28 August 2011

Better Mousetraps

We just had another power bump at the Refuge, for reasons unknown. It is bright and sunny outside with no sign of the recently departed storm other than a yard littered with leaves.

But this is not about that, it's about the magic elf box on my desk that is taking longer and longer to complete its boot-up cycle. The operating system comes up without too much fuss but it takes five minutes or longer to bring everything else back up, including the wireless network connection.

The elf box in question has performed its duties without complaint for the better part of five years now, which means by most computing standards it is positively ancient. Still, I hesitate to part with it.

I really don't know why. I have an external hard drive that has all the information and programs backed up on it, so it isn't that I'm afraid of losing information. Part of it I guess is sheer inertia, and part of it is that I'm cheap.

I suppose it's about time for a replacement, so I'll probably start looking around. I've been wanting a spare machine to experiment with Linux on, so maybe this is the incentive I need.

Also, I need a new alarm clock. I have two, both clock radios. One has a good radio but loses time whenever the power blinks even though it supposedly has a battery back up, the other keeps time with its battery backup but the radio isn't very good. Both of them sit on my headboard, one for the clock and the other for the radio. Not the most efficient use of space I must admit.

Always something, I guess.


Matt said...

Have you decrapified the start up menu? deleted all the temporary internet files and all that jazz?

Larry said...

I've emptied everything out to an external hard drive (in fact I got the hard drive to declutter the main drive in the hopes it would speed up the boot), run registry scans, defragged, etc. etc. ad nauseum. I'll have to check the start menu but the only things I can think of that is there is the wireless and the weather channel bug. The only thing I haven't done is a full wipe and reload of the software because it's just not that important really, it's just irritating.
It's an old computer and it wasn't a stellar performer to begin with, I've maxed out the RAM (it only takes 2M), and it is a 32 bit machine so software upgrades, while available, probably won't help a great deal.
I can't say it owes me anything, it's been a good machine for a long time now.
Thanks for dropping by Matt!

James said...

Want me to bring a Ubuntu install CD the next time I come out? I can have you feeling like you're running a new machine in less than an hour for a total investment of $0. Linux is very efficient at utilizing resources, so a five year old machine running Linux will seem like a one year old unit running Windoze, and it doesn't load up and bog down over time like you have recently experienced. There isn't much of a learning curve to get used to the new OS, either.

I've been Microsoft free (except for a 2005-era dual boot system that almost never gets booted under Windows) for over five years, and don't miss the headaches, poor performance, and anti-virus subscriptions a bit. In fact, my dual-boot machine lost its hard drive last week. In the process of recovering it, I was rudely reminded of all the crap and wasted time that one must suffer through to get the OS loaded, all the drivers installed, blah blah blah, just to get the damn thing to run semi-acceptably.

Join the rebellion!

Larry said...

I might just take you up on that, it's not like I don't own the XP disk if I want to switch back.
Thanks for dropping by James!

James said...

Dual boot. I can either load Linux beside what you already have, which will not change a thing about your current Windows installation. It will just add the option at startup asking which OS you want to boot, with it booting the default setting (easily changed) after ten seconds if you don't make a selection.

Or I can fdisk your hard drive and reload a fresh copy of XP using your install CD, then load Linux. A fresh install of XP should cure a lot of the slowdown that you've seen recently for the times that you want to run windows.

If you decide Linux isn't for you, all you will have lost is a few gigs of hard drive space, which shouldn't be much of an impact since you said that all the important stuff is on your external drive anyway.

Larry said...

Sounds good, what day should I plan on firing up the grill? Shoot me an email!