Me and My PC
If you know me then you probably know that PC's are not just my hobby, but also how I earn my living. I work on a team of around 18 people who provide IT Technical Support for a user base of over around 3000 users spread over 300 locations linked by a combination of leased lines, ISDN lines and dial-up modem connections. We also provide Network support for around 18 servers running Novel NetWare 3.12.
As if spending all my time at work working on PCs is not enough, I go home and do the same there. Virtually all my spare time, and certainly all my spare money (and a lot of my not so spare money) is spent on the PC or paying the resulting phone bills.
I like to try and keep my PC as up to date as I can afford to. Not necessarily because I really need to, but because I just like to. As I write this though, the PC has been in more or less its current hardware configuration for around 4 months. (Which is a long time for me!) - You can generally spot someone who likes to mess with their PC, just look at the back of the PC. Are the case retaining screws screwed in?. probably not <G>
This PC started out as a Gateway 2000 P5-75 around 3 years ago, and has had numerous reincarnations since then. Its current specification is as follows:
My Adventures with NT4
I had been a reasonably happy and content Windows 95 user since its pre-release days, but as we are just beginning to migrate to NT4 at work I thought it would be a good idea to install this at home too. Unfortunately I was lulled into a false sense of security and optimism at work by the fact that I had done several dozen installs without a single problem. So despite my fears of it all going very very wrong I decided to upgrade my PC at home as well.
Everything seemed fine for about 5 minutes until the NT install routine asked where I would like the installation to go - "Drive C:" I replied, only to be greeted by the response "Windows NT has performed maintenance on your hard disk, please restart the installation." I always go into a panic when I see things like this, as anything program that wants to mess with things like the file allocation table without my permission is normally bad. Anyway, I dutifully restarted the install and we passed that stage with no problems this time. Everything seemed to go fine right up to the point where NT restarts the PC. It was here that the problems really began. The loader just refused to run, giving various errors like "c:\winnt\system32\tuyiohqnacxk[[puejp;nj=ei[hfnh'waej'" is unreadable or damaged. So I tried again, and again, and again. Eventually - about 4 hours later, I decided that it was just not going to happen and tried to recover my Windows 95 installation. Guess what, absolutely every file on the disk had been corrupted by the NT install. Oh well I thought, no point in trying to recover from this, lets try NT again but let it format the disk. I tried as a FAT format, and as an NTFS format, neither of which would get past the loader screen. Back to the drawing board... Booted from DOS disk 1, tried to format the disk as a DOS partition - not a chance. Tried FDISK, uh-oh... still no joy. Tried a WIN 95 recovery disk, again no hope.. So, not only had NT totally trashed all my data, but left me with a lovely Seagate paperweight.
My theory for why this happened is that the disk was not autotyping correctly, OR it was autotyping correctly but NT was not seeing it correctly - either way, the physical structure of the drive was not being seen properly by NT and thus data was being written to the disk in strange ways, initially corrupting all the data that was already there, and then corrupting itself during the install process.
Anyway, all's well that ends well. A new HDD was purchased and installed. The NT installation worked first time, and I am now delighted with the dramatic performance gains over Windows 95. The speed of NT's TCP/IP handling is so much faster than 95, and the way that applications seem to snap open rather than think about it for a while is really incredible. There are drawbacks of course. No DirectX = no decent games, and I still have not managed to find a TWAIN driver for my scanner.
Update: - For anyone who is also trying to get a Primax 4800 Compact working with NT4 you will be pleased to know that although there is still no real NT4 driver available, the scanner was also sold as a Mustek 610SP II (I think) and the Mustek driver file download FBSPNT35(1).EXE from the Mustek web site works perfectly!.
The "dead" disk was taken to work, where I successfully tried a low level format from BIOS to clean the drive up.
Well - if anyone has actually read this far you have to be as much of an idiot as me for sitting here and writing all this!.
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