Back to Work, More or Less

This morning, I posted the news that circumstances beyond my control–a crashed member of the mirrored disk pair that makes up the system drive on my production PC–forced me to reinstall Vista on that machine. I’m now more or less finished with that chore, though I still have many more applications to dig up and reinstall to completely rebuild the desktop environment present before the crash. That said, I probably won’t reinstall everything anyway: I’ve become a believer in keeping my production machine simpler and less cluttered up than it had been in the months leading up to the crash. That’s what test machines are for!

In my previous blog, I account for six hours of time in preparing for the rebuild. Here, I’ll add nearly another five hours to that total, which returned my production machine to production status: ready to work and (hopefully) sound and stable over time. Here’s where the time went on a sort of “Polack timeline” (I’m half-Polish by birth, and consider myself entitled to use that term via heredity):

09:36AM – 10:16AM Install Windows Vista from Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 media
10:16AM – 10:25AM Download and install 23 total updates (203 MB) up to system restart
10:25AM – 10:27AM Post-startup update clean-up to Vista desktop (4.5 bars)
10:29AM – 11:07AM Download and install DriverAgent software, identify & obtain 9 out-of-date drivers
8600 GTS graphics card
Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller
HID Compliant Mouse (Logitech Air)
MS USB Wheel Mouse
Microsoft Keyboard Driver (Natural Ergonomic 4000)
Realtek Ethernet 8111/8168 10/100/1000 Ethernet driver
SM Bus Controller (Intel chipset component)
ICH 8R/9R RAID Controller
Realtek HD Audio chipset
11:07AM – 11:17AM Install Nvidia driver version (unsigned) then restart (5.5 bars)
11:17AM – 12:42AM Halfway done (hit a snag on the Realtek driver, fixed when I used an .exe self-installer
instead; 6 bars)
12:43AM – 12:45AM Rooting around necessary to install correct JMicron Dual Channel PCI IDE controller
12:45AM – 12:53AM Down to final element: SM Bus Controller
12:53AM – 12:55AM Successful 100% current drivers on DriverAgent scan

Driveragent driver scan results at end of update process

 After the drivers are identified, obtained, and installed, here’s what results!

12:55AM –  1:01PM  Find and install Dell 1905FP drivers (DA doesn’t care if only generic PnP display drivers used)
1:01PM –  1:07PM  Download and install AVG AntiVirus 8.0
1:07PM –  1:17PM  Install and configure Perfect Disk 2008
1:17PM –  1:27PM  Initial set-up for MS Office Enterprise 2007
1:27PM –  1:41PM  MS Office Updates and configuration (Outlook, mostly)
1:43PM            Restart system (just a little short of 8 bars)
2:09PM            Backup Complete, upgrade likewise (total time elapsed: 4:45
2:09PM –  5:38PM  Worked as usual, no problems
11:10PM – 11:14PM  Woke system up from hibernation/sleep with no problems

The bars mentioned above are the yellow-green progress bars that chase across the screen above the “Microsoft Corp” text. I count how many slide from right to left, where fractions are my impromptu estimates of how far the bar travels across the whole box inside which it moves before it disappears. Not exactly rocket science, but not meaningless, either: my previous build required 11-12 bars each time the system booted. I can tell that what I’ve got now is a lot less gunked up and impeded.

I’ll keep reporting to let you know if my previous hardware problems resurface or if the Vista reinstall fixes my hangs and occasional bluescreens. At this point, I’m jaded but still optimistic, knowing that I have no choice but to wait to see what happens and hoping for the best.


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