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Ahh....nice to have a fresh install of XP!!

raingirl
September 18th, 2006, 08:40 PM
I just spent all of yesterday afternoon, evening, and this evening backing up, formatting, and reinstalling XP. Now everything is so fast and organized!!

If anyone needs any tips or tools to refresh their systems, just let me know!!

Prin
September 18th, 2006, 08:43 PM
ooo one day... :fingerscr

Writing4Fun
September 18th, 2006, 08:48 PM
:( I need a new computer. My poor ol' laptop just isn't heafty enough to handle both XP and Norton (which is an absolute must because this is my business computer). Ah, well. One day... :rolleyes:

rainbow
September 18th, 2006, 09:01 PM
Raingirl, I just may take you up on that one day. :D

jawert1
September 18th, 2006, 09:18 PM
W4F, if you hit outlet.dell.com they have unreal deals. I've ordered 4 laptops and one desktop from there for various family members and myself, and am about to walk my dad through ordering a new one for my mom. The discounts are fabulous to say the least :)

BMDLuver
September 18th, 2006, 09:20 PM
:yell: I had XP but my computer ate it somehow and now I don't have it.. sigh

jawert1
September 18th, 2006, 09:27 PM
BMDLuver, if you have a commercially built machine (not homebuilt) then there should be a Windows sticker with a 16 digit code *somewhere* on it (maybe on the back, on the side, on the bottom - depends on the manufacturer). In any case, if you do have one of those, then you have the 16 digi code you need to register a copy of WinXP. Just borrow one from someone you know, enter in those 16 digis from your box, and you're off and running :)

BMDLuver
September 18th, 2006, 09:31 PM
aha! I see it on the back of the hard drive! Excellent, I didn't know I had that. Thanks very much!

raingirl
September 19th, 2006, 05:50 AM
:( I need a new computer. My poor ol' laptop just isn't heafty enough to handle both XP and Norton (which is an absolute must because this is my business computer). Ah, well. One day... :rolleyes:

Being that I work in IT now (which I LOVE) I have learned that norton is crap. Get rid of it and your laptop will be fine. My laptop is almost 6 years old and runs great. The best antivirus/firwall combo out there is AVG (which has a free version that many businesses use) and Zone Alarm. Get those two for free, ditch Norton, and you should be fine.

happycats
September 19th, 2006, 06:04 AM
OMG my home PC is soooooooo slow now, but I think thats because I have about 5000 pics and lots of music downloads as well:rolleyes:
I have no idea how to save the important pics,because they are all over the place, (thanks to the DH:rolleyes: ) I would love to save them and then clean out the PC, so any advise would be greatly appreciated:)

jawert1
September 19th, 2006, 08:39 AM
Being that I work in IT now (which I LOVE) I have learned that norton is crap. The best antivirus/firwall combo out there is AVG (which has a free version that many businesses use) and Zone Alarm. Get those two for free, ditch Norton, and you should be fine.

Actually raingirl, that's not entirely true. For machines that have lower RAM/processors, Norton will get slow and chuggy and so no, it's not ideal for the end user. Protection wise, they are among the best when it comes to updating their virus DATs and pushing fixes to endusers. That being said, AVG is just ok for a free product, it doesn't have the same development cycles and update timelines but it'll run on ANY machine (probably why it's popular). Zone Alarm has gotten better over time, but there's no need to pay for a product when Windows has a perfectly great firewall built in (and that's free). The best anti-virus out there that will run on any machine is Kaspersky, also what the US government uses, as well as many private companies, like my own - though we do use McAfee as well (makes sense since we supply it free with the AOL client software).

HunterXHunter
September 19th, 2006, 12:59 PM
Yeah, Norton sucks, McAfee is much better and uses less resources. Norton is very pretty to look at and seem to include a lot of neat and useful features, but none of them will save you from a virus. There are actually forums and web pages dedicated to bashing Norton!! LOL

Windows in general isn't that great either. While I use it for some gaming, I mostly use Linux.

