Posted tagged ‘XP’

My change of heart

September 30, 2009

Ten Reasons Why Windows XP Will Be Around For A While.  I saw it this morning.

It’s a good list, and a point of view I would have religiously followed until very recently.  So I’m coming out – I’m not so sure about keeping XP anymore.

There, I said it. =) My reasoning before was something like this: “It works fine, and the replacement is junk, so why upgrade?”  But I think that with W7, there will not be the same reasons to keep XP around.  Here’s a few factors that contribute to my thesis.

1) Hardware standards have come a long way since 2002.  A small example?  DX10.  Yes, I know if you’re not a gamer, you might not care, but it’s just an example.  I personally think it’s time to up the ante on the OS and make fuller use of the newer hardware available.

2) That new hardware?  It’s getting cheaper.  One of the big complaints about Vista was that people had to spend a lot on new hardware to run it.  But in the end, this might have been good for the computing world, because it pushed people to get rid of the dinosaur in their basement.  But now, you can get an amazing desktop system for $500, or a notebook for $650.  The hardware isn’t that expensive at this point.

3) Windows 7.  It looks like it’s going to be to Vista what 2K/XP was to ME .  On top of that, one of the very points in today’s TR article was that XP will stay around because W7 includes a virtual version of it.  Huh?  I can see where he’s pointing (that companies will stick with XP software because of the virtual option) but I think it will go the other direction.  I think yes, we’ll keep some (not all) of our XP software, but I think companies will eventually ditch XP in favor of W7’s virtual option.  And from an IT standpoint, the end is obviously near, and MS will either have to revamp their entire compatibility strategy (way outside the box) or we’ll have to figure out how to make newer software.  But for now, I think the virtual XP will facilitate a move to 7, rather than hinder one.

I will say this.  Microsoft hit a gold mine with XP.  They should take it as a compliment that they themselves haven’t been able to top it yet.  But they will need to eventually if they want to keep market share.

F6 hack on XP installation

May 13, 2009

Those of you who have installed XP onto a hardware RAID drive know it’s a pain.  You have to make the floppy and use it to install a third-party RAID driver.  This also means you need an internal (not USB) floppy drive.  As these drives go more and more out of the mainstream, it becomes more and more of a pain to install XP on a RAID drive.  

I am having a particularly difficult time with this – not because of lacking a floppy drive.  I have a floppy/card reader combo.  The problem is, I don’t have POWER for a floppy.  I think I have a cable for it somewhere in the studio, but that’s the beauty of a modular supply – I don’t have it when I need it.  But I need XP, because 1) I don’t really want to use Vista anymore, and 2) Vista has issues and won’t even install  Gigastudio LE, and 3) Vista isn’t really compatible with my recording equipment for the home studio (do you see a trend developing?).  Virtually all the cool features (like motorized faders, jog wheel, recording buttons, EQ) don’t work.  So today I’m taking the plunge and going back to XP.

Back to the problem at hand.  I don’t have power for the floppy drive in Computer 1 (though I’m sure there’s an adapter out there somewhere).  But I do have Computer 2 (which does have the correct power).  And this brings me to the hack.  I powered up the Computer 2, and ran its floppy power cable into the floppy drive in Computer 1.  Bingo!  It works.  It probably shouldn’t, but it does work and my RAID drivers are installed.  Don’t have a camera handy, or I’d post some pictures of how crazy this looks.

Problem with SSD drives

April 13, 2009

So you may remember around here we had a little debate about SSDs (solid state drives). Well I am reminded of another problem. Actually it isn’t so much a problem as a new way to think of things. The short story is that my wife owns a Dell Mini 9. That machine is a netbook with an SSD inside. On Thursday she called me and said that when she booted up the machine she was given a black screen with “OS not found.” I told her not to worry about it because it was likely a Windows problem and that I should be able to get everything off of her drive. It was a faulty premise on my part. I assumed that it wasn’t the drive because none of the warning signs occurred. After doing some troubleshooting I figured out that the SSD itself had died. It couldn’t find the OS because the drive itself was inaccessible. Fortunately there wasn’t much information on that machine that wasn’t already backed up and it is covered under Dell warranty which they just send the new HD with everything preloaded on it. So wait time and fix time will be quick and painless.

