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.