Wednesday, January 30, 2008

PC Restore in DELL inspiron 600m

I wanted to improve performance on my laptop, so I decided to do PC Restore in my dell laptop. My system was damn slow, and I got fedup with all the hangings and the end nows.

So It took me a whole day to convert my data into winrar, and move it to another laptop using my 512 mb flash drive. Now you might ask, why in God's name would i want to move it to another laptop, when I have cd burner on this one itself. well, when I checked with the cd burner of the second laptop, I found out that it has dvd burner too. Now, I dont know fully about this system, because it is my husband's office laptop, given to continue his office work at home.

Anyways, I found out that the seond system has dvd burner in it, and each dvd can hold 4.7 gig of data. So I winrared my important data and copied it to the second system. After every data was safely secured, I added the folder to dvd burner, and clicked "RECORD". This error message popped up on the screen. "NO SUITABLE SOFTWARE FOUND FOR BURNING DVD."

Great just great. I had to save all the data in six 700mb-cds, which took about another four hours.

Now that all my data is safe on cds, I prayed to God, and rebooted the laptop, entered ctrl+f11 when it was booting. Seems I dint hit the keys at the appropriate time. So the system went straight to user login screen, and I had to reboot again.
Finally the PC Restore screen came up. I prayed once again that the system shouldnt mess up, and confirmed the restore.

It took about 10 minutes only for the whole process. The system rebooted, and went through some basic formalities. Lo and presto my lappy is fast again. *whew*.

I should have stopped there. But I dint. I want to install freebsd as the second operating system. So I installed partion magic, and tried to partition the disk from only c: to c:, e:, f: g: with g: for freebsd.

But as I was partioning, I found out, that only c: could be primary partition in my drive. The others became logical drives. I read online that freebsd could be installed only on a primary partition. So I was trying different techniques to bring about atleast one extra partition as primary. But in vain.

Finally I thought If I could first bring down the size of c:, then I could later partion the rest using windows disk management. So unfortunately, I reduced the size of C: to 7gb, and rebooted as asked by the disk manager.

The lappy rebooted, and proceeded to resize c:. As it was proceeding, I had an instinct to cancel, and go back. If humans start listening to their instincts, then half of their problems will be solved. As humans err, I too failed to listen to my inner voice, and waited until the resizing became 100%.

Then started my problems. After resizing, I went back, and after trial and error, found out that
i could not create another primary partion,
could not increase the c: size because it cant be done in NTFS,
and could not hence install freebsd.

Depressed, I switched off my system with a small hope that there might be an online shell available to work on unix commands, atleast. Instead I found wubi ubuntu installer

Memory upgrade for my inspiron 600m.

My inspiron 600m is painstakingly slow. It has 512 mb RAM, 1.6mhz processor,, and 60 GB hard drive. My hard drive light will flicker like crazy. The system was good for ordinary stuff like browsing the web, checking mail, and stuff. But if I want to do serious stuff like programming, whoosh, it will hang up on my face. So I decided to upgrade my system. First I thought I will do a complete sweep, format the drive and install the windows xp. I called up dell customer service and told them i lost the Windows XP CD while changing house (seriously i did lose it ;) ). The cutomer service person first told me that our warranty has expired (obviously), and so we have to pay for the cd. But then after serious negotiation, he told he will ask his manager and put me on hold. I started reading a book since i know it ll take time when a customer service person puts u on hold.

Surprisingly , he came back soon, and told me, that they would post the cd and the general drive's cd (since system specific driver cd is not available for inspiron 600m. It seems they have stopped production of this system. Yes I am still having this out-of-production lappy).

While talking to him, he mentioned a technique called PC Restore in dell systems manufactured after april 2004. It will convert your system to the stage in which it was shipped. Yes, no windows cd required, no painstaking process of installing drivers, and downloading more from the internet. Just do PC Restore and have your shipped in system in 10 minutes.

So I asked this customer representative about the process, and he reminded me that my laptop's warranty expired, and i would have to pay for this type of customer service. Yeah right, I would pay 100$ to dell for telling me how to press ctrl + f11 during bootup. In his dreams!!!!!

I thanked him for his valuable time, and browsed the net for "pc restore dell", and immediately found the proceedure to do PC Restore. I backed up my important data, and did PC Restore. When I rebooted my system, to my bliss it worked at a speed i havenet experienced in a long run. Still it is 512 mb only, but working at a faster rate. Even my husband was surprised at the speed of this new system.

