Windows 8.1 Installed

Windows 8.1

My new Windows 8.1 Full Installation DVD’s came yesterday via UPS. I didn’t exactly have the easiest time installing it, and it literally took me 4 or more hours to figure out why. It turns out Windows 8.1 hates my storage hard drive, so the only way for me to install it is to unplug it. I’m sure that now that Windows is installed, I shouldn’t have any issues plugging it back in, but just in case, I will use a second IDE cable to plug it into the IDE 2 slot in my motherboard instead of using the same cable.

This is the error message I kept getting.

windows 8 install problems

But… here’s the thing, I was able to install the 64bit version of Windows 8.1 on the first try, but when it finished installing, it gave me an orange screen with thin white lines and a blinking underscore in the top left of the screen. I Googled that and found that it was a hardware error, but I figured it was because I didn’t have enough ram. I have 4GB of ram, but I figured maybe I needed to install the 32bit version, so I did and that was the first time I got the error message in the image above.

I asked on Facebook and a friend named James Benstine helped walk me through it on my Nook HD+ with Facebook messaging. I took several pictures with my phone so he could see what I was seeing. That is a huge help for anyone who is trying to help someone. I know I’ve tried helping people and they don’t think to take a picture with their phone to let me know what they are seeing, which makes it difficult to help, especially if they don’t give you details of what they are seeing. I took pictures of the BIOS menus every time he asked me to show it to him.

storage configuration bios menuI kept telling James that my hard drive was SATA and he couldn’t figure out why it kept showing up as IDE in my BIOS menu. I knew I had a SATA drive, but I forgot that it was my DVD burner that was the SATA drive. I mean duh, it says it right there in the BIOS menu as clear as day.

So I wrote myself a note and put it in the Windows 8.1 box that tells me to unplug the storage drive before installing Windows. I know that I will eventually have to reinstall Windows, I’ve had to reinstall XP more than a dozen times over the years.

The reason there is an issue with that storage hard drive is because when I built this computer, I tried using that hard drive, but it wouldn’t run Windows XP, it wouldn’t even turn the screen on. I had to buy a new hard drive and install Windows XP onto it to be able to use my computer again. I knew that I couldn’t load an operating system onto it which is why it is a slave drive and not a master drive. I didn’t have any issue installing XP on the master drive, so I don’t know why I had an issue installing 8.1 with it installed as a slave.

My next question will be this, will it cause an issue loading Windows 8.1 when I plug it back in? Tune in to find out. Same bat time, same bat channel.

Update: I bought a can of compressed air from Walgreen’s and managed to blow out all the dust from my tower, including all the dust in the heat sink and the fans in the back, as well as the dust at the bottom and laying on top of the video card. There was dust EVERYWHERE! I was still sneezing hours later. Should’ve wore a mask first. Lesson learned!

It took a little longer to load Windows, but it did eventually load. It has taken me most of the day copying and pasting my files from the storage drive. I decided that I should probably check for redundancy and unwanted files, so I was deleting unwanted and unneeded files, copying the wanted files and then deleting them from the storage drive. Once I have everything that I want on the drive that runs my operating system, then I will format the storage drive.

It would be nice to have a storage drive to keep all my files on, but if it’s just going to slow things down then it just isn’t worth it. I will see if it still slows my computer down after I format it. If it doesn’t slow it down then I will keep it, if it does then I will have no choice but to unplug and remove it. I could always install it onto a external hard drive case and plug it in with the USB cable and just plug it in as needed.

Oh would you look at the time, it’s 2 a.m. I will finish my copies tomorrow.

My Old Sierra Games

Does anyone remember Sierra Online Entertainment?  I certainly do.  How could I ever forget?  They were the very first computer based video games I had ever played, and that was in the 80’s and 90’s.

I played King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella on my old Apple //e that I bought from my brother-in-law in 1989 for $750.  It didn’t have a tower with a motherboard or a hard drive, because it got destroyed before I bought it.  Long story, it was my friends fault lol.  Anyway, I remember that this was the very first game I bought and I had so much fun with it.  I sold the computer a few years later.

