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Computer techs are cursed - trinalin thinks things through
trinalin
trinalin
Computer techs are cursed
My dad has noticed that whenever computer techs do upgrades on their own equipment, all hell breaks loose. Upgrading 20 computers for a lab, no problem. Changing video cards on your home computer? Big problem.

When I bought my Sony VAIO PC last summer, it had everything that I wanted except a decent video card. Of course, I bought it all the same, despite the onboard video. But my main addiction, City of Heroes, didn't play corrently on the VAIO. Bugger. No matter, I decided to upgrade the video. I couldn't use the card out of my old PC - it was AGP and this computer only has PCI-E and regular PCI slots. So I found an ATI PCI-E card for the computer and installed it.

ATI and City of Heroes are not the best of friends, but my game played. Sure the video card occasionally crashed (well, the driver software did) and I'd lose picture. But it was a rare thing. And sure, sometimes after being off, the card wouldn't send data to the DVI port and I'd have to turn off the computer blind. But I coped.

But then the fan started going bad. Bleh. I was afraid it would stop altogether and the chip would burn out, so I purchased another PCI-E card online. Yay for NewEgg.com! I found a nice nVidia card to replace the ATI. nVidia and CoH are lovers, you know.

Now, before I installed the new card, I uninstalled the ATI drivers. I know what a pain in the ass conflicting drivers can be. And I pondered, but only pondered, installing the nVidia drivers before I swapped out the old and installed the new. And did I even think about dropping down my resolution? Nope...

So I turned off the PC, uninstalled the ATI card and installed the nVidia card without a hitch. Then I turned it on. And it went into Windows XP without a hitch. Except that once WinXP opened up, no picture. Wrong resolutions for the card! 1280x1024 without drivers is very hard to maintain. So did WinXP automatically switch down to one that worked? Hell no. Incompetent piece of shit software...

No matter, says I, I'll just see what keystrokes are required to run the driver software disk. I put the disk into the laptop to see what it does. But the piece of shit driver software doesn't have nice alt-key commands for running it. Still, it does beep when you move over the options. I think I might be able to get it to work blind. But I can't. Bugger.

What's a girl to do? Well, go into Safe Mode and change the resolution, of course. Except that the VAIO has NEVER been able to go successfully into Safe Mode. And yesterday was no exception. Grrrrr.

OK, next choice is going into VGA mode. Except I get told by WinXP that it's missing a key file to do that. Good news - my laptop has that file. Bad news - how am I going to copy it onto the PC? Didn't have any luck doing it through the network - I never bothered to share the C drive and when I tried the hidden share, I, um, forgot my administrator password. (And bugger all if I didn't remember it later on after I'd passed the point of no return. Stupid ass tech.)

No matter, I'll just use a Win98 boot disk and copy it that way. Oh yeah, SATA drive. Duh! The DOS on the Win98 disk hadn't a clue how to view a SATA drive. I decided I had to go to school and get BART PE and a WinXP Pro disk. And to comfort pissed off treen, I also went to Taco Hell for take away. (I'd been working since 3:30 on this gathering disaster and it was after 5pm by then.)

My first thing to try once Leo and I had eaten supper was BART PE. I was able to copy the file that the VGA mode said that it needed. Only the bloody file was already there. *sigh* But attempts to boot into VGA mode still resulted in black screen, and worse, now when I tried booting into Safe Mode, it rebooted instead of just sitting there showing off all the drivers it loaded.

I'd done some research online and suggestions were to do a WinXP repair if you can't successfully go into Safe Mode. I follow the instructions and things are going OK, until it reboots and goes into Windows - black screen! Still hasn't dropped down resolution. I haven't a clue if it's asking me to type stuff or key buttons or just wait for it to finish. When it gets to a point of inactivity, I turn it off and try going into VGA mode. Ah! Now I can see a picture. And it says that Windows upgrade is restarting. And just sits there. Bugger all.

A second attempt at the upgrade leads to the same results. No way to get into VGA mode while its installing. And when rebooted, it just sits there. Of course, I later realize why this might be so. My computer had Media Center Edition. XP Pro with bells on, but still no XP Pro like I'm "upgrading" it with.

So now I've borrowed a computer from school with a SATA drive and copying my documents, videos, and MP3s onto that computer's HD. And I've just wasted $35 to get the Sony VAIO recovery DVD shipped to me overnight (which really means I'll get it Tuesday since it's the weekend now). So hopefully on Tuesday I can get my computer back to where it was when I first purchased it. And then get all my stuff back onto it.

Man, I'm gonna miss City of Heroes while I wait for this. I did try installing it on my laptop, but the graphics on here are so bad it's black & white. Heh. If all goes well, though, I shouldn't lose any data in this fiasco. At least, I hope not!

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Current Mood: frustrated frustrated

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Comments
dark_pheonix From: dark_pheonix Date: May 14th, 2006 12:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I feel your pain with getting 'puters to cooperate and run your favourite game... I hope your story ends as happily as mine did :D
spooforbrains From: spooforbrains Date: May 14th, 2006 09:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's nice to see BARTPE mentioned by someone on my friends list :) This sounds like exactly the kind of fuck-up I get myself involved in on a regular basis. Getting my new (well, new to me) laptop installed was a laugh. SuSE Linux installation for machines with no CD or ability to netboot now requires seven floppies ... and I had one working floppy and apparently no working floppy DRIVES. I ended up taking the drive out and swapping it into another machine to do the installation, and then swapping it back afterwards. Gah.
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