Tuesday, March 18, 2008

IDE, S-ATA, Windows on 32 or 64 bit and "new computer woes"

Actually... it all kind of belongs together.

A little while ago my computer decided to stop working. For why, i don't know; i think it is a mixture of a motherboard getting old (and out of shape), my former USB hub which nurtured the computer with power (I used to think it was supposed to be the other way around but way, you live and learn) and a general dislike for S-ATA drives which started to develop. So a few days before I went on holiday I ordered a nice custom-built PC which was done the day before I departed. But since i had a lot to do i decided to just quickly check if it's working or not.

Which it wasn't... turned out that the USB hub is jealous enough to prevent it from working, too. God knows, why. Ah well. So two weeks later, when i got back from the island I wanted to install my computer. About which I thought: "mweh, two days of installation but then it'll be fine"... yeah... first of all i spent about a week with assembling / installing and mostly fixing my brother's new computer (=my old one); then I managed to get to my computer. There I spent about a week with installing XP X64 3 times a day because just after the fresh installation it would say "disk boot failure. insert system disk ..." ... oh great. I finally resolved that by unplugging the IDE drive. I should add that I have 2 IDE drives (HDD and DVD) and 2 SATA drives (both HDD). The installation was supposed to go on the new SATA drive, because the old ones are... well, old. But apparently Windows never quite managed to handle the MBR properly, it always put it on the IDE drive and looked for the NTLDR ond the IDE drive as well. or so it seems. Basically, after unplugging the IDE drive, the installation worked. Even when i plugged the IDE drive back in.
Drivers were a different matter. the nforce 560 chipset is simply too new for XP (either one), so I had issues even discovering what xp meant with "unknown device"... (even the unknown device software didnt help much).
At some point, due to the lack of 64bit support, i was thinking about moving to 32 bit XP. Which.... gave me continuous blue screens of death while attempting to install the (correct) ethernet driver or, after i managed that somehow, in the boot process. Sooo... back to X64. where now most drivers are installed neatly, i refrained from installing windows live messenger so far (the current release is a bit buggy, as the two other desktop computers in our household prove with vista and Xp x86)... i also installed a couple of updates... windows updates. But now it appears that I am unable to install any other updates. It just stops. No error message, nothing. Its all fully downloaded - even redownloading won't help - but it won't budge.

For once... if it just started working nicely for once I would be so happy.... But i see this as a nasty way to get customers to use vista, by making it so utterly hard to integrate newer hardware in an old operating system... hmpf.

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