Sunday, December 10, 2006

Linux Nerdery Ahead!

After getting Alex down for the 3rd time this evening, I resumed poking at the large pile of salvaged computer hardware near my desk.

I plugged in and tested one system, which doesn't boot. Bad mobo? Bad power supply? Both? Beats my pair of jacks.

The next 3 server boxes have no power supplies. I'd love to boot these and see what happens, but bleah, that means freakin' power supply transplants. I think they're Pentium 2 or 3 processors on decent motherboards, with good video cards, and anywhere from 256-768 mb of RAM. That means they're okay. Setting them aside for the moment, I pulled out one of my biggest failures as a tech: my Compaq 7478.

Let's list everything wrong with this PC:
  • It's got no hard drive, because I broke the other hard drive's circuit board removing the power supply cable.
  • It's a Compaq, so attempting to install Windows has failed using other hard drives, because Compaq used a jacked-up boot sector arrangement.
Other than that, this was a rock-solid PC for me for over 4 years, running Windows 98 version b with nary a hitch, right up until the end. I eventually traded up for something a little bigger, but it worked great until the day I needed to recover data from Lee's dead computer. The original hard drive had been in there for close to 5 years, and I broke it.

Did I have a backup? NOOOoooo! Don't be silly, because 1. I wasn't going to break it, ah hah ha ha ha sob, and 2. there wasn't anything important on there. Oh, except 4 years worth of email.

Anyway, I put in a salvaged 120 gig hard drive, which apparently had a Windows 2000 Server boot partition on it. Unsurprisingly, it locked up shortly after booting.

I got out my trusty Linux distro CDs: Knoppix and Mepis. After a moment's thought, I set the Knoppix CD down. Why test, I figured, when I can install?

Even as we speak, Mepis 6.0 is installing to the hard drive, using the amazing Mepis desktop 1-click install.

I'll let you know how it goes, but hopefully, by this time tomorrow, I'll have a Linux PC running side-by-side with my main PC. I've used Knoppix quite a few times for data recovery, but this will be my first time to try Linux for true extended usage.


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