Below is the HunterXHunter guide to computer performance:

---------

Speed up your system by doing the following (only need to do them once):

- set your "Paging File Size" to be 2x your RAM
(right-click on "My Computer" -> Properties -> Advanced -> Settings [Performance] -> Advanced -> Change [Virtual memory] -> Custom Size, set both Initial and Maximum size to be 2x the RAM you have
by default Windows sets it to a ranged value (i.e. approx. 300 - 1200 if you have 512MB of RAM), which is dumb, but I won't get into why as it would long
- if you know what you're doing, disable some useless services under Admin Tools

--------

Tips for maintaining a healthy system (perform monthly or every couple of months depending on your usage):

- run "Disk Cleanup" (found in Start -> Accessories -> System Tools)
- followed by "Disk Defragmenter" (usually the one under "Disk Cleanup")

---------

For your next desktop, buy a custom built one or build one yourself as oppose to buying commercial ones:

- pick a fast HDD (7200RPM + 8M cache, or SATA drives), because your harddrive is your "limiting reagent" (for you chemistry people on the forum)
- whatever RAM you operating system recommends, double it (or just get 1GB+)
- processors...for Intel, as long as you don't buy a "Celeron", it's fine. Celeron is the name given to processors that didn't meet the standards Intel set for their processors, but don't want it to go to waste so they market it as something new. The high-end ones are called Xeons, usually reserved for servers, so you don't really have to worry about that. As for dual core technology, it really depends on what you want to do with your PC. If you constantly run a lot of resource-demanding applications, go for it! But if your'e just using it for internet, e-mail, music and things like that, just get a regular Pentium 4 CPU.
- I recommend AMD processors as they give you the best "bang for your buck"
- invest in a more expensive motherboard (Asus is usually a good one for Intel CPUs)

-------

EDIT: while MDG maybe seem to provide amazing deals on their systems, they use low-end, no-name brand internals for their systems (except for the CPU which they can't cheat you on), so don't get suckered into buying one of those as more often than not, you will run into technical problems (my uncle didn't heed my warnings and now he's suffering for it)

jawert1
September 19th, 2006, 01:55 PM
For your next desktop, buy a custom built one or build one yourself as oppose to buying commercial ones:


-------

EDIT: while MDG maybe seem to provide amazing deals on their systems, they use low-end, no-name brand internals for their systems (except for the CPU which they can't cheat you on), so don't get suckered into buying one of those as more often than not, you will run into technical problems (my uncle didn't heed my warnings and now he's suffering for it)

While I built my own computer at home for gaming, not many custom systems can compete with the prices Dell has on many of their desktops and laptops. If I didn't game, I wouldn't have sunk the 1200.00 into mine that I did, I would've gone with the 300.00 Dell from their outlet site ;) Are you using SUSE or Fedora btw?

HunterXHunter
September 19th, 2006, 02:02 PM
Are you using SUSE or Fedora btw?

Neither. Debian!!

jawert1
September 19th, 2006, 02:10 PM
nice choice, may I ask why tho? I'm debating right now as to what I want to format my 3rd hard drive with since I'm running XP on one, Suse 10.1 on the other and am debating on a 2nd Linux install. Pros/cons of Deb?

HunterXHunter
September 19th, 2006, 03:09 PM
nice choice, may I ask why tho? I'm debating right now as to what I want to format my 3rd hard drive with since I'm running XP on one, Suse 10.1 on the other and am debating on a 2nd Linux install. Pros/cons of Deb?

SuSE is eye-candy, but 10.1 has too many bugs in it with the Zen-updater and YaST :yuck: .

