May 17th, 2009

Conrunner Kevin

Rebuilding Computer Systems

I do not particularly enjoy rebuilding computers' operating systems, but it seems like I have to do it too often. Having decided that none of the things I was trying to repair the system on my backup computer were going to work, I gave up and went to a "bare metal" rebuild with the XP installation disk that came with the computer originally. Installing XP (SP2) itself wasn't so bad. It's trying to get all of the Dell Inspiron 600m drivers right that's tricky. You can't even download more updates until after you have at least the network driver installed. I can never remember the correct order in which Dell recommends installing the drivers, so I just installed them in numerical order from my archive and hoped for the best.

Over the course of two days -- it sat off to one side and I paid attention to it when necessary and when I had the time -- I got the OS, drivers, updates (lots of those), and programs I regularly use installed. Everything seemed pretty stable and clean. I ran a registry clean and then defragmented the drive. Even on a fresh installation, MyRegistryCleaner found messes presumably left over from the various installation files behaving badly, and the drive was already badly fragmented. With something approaching a fresh, clean system, I cloned it into an identical drive, then swapped the clone in place of the original drive to make sure it worked and to spread the wear on the drives themselves. To the extent that anything in an Windows environment is in good shape, I appear to have a clean and stable backup computer again.

It even has the Match Game sound effects re-loaded.

Meeting Time

Today was a 2009 World Fantasy Convention meeting up in Oakland at the home of Sarah Goodman. Sarah has a wireless internet connection, so I was able to stay online during the meeting and even made a couple of simple corrections to the WFC2009 web site on the spot. For instance, we set the deadline for the current $125 memberships to be the end of August, at which time it goes to $150, and it will be $200 at the door in the unlikely event that there are any left. (WFC has a membership cap and usually sells out pre-con.) Changes like that are simple and I like being able to get them done quickly so that they don't get forgotten.

Thanks again to Glenn Glazer and David Gallaher for giving me a ride to and from the meeting. Now I'm staying inside out of the sun and the heat.