Finding my G spot…

March 5, 2016 09:47 – 09:47

While I was on my most recent trip, my Dell Windows server’s hard drive hiccuped, which put me into a momentary panic. When I tried to boot up, it said it couldn’t read the hard drive. Gulp. I let it auto-restore, and that fixed it. I surmised that—even though I had the system set not to automatically install updates—it had gone ahead anyway with one of those so-called “critical” updates, which included replacing the HD driver. This is precisely why I don’t trust automatic updates.

Once restored, of course, I couldn’t then verify my surmisal because it’d been restored to the last clean boot, which no longer showed the problem driver update in the update log. But, I’m pretty satisfied that that’s what happened.

Except that… whenever a computer’s hard drive hiccups—for any reason—I replace either it or the computer it’s in. It was time.

The Dell machine is 3.5 years old. It went into service in early August, 2012—three months after Karen died. I decided it was time.

So, I bought a new system yesterday. I also decided I’d had enough of Dell’s puzzling proprietary architecture, and reverted to my old standby—Micro Center’s store brand, PowerSpec. I got a G416.

But, Herb?! Doesn’t the big G stand for ‘Gaming’? You don’t do gaming!” Indeed, it does and I don’t. But, I wanted a machine that didn’t come to a halt when I process and edit photos. My travel Dell laptop with Window 10 does a better job than this aging desktop.

I also wanted something that could support three monitors without adding a 2nd video card or using a USB-HDMI adapter. The latter works (it’s what I’ve used for the past 3.5 years since the Dell wouldn’t support an additional video card), but it’s slow, clunky, unreliable, and weird at times.

In any case, the new machine is blazingly fast. But, aren’t all new computers fast at first? Yeah… so, in another 3 years, I’ll probably be at this same point again. I’m slowly but surely moving all of my accumulated pictures and other files over to it. I’m still using the old machine as my main computer until I get everything ready. Just typing on it, it sometimes slows and takes three or four seconds for a word to appear. I’m hoping that the hyperthreading in the new machine fixes that.

I’m going to have to add another hard drive to the new machine, I think. “Two terabytes will last a lifetime” I told myself. Yeah, right. My first hard drive—an enormous 10MB drive—was supposed to last a lifetime, too. The 2TB drive in the old machine is about 75% full already—accumulated photos and a backlog of DVD’d shows I haven’t watched (the latter consume almost 400GB). Once I move accumulated photos from my travel laptop, there’s not going to be a lot of space left.

The new computer runs Windows 10 Professional. That was the hard decision. It also has media for Windows 7 Pro. But, while I’m not in love with the interface, I have been impressed with the cleaner/smoother running of Windows 10 on my main travel laptop computer, especially when processing photos.

The new computer came with 16GB of fast memory. But, bigger is better, so I popped $99 for another 16GB to bring it up to 32GB. I remember when 32B of memory seemed enormous. And, that was 1,000 times less memory than the new machine will have once I add the 16. I thought I’d put the new machine through its paces before opening it up and introducing new variables. I think I’ll buy a 2nd hard drive and install it while I’m installing the memory… before I attach all the myriad USB and other cables to it. A machine with only a monitor and a wireless mouse/keyboard dongle attached is a lot easier to open up and deal with than a machine with 10 USB cables, three monitor cables, audio cables, and others octopussing out of it.

But, maybe I’ll just get a huge external drive, instead, and use it for picture storage. In the long run, that would be faster and smoother than having to copy all of the picture files to the new hard drive the next time I upgrade my computer. Note to self…

Once I’m done copying all of the photos, documents, and other files, then I’ll start installing my programs to the new computer’s SSD. It has a 256GB SSD. That’s a solid state drive. Talk about blazingly fast… Programs come up so fast that it’s as if they were stored in RAM. Well, duh. That’s essentially what SSD is.

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