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Big troubles with my Windows XP Compaq



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I've had a lot of trouble with Windows in past months, which seemed to begin with Avira free anti-virus being incompatible with Windows XP's restore function. For Avira had an XML file on disk that got erased in a roll back, and as a result put my whole PC on the critical list (some research on my symptoms led me to the conclusion Avira was the culprit).

I tried everything I could short of a disk format to fix the problem, but finally had to go all the way and nuke the drive.

That ever escalating campaign of repair efforts to avoid the nuking cost me a month of my life. Then after the nuking it took me at least another month to get my PC back up to speed again, reconfiguration-wise.

But besides all that, the latest XP is so bloated with security and bug fix patches that you really need a GB or two of RAM to run it in, as a practical matter. And I don't. This memory shortage also causes me lots more glitches and crashes and slowdowns than might otherwise be the case.

So I decided to up my Compaq to the max 1 GB. Order a new 512 MB card to go with the old 512 card I already possessed-- and replace an old 128 MB card living in the other of my slots.

But lo and behold the new 512 MB card wasn't compatible with my old one! My BIOS seemed to insist I either have two identically new memory cards of such size, or two identically old.

I think the newer cards possessed considerably faster chips or something.

So I had to either send the card back (I HATE the return process), or find some other way to make use of it.

I tried it in every different configuration I could think of, to see if I could get it to work in my PC, or its twin desktop which also resides here-- since each computer had its own different set of old memory cards. I even tried the new card by itself in the second Compaq. But nothing worked.

The next day it occurred to me that there was one last possibility I hadn't tried: the new card alone, but in the other memory slot of the second PC (sometimes one slot works better than another, for various arcane reasons).

And of course it worked: in the very last configuration available to try it in.

I also realized I could take one of the cards bumped out of the second Compaq by the new card and use it to replace one in my personal PC, for a modest memory upgrade there (so I replaced a 128 MB card with a 256 MB card to boost my total from 640 to 768 MB RAM).

So the final result was I did get a slight upgrade of my own PC-- as well as an upgrade of the second Compaq from 348 MB to 512 MB.

And this created a new opportunity.

Namely, the minimum memory requirements for Ubuntu Linux are 512 MB RAM.

This second PC hadn't been getting much use by anyone the last couple years, being such a slow XP system. And for some reason I couldn't get it to download all the XP updates, which made it extra vulnerable to malware. Plus, I'd never taken the trouble to install any free anti-malware on it. And my nephew had bogged it down still more with the installation of several different competing IM systems long ago, which made its boot time seem to drag out forever.

So why not use it as a test system for Ubuntu? I thought. And so I did...

a - j m o o n e y h a m . c o m - o r i g i n a l

Copyright © 2009 by J.R. Mooneyham. All rights reserved.