In 1997 when I bought my very first Windows-based computer, I wondered if they still sold it, so I looked and found the King’s Quest Collection at a computer store for $20 and I bought it.  I also bought many other Sierra game collections and loved them all.

I have been very hard at work rebuilding my old website to make it new and fresh, and while looking in my CD book for a CD with a backup file, I came across all of my old Sierra games and it occurred to me that maybe I should make a page that showed all of them and mention how much fun I had playing them, so I did.

Shiver’s 2 is one of the games that I couldn’t remember playing.  I have the 2 cd’s, but I just don’t have any memory of playing it.  I tried to install it, but it wouldn’t let me.  Every attempt at installing it resulted in a crash.  I didn’t give up though, I did a Google search looking for Sierra installers and I actually found a website.

New Installers for Sierra Games.  I installed the King’s Quest collection using their installer and it worked.  Although some of the games crashed, not all of them did.  I ran the 4th and 5th game, but the 7th one crashed.  I even had it install Mixed Up Mother Goose and I tried playing it, but it wouldn’t do it.  I think the reason is because it needs to be in 256 colors.  I can only do 16 and 32 bit.  I do remember when I played some of those games in the 90’s that I had to physically change my resolution to 256 colors before I could run the game.  I don’t think I will play them so I uninstalled it.

They had the Shiver’s 2 installer and I was successful in installing it, but here is my issue, when I run the game, it’s mostly video footage and it freezes up on me.  I can hear the sound perfectly, but the video freezes up too much.  It’s basically unplayable with my computer.

There are a few games that I never got to play, like the Police Quest Collection and the Quest for Glory Collection, so I may end up trying to install those and see what happens.  If they play then they play, if they don’t then they don’t.

I did have to install 2 programs for this.  DOSBox and ScummVM.  I’ve heard of DOSBox, but not the ScummVM one.  There is one annoying thing though.  I have avast anti-virus, and every time I tried running one of the games, avast would pop up on my screen saying it had never heard of Sierra, so it was checking it to see if it was a virus.  So I would suggest if you do have these Sierra games and intend to play them and you have avast, you could either wait for it to allow you to run it, or just close avast down.  I mean, you won’t need the internet with these games, usually, so you don’t have to worry about getting a virus.  If it only hassled me once then I’d say let it add that particular game to its list of approved programs, but if it does it every time then it’s annoying, shut it down.

I will try to play those other games and if/when I do, I will update my Sierra page on my website.

Windows 8 Installation Issues

Do you ever feel like your stick in a situation you can’t get yourself out of when you try to install a new operating system that doesn’t want to work properly?  Yeah, me too.

My first computer in 1989 was an Apple //e.  It didn’t have a tower with a hard drive, it did but my friend asked my brother-in-law to put a sound board in there that would make the computer talk when you typed and when he tried taking it back, it fried the motherboard.  All he was left with was the clunky keyboard, 2 floppy drives and the monitor.  He sold it to me in 1989 for $750.  It didn’t have a mouse or any icons, it was all dos.

My second computer was an IBM, but it had a tower with a motherboard and a hard drive, but it didn’t have windows on it.  I only had that for a couple of weeks in 1997 before I bought my very first Windows-based computer which had Windows 95 on it.  When 98 came out, I upgraded and when ME came out I upgraded to that too.  When XP came out, I had already built my first computer and put that on it and gave the one with ME on it to Darrin when we moved to Bakersfield.  Over the last 12 years, I have rebuilt my computer and given Darrin my old hand me downs and I am now on my 4th XP based computer.

I never upgraded to Vista when that came out because I heard nothing but horrible things about it from friends that I played EverQuest with.  When Windows 7 came out I wanted to buy the upgrade, but the upgrade adviser told me that my hardware wasn’t compatible (that was before my latest upgrades).

