Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

More computer woes

My ancient (built it with the help of a co-worker during American Pie 2) desktop has finally died – sort of.

I foolishly tried to upgrade said operating system (thinking that newer was better) and now the browser won’t even start. Plus, the mouse does this really annoying thing where it leaves a little trail of arrows even when there’s no internet involved. What’s up with that?

It’s been such a pain that I haven’t even bothered with the internet. My temp solution is to plug-in my laptop and use that, but I really do want a desktop. I know that seems excessive, but I’ve had a lot more problems with laptops than I have with desktops over the years, so I really do just think of the laptop as the ‘spare’ computer. Plus, the laptop gets really, really hot even when it’s not plugged in and that makes me more than a little nervous.

I can get some internet sites on my phone, but not very many since I’m not willing to pay a million dollars a month for ‘high-speed’ access. On a phone. It already freaks me out that I have to re-boot the damn thing. I don’t need internet problems on top of that.

Since I’m not sure I have the patience to build another system myself (this involves about 3,000 trips to Fry’s and lots of screaming and hair-tearing), I thought I’d just buy some cast-off from Craig’s List, yank out the hard drive, put in mine and viola! Computing powers galore.

Not so much. Turns out, people on Craig’s List apparently have no idea about the rate at which consumer electronics depreciate. Just because you paid $700 for the computer five years ago does NOT mean it’s still worth that.

That, and wading through the massive number of miscategorized ads, ID theft scams and pleas to help smuggle funds out of the country. Is is just me, or has the signal-to-noise ratio on Craig’s List increased about five hundred fold in the past year?

So, I guess that leaves me with buying some cheap desktop or a ‘bare bones’ system, since I’m not proud and am totally okay with anything that actually works.

This still means I have to drive to Fry’s, which seems to be competing with IKEA to see who can put stores in the most godforsaken locations in the hottest parts of town.

At least the city’s sports fans aren’t still rioting.

Filed under: Uncategorized

11 Responses

  1. Andrew says:

    If you’re going to put your old HDD into a new tower, you’re most likely going to need one that has an IDE (or PATA, they’re the same thing) buss. Do this: Look at the cable that connects to your hard drive. Is it a flat rectangle that’s around 2.5-3 inches long? That’s IDE. Is it much smaller? That’s SATA. Make sure you get one that takes the drive. They phased out IDE around 4-5 years ago.

    If it’s possible, just go back to the old OS. See if you have some sort of system restore software on it. I don’t know if that stuff gets wiped when you put a new OS on it, but if you have a disk image from before the install, you can go back to that and still do things.

    If you want, you can email me with questions. I left my email address in the field up there.

    Peggy sez: I need more coffee before I can even begin to contemplate doing anything other than staring slack-jawed at your comment.

    • Andrew says:

      This is a photo of an IDE cable: http://www.vgmusic.com/faq/gallery/plugs/p-IDE.jpg

      This is a photo of a SATA cable: http://www.cs-electronics.com/images-large/SATA-Signal-Cable-1.jpg

      Actually, two SATA cables. And John Krill is right. I forgot, the BIOS (the thing when you start up your computer that tells it it’s not a toaster) is going to have a very hard time recognizing the operating system on your old drive. One thing you can do is get a new drive, put the OS on that, install the old drive as a secondary (if you’ve got in IDE drive, you’re going to have to pin it “slave.” It’s easy to do, and there are lots of sites that can help you, as well as instructions printed on the drive. What that means is you boot from the new drive with the new operating system, and once you’re up, you can access all of your stuff from your old drive. It’s like putting an external drive on your computer.

  2. John Krill says:

    Backup everything.

    Pulling out the old drive and putting it in new system is not a good idea.

    Make the old drive the second drive in the new system.

    But before you do anything please BACKUP everything.

    I don’t mean to yell but that appears to be the only way I can get through to you people.

    So BACKUP EVERYTHING on that old f**king machine.

    I spent 35 years in the computer hardware business and backups, or not doing them, forced more businesses to go belly up than bad business plans.

    Peggy sez: I’ve backed up most of it. I might lose a few photos, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles, isn’t it?

  3. mark says:

    two words pretending to be one for you: newegg.

    (well, really newegg.com)

    online store better than frys w/ infinitely more options, great prices and clear information.

  4. Joe says:

    Rather than worrying about finding a computer with which your old hard drive will work, I’d just find a USB enclosure for it and plug that into your new computer or your laptop or whatever. Here are some on newegg: http://www.newegg.com/store/subcategory.aspx?subcategory=92&name=external-enclosures

    You ought to be able to turn off those mouse trails in the Mouse applet in the control panel.

    Screw Fry’s. The only reason to buy something from a physical store like Fry’s is that you need it immediately. If you can wait a couple days for shipping, you’re always going to be better off just ordering from NewEgg, TigerDirect, etc.

  5. Stan says:

    Yes. newegg is good. Also TigerDirect. You can buy a computer from either that is already put together and will work without the N trips to Fry’s. And it won’t cost any more than what you’d get a Fry’s.

  6. geekhiker says:

    Looks like you have a few volunteers already, but if you need any help, feel free to shoot me an e-mail. Heck, I’m always looking for an excuse to geek out at Fry’s. :)

  7. Craig says:

    Pulling out your old harddrive and attaching it to a new motherboard and booting the system will not work for a large number of reasons. As others have said, you will want a new
    harddrive and will want to use your old one as extra storage.

    You can actually build some pretty cool, low power, tiny, systems using pico or nano-ITX boards. Or perhaps one of the newer Atom based systems from Intel. But you can’t do this shopping at Fry’s as they only stock crappy, ugly, big, power hungry motherboards.

    I’d consider looking for a prebuilt, low cost, Atom based
    machine. You can get something for under $400.

  8. Bill Johnson says:

    I buy bleeding edge and pay through the nose or refurbished from the original manufacturer and pay cents on the dollar.

    I love these guys. This is their refurbished site. Some of the stuff has just been unboxed and sent back, some is scratch and dent. It’s all a bargain. Amazing deals and I’ve never had a problem:

    http://outlet.lenovo.com/

    They bought ThinkPad from IBM and make really fine equipment.

  9. D says:

    Hey, I did American Pie 2 as B dolly. Hmmm.

  10. JCW says:

    The only thing sadder than your computer problems is the fact that you posted a picture of my old chair.

    Custom ordered in that particular shade of peach – so popular in 1985 – from our local Levitz.

    I suspected that when we parted life did not have kind things in store for it… but to see it on the streets… in L.A….

    Just sad.

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