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JDoors

New Computer -- What Settings Should I Change?

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After an apparent lightning strike somewhere nearby, my oldie-but-goodie computer (10+ years old, Win98SE) apparently blew out the power supply. I can't find a replacement PS in any nearby brick-and-mortar stores (new ones are SIGNIFICANTLY larger) so ... I'm using this as an excuse to join the 21st Century and I bought a new computer (w/Vista).

I hooked everything up, Vista ran the updates, I rebooted and everything's running (and I'm online).

What settings, if any, should I immediately change?

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How about surplus stores they might have a tons of that kind of power supply.

Basically if it is a computer from that far back (ten plus years running win98 which is no longer supported by most software authors) it really is not worth the cost of maintaining it and using the failed power supply as an excuse to replace it is logical. Besides which; assuming he did in fact find a compatible power supply there is no guaranty that there was not more severe internal damage (motherboard, processor, ram....) that will have to be fixed too..

Might as well just view this as an excuse to buy a new system and put the old drive in an external enclosure or installed as a slave to recover your data. Yes, a barebones box is a valid option; but sooner or later you will decide that a clean install is in order so you might as well just start off with a new machine that has a warranty and is known to be stable and will last another ten years.

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Pete, that was part of my thinking: I didn't know for a FACT it was the power supply, it was just the most (or even only) logical thing that could cause the problem I had. And I didn't think of it, but I agree, what if I replace the power supply, the computer finally boots, and nothing comes up? Now what? It's ten years old, even if there was no other damage and I was back in business, how long before something ELSE, completely unrelated to the original problem, fails? Then what?

Deciding just HOW FAR to upgrade was far more complicated than I was ready to decide; CPUs, hard drive capacity, OS, etc. What do I REALLY, really need? I've been functioning with ... a POS, do I need a quad-core? What if I want this one to last another ten years? Then, yes, go big, right? Do I need a HUGE hard drive? I had everything -- everything -- on an eight gig drive, with room to spare. Why would I need a terrabyte? Huh? Well, who knows? Ten years is a long time!

So I compromised here and there, went "big" elsewhere, and so far, so good. :thumbsup:

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This thread came in handy today along with the one on G4

http://forums.g4tv.com/showthread.php?t=103528

I configured a new vista machine and wanted to make sure I did not forget anything

http://vistaforums.com/Forum/Topic562-12-1.aspx

http://www.errorforum.com/microsoft-window...ide-v1-0-a.html

http://www.winmatrix.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=13708

http://lifehacker.com/software/vista/downl...dows-252105.php

Glad to see that even low end machines now tend to come with adequate RAM.

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Pete, those sites/links were more along the lines of what I was looking for: What should I change RIGHT NOW. But several ideas were outdated and some were suggestions on how to avoid the annoyances of Vista the early adopters didn't care for, things that are there for a reason (Like UAC) that I would rather suffer through than do without the added functionality or security (I actually LIKE UAC -- imagine that!). I did learn a thing or two however, and it helped me to figure out a couple of changes I did want (like how to permanently show the old-fashioned "menu" bar in Explorer).

I did myself no favors by eventually learning to ignore all Vista-related comments and threads (I figured I'd NEVER upgrade -- ha!). Some of the stuff I did learn anyway, by osmosis maybe, but it didn't "stick." Like the tabs in IE having different colors. I'm surfin' and wondering, what the heck ARE those colors? Well, I'd read about them before so at some point I knew, but I'd tucked that away in the "You Do Not Have Permission To Access This Area" portion of my brain. Just a brief look at one site reminded me what those colors represent -- I could kick myself for not remembering any of that. :blush:

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Another question:

My Taskbar (which is "Auto-hidden") "flashes" onscreen. It appears ever-so-briefly -- it's almost unnoticeable -- Just a distracting flicker, nothing more.

I keep the Quick Launch toolbar turned off, the Notification Area has just the following icons; Volume Control, McAfee SecurityCenter, Windows Sidebar and the RealTek Audio Manager. All but the Volume Control (which I set to "Always Show") remain "Hidden" nearly all the time, so they're not "doing" anything that requires attention.