I tried looking for the Windows 8 upgrade adviser, but they didn’t have one.  All I could do was download the preview from the Microsoft website and try to run that to see if it gave me any clues about my hardware.  Before I did anything, I backed everything up on my backup hard drive in my computer.  I spent hours doing that because I knew something bad was going to happen if I didn’t and I was so right.

When my backups were all done, I bit the bullet and said just do it and I let Windows 8 preview install.  It took 2 hours to install before rebooting.  When I saw the new Windows logo, I got chills because I knew it had worked, but then that went away and all I had was a blank black screen.  I figured it was probably still installing, so I will give it awhile.  I gave it 2 more hours before deciding nothing was going to happen.  I rebooted it and got the Windows logo again, but this time the blank black screen was replaced with a blank blue screen.  I was overjoyed, until that blankness never got filled with words or logos, then I knew I was screwed.

I decided to run the installation again which meant going into the BIOS and making the DVD drive the first drive that runs so it runs directly from the disc, and it did.  It asked me for the code again and I thought SHIT, it’s on the desktop…  I didn’t write it down.  But, luckily it was on the website still.  WHEW!  I entered the code and thought everything would be OK  but it wasn’t.  It found my 2 hard drives and asked me which one to install it to and I chose the one that had my previous Windows installation, but it wouldn’t install.  I figured it didn’t have enough free space, so I had it format it, but it still wouldn’t install.

My only option was to put the Windows XP cd back in and install that, and I did and all was good until I installed the Router software, and then I couldn’t get my internet working.  I spent 3 hours trying to get my internet working to no avail.  I thought it was the router, but it wasn’t because I had the cable modem plugged directly into my desktop.  You don’t need a password, it’s instant on with a cable modem.  It’s like when you plug the cable into a TV, it’s instant on.  Right then I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was more screwed than a hooker who worked for free.

I didn’t know what else to do.  For some reason I thought there was something wrong with my computer, so I reformatted and reinstalled Windows XP again and it still wouldn’t connect.  I called our cable company and they transferred me over to Road Runner support and walked me through it.  He reset our connection from there, but had me unplug the power and then the coaxial cable from the box for 30 seconds and then it worked.  VICTORY!

Well, I was feeling victorious until Internet Explorer wouldn’t stay on for more than 2 seconds without crashing.  I was finally able to get it to stay on when I went into the start menu and clicked Windows Update.  Then my heart sank when Windows Update wouldn’t give me any updates.  I was able to download and install Google Chrome and the updated Linksys EasyLink Advisor to get our wi-fi back on.

I think I read somewhere that Microsoft isn’t giving any more updates to people who have Windows XP, so my only option is to find a way to get Windows 8 to install properly.  Now I am forced to upgrade which probably means a bigger hard drive.  If I am forced to upgrade, then I better get on that bigger hard drive as fast as possible, because that $40 upgrade deal expires in January 2013.

This sucks for me big time!  I hope Microsoft releases an upgrade adviser program for me to install to tell me what hardware will work by scanning my computer just like Windows 7 had.  If they had that, I wouldn’t have had to go through all this crap.  I will have to see what I can do and what I can afford to get this done.

Update: Good news, Windows Updates are downloading and installing, so I’m thankful for that.

If it isn’t one thing, it’s another…

Google Chromebox

I guess I am so far out of the loop with Google tech because I had no idea this even existed until tonight.

A friend of mine told me she didn’t have a computer tonight, she uses the internet right from her cell phone.  I told her that I was surprised, that I thought every household in America had a computer by now.  I was about to tell her that they are so cheap now that you can get a Google Chrome laptop for $299, but wanted to back it up with a link, so I Googled “Chromebook” and found the Chromebook page which also had a link to the Chromebox.  My mind was blown away.

Ok so here are the specs.

