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Subject: Building a computer - the horror story!

Date: 16/January/2004

Ray Stankewitz

The scenario: sitting at your work space looking at the pieces that will make your next new computer. The Motherboard, Processor and many parts that the guy at 'Discount Computers' said that you needed. Now what?

Well, that is where I was a few weeks ago. I wasn't planning on finishing the new Hot Rod so soon, but Microsoft was touting that they were ending support for Win98se in January of this year. Well, you know how that little ditty went! I hurried about and got the parts to finally put the beast together.....

I discovered that the weight of the case (Antec 1080 server case) was a little problem....yeah, right! One word of advice-if the box is heavy when you pick it up, it ain't the packaging! find a lighter one that you like. Anyway, this case is also tall. Like almost too tall for the Abit BE7-Raid board to reach the cables from the ATA133 connectors to the top of the case! I finally got it to do the deed with a 'slightly' longer cable.

Oh, another thing about this case-because of the door, you better leave the case door open, or ejecting Zip Disks will knock it open, scaring the snot out of you! The voice of experience talking.

I guess that I should say that you should get a book such as "Computer Building for the Totally Knowledgeable" to help you through this ordeal if you are not experienced with this process. With some knowledge, you can get by with just reading the documentation that comes with the hardware.

Anyway, so far, so good. All pieces in, tightened and plugged in. Now I have this new 'BLANK' Maxtor Hdd. I try to start loading Win98SE and it doesn't detect any Hdd's.....Huh?? I know that there is one there, so I try to format using AEfdisk, a very powerful tool. No Dice. I end up using the Maxblast 3 software that came with the drive. I was very hesitant about this as I have had personal experience with "Overlay" drivers that are installed without your knowledge and especially when they are not needed.To clarify this, an "Overlay" driver is a piece of software that patches your Bios to trick it into thinking the Hdd is only a certain size to get around the size limitation of some Bios's. I think that I lucked out-the Hdd reports the correct size and all, so this is good. One suggestion here-get some tie-wraps and stick-blocks for them and make it look a little neat inside, OK? Be proud to whip off the side cover and show off the guts of the beast!

Now it's looking good, it's together and ready to load Win98SE and some software....What??? No operating system found??? WTH!!!! OK, Where's that big hammer! I'll show it the operating system!! Well, OK......I calmed down and realized that I needed to use a boot disk. Yeah, it was late at night when all this went on and I have given up drinking mass amounts of caffeine. Yeah, not smart. You have to understand that the Boot Disk is a different animal that the rescue disk that you make starting the 'puter up. So anyway, started to load everything up and things were looking good. A few restarts later and I thought that I might have something here.

I did mention that this was a Abit BE7-Raid, didn't I?? Needed the Raid drivers even though I didn't need to run Raid. I just wanted the extra IDE channels provided by this arrangement. BTW, there are a total of 7 drives currently in the 'puter. 2 Hdd's, 1 Fdd, a DVD-rom, A CD-RW, and a DVD+/-RW and a Zip 250! Whee! I tried to load the drivers provided by Abit, but no dice-no drivers found. I ended up going on the net to get drivers. Ditto for the SB Live! drivers. I finally got the basic setup going and started to install the software. What I didn't do was run the system in for a few days, i.e. "don't turn it off for a few days!!" I would have discovered that the drivers for the SB Live! were corrupted. Re install the drivers and good to go.

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