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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Yes, finally google, luck and Maina helped me sort out the BSOD

When I posted that BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) SOS in my alumni group, I thought I was going to get help instantly. Either that message was not received or those who read it had no idea how to help me.
Briefly, here is what happened. There's this guy called JB, a business reporter, who gave me his mini computer for me to install the windows OS on him. Well, he had a SP3 installed and wanted a re-installation of the thing on his computer.
When I took the job, I thought it was just a minor piece of work. Make the flash bootable (put the NTLDR in) and have the XP thing reference its installation from the flashdisk. I did so, it installed just fine, at least I thought so, but when setup decided that it was time to restart the computer, the machine flashed that Blue Screen of Death.
So, I turned to google and saw that many of the people who had posed a similar question had been through the experience yet no answer had been given. So, here I was finished and done. Then an idea occurred to me. I picked up my SATA/IDE converter and tried to install it from my desktop CD drive. Amazingly, the mini did not pick up the drive.
The next option was to install it from the network. I had made a peer-to-peer with my desktop and tried the installation. It too ran fine, but then it reached the "setup is restarting windows" and brought the blue screen upon the restart.
I left the machine right there and went to watch National Geographic in the sitting room. Seriously, I can't waste a whole two days trying. My mind had finished at least four days thinking of a quick solution. As one of my lecturers Duncan Amoth used to advise, I was trying to work smart and my goodness, the money is in the thinking. The doing is just a little of it.
This will explain why as a doer, a story writer for a regional newspaper, I just have to make do with relatively modest pay...there are those who think on what will sell and take the flak when their ideas flop. Te he!
Anyway, I thought, why don't I try an external cd drive? I called my brother Jeremiah (yes, real brother) and asked him if he had such a drive, he said, no. I called Maina, who said he had the drive and thus the deal was done. I wish Ken Mbogo was around to assist me with his drive (why did he take that huge contract in West Africa? This Meru brother!!)
So, we met with Maina someday after I had just left the Kenya Institute of Administration where I was covering an MPs' circus on consensus-building. Maina gave me a Lenovo external CD/DVR Writer to go and sort myself out. I was happy.
When I reached the House that evening, I just powered the mini on, plugged in the drive and well, it started the installation. But this time I did not go far, there was this hitch about the mini not having a computer hard drive. The SATA HDD was not being recognised.
So, I turned to google. I looked up the problem and saw that the solution was something called 'slip-streaming'. A simple process really, but it requires patience and a little more thinking. So, I slip-streamed, made an ISO Bootable disk and well, I completed the installation.
Thereafter, I downloaded the drivers and well, I was home and dry. I partitioned the drive thanks to Paragon, Partition Magic was blinking (error 117).
I brought the mini to JB. I was thinking of charging him at commercial rates --a cool 7K for the job-- but even though I had spent 2k on the running around and download costs, I guessed I could live with that. I let him of free, but he promised to buy me 'tea'. Ha! Mluhya atakufa masikini.
But then I don't want anyone to go through the experience that I went through in my early days in computing.
Some guy was teaching me the DOS thing. He charged me Sh2,500 just to learn typing and DOS. When I realised that he wasn't helping me (I used to see bluish screens---the GUI on computers all over but he insisted on giving me the black screen with no mouse cursor but a white blinking dash on the keyboard. DOS!)
So when I came to know how to use GUI (from some pals and for free) I vowed never to antagonise someone who wasn't competent with technology. If you are competent, and I charge you commercial rates, well and good. You know how hard it is. But charging you when you have no idea what I did or when all you know are basics of computer programming can be really "unfair to you." What is fair anyway?
But then after JB, any mini job, will now cost at least Sh2,000. But you the customer bear all risks, including the possible crashing of the HDD, the RAM complaining and all. So, don't bring it to me if you still have a warranty. Allow me to be the point of last resort.
Otherwise, bring those laptop jobs on and go away. I will sort it out and then call you. It is such patience that JB had!

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