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Hardware, Windows, Pain

So after the previous post I had another computer to set up; yes seems like I spend all the Saturdays this way lately. This time it’s a Fujitsu-Siemens branded computer; unfortunately, it had quite a few issues:

  • no PS/2 ports, and the BIOS does not seem to initialise USB HID keyboards soon enough; my recovery station used a Microsoft PS/2 keyboard, and my only USB keyboard is Apple’s… Apple’s keyboards are HID and with a hub in the middle, which that BIOS didn’t like; got a new USB keyboard to work around this;
  • while the computer was shipped with a valid Windows XP license, the label was tore apart; result: I had to recover the product key from the running system;
  • of course, I didn’t have the administrator password; one very quick ophcrack later, I have it (too bad sysrescuecd doesn’t ship with ophcrack by default);
  • the system has a SiS-based motherboard (which incidentally comes with a Via Firewire chip, but that doesn’t really matter); SiS website, as I commented on the other post, have both two click-through license agreements and captcha to download the drivers;
  • of course I had to make a backup; partimaged refuses to receive the image from the client, both the client and the server gets stuck on the same socket, the former receiving and the latter accepting;
  • the SiS on-board Gigabit Ethernet card… fails with the Linux driver, that’s both with 2.6.27 and 2.6.31 (different versions of SysRescueCD); neither kernels enabled Gigabit transfer (and the cable is good); the first froze in 10 minutes, the latter in an hour and something;
  • the firewire-net module does not work at all; after updating SysRescue CD 1.2.0 → 1.3.0, where the module is at least present, and setting up the two firewire0 interfaces… nothing happens, I cannot ping the two sides…

And I don’t even want to wonder what will happen when I’ll finally be able to install Windows on it. I guess if I start doing this kind of support as a job, I’ll have to fetch some extra hardware, like Linux-compatible USB network adapters, fast external drive bays (I have seen one model that allows you to just plug in a 3.5” or 2.5” drive without having to screw it on something), and a dedicated external hard drive for backups. Not that I’d like to do this as a job, but it generally adds up.

Comments 3
  1. I have a nice little gadget. atapi/ide female adapter to sata. You have to plug in the sata power cable and th drive power too as well as the sata data or at least that was the way it worked for me.Pulled some files from a failed to boot windows 98 install with it. Mainly some writings my wife had and her bookmarks.

  2. I know this may sound like I’m just spreading FUD, but back when I was doing PC tech support (Windows 98, 2000, pre-SP1 XP), I had a lot of trouble with the SiS chipsets and the “value” motherboards that used them. I still remember my deep hatred of pcchips, an OEM that had 100% failure rate in my experience. Of about a dozen different boards (different models) not a single one was completely ok. They worked some of the time and the users blamed Microsoft for bad sound or networking or instability, but after not having win2k crash for months at home I came to the conclusion that it’s the boards or their drivers. I have no recent experience and no Linux experience with those things, though.

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