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Possible Laptop Purchase (Resolved).


Best Answer Channeal , 28 September 2016 - 09:06 AM

Hello Phill, Phew! I am exhausted!!!!  Some good news, some bad........ Dban completed okay. I eventually managed to sort out my ISO-to-flashdrive problems and got the Windows 10 dow... Go to the full post »


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#106
Channeal

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Hello Phill,

A change of direction here at the moment, I am afraid. I am going to have to put my plans for the laptop on hold, at least for the time being.

It looks as if my main computer may well have died. I have been working on it for the past few days. It is obvious to me now though that this computer has just reached the end of its days and needs to be left to rest in peace. Ten years is not a bad age for a computer, is it not? It has been an absolutely brilliant computer!

Anyway, I need to have something reliable to use at the moment. The laptop has been used a lot the past few days and frankly its performance has been abysmal! I do not have the time or the energy to sort it out at the moment as am going away in two weeks time and have just so much I need to do before I go. So, I need to buy a new computer of some kind as soon as possible and would be grateful for some advice/ideas from you on what to buy.

Most people seem to have laptops today, do they not? I guess a nice new laptop does seem quite an attractive idea. The only thing which makes me hesitate is the fact that I use the present comp a lot to listen to music. It has 5 speakers and the sound was very good. Will miss that.... but anyway, the sound aspect is an important one for whatever I buy.

I still might update the laptop at a later date, as it would be great for us to have another machine that my husband could use. I have used the laptop a lot in the past few days though - and frankly its performance has been abysmal! I think it would need some diagnostics run on it before I would think of updating. Especially as the past few days of working on this computer have really brought home to me how utterly useless and inadequate I am at all this stuff. I have found it really heavy going, although I really do try very hard! :(

On a slightly less depressing note, I want to thank GTG - and especially you - because without you I wold not have known about Puppy Linux. It has been invaluable to me the past few days and in particularly last night when it enabled me to retrieve a couple of files from my second hard drive that I urgently needed to work on. (Everything is backed up, apart from the two little files I needed!) So thank you very much. :)

Chris.

Edited by Channeal, 06 August 2016 - 02:04 AM.

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#107
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

Sorry to hear that the Dell is not doing too well  :(

 

Ten years is good going for any computer and especially if still using the original PSU and HDD/s, money well spent 

 

Couple of desktops for you to consider here and here the Lenovo is less expensive as it only has a dual core processor but other than that there is not much to set them apart (the Lenovo has a better card reader).

 

* Bigger HDD, a dedicated video card and priced between the HP and the Lenovo is the ASUS K31ADE, I like this because it has the better graphics solution a more substantial PSU output and is not the notoriously difficult to upgrade SFF (small form factor)

 

the past few days of working on this computer have really brought home to me how utterly useless and inadequate I am at all this stuff. I have found it really heavy going, although I really do try very hard! 

 

 

You are not being fair to yourself, credit where it is due and you deserve it in abundance, you could have simply thrown the Dell in the trash the first time it gave you problems but you didn`t, you stuck at it, got things up and running again and learned how to use Puppy along the way, not bad going at all.

 

Don` wish to interfere regarding your ongoing work with RKinner but I am of the opinion that all is not lost with the Dell and I am sure that Ron will help you sort things out.

 

On a slightly less depressing note, I want to thank GTG - and especially you - because without you I wold not have known about Puppy Linux. It has been invaluable to me the past few days and in particularly last night when it enabled me to retrieve a couple of files from my second hard drive that I urgently needed to work on. (Everything is backed up, apart from the two little files I needed!) So thank you very much. 

 

 

You are most welcome and thank you for your kind words  :)


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#108
Channeal

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Hello Phill,

Okay, so it seems that my struggles trying the revive my ailing computer may not yet quite be over - although the temptation to just go out and buy the Asus which you very kindly gave me the link to is still a big one (especially as my family are repeatedly telling me that I am crazy to keep on trying to revive my trusty ol' friend Mr Dell!)

Thank you so very much for your nice comments which really cheered me up a lot yesterday. You are very kind. Confidence has never been my strongest point! :(

I have found what I have been trying to do pretty stressful the past few days, especially trying to slipstream SP3 into the Windows XP files. I felt I was probably very close to achieving what I was trying to do and it maybe just needed a little tweaking with what I was putting into the command prompt. Most frustrating! Also, I am not very good when working with somebody new as I tend to worry that they are thinking that I am really stupid! :)

Thanks once again for the much appreciated encouragement.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend,
Chris.
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#109
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

Okay, so it seems that my struggles trying the revive my ailing computer may not yet quite be over - although the temptation to just go out and buy the Asus which you very kindly gave me the link to is still a big one (especially as my family are repeatedly telling me that I am crazy to keep on trying to revive my trusty ol' friend Mr Dell!)