------------
Debian Pros:
------------
- very stable and I've yet to encounter any bugs/problems with it
- because it's very reliable, we use it on our servers and it's free unlike RHAS, RHEL, or SuSE ES
- aptitude!! apt-get is by far the best updating and installation tool EVER! SuSE came out with an "apt4rpm" or something like that, but it's buggy
- kernel-package is a great package for recompiling custom kernels
- very helpful and quick mailing list (that's because I'm on it :D :crazy: )
- they have some really neat packages that you won't find elsewhere
- because Debian prides itself on being stable and secure, new versions of it don't get released for a few years (for me, this is a pro because I hate seeing new versions of something to come out as I'll want to upgrade or do a fresh install to see what all the excitement is about)


-------------
Debian Cons:
-------------
- desktop colours appear less vibrant compared to SuSE (maybe it's the wallpaper...or just me...or both)
- because it's SO stable, it never uses the latest version of whatever software you're trying to get. If you did 'apt-get install mozilla-firefox', you'd get Firefox 1.08 :eek: But then that's where backports come to the rescue
- for commercial systerms such as servers, they only sopport RHEL, RHAS, or SuSE ES and not Debian or other distros, which is dumb because they will decline to answer any questions you may have regarding it even if your question isn't distro-specific


Me: "Hi! I would like to know what the command is to list files in a directory."
Tech: "Are you using RedHat or SuSE?"
Me: "Actually I'm using Debian 3.1 Sarge"
Tech: "I'm sorry we only support RedHat or SuSE. You will have to install one of those distributions to receive tech. support. Please call back when you have done so. Have a nice day"
*click*

It's for a lot of things too liek when your ISP is down and you call and they tell you to check network settings in Control Panel (Windows) and you tell them you're using Linux, and they say it's your fault, so now I'll say I'm going through those procedures and then telling them "Nope, it still doesn't work"

Writing4Fun
September 19th, 2006, 04:07 PM
Being that I work in IT now (which I LOVE) I have learned that norton is crap. Get rid of it and your laptop will be fine. My laptop is almost 6 years old and runs great. The best antivirus/firwall combo out there is AVG (which has a free version that many businesses use) and Zone Alarm. Get those two for free, ditch Norton, and you should be fine.
Well, I'm going on personal experience here. ;) I've had Norton for quite some time and I've never had a problem (other than my poor ol' machine slowing down 'cause Norton's a pig - but my laptop is only a P3 with 128Mb of RAM, so what can I expect from it? :o ). My dad had AVG on his computer and he had nothing but problems. I can't count the number of times I had to format his computer because he had oodles of viruses on it. I used to run McAfee when I worked for the 'big company', but they switched to Norton and I had to follow suit. I've stuck with Norton ever since. ;)

Jawert, I heard Dell pc's are ok, but impossible if you want to upgrade stuff because it's all integrated into the motherboard? And I also heard that their tech support is a joke. Is that true? :shrug: I know Future Shop has a nice machine on sale - web only, I think - dual core processor and flat-screen monitor and HP all-in-one for $900. Too bad I don't have an extra $900 kicking around. :frustrated:

Happycats, that was another issue with my poor ol' laptop. I have a bazillion pictures and now hubby is using it to run his iTunes as well ('cause he can't get XP to run properly on his machine :p ). I've since picked up an external drive to help with my storage issues.

Writing4Fun
September 19th, 2006, 04:12 PM
Speed up your system by doing the following (only need to do them once):

- set your "Paging File Size" to be 2x your RAM
(right-click on "My Computer" -> Properties -> Advanced -> Settings [Performance] -> Advanced -> Change [Virtual memory] -> Custom Size, set both Initial and Maximum size to be 2x the RAM you have
by default Windows sets it to a ranged value (i.e. approx. 300 - 1200 if you have 512MB of RAM), which is dumb, but I won't get into why as it would long OK, can you explain why (in layman's terms, of course)? :confused: What will this do to my poor ol' laptop?

