Sunday, May 22, 2005

Wonder why I don't like Windows?

Today is why I don't like to use Windows unless I must. The family file/printer server is still using Windows98 as I use it to do my taxes. The tax software is still Windows based so I cannot migrate that machine to Linux (yet). This morning it took 10 (yes ten) boot attempts before it would launch. Most of the time it would lock just after I type in my password. I waited five minutes each time. It also reset the screen to 640x480 16 colour mode. When I tried to change it it would allow me to go to 1024x768 in 16 colour mode, when I tried 32 bit it reset the machine to 640x480. On the tenth time it booted up and then I could change the resolution to 1024x768 32 bit colour mode.

Nothing special about the hardware, it is a basic P700 with 512Mb of memory. No special attachments or settings. This machine didn't want to boot to Windows for some reason. Windows 2000 or XP is not an option as this is an older machine and the performance will be less than fast.

I will be doing my normal backups on the server to CD and make a decision on one of the following things:
  1. Migrate the server to Linux and forego using the tax software.
  2. Buy a newer machine for the server and have Windows and cannibalize the P700 for parts.
  3. Buy a newer machine for the server and have Linux and cannibalize the P700 for parts.
  4. Rebuild the machine (again) with Windows98.
Option 4 is a royal pain. I don't add/delete a lot of software on the machine. This is the configuration:
  1. Stock Windows 98, legit copy!
  2. Fully patched via Windows Update.
  3. Firewalled.
  4. No email.
  5. Browser is Firefox.
  6. Tax software.
  7. Only shared resources are the hard drive and the printer.
  8. No Games!
Rebuilding to Windows 98 with all of the patches takes a better part of a day. If I rebuild it as a server in Linux it takes me all of 2 hours (that includes patches). The linux boxes are rock solid and my wife has been using her Linux box without a crash for years now. I stopped counting the number of times the server has been rebuilt in Windows.

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