I’ve been supporting my parents with their computer for a few years. This Christmas I was planning to have a major changes in the system, as it has been aging.
I purchased a set of stuff as presents and brought a few old items with me, too.
On Friday, I set up a wireless network for me and Sanna to work with our laptops. It also protects the desktop computer with its built-in firewall. That was easy and straightforward, the system was configured in no time and worked like a charm. The second step was to install VNC for remote helping, and that went flawlessly as well.
I also run a few spyware tools, uninstalled an old virus scanner and installed a new one — that promptly told me that there is not enough memory in the system. I had tried to buy memory from Polvijärvi, but as the computer dates back from 1998, there were no DIMM chips available. Fortunately the nice folks of Pekan Kone knew a specialist store in Joensuu, the nearest bigger town.
The store was open on Saturday — to my surprise — and as we had some other stuff to purchase from Joensuu, we got an outrageously expensive DIMM chip and a very cheap used second hard drive for the computer. The rest of the day was spent with the computer, as it failed to find the other half of the 256 MB DIMM and as the disk drive seemed to be corrupt. I was working together with my brother-in-law Juha.
We did everything we could, changed order of memory chips, flashed BIOS and reconfigured Windows. Finally we noticed that the auto-select IDE switch was not working properly and the second IDE channel had two masters. After that the disk drive worked perfectly.
Santa brought my parents an anti-virus program, a web camera with headsets and an USB hub. Juha installed them on Sunday together with Skype. There were no sound from the headset and the video crashed Skype, but otherwise everything was ok.
The audio out was easy, as the volume for WAV was set to zero. Video is not working still this day. We got the video from the camera using Logitech’s own tools, but Skype showed always grey box. While debugging this, I had to reorganise the hard drives, as there were only 20 MB left on C: and the drive was badly fragmented. That speed up the computer, but video problem was still there. I downgraded Skype and upgraded video drivers with no visible difference. This took five hours. At the end I didn’t have too much Christmas spirit left…
Finally the power supply died, as a final insult. We were just leaving, Sanna had dressed Aapo for the trip and I had finished updating Windows. But the computer would not boot. No matter how many times I pushed the switch…
We had to leave with mixed feelings and left my parents to deal with the situation. Fortunately they knew a person skilled with IT hardware and could get the system running again with a borrowed power supply.