jawert1
September 19th, 2006, 06:19 PM
Personally, I've never had trouble with Dell's support, but I've only had to call them a handful of times, so maybe it's just that I haven't had an issue yet ;) As for integrated parts, yes and no. They're getting WAY better with that, since they've begun to cater to those of us that build 'puters for fun (and cuz being oncall for your family is just GREAT!) :crazy: That being said, they still have a ways to go with certain components (sound cards come to mind) and they've gotten a lot more relaxed about the "cracked case" policy - i.e. someone like me comes to your house and puts in a new hard drive and then 5 months from then, you have to call for a different issue. Prior to a year or so ago, they'd tell you to call me back since the warranty was now nullified due to me opening the case. Now, not so much - it depends solely on the busted part in question. I've worked on my mom's laptop with the Dell tech on the phone, as well as she's called them after I opened the shell and did work with no trouble. It comes down to budget and usage. The types of computers that HunterxHunter and I would build are based on gaming and work types - which exceeds most of a normal users needs (I have 3 hard drives so I can test various versions of Linux - I'm not normal :p). A solidly built custom machine will cost you bucks up front, but if the person building it has a forward thinking brain, that machine will last you 6 years if not longer, with completely upgradable parts in the interim, that will likely get you another 4 years solid use. On the other hand, my cousin's Dell laptop has been running for 4 years and is showing no signs of slowing down and that was ordered through Dell's outlet site (she paid 389.00 for it).

Golden Girls
September 20th, 2006, 08:27 AM
My computer just got completely wiped out, everything totally deleted ... my virus protection was Freedom :mad: supplied by sympatico. I have always in the past used Norton and never had a problem beforem - back with Norton :fingerscr

technodoll
September 20th, 2006, 08:35 AM
GG that's awful :eek:

i'll have to check again what protects my little laptop at home... last night i had to do a major cleanup of disk & files (for some reason the past two days performance was down 75%!), i ran the disk defragmenter before going to bed last night and this morning, 8 hours later, it was still chugging away :frustrated: so i hope to have good news when i come home tonight.

yay for technology... so much easier to clean my kitchen :D

HunterXHunter
September 20th, 2006, 08:51 AM
OK, can you explain why (in layman's terms, of course)? :confused: What will this do to my poor ol' laptop?

Ok, here goes...

Your paging file (also know as "swap space") is a temporary storage space for when your PC is low on resources. For simplicity, I will assume that a particular PC has 100MB of RAM

How does swap work?
----------------------
So let's say your PC is doing some work for you and is using up your 100MB RAM when suddenly you decide to run some additional applications. But wait!!! You don't have any RAM left!!! This is where swap comes in. Contents of your RAM gets moved to the swap space temporarily freeing up your RAM to do other stuff -- and when the need arises, swap back.


Why does swap have to be 2x the RAM size?
-------------------------------------------
Suppose you're running an application (call it "A") that requires 100MB of RAM, then you run another application (call it "B") that requires another 100MB of RAM. [at this point swap is empty and still has 200MB free] It moves A's 100MB to swap and frees up the 100MB of RAM that B needs. [swap now contains the 100MB from A, and still has 100MB free] Now A needs the RAM again, so B's 100MB gets moved to swap [RAM is free; swap is full containing 100MB from A and 100MB from B] and the A's 100MB from swap gets moved to RAM [now swap has 100MB from B, and still has 100MB free]. This cycle can repeat depending on your application and the frequency that it requests resources.

Consider the above example again but with swap space being 150MB and then with 250MB. You will see that with 150MB, you fall short, while with 250MB, you have wasted space.


What was wrong with Windows' original settings?
-----------------------------------------------
The default settings for swap space is as follows:

Initial size = something lower than your 2x RAM (i.e. 150MB)
Max size = soemthing higher than your 2x RAM (i.e. 250MB)

These settings were appropriate waaaaaaaay back when memory and storage space was a precious commodity (I mean, that was the reason that led to the Y2K bug -- because they wanted to save 2 bytes of memory by not including the first 2 digits in the year). By setting the initial size of swap to something lower, you will have more space for storage in your HDD (harddisk drive). But what if you don't have enough swap space? No problem, Windows will go through some processes and allocate more space for you (but of course, this allocation process takes up some of your resources and slows your PC down a bit temporarily).