  • Intel® Core™ processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Built-in dual-band WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Gigabit ethernet
  • 6 USB 2.0 ports
  • 2x DisplayPort++ Output (compatible with HDMI, DVI, VGA)
  • DVI-I single link output (compatible with VGA)
  • Bluetooth 3.0™ compatible
  • Kensington™ key lock compatible

The specs don’t say that it also has a 16GB hard drive which doesn’t seem like a lot, but this is an internet based computer only, you can’t install anything on it*.  You turn it on and you are automatically connected to the internet.  Actually, it takes 7 seconds to boot up into the internet.  I mean, it’s like you turn it on and BAM instant websites.  So the only reason you even need a hard drive is for downloading pictures of your friends and family and/or music.  I mean, that’s all I download with my Chromebook *wink*.

The best part about this baby is that if you have an HDTV, just plug it into your television with the HDMI cable.  You can have it sit right next to or on top of your cable box and/or video game consoles, and then have the keyboard and mouse on your living room table, or wherever it is that your HDTV lives.  You could also buy an external monitor and put it on your desk if that is what you wish I suppose, although I think it would be cool to have it hooked up to the TV instead.

Why get this instead of a regular computer?  Well, some people ONLY go onto websites to look at their email or Facebook or Twitter.  Why buy an expensive gaming machine just to check your email and to get into political rants with your Aunt Beverly?  You can do everything with the Chromebox that you can do with a regular desktop.  For example, you can write a book, yes you heard me, you can write a book using Google Documents.  You can, like I said earlier read your email, you can go on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, you can even play games.  Yes, the Chrome Web Store has games like Angry Birds, Bejeweled, Crash Bandicoot among many others.  You can check the news and the weather, you can even watch Netflix movies or even watch your favorite TV shows on Hulu.

Now aren’t you glad you follow my blog posts?

I love Google Chrome not just because it’s (IMO) the fastest browser available, but also because they were gracious enough to include me in their Chromebook pilot test “CR-48” which I love and have been using ever since they sent it to me in mid-December 2010.  I went several months last year without my desktop and I wouldn’t have had a computer had it not been for Google for sending it to me.  I had to do everything on the Chromebook from writing the first half of my book, to email and twitter and Facebook, I even watched the first 3 seasons of Sliders on Hulu with it.  So yeah, thanks Google for that.

Note: *When I say you can’t install anything on it, I mean like Microsoft Word or Lord of the Rings Online.  They have an app store where you can download and install apps and extensions.

My Desktop Computer Blew Up

I never thought this would ever happen to me but the power supply in my desktop computer blew up today.  The last couple of times I had it turned on, it shut off without any warning.  When I had my previous computer that would happen while I was playing EverQuest but it would reboot.  I was told that was a memory issue so I assumed this time it could either be memory or power supply but I wasn’t sure.

My computer has been off all day yesterday and today and I figured today I would look in the back and see if the light was on for the internet wire and it was turned on so I started thinking, if the power supply was bad then why is there power going to that light?  So I flipped the switch off then on then off then on again and the light was still on.  I pushed the power button and the computer turned on.

I was playing Lord of the Rings Online for at least 2 hours and all of a sudden it just made a popping sound, the computer screen went black and my brain went into panic mode.  I pushed my chair out of the way, fell to the floor and rushed to unplug the power cable.

Now, I have a bad back and I’m overweight which means I don’t get around too easily.  It takes a lot for me to get back up off the floor but I was up instantly.  It must have been adrenaline that got me back up on my feet.  I mean, I’m not that fat, I’m only 100lbs overweight but still, it is hard for me to get back up.

I called Darrin to tell him not to worry about getting me a new power supply then like 10 minutes later this happens so I called him back saying never mind, I do need a power supply.  He mentioned that it might have blown out the motherboard which I had already been thinking about but didn’t want to admit it because that’s how much more money?  About, what $150-$200?  As it is the power supply is $45.

Ok so if it’s also the motherboard then who knows what else might have been affected that was plugged into the motherboard like the memory, video card, cpu, heck even the hard drive and dvd burner.  This could have fried my entire computer.  Or maybe not, we’ll have to find out when I get a new power supply.

