Now that my daughter is happily ensconced in her
new iBook, I’ve done some more PC shuffling around the house. It’s amazing
how long it takes just to pass down a PC: some 4-6 hours prepping the Thinkpad
for my wife to use. But the domino-effect didn’t stop there. Turning my attention
to the old, desktop that I was getting rid of, I realized I could raid it for
RAM and help out my neighbor. This is Neighbor #1 (mentioned in a
previous weblog entry) with the PC thrown in the corner because of a spyware/malware
Stripping the RAM from my old desktop, I managed to bring my friend’s PC up
from a mere 64Mb to a more useful 192Mb. Then I scavenged a 40Gb/7200 rpm drive
to install in place of his 9Gb drive. Then, I spent all of last evening
until about 12:30 AM this morning rebuilding his PC from the ground up. Reinstalling
is such tedious work.
Operating System - Windows XP. Service Pack 2. Non-administrator accounts
for each of my neighbor and his two kids. One admin account for the parent.
Stern lecture to come about the need to use the non-privileged account for day-to-day
Anti-spyware - Here I threw in Microsoft’s new
offering, which originally came out of Giant.
I’m favorably impressed. It seems easy to use, scans files quickly, doesn’t
seem to hurt performance, at least not noticeably.
Anti-virus - Computer Associates (CA) offers a great deal. A 12-month,
free-trial of ezArmor, which includes their anti-virus software. Very generous
of them, and it’s just the ticket if you’re rebuilding a PC for a cash-strapped
friend. In their review, CNET makes a point of saying how small
a performance hit you’ll take from using CA’s product as opposed to other
anti-virus solutions they’ve reviewed. (An important consideration for a 600mhz Celeron box) My experience so far bears that out.
Small download, quick install, minimalist interface. Good stuff. I’ll be installing
it on my own PCs next.
Web and Email - Firefox
And I made them into the default browser and email applications. I’ve had good
success with Firefox. I’ve used it as a stop-gap measure to make two, adware-infested
computers useable. Longer story there…
Rebuilding a PC always leaves me with a good feeling. Maybe it’s because I
know that, if just for a brief moment in time, that everything is clean, neat,
and tidy. I also feel good about resurrecting a box that was obviously the source
of much pain for my neighbor. It adds even more to my pleasure to hand him a
box with useful applications installed. Thanks to the generosity of many open-source
developers, my friend now has word-processing, email, and web browsing. And
thanks too, to Computer Associates for that 12-month, anti-virus trial. I appreciate
it, because I really don’t want to have to rebuild my friend’s box again.