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The trials of upgrading


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Saturday 19 Novemember: Decide to upgrade my graphics card, as the old 9700 is getting a bit long in the tooth. Settle on the X850XT PE, but quickly discover it would be cheaper to buy a brand new motherboard + PCI Express version than the AGP version.


Sunday 20th November: It initially seems that all PCI Express Athlon 64 motherboards only take 939 pin CPUs, whereas my CPU is a 754 pin. Luckily it seems there's a single exception, the ASUS K8N4-E. Rejoice, and order one.


Monday 21st November: Order X850XT PE graphics card from eBay.


Tuesday 22nd Novemember: New motherboard arrives. Decide to dismantle and install new motherboard, as new graphics card should arrive shortly.


Monday 28th November: Still waiting for new graphics card. A check on my bank account reveals the cheque hasn't even been cashed in yet.


Monday 5th December: Still waiting. Cheque still not cashed.


Sunday 11th December: Finally give up, and order another card (same model) from a different seller.


Saturday 17th December: Second graphics card arrives. Install it, but discover my power supply unit doesn't have the neccessary type of connector for it. Go to a local shop to try to buy adaptor, and am told a higher wattage PSU will be needed. Decide to trust seller, and buy new PSU. Get back home and have argument with father, as he claims the guy in the shop ripped me off. Check on-line, and discover that the shop guy was telling the truth. Father is well and truly pwned.


Finally go to connect new PSU to everything, and discover it has the wrong type of 6 pin PCI Express power connector. Ask myself what moron(s) decided to not only have two types of connector for the same thing, but have them look identical other than the shape of a single pin. Go back to shop, and am told they've never even heard of there being more than one type of 6 pin PCI Express connector before. They claim they can get almost anything PC-related though, and will have this connector by Monday 19th at the latest.


Tuesday 20th December: Monday has come and gone, and still haven't heard back from the shop. Manage to find the needed type of power adaptor eBay, and order it from there instead. Also find that there seems to be another way to tell the two apart, namely that one is white and the other is black.


Friday 23rd December: Adaptor arrives. Initially have a mini heart attack as it's white, not black. However, it proves to be the correct sort after all, and everything is finally connected up. "Everything" is with the sole exception of a connector assumed to just be for an LCD display on the case; said connector seems to of a unique sort (the same company made the case and the old power supply). Never used the LCD display anyway, so am not bothered all that much.


Go to turn PC on. Nothing happens. Crap. Realize the "LCD display" connector is actually required for the power button too. Will try to persuade brother (who's an electrical whizz) to wire up the connector from the old PSU, but he's currently asleep. In the meantime, decide to test whether the new motherboard + graphics card actually work, by using the old PSU but not connecting a couple of things up (namely the floppy disk drive, extra fan).


PC turns on, gets past initial screen, and then comes up with an error message: "NTKOSKRNL.EXE not found, or corrupted", or words to that effect. WTF now? Hard drive failure? Slap forehead and breathe sigh of relief as realization sinks in that it's trying to boot up from the wrong hard drive. Alter relevant setting in BIOS, and try again. "INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE" blue screen. Aaargh!


Check Microsoft's site, and it says that it means Windows cannot access the drive during boot-up, and lists possible causes as incorrect BIOS settings, corrupt data, damage to the hard drive, etc. I know that the BIOS settings are correct, and I don't see why upgrading my PC should corrupt data or damage the hard drive.


Look around the net, and discover its a yet another case of other people knowing more about Microsoft products than they do themselves. It seems its because Windows is trying to use the driver for the hard disk controller from my old motherboard, and the way to fix this to use the Automatic Repair process on the Windows 2000 CD.


Discover my brother has apparently left our Windows 2000 CD in his room at university, 75 miles away. Feel like killing him, but barely refrain from doing so. Instead use a legally-dubious method to re-obtain Windows 2000. Yet more waiting. Decide to write this log, to warn others how even a desire as simple as upgrading one piece of PC hardware can become such a complicated and tedious process.

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That's not my only PC-related woe either, as I also have not one but two faulty sticks of RAM. One came with my PC and is fortunately still under warranty, and the other is yet another eBay purchase. I should be able to get both replaced, but it does mean I'll be temporarily stuck with 512 megs RAM when I should have 2 gigs :O.

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