The problem comes that there were no warning signs. With the moving parts on a regular HD you get the “click of death.” Of course I am not saying that I need the “click of death,” but with this there was no sound or blue screens or frozen computers. When it died it went silently with no warning leaving myself and the Dell technician scratching our heads. Of course this is just one incident, but it does go back to my original article on SSDs. The point is that there are still some reliability issues. These kinks will get worked out, but SSD technology wasn’t the silver bullet to fix the mechanical parts on the old Hard Disks at least not yet. To be fair I just had to fix one of my co-workers machines at work because of the “click of death.” Old hard disk drives don’t have the best track record either, but the technology has been around in this capacity longer so the variables are understood and the warning signs exist. Perhaps I just don’t know what to look out for yet.

On a side note. Dell Warranty is pretty handy. Before I confirmed the SSD we assumed I just had to run the XP CD. Since I didn’t have an external CD drive at the time he was willing to send a new SSD preconfigured. That was nice, but that meant that we would loose all the data on our machine. Point is that Dell didn’t expect me to have an external CD drive or to fix the problem on my own. I give them a small pat on the back for that.

Windows 7 will allow downgrades to XP

April 7, 2009

Looks like Microsoft has learned from their mistake.  Win7 will allow users to downgrade to XP!  Honestly, though, it may be too little too late.  Most of us at some point have wanted to give Vista the boot, but if 7 is as improved as some seem to think, we might not actually want to downgrade.  But it’s still a nice thought that it’s there.  See the full post here:

Windows XP installation error 47872

January 23, 2009

Today I replaced a hard drive on a Dell Latitude D630.  I booted from the XP SP2 cd (an OEM Dell CD), and received the error 47872 and a prompt to press a key to exit.  I didn’t find a lot on a quick Google search, but someone out there mentioned to try a different CD.

I checked the CD and there was a fingerprint and a scratch on it.  I tried a different CD in better shape, and it worked flawlessly.  Thought this might help you if you see the same error.

That begs the question – are there really 48000 errors that can happen in Windows XP setup?  Scary. =)

My thoughts on MS 70-270

July 23, 2008

For those who are wondering, 70-270 is the test number for the “Installing, Configuring, and Administering Windows XP Professional” exam.  It’s a Microsoft certification – passing it earns you the title “MCP” or “Microsoft Certified Professional.”  It’s also an early step in the MSCE and MCSA (2000 and 2003 versions).  It covers the broad spectrum of features in Windows XP Pro.

This is not my first certification; I have taken cert exams from CompTIA (A+, Net+) as well as CIW (CIW Foundations and JavaScript Fundamentals).  However, I found this one to be quite a different animal.

It was definitely more in-depth than anything either of the other vendors asks.  Each topic was covered in significant detail.  And though it does not go into infinitessimal detail, as a professional desktop support technician, I still had to learn quite a bit.  Some topics I was solid on, like NTFS permissions, printers, and other things I do every day at work.  Other sections (the ones I don’t use, like unattended installation, Windows Backup, ICS – yes, they still ask about ICS) I missed quite a few questions on.

CIW tends to ask fact-based questions, such as “How many cookies can a domain store on a user’s computer?”  CompTIA, on the other hand, mixes it up between scenario and trivia questions.  MS offered me only scenario-based questions.  The goal, it seemed, was to know whether I could use the information I had to resolve a given situation.  The questions were precise and well-worded, for the most part.  They were definitely more difficult than CompTIA’s questions.

All in all, if you want to sharpen your skills and get a minimalist certificate to hang on your cube wall, this is still a very valid exam.  If your office is using Vista, learn that.  But you’re in the minority, friend, and the rest of us are still on XP, at least for a year or two.

Bottom line is this – if you need it, get it.  It wasn’t too bad; I took about two weeks to prep and passed fairly easily.  But don’t overlook any areas; get a good prep book (I recommend the MS Press one).  For all MS’s shortcomings, they do make quality exams.

It’s much easier if you work with XP daily.  But If you don’t, you probably don’t have a good reason to get this aging certification.

Mac vs. PC… vs. Linux?

March 11, 2008