It had been a pretty fun-less summer round the Guy's house, with lots of work, a tough economy and aging parent problems. So, I finally said to myself, "Man, I haven't played a video game in a long time. Maybe I'll pick up Wolfenstein." This simple act led me down a very busy path the last couple weekends..
Aging Box Won't Cut It
My six year old Dell SC400 would not do the game justice, so I needed an alternative. Should I invest in a new core i7 box? Pricing one out on newegg with a ASRock board and an i7 920 chip came to almost $1000. I don't want to spend $1000 right now. But maybe I could install Vista 64-bit on the dual, quad core SC1430? Last time I tried installing a new OS on that box about a year ago, I learned that you can't install on IDE drives. So I needed a SATA drive. Luckily, I've since bought a couple of SATA drives and had a 500 gigger laying around. I also had a Vista 64-bit install disk, so it looks like I had all I needed to get started..
I could bore you with a lot of details about what has transpired over the last two weeks. Instead, I'll just bullet point the high points. Feel free to comment or ask where appropriate. Suffice it to say that the last two weekends have not been all that relaxing! :)
- installed Vista 64-bit and Wolfenstein. The OS ran fast on the dual, quad beast. Also, Wolfenstein's fun..just like the last one with better graphics.
- upgraded to Windows 7 RC1 (7057)
- Win7s performance went in the toilet, something must have been wrong. I blew it away and reinstalled Vista 64-bit
- backed up Vista to 500GB via Acronis (Seagate) Disk Wizard (six hours). Successfully test booted the backup.
- tried the Win 7 compatibility test. Just silly..it only looks at CPU/mem/video card specs. I was hoping it would look at your hardware and actually do a full compatability test that would tell you if the drivers for a specific card were available or not (listen up, Microsoft!). But that makes too much sense. Oh well.
- did Windows 7 RC1 (7147) full install/overwrite. Worked fine, as opposed to the upgrade, which did not.
This past week
- spent days this week trying to get Media Center working my tuner card.
- Analog cable works over NTSC
- ATSC with an antenna doesn't work, though it did in Vista Media Center. Weird.
Win 7 work
- I can't install Win7 on my SATA RAID cause I ran out of drive bays in the SC1430
- alternative would be to move the drive to an external DVD, thus freeing up a bay
- Win 7 suddenly stops working and blue screen of death with wimFsf.sys PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA error (not sure why)
- did all sorts of things to figure out what was happening (tried rebooting with DVD, removed PCI cards one by one, performed memtest)
- had to remove NVidia card and connect onboard video to get boot DVD to work and repair system
- repair actually worked and Win7 booted again
- not sure why this happened
- backed up Win7 RC1 to my old 120MB notebook drive via Acronis & tested the backup (took 20 hours)
- while removing and replacing cards, I accidentally cut the wire responsible for the intrusion detection switch.
- Thus, I had to head to Home Depot to get a wire stripper, strip the wire ends, thread them back together and wrap with electrical tape. Irritating.
I think I must have opened my SC1430 and rebooted over 50 times these past couple of weekends
- prepped Mac for second profile for girlfriend to use Mac for her iPod syncing
- reused the 500GB to do a Time Machine backup of Macbook
- Time Machine worked well. It completed the initial back up of 170GB in about four hours.
- created a user profile for her on the Mac
- pulled the files off her iPod Nano and network copied them to her new profile
- sync'd her iPod with the Mac
- my profile seems corrupt (permissions errors, can't do SW updates from it), so I used her profile to install the latest SW updates (10.5.8, new iTunes, etc)
- Mac OSX VNC still preventing me from logging out of my profiles. Had to disable sharing
- upgraded her iPod's firmware
- noticed my Macbook was full of crap, so I deleted 50GB worth of shat.
- redid the Time Machine backup
- noticed mcd on the mac was taking up 90% of the CPU (stopping Spotlight and unplugging the TM backup drive seemed to stop this)
Still to do
One last try this week: move box down near windows instead of up in loft.
Looking at the work I've done over the past couple weeks, a number of trends appear:
- got my systems' backed up (Mac/Win7)
- tried a new OS (Win7)
- built a sandbox on the Mac for my girlfriend to start using the Mac
- played a game for about two hours :)
Not bad for two weekends of struggle.