Now as my next step, I thought about ordering more memory to my system to increase its performance. Atleast 100 bucks is better than buiying a new system for 700$ rite?. So I searched the internet and found that there are two slots for inspiron 600m, and a maximum memory of 2 gb here. I even watched a video that explained how to install more memory in a laptop.

Hence I ordered 1 gb RAM, and eagerly am waiting for its arrival through fed-ex. After I clicked confirm, I realised, I dint open my laptop and see my laptop's architechture (though, i know there is nothing new in my out-of-production laptop). I switched off my laptop, removed the power cable, inverted it. I took out a small star screwdriver out of my 2-month kid's bassinet kit, and tried to unscrew my memory slot. Not useful. Then I climbed the two step ladder, blew the dust out of our toolkit box, and opened it to find a useless set of 10 removable tips, none of which was useful for my purpose. Then I heard some noise outside. The maintainance guy was working with something outside my apartment. My mom suggested that he might have such small driver. So I took up courage of not seeming stupid, went to him, and asked if he had a screwdriver smaller than mine. He said he has it at home, and not now. He even offered to bring it tomorrow. Whew. I was relieved. Got his name, Thanked him, and came back to install Ubuntu on my laptop.

After a few days I got my 1 GB RAM in mail, but realised that I dont have that small screwdriver for my laptop. So had to wait until we went to walmart to get the precision set. Today morning I installed the extra memory, and my system started running fast and I installed kubuntu without out of memory shut downs.

I dont know how or when I opened the pandora box, because now my wireless is not working. I am using microsoft client, and the radio is not working. I am discussing about it soon in my blog.

Wubi review . part 1

I wanted linux on my system for a long time, and was trying to install freebsd, since it is obviously FREE FREE FREE and quite simple for my necessities. But then as I was using Partition magic, i realised, i cant have freebsd installed on my system because freebsd required a primary partition to be installed on, and my system had c: and extended memory as primary partitions. I couldnt create more primar partitions.

So I left it there itself and browsed the net. I remember that there might be an interface on teh internet that gave the shell environment, without installing anything. It is like practising unix commands on the net, without the burden of installing or uninstalling. As I was searching for this online shell, i stumbled upon Wubi. I read its reciews and found that it is relatively easy to install and uninstall if anythign goes wrong. Doesnt take up much space and detects network card automatically.

I was very eager to give it a try. I recently backed up my data, and pc restored my dell system. So I dint have anythign else to backup. If you have any important data, i suggest u back it up before trying this. So I downloaded the installer which took some 5 mins. Then I ran the installer. It took about 1.5 hours in my laptop (512 RAM, 1.6 ghz processor, and 60 gb harddrive). After successfully completing 100%, the screen stood still without much progress. I could move my mouse, so i knew the system did not hung up on me. I waited for few minutes before the error message came up. It dint specify any particular error, but said i need to install again. Oh God, I dont have another 1.5 hours for it. So i clicked the installer again, thinking, if the estimated time says 1.5 hours, then i ll do it again sometime later. But fortunately, it checked the checksums and then rebooted. Great. I entered into ubuntu during the dual boot up options.

The settings started taking place. It detected the hardware, found floppy drive, autoconfigured the network drive, installed packages and softwares. Everythign went fine until this stage. Then it started doing setup, and before it could finish 5%, my laptop hung up.

So I rebooted, went into ubuntu. the boot up proceedure cant take place because of some error, and the screen asked me to run the installer again. So i rebooted again, went into windows xp, and clicked the installer. It said, i have to uninstall first. So i uninstalled. Fortunately for me, it saves some backup files. So when i clicked the installer again, the installation was smooth and quick. Now i rebooted again, and went into ubuntu. Again it went into settings mode, and did everything like the previous try, including the system hanging ARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGG.

It is getting on my nerves so bad, i want to hit my laptop, abandon the whole process, and go to sleep. But I want to work on ubuntu and I, that is my laptop, just have to pass the setup proceedure. I guess it is the memory insufficiency that is causing the problem. My system hangs up so often earlier. If i run yahoo messenger with webcam, and open firefox, the system will hang up. That is the main reason i did pc restore, to clear off the junks and have a clean start.

So now iam waiting for that 1gb i ordered online. will update once i resume the process of ubuntu installation.
continued in review part2 ...