Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Computer Mayhem

The last few days have been interesting to say the least.

A few days ago, my computer started acting weird... All of you out there who read my blog on a regular basis know I had to replace the video card about 16 months ago and well, the drivers for it started acting oddly over the weekend, which messed up the entire system. It was so messed up that most of the time, I was lucky to get an hour or so before the video card stopped working the last going off and it was rather annoying, but did work again for a bit after I restarted the computer.

Hubby noticed it was having a system wide failure on Sunday evening while he was playing one of his offline games. I told him to shut it down and we discussed what to do. Rebuilding it myself was an option but I don't have the driver for the video card installed on the computer at all. Taking it to a computer tech was an option but that would be expensive and possibly only a temporary measure. He asked what are the other options and I told him the cheapest and most secure way to go about it all in the long run...

My old computer was manufactured in November of 2007. It had Vista on it and came with only 1GB of RAM at the time of purchase. It was slow, getting slower and I noticed different things about it that said it was slowly starting to wear out. Don't get me wrong, I loved that system but it was time to lay it to rest and look ahead. I told him the best option for us right now would be to get a new computer, unless he wanted to keep coughing up a ton of money on fixing the old one. He thought about it and said we'd go pricing new systems on Monday, but asked about things on the old hard drive.

Well, you see I'm a bit of a tech hound and do know a little about computers. Yeah, I took my course back in 1997 but am self taught in newer stuff like Windows XP and Vista for example, and a lot of the hardware itself hasn't changed an over amount over the last few years. Hard drives may be bigger and faster but they basically work the same as they did sixteen years ago. They still store data in files, need to be defragmented, and still need other maintenance, as all of us know! So, I told him we can use the old hard drive into the new system or if the connections do not match (which happened when I tried to install a second DVD burner into the old computer) I could try to turn the old 160GB hard drive into another external backup drive. He liked that idea and agreed to it.

We went around and priced new systems. Now, anyone who knows me knows when I get set loose in a computer store with any kind of credit card or gift card knows I tend to go a little nutso because I drool over the new stuff that's out. Needless to say I know what questions to ask, know what I'm talking about and can learn things related to computers, etc very easily. So when Hubby set me loose yesterday, it was almost a free for all! *giggles!* 

Unfortunately, Windows 7 is NOT available on new systems any more, but I think you can still get it if you want to pay extra money for it and feel like rebuilding your system on your own or pay to have it rebuilt. Since I don't have the extra cash for that, I settled with getting Windows 8 and learning it. My mom has 7 and it is TO DIE FOR to be blunt. I loved it, but at the same time, liked the idea of a challenge in learning how to use 8. 

So, I got a new system in the end. It's made by the same brand my old one was made by and since I know it's reliable (for me at least), I was very tickled.

We got the new computer home, I dismantled the old one and we set this one up. I went to add the old hard drive to it and found out it is NOT expandable. You see, this tower is a "streamlined" one... It's narrow and the DVD drive is in it SIDEWAYS as is the hard drive. I don't have room in it for the old dial up modem either. So I'm going to turn the old hard drive into an external drive, once I figure out HOW to do it. Thank the stars for friends who know how to do that and can tell me and show me what to do! LOL 

I had never seen Win 8 on startup and it was pretty odd to see something other than the "acer" screen pop up when I started it. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to get into the desktop and other things but once I started getting my bearings, things were a lot smoother, but I still hit a few bumps, large and small.

For one, Windows 8 does NOT have a startup menu on the taskbar, like Windows 95-Vista does. Seriously. That really threw me off for a bit and I'm still adjusting to that. Getting the desktop wallpaper and theme set up was another challenge, and to get things saved made me a little frustrated. After messing around with it for a bit, I did get it all set up, and managed to figure out how to set up a NON administrator account for our son so he couldn't mess around with things on the hard drive so much. That kid is another tech hound like me and his uncles, I swear! Anyway, once I figured out what to do and cleaned off most of the shortcuts on the desktop (I like a clean desktop with shortcuts on the taskbar!) things started rolling a lot better.

Installing the turbo stick turned out to be a few minutes of "fun" but once it got installed and I figured out how to pin it to the taskbar, it was better. I installed that, MS Office (my paid for version, it's older but works!), a few other programs (slot machines for the guys) and then started the long task of copying things over from the external drive I purchased a couple of weeks ago. All of my pictures, most of what I had in the Documents area and a lot of other things are now on the new hard drive and so far so good. One of the first things I added were the most recent copies of both "No Regrets" and its sequel so I could jump back into the writing ASAP! Hubby laughed at that one, because he KNOWS if I don't have access to my manuscripts at home, I kinda lose it....

I got online finally and started updating things, after I downloaded and installed the updated version of my internet security program that is. Since I had a nasty virus on the old system and the one before it, I do NOT take any chances when it comes to zooming around online. The safer the better in my mind! After that was done, I started getting things like Firefox and Opera and started bookmarking and inputting the PWs, etc, for all of my most frequented sites, like here, Facebook and Sanctuary (where I'm a global moderator). It's been rough remembering all of the main spots I hang out and I KNOW I missed a few of them. I'll get them all back in time, but as long as I have the main ones I'll be okay for now! 

Most of my old programs have been installed too... I burned almost a full gigabyte of downloading on the stick to get things like GIMP, VLC Media player and other things, but after it was all set up, this new system felt more like "mine" and looks more and more like Vista did on the old one with a few upgrades and changes. That's okay, I will adjust but this stupid transition period is making me a tad wonky and I am a little more snippy than I would normally be while on the computer. I think once things settle down and I'm more used to it, I'll be a lot better and will be able to do things without having to think... Or I hope so at least!

It's been one HECK of a journey so far with this new system, and it's not over by a long shot. I still have to get a few more programs installed or downloaded, and still have to configure things a little more to my liking on my end of it and my son's end of it, but that will slowly fall into place over time. I just have to be patient, I will get it!


1.47 GHz CPU
1 TB internal hard drive
DVD/CD Burner/player
Windows 8

...And a lot I haven't discovered yet!

Have a great week everyone! I have a couple of writing days ahead of me and I plan on making the most of them. 

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