Old Red Jacket Talker

Just an old RCMP dispatcher’s ramblings . . .

Interesting Computer Repair On Tuesday I had an a…

Interesting Computer Repair

On Tuesday I had an appointment to look at a fellow’s computer in town. This is an older PII 266 computer with 160 megs of RAM that had been running fine up until recently. The fellow doesn’t use it for much other than surfing on EBay and the odd email message.

When I sat down in front of the keyboard I immediately saw there was a problem of lack of hard drive real estate. The computer has two hard drives installed. One is a 2.3 gig model and the other is a 512 meg model. Now that adds up to less than 3 gigs of room on the hard drives and the fellow was running XP Home.

I did look around in the computer and found that someone tried to help him recover some room by deleting certain unused programs. Of course they just used the ‘delete’ key so the registery was a total mess.

After prodding around for an hour or so I advised the fellow that the best thing he could do (other than buying a new computer) would be to reformat and start afresh. I told him that I could do it for him but it would take a day or so to get it all back up and running. He was agreeable with that so I unplugged the tower and headed for home.

Once home I reformatted both ‘C’ and ‘D’ harddrives and commenced installing XP. Oh yah, the fellow couldn’t find his own XP copy but he knows he had one somewhere. No problem as I had a couple CDs I could use and just needed his Product Key. I have a full version of XP so I started the computer with it and commenced the install process. The process went fine and was booting just ducky. I then got a new version of AVG 7.5 antivirus and put that in the computer so we could keep out some of the nasties that show up every now and then.

It was when I put in the AVG that I realized that the amount of room on ‘C’ was going to be critical. So I installed the program onto the ‘D’ drive. Of course you still get all kinds of DLL files etc that programs insist must go on ‘C’ so I did loose some space.

With that all in place it was time to look for some updates. When I checked on Microsoft I found it needed at least 73 updates. So I started downloading the required files and watched the hard drive get less and less room to play. Eventually all the upgrades were down and the beast was still functioning fairly well. Then I looked and realized that XP was still sitting at SP1 and needed some more upgrading to get up to SP2.

Well I started downloading the update but the computer immediately started to balk at the size of this puppy. A stand alone download of SP2 runs about 266 megs of space. However, the update download is a bit smaller than that, but it still takes up a lot of room.

About half way through the download I could tell it was not going to work so I cancelled everything. I then reformatted the computer and started over with an Upgrade XP SP2 disk I had. This went better as Microsoft had at least fixed the 73 upgrades that were needed from the original XP disk so I didn’t need to download the files.

I continued on and also installed the AVG over on the ‘D’ drive. I also installed ‘Crap Cleaner’ on the ‘D’ to assist with cleaning out some of the extra update files once I was done. This worked out quite well and once I had the XP all up and running and updated I still had close to 940 megs free on ‘C’. This isn’t a huge amount of room, but it would probably work for the way the fellow used his computer.

Then I figured I’d go whole hog and install the new IE7 for him. After downloading and getting the program updated I was fast running out of room on the hard drive. The program was complaining that there was not enough ‘free space’ left on ‘C’ and that the program needs at least 200 megs to function.

I looked around and there really wasn’t a lot that I could remove that wasn’t needed. The fellow stated he wanted email, be able to browse and to be able to play solitaire. I did have a bit of room sitting over on ‘D’ so I then figured I’d move the ‘Page File’ over there. This worked just great and did free up some needed room over on the ‘C’. I had over 450 megs of free room left on ‘C’ which is plenty to allow for temporary internet files and the odd email that was expected.

I tested the computer out and surprisingly it worked fairly well. Now remember this is only a 266 computer with 160 megs of RAM. But it was definitely peppy enough on opening up the browser or the email. The solitaire worked just fine as well.

After running a final AVG scan and finding everything was clean I bundled up the computer and headed for the customer’s house.

Once I got it all hooked up and purring right along, the guy says ‘Oh yah, I have this ‘All In One Printer/Scanner’ that I would like installed”. So I grabbed the CD and started installing. As I watched the files fly into the computer, I knew the free space was fast declining. But I continued on and ensured everything worked just fine.

I took a peak at the ‘Explorer’ to see that there was about 350 megs free on the ‘C’ drive and about 250 megs free on the ‘D’ drive. But the printer, scanner, fax machine now worked just fine. Well not quite fine, the customer hadn’t used the printer since last summer sometime so of course the print cartridges were dried up. But the printer did go through the printing process as well as scanning in a document, etc. So it appeared everything was good to go. The customer was going to pick up a new black print cartridge to ensure he could print but he was satisfied that everything was in order.

I wasn’t sure it could be done on such a small hard drive, but at least now I know, you can have XP Home with all the recent updates installed on less than 3 gigs of hard drive real estate.

My final comment to the fellow before I left was to ensure he kept his ‘Temporary Files’ cleared out and don’t be saving huge attachments in his email messages. Oh yah, keep your eye out for a good deal on a new computer. PII 266’s are getting fairly long in the tooth and you never know when it would decide to die a silent death.


February 15, 2007 Posted by | Computers | Leave a comment