NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, June 2002
What I do When it Goes Boom?
The Summary... or... My Great Computer Adventure

by Don Boudeman, Treasurer/Membership Chairman
(click to email author)

I had a 750mhz computer w/128m RAM & a Geforce 2 mx accelerator card with Windows ME. I wanted to add RAM, so I put in two 256m chips, expecting perfection. However, the game I was playing started crashing. I emailed the computer vendor, the chip company, & the game company. They were all very helpful. The chip company told me to get the latest drivers for my accelerator card and even provided a hyperlink to Nvidia. (neato!) I downloaded this 6 meg (??) driver file & installed it. Now the computer would only go into safe mode, :( & this started the downward spiral into oblivion ie, safe mode barely worked. Earlier I had scribbled some helpful notes in my Win ME manual, but that & the CD's for the accelerator card & Win ME disappeared. All I could find was the Manufacturer's Rescue Disk. This will put your hard drive back to the point when you GOT your computer. WHEEE! How many of you want that?

I think you should first make up some troubleshooting notes. I wrote some in my Win ME manual. Then keep the notes along with all the CD's & instructions for important hardware close by the computer.

I suggest you familialize yourself with any Rescue Disk you may have received from your vendor. Find out exactly what it is supposed to do, but be careful not to be RESCUED by mistake. EEEK!!

Learn how to navigate Safe Mode. Try it out every so often so it won't be a mystery. I have an optical mouse, but I keep an old ball mouse close by. It will work in safe mode for me. You may have to load the mouse.exe file. I copied it to a floppy. Also, see if you have more that one mouse input plug on your computer. I have two, and the mouse works only on the top plug. (??) Having a working mouse in safe mode beats the Tab/Arrow stuff.

It was suggested that before you install new hardware you set a system restore point. That may not be available for Win 9x operating systems. There is a scanregw program that will allow you to set a registry point. You may have to type scanregw /restore. System Restore is preferable to scanregw if your computer has both.

Try out the Ultimate Boot Disk for your version of Windows, at http://www.Startdisk.com It has a registry restore link.

msconfig is very useful and has a system restore link.

Some mutterings on Backups: I don't do a full backup, only valuable files, eg, MS Works files, game saves, etc. I can reinstall MS Works easily, but for me to have to re-do my spreadsheet files would be hideous.

My Super-Duper: fill in the blank (motherboard, accelerator card, stick) -- that needs the latest drivers, What is it really called? (that's fit for the public ear) My accelerator card looks like an Egyptian kartouche, with more names than Spanish Royalty!!! The ad for the computer, the manufacturer, sysinfo, & the card company all had a different name for the same card. So find out what your hardware is called & who really made it before you install new drivers. Printers are noted for having large lists of drivers for every printer except yours. (!@#)

I want to thank all club members for their superb participation during my presentation. :)

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