I have a Win XP laptop but the screen doesn’t work but even if it did I don’t have enough hard drive space for Lord of the Rings Online and it doesn’t work with my monitor.  So for now I have my CR-48 to keep me in touch with the world via email, websites, Twitter, Facebook and my blog.  Thanks once again Google.

If I get a new power supply and it works but my computer doesn’t come on then I will know it’s because I fried the motherboard.  If so then I will be screwed.  I will have to get a new computer if that is the case.  It’s not going to be easy to save the money for a new computer, that’s why I’m still using an old computer.  It’s funny I say old because I built it in 2007.  Holy crap!  Technology sure doesn’t last very long does it?

Update: Good news, when Darrin came home from work yesterday, he picked me up at the house and we went and got a new power supply, actually a better power supply with 2 fans on it.  We asked about the motherboard and the guy said that the power supplies have a safety built in so that if something happens to it and it surges like it did then it won’t fry the motherboard or anything that is plugged into the power supply like the dvd burner, floppy disc drive and hard drive.  So all is good.

Lite-On Smart Erase Technology

Yesterday I bought a brand new dvd burner to replace the one in my tower that doesn’t work anymore. I was looking at it at the Tiger Direct website and I noticed something that slipped by before. Smart Erase.

I guess I’m behind the times once again because this is not something I’ve ever heard of. I don’t have to explain what it means for you folk that are current with technology but for those of us who have been hiding in a shell for god knows how long, I will try to explain it as best as I can.

Say you have burned some highly classified information onto a disc and you are afraid that someone might find it and use it against you. Well, if that is the case then you live a very dangerous life my friend. For those of you who just want to delete files that are obsolete and you don’t want to keep the discs but you don’t want anyone else to access them either then this is for you.

You put the disc into the drive, select quick or full erase and it makes the disc totally unreadable. Quick erase is fast and it makes the disc unreadable but it doesn’t eradicate 100% of the data. If you are that paranoid then use Full erase. It takes a lot longer to completely erase a disc but for you it’s worth the time.

How it will work for me is when I do my dvd backups for reformatting my hard drive, when I’ve put all the backups back on my computer then I can erase the discs and toss them out. I’ve made backups for reformatting in the past but ended up either keeping the discs out of fear that someone might find them or breaking them and risk cutting myself. This will make it easier to just toss them afterwards.

I’m glad that I found that in the description for my new DVD burner. I just wish I were more informed than I am about new technology. I guess since I stopped reading PC World magazine years ago I stopped learning about all the cool new things available. But, I have PC Magazine now on my Nook so that will keep me better informed. Maybe.

UPDATE: When I wrote this I was under the impression it worked on DVD+/-r’s but it doesn’t.  So if you use a RW disc then there is no reason to “toss it out” as I said 2 paragraphs ago.

New DVD Burner

Well I finally did it. I finally bought a new DVD burner. I don’t know what happened to mine but it won’t even read discs let alone burn them anymore.

The DVD burner that I have is a Lite-on lightscribe DVD burner that I bought in January 2007. After only a couple of years it decided that it wasn’t going to open easily anymore. When you press the button it makes these clicking sounds but doesn’t open. You had to keep pressing the button until it would open.

Eventually it got so bad that you’d have to put a paperclip into the little hole that allows you to force the door to open. Now, that doesn’t even open it anymore.

I don’t care about burning music or whatever, I just want to back up my files so that I can reformat my hard drive. My computer is so slow because of all the crap that I download. I’ve deleted more than half of what I’ve downloaded only because I knew I wouldn’t be able to back it up but that doesn’t help me if I can’t burn the rest of the stuff onto discs.

My DVD burner that is in there now was $50 at TigerDirect.com back in 2007 and I checked the computer store in town and they sell the same one for $46 and I went to TigerDirect.com again and they sell the same one for $19.99 now. I thought, I’d much rather spend $25 (with shipping) and wait until the end of the week for it rather than spend double and get it today.

So hopefully by the weekend my computer won’t be so slow. I can finally burn the crap I’ve been downloading as well as all of my documents and images and start fresh with a new Windows installation.

About friggin time!