 

 

Worse case scenario I would keep the Dell but run Puppy on it as opposed to XP, too soon to consider this at the moment though until you know the outcome of your work with RKinner.

 

Thank you so very much for your nice comments which really cheered me up a lot yesterday. You are very kind. Confidence has never been my strongest point! 

 

 

You are most welcome and as said previously, all credit to you.

 

 I am not very good when working with somebody new as I tend to worry that they are thinking that I am really stupid! 

 

 

RKinner is a professional and would never think in such a way so please put this out of your mind.

 

You also have a good weekend or what remains of it  :thumbsup:


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#110
Channeal

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Hello Phill,

Not sure I would want to keep the Dell if I could only use Puppy on it, since I do not seem to be able to use my printer with it.

Just to clarify, there is no way that I am suggesting that RKinner has in any way led me to believe that he thinks I am stupid. Was only talking about my own feelings of inadequacy when trying to deal with all this technical stuff.

Just double-checking that this is clear, as there is no way I would want to give the impression that I am in any way whatsoever criticising somebody who is doing do much to help me.

Many thanks,

Chris.
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#111
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

Your printer will apparently work with Puppy but not sure about the scanner, see article here

 

Just to clarify, there is no way that I am suggesting that RKinner has in any way led me to believe that he thinks I am stupid. 

 

 

No clarification needed for me as that was not how I read it, I was intending to explain that RKinner and in fact no other staff or regular member would ever think in such a way, we are all here to help each other and not to be judgemental. 


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#112
Channeal

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Hello Phill,

 

The computer is okay now, so I guess my plans for the laptop will probably be back on course.

 

I will contact you again at the end of September.

 

Many thanks,

 

Chris.


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#113
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

The computer is okay now, so I guess my plans for the laptop will probably be back on course.

 

 

Have been following the other thread and had an idea that RKinner would suggest you try the Combination setting, see page 3 here for why it came to mind.

 

Catch up on your return and have yourself a great holiday  :thumbsup:


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#114
Channeal

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Hello Phill,

 

 

 

Have been following the other thread and had an idea that RKinner would suggest you try the Combination setting, see page 3 here for why it came to mind.

 

Ah yes, I see! You guys are all so clever! :)

 

If you have been following the thread, do you have any idea what caused the non-clone drive to stop booting in the first place? Do you think it was purely down to the battery needing replacing?

 

 

 

Catch up on your return and have yourself a great holiday  :thumbsup:

 

Thank you very much. Four whole weeks without this computer to stress me out  - though no doubt I will start missing it pretty quickly! (My husband thinks I am a very sad case!) :laughing:

 

Chris.


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#115
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

Removing the CMOS battery will have restored the factory default settings thus changing the boot configuration, as explained at the thread I post the link to Combination needs to be selected as Windows XP did/does not include any native SATA drivers.

 

Nice to see that you have perked up now off you go on your hols and enjoy yourself, tech free of course  :lol:


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#116
Channeal

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Sure, understood completely - but the battery was only replaced because the main drive had suddenly stopped booting.

I guess that the failing battery could not have been the reason for that though, as the clone drive was still booting then and I imagine that neither drive would have booted if the battery had failed.

Maybe it will be one of those mysteries that will never be solved! :(
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#117
terry1966

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yes the failed battery could be the cause and explanation of everything.

 

first thing you need to understand is that the raid setting in the bios is a very important one, and depending on what it is set at when an os was installed to a hard drive depends on what drivers the os installs and uses to boot correctly and why changing it can stop an os from booting.

 

now lets imaging you have two hard drives in your pc, old and cloned, you have been using the cloned drive as your main os for years so has been updated with all drivers needed to boot regardless of what bios raid setting is used but the old drive doesn't have such drivers because it's not been updated at all in that time frame and can only boot when raid is set to combination.

 

lets also assume the bios sees the cloned drive as the 2nd device and the old drive as first device but you changed the bios boot order so it booted cloned drive first at the time you made it.

 

now when the battery failed, it forgot which device was supposed to be first boot device so booted them as seen in bios order not boot order and also forgot the correct setting for raid so set it as ahci instead of combo.

