Richard Craver

Thoughts, Musings And The Occasional Rant

How A Geek Builds A Computer – Part 2

Written By: richardwcraver - Jul• 31•17

So it took 3 days for SpinRite to do it’s magic. No bad sectors reported, only a bunch of ECC (Error Correcting Cache) errors which unfortunately are the norm for today’s high density hard drives.

Surprisingly there were no cabling errors, surprising because by test bed computer that I use for tasks such as this has no SATA ports and I use an IDE to SATA adapter. It’s not fast, but it has thus far been reliable.

Meanwhile I had been installing the processor, fan and RAM memory on the motherboard, installed the motherboard into the case, the power supply, DVD drive and tidied up the cabling.

Now with SpinRite completed, the drive was installed and the computer was connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse. I hit the switch, nothing. A brief moment of panic, then I realized the switch on the back of the power supply was off. That taken care up it was into the UEFI setup to make sure the hard drive and optical disc were recognized and set the boot order to USB Storage, Optical, then Hard Drive.

Here’s were my geekery comes into play. I use a Open Source software called GParted, a drive partition editor to setup my partitions ahead of installing the operating system. I set the first 784GB of the drive as Windows NT filesystem, then set the balance as a Linux ext3 filesystem.

Now I was off to installing Windows 10, drivers and programs. There was some difficulty with chipset drivers. Apparently the AMD chipset driver installer does not like to play nice with non-AMD video cards; I’m using an Nvidia card. According to the internet forums I’ve read, the default Windows generic drivers are adequate, however I have a support request into the motherboard manufacturer. We shall see what happens with that.

Now about that Linux partition…. I use another Open Source imaging utility called Clonezilla to make a back up image of the freshly installed system with all the current Windows Updates done and the full load of programs installed. Clonezilla is a Live CD Linux distribution that boots entirely from the CD. Linux has support for Windows filesystem types as well as it’s own filesystem types. Microsoft on the other hand does not build support for any operating system besides their own, which works out nice in a round about way. The recovery image I now have is saved in a Linux filesystem partition, if a Windows virus hits the Windows installation it will not be able to ‘see’ the recovery image in the Linux partition. Now if a virus, worm or operator error nukes the system I can blast the saved image back to the Windows partition with Clonezilla, restore backed up files (You do back up?) and hit Windows Update for the latest patches.

I set the computer in the hutch desk my wife uses, setup the printer and copied her files from the old computer and all is at peace with the world, for her computer.

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