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Old 01-19-2008, 11:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default More Windows Horror Stories

...from the guy with the world's worst PC Luck.

1 So it's that time of year again, the big crunch where you fall behind in all your work and every second matters. As a part of meeting a compatibility requirement to port a database from my laptop to my new desktop, I'm required to upgrade my laptop to SP2 from XPSP1.

2 I go through all the hoops and finally get it upgraded... except it no longer recognizes its PCMCIA ports. Getting it to work with my wireless card is essential, so I'm forced to reinstall Windows to get rid of SP2 and get the drivers working again.

3 I reinstall Windows. This process takes the better part of a day... and then another day to reinstall and configure all of the applications I would be using. I get it all together finally and get almost all the way through my first day of work on the laptop.

4 Near the end of the day, I get ready to bring the machine home, and I close the lid to put it to sleep. The system hard-locks.

5 Being that it is a gateway laptop with a desktop P4 spaceheater inside, the back panel has melted so many times that it takes an incredible amount of force to press the power button. Turning the computer on is easy, thanks to Newton's Law - you just strike it with something heavy, and the pressure is enough to throw the switch. Turning it off again when it's locked isn't so easy - to do that, you need to maintain that much pressure for a solid five seconds, which is essentially impossible. To turn it off, I need to unplug it, turn it over, and pop out the battery.

6 I get it off, I bring it home, I set it down on my desk, and I turn it on again. It boots up, and then the Found New Hardware Wizard pops up to inform me that it found a new ethernet controller... that's just great, except it's not an ethernet controller, it's my PCMCIA wireless card, and the drivers for that no longer work.

7 I uninstall and reinstall the wireless card drivers and reboot the system, several times. Still no dice - it still thinks it's an ethernet controller. Of course, being the only ethernet controller in the world made of wireless hardware, no drivers will work for it. The setup utility for the wireless drivers that came with the card won't even recognize the card when it asks me to plug it in. The card must be broken. I buy another card.

8 I install the drivers for the new card and plug it in. Windows finds another ethernet controller.

9 ...

10 Wal-Mart won't take the card back.

11 I attempt a Windows Repair Installation. Somewhere in the process, Windows screws up, upgrading things from snafu to tarfun. The display driver is missing in action, leaving me stuck at 640x480 resolution on a 1024x768 LCD, and half my applications are broken. I pop in the drivers and apps CD to reinstall my display driver.

12 The display driver reinstalls, and the system reboots... and promptly bluescreens. I reboot again in safe mode. It bluescreens again.

13 I pop in the Drivers and Apps CD again and try to boot from the CD to fix the wayward driver. The C:\ Drive is Not Found.

14 I try to boot into Linux from the other partition. Kernel Panic. The Windows issues somehow screwed that up too. We are now officially FUBAR.

16 I pull out my hair, cancel my plans for the evening as well as any plans for anything other than making up lost time on work for the next several weeks, get a beer, and sit down to watch the OS install CD write zeros to the drive.

17 GoTo 3.

Yet another subtle reminder why I should NEVER UPGRADE ANYTHING, Much Less Microsoft Windows, and a painful reaffirmation that if it wasn't for bad luck, I'd have none at all.
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Old 01-19-2008, 11:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: More Windows Horror Stories

wow, thats a real horror story right there, it makes some of the ones that some of the people complain about in this subforum, look like nothing
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Old 01-19-2008, 11:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: More Windows Horror Stories

Quote:
Originally Posted by vernong1992 View Post
wow, thats a real horror story right there, it makes some of the ones that some of the people complain about in this subforum, look like nothing
Truth is scarier than fiction eh?
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Old 01-20-2008, 01:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: More Windows Horror Stories

Update: after reinstalling windows, the PCMCIA slots STILL do not work... so I'm dismantling the laptop again.
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Old 01-20-2008, 06:22 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: More Windows Horror Stories

That's unlucky

Don't loose your XP disk
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Old 01-20-2008, 02:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: More Windows Horror Stories

I've held on to it this long... I'm mostly worried about it getting scratched as it spends all this time sitting out and going into and out of the drive, and I don't have my CD buffer with me.
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Old 01-29-2008, 06:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Update on this:

I practically gutted the thing and pulled all the non-integrated components off the motherboard, but didn't find anything physically wrong with them, with the exception of the terrible thermal interface, which I re-engineered (it now runs MUCH cooler - more on that, here: Gateway Laptops: a Thermal Nightmare [and Fix]. ). The PCMCIA slots still do not work, however I discovered an internal mini-PCI slot hidden below the motherboard, and immediately ordered a Broadcom BCM94306MP mPCI wireless network adapter from ebay for like $12 after shipping. It arrived and worked like a charm after finding the appropriate drivers on driverguide. Now I'm reinstalling Windows, again, because the Belkin/Ativa drivers I already uninstalled did not really go away and were causing random BSoD phenomena on startup. It's going swimmingly... just taking up a lot of my time.

I also got a free battery from Gateway to replace the old one, because it turns out my battery's serial number was on the recall list for explosion hazard.

In the end, I'm retiring this laptop anyway, but still want to use it as a second monitor for my desktop and extra clock cycles for Folding@Home. Its role as my mobile notebook PC has been displaced by a new MacBook... which has troubles of its own.
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Old 01-30-2008, 02:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: More Windows Horror Stories

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cunjo
Its role as my mobile notebook PC has been displaced by a new MacBook... which has troubles of its own.
LOL! As funny as the rest of the story...
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Old 01-30-2008, 10:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Let it be known that the MacBook idles Hot, and loads Hotter... it is currently at NINETY-TWO DEGREES CELSIUS according to CoreTemp, while the stat monitor in Macintosh reads 94-95 under load.

It also sucks for running Windows in bootcamp, due to the complete lack of a right-click function under Windows, or a printscreen key.
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Old 01-31-2008, 09:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: More Windows Horror Stories

But just ask any Mac person and they will tell you how much better OS X is over Windows....

Sadly these stories are just that...
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