 

so from that point on it tried to boot the old drive with raid achi settings and couldn't.

 

you thought it was still trying to boot the hard drive you'd been using for years (cloned) but wasn't so went inside the pc changed connections to try other drive so now the cloned device was seen in bios as first boot device so booted up and worked correctly.

the old drive only booted correctly when you finally replaced the battery and changed the raid settings to combo, so now both drives boot correctly and problem solved.

 

for that scenario to work and be the answer for all issues, it just takes a little misunderstanding of what the original setup of the pc was before the battery failed, and what was happening the first time you tried to boot the pc and it didn't.

 

hope that made sense. :rofl:

 

glad you finally sorted everything though and you can now boot from either drive if required. :spoton:

 

:popcorn:

 

just for info, the battery itself makes no real difference and you can boot a pc even without a battery installed.

 

the only thing is without a working battery you need to set the bios settings every time you start a pc after it's been removed from all power, say turning off the plug socket at night for example.

 

so it was just setting the correct bios settings that mattered and not the new battery that really solved the issues, but you could have set them every time you booted the pc anyway with the old battery installed and things would still have worked once you'd figured out what the settings needed to be.


Edited by terry1966, 07 August 2016 - 06:47 PM.

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#118
Channeal

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Hello Terry,

 
Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to give me such a full explanation.
 
I think I have understood most of what you said, but I still have difficulty relating it to my own scenario. I think this may possibly be related to the fact that this particular batch of the Dell Dimension 9150 was issued with 2 hard drives from the start. So there is no option in the BIOS to change the boot order so one or other of the two drives boots first, as both drives are included there under one option referred to as just 'SATA'.
 
Under 'Drives' in the BIOS, there is simply drive 0 (which is always the main drive, the one which is used to boot from) and drive 2 (which is always the secondary drive). As I discovered the hard way when putting the clone on one of the drives back in 2014, the only way to swap the functions of the two drives is to swap the SATA leads over inside the computer. (The two leads are only identifiable by the fact that they are slightly different shades of blue!)
 
So, when the drive which had been drive 0 stopped booting (perhaps because of the battery failing), I swapped the leads so that the one with the clone on became drive 0. At this point, I presume that both drives when connected as drive 0 shared the same RAID settings, but one booted and the other wouldn't. 
 
When the battery was subsequently changed, the RAID settings were obviously messed up, so neither drive would then boot up. When I adjusted the RAID settings, I expected that the clone drive would most probably boot again - but was completely not expecting the other one to boot!
 
Would a failing battery cause one drive (when connected as drive 0) not to boot, but the other one (when also connected as drive 0) to do so? I still cannot get my head around that question. All very interesting though!
 
Unfortunately, what has been happening with this computer seems to have somehow messed up my printer - as when my husband tried to print something late last night, it wouldn't work. When I was summoned to look at it, it gave me a weird error message I have never seen before, something about some violation! To be honest though, I just cannot even try to sort it out before I go away..... the wireless function still seems to work as I managed to print something from my phone, so presumably we will be able to print anything we need from the laptop: it's a bit of a pain, but I don't want to risk doing anything at the moment with even a remote chance that it might also mess the wireless option up, as we have some very vital stuff to print out before we go away.
 
One thing is certain, there is never a dull moment as far as computers are concerned! ;)
 
Thanks once again for explaining,
 
Chris.

Edited by Channeal, 08 August 2016 - 03:03 AM.

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#119
terry1966

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Would a failing battery cause one drive (when connected as drive 0) not to boot, but the other one (when also connected as drive 0) to do so? I still cannot get my head around that question. All very interesting though!
 

yes it could, whether a drive will boot or not totally depends on what drivers are available and used by the os, so if 1 drive didn't have the correct drivers for a certain bios raid setting then it wouldn't boot while the other could because it did have those needed drivers installed.

 

as to the printer issue, i'd remove the printer software and drivers from the pc and then reinstall them and i think you'll find everything will work again as usual.

 

:popcorn:


Edited by terry1966, 08 August 2016 - 01:25 PM.

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#120
Channeal

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Yes, I am sure you are right about the printer. I think I somehow partially uninstalled it when trying to get it to work on the clone. (Although ironically, the clone is the only place it will work at the moment). It should be easy to sort out though, once I get back from my travels.

Thanks for your help, both of you. I think what I really need though is a new brain - or perhaps a new operating system for the present one! :)

Chris.
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