I would guess it's McAfee, every time it checks for updates or whatever it momentarily grabs "focus," but ... I don't know. Should I just turn it off and see? Should I enable the Windows Firewall after turning it off, or would it not be that important for testing purposes (I'm behind the ISPs proxy)?

*****

Hee-hee, nevermind. The Taskbar flashed, I quickly drew up the taskbar, and the McAfee icon had come out of "hiding." Yup, it's the likely culprit.

Edited by JDoors

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I have a subscription that runs for some time yet so I figured I'd better get my money's worth. I like the extra features, but Windows security features plus aftermarket freebies sure make me wonder just how much longer I'll be payin' for McAfee. :lol:

An aside: Whoa! IE8 (maybe IE7, I never had it) RECOVERS FROM CRASHES ELEGANTLY! Get a poorly written site that confounds the browser and it doesn't make a mess of things! I love it.

Edited by JDoors

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I have a subscription that runs for some time yet so I figured I'd better get my money's worth. I like the extra features, but Windows security features plus aftermarket freebies sure make me wonder just how much longer I'll be payin' for McAfee. :lol:

An aside: Whoa! IE8 (maybe IE7, I never had it) RECOVERS FROM CRASHES ELEGANTLY! Get a poorly written site that confounds the browser and it doesn't make a mess of things! I love it.

Yep the crash recovery / crash isolation in IE8 is one of its best features.

In theory it can crash a single tab and not take the whole browser down.

Regarding Mcafee; if you have issues with shutdown or startup look at McAfee (specifically the automatic updater) first. It has a history of starting , logging into the server and hanging. It then refuses to let anything close the connection thus giving shut down problems and having issues where it does not download the update but sits waiting so boot up does not proceed or at best does so after a delay.

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Thanks, I haven't had start/shut-down problems but at least -- if I can remember it -- I'll have a clue where to start.

I did have IE8 automatically close a tab that had crashed (partly my fault, I tried to do several things in a row before the previous items had finished - a better written page may have avoided that kind of problem but there's nothing I could do about that). And, I never had to restart -- even if I COULD recover without crashing the OS in '98, I knew to save what I could and restart or the entire system would become unstable. With IE8 I just kept goin' for the rest of the day.

Now ... WHERE is the setting for what happens when an app needs "focus" ... ? Gonna hafta look that up, that's still buggin' me.

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Yay! That didn't take long: I crashed the heck outta the OS.

I have two thumb drives with various backups that I used to leave plugged into my old computer. One of them started acting flaky, sometimes not showing up. I plugged them into the new system and Vista tried installing them -- and failed. That locked up Explorer as it continued to try to resolve the problem. So ... stupidly (and I wouldn't have done this with '98 as I knew it would lock it up) ... I accessed the drive that DID work.

That ... was a mistake. Explorer, the GUI for Windows, locked up solid as it continued to try to resolve the problem with the apparently defective second thumb drive. Ctrl+Alt+Del/Task Manager, Restart -- Nothin' (Windows returned to the desktop which only displayed my wallpaper, no icons, no Start Orb). Tried again, nothin'. Does Vista even have Ctrl+Alt+Del twice to reboot? If it does, nothin' (just back to the wallpaper).

Had to shut down using the tower's on/off button. Gave it time to wind down, restarted, and got a Windows Repair Utility (in a basic video resolution). It "tried" to repair (which took forever) but couldn't, so it offered to use a Restore Point. I wanted to try running without going back so cancelled that. I'm running again, a few things weren't arranged properly but I can't see any other effects.

So, if there IS a question in there, is that thumb drive trashed? I am uncomfortable just throwing it in the trash as it has my financial files backups ... is there a way to ensure they are unrecoverable considering Windows cannot "see" the drive?

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There was a post about a hotfix for problems when you unplug and reconnect USB devices in vista a week or two back. I think Peaches posted it.

If that applies install the patch.

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Start by removing not needed programs as well as disabling features you know you will not need at startup

Thanks. That's on ongoing process as I discover what's in Vista that I never had before and learn what everything does (or doesn't do). I've looked up a few things in online "process libraries," but they are often limited in the information provided.

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