.

    Me,I’d love to have the problem of a slow boot. It’s actually frightening to see your Windows XP machine boot in 16 seconds. Yikes!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — April 14, 2010 @ 2:09 pm

  5. Doug, then just get the disk option and keep the code with the disk if this ever happens again.

    I have had to rebuild this PC twice, once from a full reformatting of the hard drive.

    You do have to find the drivers for your hardware through either Microsoft or the providers of the hardware, and that takes a bit of time going through Control Panel and Properties of the hardware to determine who you need to get the drivers from.

    Comment by Dave Richard — April 14, 2010 @ 6:06 pm

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