Thursday, February 09, 2006

Amateur Desktop Jalopy Mechanic

I do believe that I may have figured out what was wrong with my computer; more importantly, I think I may have figured out a fix.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been blaming my ISP, my old AntiVirus program, my new AntiVirus program, my firewall, my Firefox and Thunderbird upgrades...but the problem appears to be with my registry. Specifically, it pertains to the presence of references to my old AntiVirus software in the registry.

I have never wanted to mess with the registry. RegEdit is one of those things that I shy away from. I'd just as soon take the machine to a professional technician if there would be a problem -- which there has been, a couple of times in the past. As a result of those visits, my hard drive storage space has been quintupled, and the memory doubled. That has helped immensely, and I hope to be able to continue using the machine for a few more years.

If I had been thinking ahead when I purchased it in early 2000, I might have purchased something with a Windows 2000 operating system. But I was looking for something cheap. Who needed a machine with several gigabytes of hard drive? Not me, that's for sure. I just wanted a nice simple home computer, one that I could use to go online if I chose to do so. (Which I did, several months later.) I decided to buy from Dell, based on word of mouth from a co-worker who raved about the high quality of the company's tech support. I wasn't disappointed. It was beautiful: Windows 98, Pentium III processor, 128 MB memory, 4 GB hard drive. Those specifications seem laughable today, but what you need to understand is that the two computers that I had been using were a 386 and a 486. The former couldn't even run Windows, and the latter might as well have not been able to. Both were used, well-worn machines, so it would have been unrealistic for me to expect either of them to last long.

A college instructor for a computer class that I took back in 1986 told the class that he remembered when the Commodore 64 was "Hot Stuff". Well, I had acquired a brand new C64 just one year earlier, and I thought it was pretty "Hot Stuff" too. Then I got to college, and realized what a terrible acquisition that was. Still, I got the best out of my C64 until my college career ended, at which point I really didn't have much use for a home computer.

Well, my Dell computer was "Hot Stuff" back in 2000. It has more staying power than a Commodore did, mainly due to PC compatibility standards. Can you imagine a Commodore industry standard in the year 2006? Haw! And it's going to stay hot for as long as I need it to.

What I did this morning in the wee hours was to reinstall Windows 98. It didn't wipe out any of my files, and it didn't take too long to do its job. And the nice thing about the reinstallation is that, when it restarted Windows, it told me what was wrong with the registry. A couple of things from my old AntiVirus protection software were hanging around. Now I know what to work with. Whether that involves my having to do something in RegEdit, I don't know. But I will do whatever it takes to keep the system running smoothly.

And then perhaps my new AntiVirus program will stop slowing everything down, and Firefox and Thunderbird will stop hanging. Otherwise, it's back to Internet Explorer and Outlook Express for me. And, once I get my expected tax refund, I'll really be able to upgrade.

Because, Dude, I'll be gettin' another Dell.


jipzeecab said...

I sold my Dell stock about 2 years ago when I needed some cash. I'd made a lot of money on it and it really hadn't moved since then.
Today I heard a new "buy" recommendation on it and I may get some more soon.

Nicko McDave said...

Well, if I do go ahead and purchase a new machine, it looks like I'll be doing you a favor. Sometimes little things really do mean a lot.

And it feels good to help out a fellow blogger.