Charles Engelke's Blog

June 28, 2003

Settling In to the New PC

Filed under: ThinkPad — Charles Engelke @ 1:59 pm

Of course it’s not a new PC, just a new system disk. Still,
it’s pretty much like a new PC in what I have to do. As I mentioned
yesterday the first step was
to copy all my old files over by putting my old drive in a USB hard
disk adapter. It was slow and I expected it to take hours, so I
started the copy and went to bed.

Windows can drive you crazy. When I got up I saw that the copy
operation had stopped less than halfway through because there was a
file with access denied. When I clicked OK on the dialog box the
copy stopped. Why it couldn’t have kept copying the thousands of
other files in the list, I don’t know. Since I was running
with administrative privileges I could change access permissions on
the files that didn’t copy and then start over. Except that I couldn’t
see any function to do that. It turns out that you have to open the
“Tools/Folder Options…” menu choice in Windows Explorer, select the
“View” tab, and then uncheck “Use simple file sharing (Recommended)”.
I did that, changed the privileges of the problem files, and started
copying again. It took hours to finish.

The next step was to go to Windows update and install every available
update for my system. There were nearly a hundred, and I had to go
through the process and reboot about five times, because different
pieces refused to install at the same time. Now I needed to install
the bare minimum of programs needed to make the system useful. That
turned out to be:

  • Eudora Pro 4.2, so I could use e-mail
  • Cisco VPN client 3.6.3, so I could connect to the company mail server.
    During the installation XP complained that the “Deterministic Miniport
    Network Enhancer” wasn’t certified, and I shouldn’t install it. So I
    didn’t install it, and the VPN didn’t work. I checked the Cisco web
    site, and they said that the newest service pack for XP caused that
    message to start being given, and they said to go ahead and install it,
    so I did a second time and it all works.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 so I could read some e-mail attachments I got. I
    could have installed a licensed copy of full Acrobat 4.0, but I decided
    I didn’t want any old software versions that might cause problems. I’m
    going to need to get an new version of full Acrobat pretty soon, because
    I often need to create PDFs during client visits.
  • Norton Corporate Antivirus 8, because the first time I checked my mail
    I received dozens of obviously infected attachments, due to the first
    virus outbreak we’d had in years at work
  • ZoneAlarm 4.0, so I could see our Intranet and the Internet at
    the same time
  • Orinoco WiFi PC card drivers, so I could unplug the wire and go
    back to wireless networking. The driver turns out to be version
    7.64.1.316 from July 2002, although the installation files were all
    dated December 2002
  • GWD Text Editor 3.2, so I could stop using Notepad
  • Mozilla 1.4rc3, so I could stop using Internet Explorer and
    Outlook Express
  • ActiveState Perl 5.8.0 build 806, because it’s not a computer if
    it doesn’t have Perl
  • Apache web server 2.0.46, because I keep a lot of content on my
    local web server
  • Sun’s Java 1.4.2 because I’m reading
    Head First Java
    and have to try things out. First I just installed the Java runtime
    environment, because that happens automatically when you go to Sun
    and say you want to download Java. By using Google, I finally found
    a link for the full JDK and installed that
  • Cygwin (setup version 2.340.2.5), installing everything with the
    newest version, because there are too many things I need Unix tools
    to do well

I suppose that doesn’t seem minimal, but I’m far from done. Anyway,
it’s been about a full day now, and the PC hasn’t crashed yet. I’m
going to install other things as I need them, leaving the most risky
ones (IBM ThinkPad drivers, Verizon Mobile Office USB drivers for
the cell phone) for last.

I may be in good shape so far as crashes go. I didn’t install
old versions and then update them like I did last time, but started
with the latest versions. In particular, the Orinoco drivers are
acting very differently than on my last PC. I don’t get anything
running for it at startup (like the client manager used to), and configuration
was completely automatic: Windows XP popped up a window saying that
my WiFi network had been detected, required a key, and had a box for
me to use to enter the key. I’m really hopeful that this may
keep things from being unstable.

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