24 February 2013

Fresh Starts

I spent the day yesterday unloading content from my ailing laptop (it goes through phases where it shuts off for no good reason and I have to perform a system restore on it) so that I could do something drastic.

When we got the laptop we got no software with it since it was all pre-loaded. We didn't think to make a backup disc for it of course, so I didn't have one to fix any problems when Vista went sideways (the darn thing shuts off by itself, then it has to be started in safe mode and restored to the last known good point; when it's on the fritz if you start it up in regular mode you won't have time to do the restore before it shuts off again. Microsoft has been less than helpful, telling me "it shouldn't do that..." Yeah, I got that, thanks). I ordered one from Ebay and it arrived yesterday, so I set out to use it.

I had no idea that I had so much stuff stored on the laptop, and it won't all transfer (the computer stubbornly insist there isn't enough room on a 32MB flash drive for 17MB worth of video files), but I did get everything else (including lots of stuff I'll never use, but its on the external hard drive now with all the rest).

I then did a fresh install of Windoze Vista, ordering a format of the C drive to do so. I still have my D and E drive partitions, I haven't figured out how to combine them yet, but for the first time in a long time there is plenty of room on the laptop. I finished off my day by reloading all the software that got nuked with the format, including the Acer drivers for the camera.

The camera works when it wants to, but today I did take the lid apart to look at the wiring. I didn't see anything obvious, but it's working now so I'll leave it alone. I'll take Yes for an answer. I was also able to install the Adobe PDF reader that wouldn't install before, so I can read PDFs on the laptop again.

So far so good, I'm happy with the decision. The desktop looks a bit different than it did before so I wonder if I got another version of Vista, but it seems to work, the old product key activated it with no problems and I have been able to find everything I need. It might have something to do with the fact that the Acer management software got nuked at the same time and I didn't have a way to reload it, not that I used it anyway so I don't miss it.

That reminds me though, one of the things I'll have to put on my list of things for my friends to do for me should something tragic happen is to nuke the external hard drive...


RabidAlien said...

Heh. Reminds me of the email that says the first job of a Best Friend should be to erase your browser history when you die.

Vista is crap...either it works well, or it doesn't, and its about a 30-70 ratio of works to crap. You might take apart your laptop and blow it out really well, shutting down for no reason could be due to overheating. If your fans don't want to work right, you could always pick up a cooling pad to put under it. Of course, replacing it and then taking the Vista rig out and ventilating it is always an option.

If you need to move/remove/resize partitions, you can either go through Windows (right-click on "My Computer", hit "Manage", then "Disk Management"), but this requires you to delete both drives and recreate them as one. Which also requires massive secondary storage space to move all the files to. Personally, I've started using Easeus Partition Master to move things around. You can resize drives without having to delete them first. It requires a couple of reboots, but I've been using it in the IT field for a year or so now and have never had a complaint yet. (And they don't pay me anything to recommend them)

Larry said...

It wasn't a cooling problem, the fans work fine. It was without a doubt a software problem. A system restore to just before the last Windoze update was installed would fix it right up, until the next time. I had the updates turned off, and then it did it again.

I also could not get Adobe PDF reader to install, I'd open it up and the whole thing would just disappear, the entire download, and then I'd have to download it again. I finally had enough and nuked it, so far it's fine. We'll see what happens.

I zipped the files and the computer told me that 8mb would n't fit on a 32mb stick, either, so I just deleted them.

I have a partition (set up as a "D" drive right now) that I would like to incorporate into the main drive, but when I delete it, it becomes free space and for some reason I can't expand the C drive to encompass it. Very irritating.

I'm a machine fixer, not a programmer.

RabidAlien said...

Same here, I have much smarter fingers than I have braincells. But try using that Easeus program (linked near the bottom of my original post), its about as simple as it can be, you just drag the edge of your existing partition into the "gray" area where there's no partition, and the program rewrites the partition size. You don't have to uninstall or move anything (always backing up is a good habit, though). Definitely sounds like a crap install of Vista, and probably a bad update. You could take a day and dedicate it to downloading the updates one at a time (www.microsoft.com, search for the kb#) until you find the crappy one, but its probably easier to pick up a copy of 7. Or switch over to Ubuntu (free!).

Oh, and Adobe's updates are happening very frequently these days...Reader updates on an almost weekly basis, and I've had to install Flash updates on users' PCs on a daily basis at times. You'd think they'd fix their security flaws! But in both cases, once you click on the installer, the file does, for whatever reason, disappear, even when logged on to an Admin account. I have yet to find a good explanation for that. My suggestion is to download it, copy it (not cut) to a different folder so that if something goes wrong, you don't have to waste the 2 minutes or so to download again, then reboot and install it first thing on a fresh bootup. You might also check to see if your antivirus is blocking it for some reason.

Larry said...

Thanks RA, I'll have to try Easeus out.