In recent years HDD space has increased tremendously while prices (cost per MB) has fallen significantly, so is it really worth slowing down your PC to save 50MB or 200MB out of your 40GB+ HDD? The answer is (of course): NO. And because extra swap is just wasted memory, why not just fix the swap size to the most you will ever need -- double of your RAM.




CopyLeft (C) 2006. HunterXHunter :p

Writing4Fun
September 20th, 2006, 02:01 PM
Ah-ha! Well, that makes perfect sense. Thanks! :thumbs up

Writing4Fun
September 20th, 2006, 02:05 PM
i ran the disk defragmenter before going to bed last night and this morning, 8 hours later, it was still chugging away :frustrated: I ran defrag last night, too! Mine was done by the time I woke up this morning, though. Have to say that I never realized how loud the fan on my laptop is. :frustrated: It woke me up more than a few times last night. Now I could use a little nap, but I'm not allowed. :(

technodoll
September 20th, 2006, 02:20 PM
I'll probably come home to find my laptop cooked itself and melted all over my coffee table :frustrated:

knock on wood! kidding! i can't lose my hard-drive, it's not backed up yet! :eek:

HunterXHunter
September 20th, 2006, 02:23 PM
I'll probably come home to find my laptop cooked itself and melted all over my coffee table :frustrated:

knock on wood! kidding! i can't lose my hard-drive, it's not backed up yet! :eek:

Oh don't worry, laptops don't really melt...it's more like a mini-explosion, so chances are, the shards and fragments won't harm your coffee table :thumbs up
:crazy:

technodoll
September 20th, 2006, 02:44 PM
ha ha very funny HxH! :evil:

i got lucky with the Dell battery recall though, whew! not a doomed one. but my BF had a defective one before the recall was announced, he got it exchanged cuz it was soooo hot all the time, when the explosions started to happen he freaked out! he got so lucky! :eek:

jawert1
September 20th, 2006, 03:32 PM
My work laptop had a recalled battery in it, my coworkers changed my screensaver to read KABOOM! as a joke. Great bunch that lot :crazy:

raingirl
September 23rd, 2006, 11:58 AM
While I built my own computer at home for gaming, not many custom systems can compete with the prices Dell has on many of their desktops and laptops. If I didn't game, I wouldn't have sunk the 1200.00 into mine that I did, I would've gone with the 300.00 Dell from their outlet site ;) Are you using SUSE or Fedora btw?

We don't have a dell outlet in Canada, and computers are more expensive here, but prices for individual parts tend to (on average) be cheaper, so it is easy to build you own system here. You can't get a nice dell here for under $800

technodoll
September 23rd, 2006, 12:03 PM
OK THANKS TO YOU, i too am doing a fresh install of XP today - well my techno-hubby is doing it, LOL :p

so i'll be offline until late tonight or tomorrow... but this machine needs a facelift, so to speak. it's gotten way too sluggish for my taste lately despite disk cleanups and such :frustrated:

i'll let you know how it goes! :thumbs up

jawert1
September 23rd, 2006, 02:48 PM
We don't have a dell outlet in Canada, and computers are more expensive here, but prices for individual parts tend to (on average) be cheaper, so it is easy to build you own system here. You can't get a nice dell here for under $800

It isn't actually a store, it's their online outlet:

outlet.dell.com

I'm coming north next time I build another desktop for myself if the prices are better component-wise. It's a racket down here.

