Monthly Archives: August 2009

Backdate to XP with your brand new coputer

This seems to be an increasing problem with many businesses and individuals: new computers are needed, but so is Windows XP. For home, people don’t like change. It is why Linux in the home is still a long way off (with people being aware of it). In business, XP is needed by many software packages. XP has been around for a long time. I think I have personally been running it since 2003.

Along came Vista: I was an early adopter myself to learn the ins and outs, but have switched back to XP due to my own software needs.

Before anyone makes the smart remark that one could build their own XP machine or order from __________ with XP installed: I know. I believe that the problem stems from the price of DDR2 memory. A computer running XP with service pack 3 runs pretty nice with 1GB of memory and runs really nicely with 2GB. XP doesn’t do a whole lot with more than 3GB of memory. On top of this is the fact that people have somehow been sold on the idea that they need more memory. I have no idea why your e-mail reading, solitaire playing grandmother needs 4GB of RAM in her new $599 Gateway laptop with HDMI out. OK, there it is: 99% of people don’t need the power in the new PCs but the other less than 1% do. That 1% is also the group that wants the latest and greatest technology because “one day they might want to edit a home movie on their PC”.

So now that we have established that lots of people need XP for their existing software and that most people have no need for anything more we need to figure out what to do.

First off, you need an XP license. You can buy a new one from someplace like newegg or tigerdirect or you can probably find a way to use the XP license from that 5 year old computer you are replacing.  I always suggest XP Professional. Its better.

Now, if you bought more of a business line machine from a reputable name this shouldn’t be very difficult. Their biggest customers’ IT support teams have voiced to them the need for XP support. The problem seems to be in most off the shelf consumer level PCs. Brands like HP, Compaq, eMachines, Gateway and Sony to name a few. These are the computers with all of the “fancy new parts” that the sales guys tell you about.

If you’re still shopping, check with the manufacturer to see if they have XP drivers before you buy.

If you have already purchased the thing and are now stuck with an XP installation that has no sound, ugly video, no network connection, and has a really loud fan: google it from a working computer. Find your model number and search for “XP drivers”. Chances are that someone else has done it before and posted about it. My particular case (Compaq CQ60) required me to make a custom XP install disk with SATA drivers slipstreamed into it (future blog post about that).

This gathering of drivers took me a few hours to find them all and get them working, but now the computer is running XP quite nicely!

Fix XBox 360 Red Ring

The Red Ring (3 light) normally indicates a cooling issue. My console was one of the release units manufactured October 2005 and was one of what I believe to be last survivors of those until I got the red ring.

If your console is still under warranty, you can send it back to MS and they will repair/replace it. The problem though is that they don’t fix the issue causing the overheating: the X-Clamps. Microsoft used a sort of spring in the shape of an X to put tension on the heatsinks for the CPU and GPU. Its a great concept except that the material they used in the X Clamp seems to weaken over time, especially under the heat of the console. When this happens, the pressure on the processor heat cores becomes uneven, the thermal paste may be forced to one spot (and make a mess), and the heat transfer it was designed for doesn’t happen.

Origninally, I was going to do a custom case for my 360 where it would have a better fan and better airflow but after lots of reading Idecided to just try to fix it with screws and get rid of the dreaded X-Clamp. I had to borrow a special tool from a friend to open the case, and then used some torx bits to get to the bottom of the motherboard. Its a pain to get to, but with the tool and a quick search on youtube its not that bad.

The fix took about 45 min to do. I used arctic silver heat sink compound and a screw kit that I bought on ebay for $6. I tried my local hardware store, but the nylon washers they had were too thick and I didn’t get the right spacing. I would guess it is about 2mm, but that may be too much. The kit worked for me though. If you’re nervous about doing it yourself, I’ll do it for you for $40, but can’t gaurantee that it was the heat causing your RROD in the first place.

UPDATE: fixed system ran fine watchign DVDs and netflix for a few weeks. Playing Forza 2 brought back the RROD though. I then tried several other methods, but in the end will be replacing it with a new console (jasper chipset).

Search Engine Indexing in a hurry

About a week ago, I found out that a new job board was going up. This isn’t out of the ordinary to hear, but this one had urgency to get out in order to try some new things.

Immediately, I went to work trying to find keywords, making a site map and submitting the site to the big 3 search engines.

Only a few days later, Google Analytics hasn’t shown much activity but we discovered today that someone has posted a job! Woohoo!

This is just proof that with a little planning, a site can and will get activity soon after publishing it.