Computer Summary

A summary of work done on the computers during September.

SATA card and driver: It is finally official now. The Siliconix SATA card will not work under XP without causing problems with explorer. The solution is not to use the SATA drives under XP. Do not install the Siliconix driver. The card is okay in the PCI slot, just don;t load the driver.

We can use the SATA drives under Debian or we can run the SATA drives extenally using the external USB cable interface that handles SATA, IDE 3.5, and IDE 2.5. It is a cheap cable interface with its own switching supply for the hard drive.

The Hitachi SATA drive remains installed in the computer and is the auxilliary storage for Debian. Mainly video files, movies.

The best media viewer is VLC. It works under XP and there is also a version for Debian.

We do have instructions on how to use dd to make an XP clone drive. We also have a drive duplicating utility for XP, Acronis. Acronis is easier to use but will only run under XP. That seems appropriate since it is the XP drive we wish to clone.

In the past we have swapped out drives for the cloning process. That is we install a second drive as a slave and run Acronis from the first master drive to clone it to the salve, then remove the slave, check it to make sure it works and is bootable, then put it away in a safe place.

Now we have a second drive installed as the second IDE controllers slave drive. We clone to it and leave it in the machine. We could boot off it using Grub. Which we do to make sure it is a good clone. But the main way we will be using it is as a source to a good XP system which can be used as a source to clone to the first primary drive when that drive should end up being trashed for whatever reason. The Acronis software will take any drive as source and clone to any drive as target.

The mpeg editing software we need is avidemux. Avidemux is available for XP, Debian, and OS-X. I have tried it on OS-X and it did not work. I tried it on XP. It worked, sort of. At least it seemed to work but I could not figure out how to use it.

The version for Debian has a broken package so it cannot be installed easily, but the bigger problem is figuring out how to use it. Looks like we are going to have to stay with XP and VideReDo for now.

While we are on the subject of non-working software, note that GnomeBaker cd/dvd writer created two dvds that did not read after they were created. Don’t use GnomeBaker. Remove it from the Debian system and check out all the other software that was loaded. Junk those programs that are redundant or do not work right.

The onboard (motherboard) USB ports do not work in high speed. Although Gigabyte provides high speed drivers, they do not work. So we added a secondary high speed USB PCI board and it does work. It has three ports. The internal port supports a four port hub that runs USB 2.0. The other two USB 2.0 ports come out the back. One goes to the USB-TV device. The other goes to the Venus T4U external drive box.

External USB stuff now works as it should with the new card. USB support for the internal ports has been deactivated in the bios.

Here, then, is the lineup for drives:

Internal to the Gigabyte computer:
First Master Drive hda1 (hd 0,0) XP 10gig IDE
First Slave Drive hdb1 (hd 1,0) Debian 90gig of a 300gig IDE
hdb2 (hd 1,1) Debian swap
hdb3 (hd 1,2) 90 gig NTFS windowsaux
hdb4 (hd 1,3) 90 gig free space
Second Master Drive hdc1 (hd 2,0) CD/DVD
Second Slave Drive hdd1 (hd 3,0) XP clone 10 gig IDE
First SATA Drive hsda1 ( ) Video storage 230 gig SATA

Externally we have the following:

WD passport drive USB 120gig mainly used as auxilliary on the iBook.

JACK drive USB (used to be firewire too but now does not work that way) 30gig uses an internal fan. noisey.

VENUS T4U drive enlosure USB. Room for four drives. Presenty has two 80gig drives intalled. One is the old iBOOk3. The other is the old FIREWIRE. Both drives have data that probably should be removed.

ThermalTake USB single 40 gig.

VOX 300gig USB, Firewire, and NSA. Has the storageS backup and the storageN backup.

External cable USB interface. This cable will interface to SATA, IDE 3.5 and IDE 2.5 drives. Has its own switching supply for powering the drives. Has a SATA power adapter to four pin molex.

Have gone back to the tray system of removable hard drives. Repaired the trays and housings. Have trays installed as Primary First Drives in Ham (supports the magic jack in the radio room), in Tower (an old 233mhz/98meg ram tower machine), and in Media (the XP/Debian Gigabyte 7XAP).

Also have a Dell machine and an iBook in the bedroom. Also have two Dells in the front room one of which is Mary’s work machine. The other is Michaels old P4 which needs work.

All machines can use any of the USB external drives. The Gigabyte and the iBook can also use firewire but that is not an advantage since firewire is the old 400 and USB 2.0 runs at 480..

Note that the only external drive capability that supports SATA is the cheap cable interface. Only the Dell in the bedroom supports SATA internally. Well, so does the Gigabyte in the front room but then only for Debian, not for XP.

At last count that brings us up to six active computers. We have desktop cases for six more and hardware to support most of them but they are all very old machines of the pentium I, II, and III variety. Hardly worth the effort to implement or restore.

Besides, we have only four additional monitors to support these other computers.

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