Archives » January 9th, 2004

January 9, 2004

Upgrade

Like the cobbler’s children who have no shoes, until recently I was upgrading all these people at work to Athlon XP 2400+ computers, while still running on a K6-2 400 at home. Well, no more. Yesterday I finally got one of those 2400+ machines for my very own. Windows XP handled the upgrade rather smoothly, except for the power management features. One of the things I like about new motherboards working with XP is that you can just push the power button, and that sends XP into a graceful shutdown. (Yeah, I’m sure you could do that before XP too, but I’m easily pleased. Bear with me.) No more traversing through the Start Menu to shut down. But when my new computer was up and running, that wasn’t working. Nor would the computer turn itself off at the end of the shutdown sequence. It would just sit there with a dopey look in its eye, saying “It is now safe to turn off your computer”. I have 20 of these motherboards at the office, and each one of them shuts itself off. What was going on here? I finally was able to track down what needed to be done. XP was recognizing the computer as a “Standard PC”; it needed to be an “ACPI Uniprocessor PC”. So, how do you make the change? The only way is to insert the XP CD, press F5 during the CD boot, and pick the right option from a list. Then you have to run the hour-long repair process so XP can recompile itself with the ACPI support. It’s a pain, but if it worked, it’d be worth it. So I did that whole repair process, and it worked.

But…the repair screwed up my video card drivers. I have dual video cards, but only the second one—a PCI card—was showing up in Device Manager. The main video—an onboard chip—wasn’t there. At all. Like it didn’t exist. And the second card wouldn’t work without a primary to cooperate with. So I was living the nightmare of single-screen computing, something I haven’t had to do in years. I fiddled with the registry, trying to dislodge the missing video drivers. A look in the Display Properties box showed it was using a “VGASave” driver, but I couldn’t uninstall it or anything. I went looking online, and found plenty of people with the same problem, but not one page that gave a satisfactory solution. Finally I stumbled blindly across this page, which absolutely saved my hide. The short answer? I had to reinstall the motherboard chipset drivers, then the VGA drivers. Who would have figured the chipset was involved?

So, anyway, everything’s up and running, and now I can finally use my home computer for audio ripping and video editing. As well as other fun processor-devouring tasks. Yay!