Melei'sMom
September 23rd, 2006, 03:58 PM
jawert, how do you start your builds?
my DH is a wanna be techie I think.
I wanted a newer, faster system for a specific game so he went and bought a stupid slow, cheap but had room for extras tower and spent more on the vc then he did on the tower, then ripped out the sucky mem and doubled it with new thingys.
It is way better than what I had before, but I think there is room for improvement.

jawert1
September 23rd, 2006, 04:13 PM
I usually start my builds by looking at motherboards, I generally run Asus, Tyan or Gigabyte, although lately I wouldn't recommend Gigabyte - too many USB issues. It depends on if you want to run a Pentium processor or an AMD one, I've used both for heavyduty gaming, and both have run well - the AMD better, and now that they've strengthened the chip itself, they're less prone to heat and fracture issues. The mobo and processor are critical, you have to have a combination that work together, and often times you can go midrange on the processor (high end board tho), save yourself some immediate cash and be able to put in a faster processor later. After that, look at what vid card you want, AGP or PCI-E - personally I tend to use PCI-E cards, but that's just my preference. Always get a card with 256MB of RAM or higher, 128MB is ok, but a lot of newer games simply won't run as well on them. 1GB of RAM always, and the type of motherboard you go with will dictate what type of RAM you use. Most boards have good onboard sound, tho many ppl will swap that out but it isn't crucial that you do so, just good practice if you're doing any kind of movie editing, music creation, etc. Hope this helps :)

raingirl
September 23rd, 2006, 08:37 PM
If you check out Canadacomputers.com, you can see that the prices are quit cheap in comparison to some US stores. The problem here with premade systems is that they are all made in the US and shipped here, so they jack up the prices!! Plus, it's impossible for us to buy in the US because with shipping, the exchange rate, and taxes, it almost doubles the price!!

jawert1
September 23rd, 2006, 08:41 PM
I'd be willing to eat the shipping for anyone willing to send me Tim's :D I know what you mean though, it seems kind of insane that the prices are so ridiculously bad for you guys for premade systems and components here are just as bad.

HunterXHunter
September 24th, 2006, 07:42 AM
I usually start my builds by looking at motherboards, I generally run Asus, Tyan or Gigabyte, although lately I wouldn't recommend Gigabyte - too many USB issues. It depends on if you want to run a Pentium processor or an AMD one, I've used both for heavyduty gaming, and both have run well - the AMD better, and now that they've strengthened the chip itself, they're less prone to heat and fracture issues. The mobo and processor are critical, you have to have a combination that work together, and often times you can go midrange on the processor (high end board tho), save yourself some immediate cash and be able to put in a faster processor later. After that, look at what vid card you want, AGP or PCI-E - personally I tend to use PCI-E cards, but that's just my preference. Always get a card with 256MB of RAM or higher, 128MB is ok, but a lot of newer games simply won't run as well on them. 1GB of RAM always, and the type of motherboard you go with will dictate what type of RAM you use. Most boards have good onboard sound, tho many ppl will swap that out but it isn't crucial that you do so, just good practice if you're doing any kind of movie editing, music creation, etc. Hope this helps :)


That pretty much sums it up. Although I would definitely recommend Asus! Also get a fast SATA (serial ATA) harddrive, because your harddrive is the slowest component in your PC of often limits you to how fast your PC runs and responds. So even if you have the newest, craziest CPUs with a million GB of RAM, if you have a slow HDD, your PC is still going to be slow :sad:

ATI video cards are more for video/video editing type applications, while nVidia are more for gaming. And I also agree, get at least 1GB of RAM!

raingirl
September 24th, 2006, 09:04 AM
I'm going to be building my first gaming system in the new year. Can't wait. I am hoping to get some deals on some parts on Boxing day, like moniter, case, and maybe a hard drive. I will wait until I get my bonus in feb to get the rest. Now I know where to go if I need extra advise!!

Bullykai
February 7th, 2007, 12:19 AM
Ya sounds like the typical Xp to me. Reinstalling that is. I now consider myself a pro at reinstalling windows. :cool: