Thursday, February 23, 2006

Agony of DIY

Actually, I should call it "Agony of Duh"

It has to do with building a new computer. The foundation (the loss of the original machine and some of the difficulties) is described in another post, which I started to keep, ah, pleasure separate from business. However, since I had a good amount of business data on the lost machine, and I am considering merging blogs, I thought I would continue the tale here.


The motherboard support CD-ROM was bootable. Who knew? It certainly wasn't documented anywhere, not in any manual, not in a FAQ, not in a forum. The bootable motherboard CD can make the driver disk needed to install XP

Asus wins awards for a reliable motherboard, and for reasonably fast phone support, but looses big time on the whole "self-service" concept for the internet. The forums are really the worst I've ever experienced. First, they work only in Internet Exploder. Every time you click on a link for another area (Support, Download, Forum), a new browser window opens. The search in the forum will show you the question with the subject that matches your query, but none of the threaded answers to the question. Oh, and it seems like all the data is coming from Asia b e c a u s e i t i s s o s l o w.

Here's the real beef. After going through the pain of making a RAID driver disk (see the other story for that fire drill!), the system boots up (YEA!!). Time to update Windows (I have XP-Pro SP1a). Need a network controller device driver. Pop in the support CD. Install the drivers.

There are three checkboxes (nVidia SMBus Driver, nVidia Ethernet Driver, and nVidia IDE Driver). The IDE Driver install gives me severe warnings and then says that I probably don't need to install it after all, 'cause the Microsoft one works just as well. That's OK, I'm in for a penny, in for a pound, so I say "Yes" to everything.

Heck, I even install the built-in Firewall and one other do-hickey when the prompt comes up. Reboot. Hang.

Yup, something broke the install.

Re-install, quick-format, boot, install only the Ethernet driver (cause I've done this before and know that one builds a Windows system one piece at a time, if it don't work out of the box). Reboot. Hang.

Much searching, time on the phone with Asus. Mobo (that's the cool term) is defective. RMA, new board, repeat one mo' time. Reboot. Hang.

More phone time with Asus. Slipstream SP2 into my 1a installation CD, burn a new CD, do the whole thing again. Reboot. Hang.

Pull the mobo out of the case to elminate electromagnetic interference (EMI). Re-install, reboot, hang. This will be funny one day.

Meanwhile, days are slipping by, bills are starting to pile up, yada yada.

On the phone with Asus, my case get elevated to Level 2. In a single two minute phone call, the technician says that I need to have -- get this -- all three check boxes checked. Yup, the drivers are a set and must always get installed together. I mean, doesn't this beg the obvious question of why, oh why, are there checkboxes? DUH!!

At this point (ATP, for you old time coders), system is SP2 with a network. I'm going to put the the whole kit and kaboodle back into the case and see if it will still work.

Wish me luck.

No comments:

Post a Comment