There are times I really hate computers
Saturday February 7 2009 @ 10:25 am

Like now.

I have a machine set up in the basement that I use strictly for gaming.  Its pretty much been a workhorse for me and I’ve never had any real issues with the box.  Until recently.  A few weeks ago the thing wouldn’t boot.  Not even a post.  No beeps…  just nothing.  After a bit of moving cards around, pluging and unpluging various cables and whatnot, I discovered that the machine would in fact post with a error beep sequence when the memory was completely removed.  I moved the two memory sticks (2Gb total) from bank 0 to bank 1 and the machine decides to boot.  Something died on the motherboard and the machine simply will not function with memory in bank 0.  Go figure.

No problems with the machine since that bizzare little incident.  Until last night.  For whatever reason, I decided to take a perfectly good machine and install XP SP3 onto it.  Luckly I did this after my nightly fix of Left 4 Dead…  mainly because once the SP3 install completed, the machine went into a reboot loop.  It would get as far as beginning to fade in the XP startup logo screen, freeze, then reboot.  Safe mode was a bust as well.  It was late so I just turned off the machine and decided to look at it again in the morning.

Sitting with my morning coffee I googled ‘xp sp3 reboot loop’.  Second in the search results was this link:

Windows XP SP3 reboot hell (and how to get out of it)

Quickly glancing through the article I happened to catch this:

Users who have seen this message say that their PCs are running one specific motherboard — an ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe — equipped with an AMD processor. Those same users claim that inserting a USB flash drive or connecting another USB-based storage device before booting solves the problem.

Odd…  thats my exact motherboard.  But come on!  Plugging in a USB drive can’t really be a way to get it to boot….  can it?

Sure enough, I grab a thumb drive out of my laptop bag, plug it into a USB slot and boom, the system boots without a hitch.

What.  The.  Hell?

The the drive out, no boot.  Put it back in, boot.  Crap like this drives me crazy.  How does that solution make any sense at all?  Obviously I’ve still a bit of work in front of me getting the machine back to 100% but at least I can get to a desktop to work on it.

Update:

This appears to be a more permanent fix, though I haven’t gotten around to trying it yet.

Windows XP SP3 Installation Fix For A8N32-SLI DeLuxe – v14.09 (Beta) BIOS from ASUSTeK Computer Inc.



Vista is selling really well
Saturday May 24 2008 @ 11:58 pm

If you just ignore the obvious.

Vista selling really well, says Ballmer

“Vista sells on almost 100 per cent of all the new consumer PCs around the world,” the Microsoft CEO proclaimed. He added that the operating system was also selling on, “45 percent of all of new business PCs”. Which is enlightening, since business users are about the ony buyers of new PCs that get a choice.

Which really is the point isn’t it? You can’t exactly walk into a Best Buy or WalMart and pick up an XP box anymore can you? Microsoft took care of that little issue a while ago. The only place you can get an XP box (that I’m aware of) is online and thats getting more difficult by the day.

In any case, I maintain that Vista’s actual numbers are inflated. Just because a machine shipped with Vista doesn’t mean its actually running Vista when it hits a users desk. Case in point: we just did a hardware refresh for five laptops in the company. Every one shipped with Vista install but that so called operating system was blown away with an XP install as soon as they hit our bench. Microsoft still counts those as Vista installs. Second case in point: we just recently rolled out an upgrade to 50+ desktop machines moving them from Windows 2000 to XP Pro. Of course you can’t actually buy Windows XP volume licenses anymore. You have to buy Vista volume licenses which, while currently allowing you to install XP instead of Vista, are actually recorded as Vista sales.

Vista just simply is not doing as well as Microsoft would have you believe.