Just your typical OS installation process

My PC is three years old. About 6-8 months ago I upgraded the video card (to a GTX 275, keeping the old 8800GTS in the second slot), and I’ve thrown in another hard drive since I bought it, but other than that it’s as I bought it. Apart from the dust, that is :)

I’d planned to replace it but I actually had a hard time identifying why exactly, apart from “it’s just time”. I’ve never had a PC that’s able to remain current for more than a couple of years tops, but this one, while lagging a bit in the CPU department, has never felt slow and runs most current games just fine.

So I still have it. I’ve had W7 RC running for a while and it was going to deactivate itself in the next week or two (starting March 1st, it shuts down every two hours without saving open documents etc) so I needed to install a real version of it. Seemed like a good time to upgrade to an SSD for the main drive!

Here’s my installation process.

  • 1pm: I get back from the store, PC is already in pieces as I opened it up and prepared it for the new drive before I left. Disconnect the existing HDDs, install the SSD on SATA1, put the Win7 DVD in the drive and start ‘er up.
  • 1:05pm: The installation process sits for a while on a 640×480 W7 background, then kicks into gear. “Starting Setup” appears! Then it bluescreens. Goddammit.

  • 1:10pm: OK, try again. This time setup actually starts, I get to choose my language, it partitions the disc to give it a boot partition, and copies and expands the files, rebooting in the process. When it comes back, it gets to the “Completing installation” bit, and after a while I realize there’s no HDD activity and the mouse is frozen. After 20 minutes I give up and reboot.
  • 1:40pm: When rebooting I get a dialog box complaining that “there was a problem, reboot and restart the installation process”. Further reboots just bring me back to this screen with no option anywhere to do anything other than restart again!
  • 1:50pm: OK, I need to put my HDDs back in so that I can reformat the SSD from Win7 and start over. I do that, but it’s trying to boot from the SSD still… OK, let’s head into the BIOS to change the boot order.
  • 2pm: Right, here’s the bios, just page over there and… what the hell, the PC just turned itself off! OK try again… same thing. And again. Shit.
  • 2:10pm: Jump onto the internet via the iPhone. Apparently this is usually a problem with either a badly-installed heatsink, a failing heatsink installation sensor, the power supply, or bad RAM. Well, the heatsink is stock and fitted to the board like a rock. The memory has been installed for three years without any problems. Maybe power? My PS is a 750 watt monster that has been running 2 graphics cards, 2 HDDs and that’s about it so I doubt it. I dive back into the PC and start making sure all connections are solid.
  • 2:20pm: No luck so far. Still the auto-shutoff in the BIOS. I swap the order of the drives on the SATA cables with no luck.
  • 2:30pm: Back into the PC. I sigh and pull out the second video card. This actually involves pulling both cards out and flipping a small jumper card that in their INFINITE wisdom the motherboard manufacturer put right next to the first PCI-E slot, so that it’s underneath any card using it!
  • 2:40pm: The first time I go back into the BIOS it shuts off on me again, but the next time it survives! I look at the boot order. The computer has been trying to boot from a compactFlash card from my camera that I have in my external reader :/
  • 2:45pm: Boot into my W7 RC install to format the SSD. Decide to just run the new W7 setup from here.
  • 3:30pm: This time everything goes smoothly. I now finally have a fresh SSD installation of W7 Pro and can start reinstalling everything, thank GOD.
  • The story doesn’t quite end there… after dinner I came back up to the computer and it’d rebooted itself, and I got the “Windows has recovered from an unexpected error” dialog. So the saga continues! It survived the night however, maybe it was just a glitch… yes… just a one-time glitch…


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