Scary XP installation

January 26, 2006 at 9:40 pm Leave a comment

Recently, my new pc arrived. That is to say, a whole set of individual parts arrived, and I put them together, in a more or less correct configuration. The end result resembled a PC, and lo-and-behold, it also behaved like one.

Now this is the first time I have built a PC for myself. Many a times, I constructed one for somebody else, but when it came to my own PC needs, I always seemed to find a good deal here or there, that came in the form of an assembled computer.
The main reason for this was price. It used to be almost impossible to find a decent PC for the casual user, that didn’t cost too much, or didn’t have some kind of modem installed. And believe me, the last thing you want, is the casual user trying to install, let alone use, a modem.
But if you wanted a kick-ass machine, sporting a high-end graphics card, you could just walk to the discount supermarket, and take one home for a most decent price.
A bizarre situation, but quite clever from a marketing standpoint, because huge hordes of casual users, have been lured into buying an extreme gaming machine, that had capabilities of which they probably never utilized even more than ten percent. How could they resist? It was at the discount supermarket, so it had to be cheap right? Picture grandma buying a Porsche at fifteen percent under normal market value, just because it was on sale at the famous discount place.
But as Yoda would say:”Digressing I am.”

So, my new rig was ready for take-off, and that take-off involved, of course, the installation of Windows XP. I dabbled with Linux somewhat in the past, but as a desktop operating system, it always kind of feels like alcohol-free beer to me. It don’t taste so good as real beer, and you don’t get drunk. So what’s the point?
The analogy pans out like this.
The taste : Linux has a desktop manager, but it’s not quite up to the standard of windows. It certainly does not have any major added value.
The drunkeness : you can’t play the good games on Linux. So what’s the point?
Take the Playstation 2 for example : awful desktop system, really sucks in that regard, but hey, great games there.
A playstation is like an alco-pop drink. It don’t taste like alcohol, but you get drunk pretty quickly.
But as Mr. T would say :”Stop digressin’, you foo’ ! ”

Ha, installing XP, huh. Piece of cake. Piece of cheesy-peasy-cake. Been there before, done it before.
So, in goes the CD. The DOS-like installer gets going, asks some questions, and then starts its most important task, getting the basic XP files from the CD to your hard-drive. And that’s where the first snag occured. Around percentage 48 of the progress bar, the installer called me over to say that it really didn’t feel like copying a certain file, of which I already and conveniently forgot the name. Among the list of options was the Retry option. Since I wasn’t planning on running XP without any file that looked like it was named by R2D2, I chose the Retry option. How many times does that work? Exactly, never !
So, just like you now, I was surprised to find that it did. And not only that, a couple of files later, the exact same thing happened. Now, these kinds of errors have the tendency to be of a repetitive nature. So repetitive in fact, that you get Repetitive Strain Injury from tapping the Enter key. But again, the DOS-like installer had a suprise for me, it was just the two times.

That was a close shave. How would you solve an error like that, when not even the most basic of hacker tools, the command prompt, is available to you? Never mind the DOS DVD-ROM driver nightmares that you have to face during such endeavors.
However, that was nothing compared to the scare I had a couple of progress indicators later.

When the DOS-like thingymajigg is done doing the thing it does best, it reboots your PC, and a Windows-like thingymajigg takes over.
The Windows-like contraption has a lot of tasks, like asking the name of your PC – which is always good for a minute or two of unbearable lightness of being -, but its most important one is, again, copying files.
But before it got to that, I saw how very much like Windows the installer application actually was. Did you ever experience a blue screen of death during installation? I hope not, because I have, and it scared the hell out of me. Even more scary than the DOS-like frizzle refusing to copy a file, because when that happened, I was already making recovery plans in my head, but how are you going to repair a half-born Windows operating system? It’s not like there’s a last known good configuration or so. There’s actually no known configuration at all.
But what the heck, let’s try the trick Super-PC-repair-man has taught us all : the reboot.

It was nice to see that the installation did at least start all over again, while recognizing that it had failed the time before. I could say that I was expecting it to work this time, but that would be lying, since I already beat the astronomically low odds with the DOS-like contrivance SNAFU. To make this already long story, not even longer, it did work the second time. I still had to enter my time-zone and PC name twice, but what a meager price to pay for such a reward.

So Windows XP did get installed, and was already booting for its maiden voyage.
Now surely, you are expecting another pebble-in-the-shoe situation, and good for you, because you are right. At its first official boot, the combined forces of my new Wintel platform, deciced that it was a good moment for fatal error of some kind. It did ask if I would like to send a report of the error to the powers that very probably created it, but since I had no email, let alone network drivers, I wisely chose the Don’t Send option.

The only thing that was left to do was install all the included drivers for the mainboard circuitry, and honestly, after that, all became well on the Western front again. Not one obscure error has since then surfaced, and hopefully it remains that way.
Like practically all my stories, the meat had to be in the middle, because I really couldn’t come up with a cathartic conclusion to this drama.


Entry filed under: Command Line.

Walk the mainboard Where is our food ?

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