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New Hardware

Brought home a new desktop machine from work. Gadget has decided, in his wisdom, that what we needed was Windows XP on AMD 64. Which sounded suspiciously like the bleeding edge to me but he says that they've been out for months.

It is true that Jessica is four years old now. New applications push her to her limits. Also the registry is cluttered with six years of installing one application after another. So it is a good idea to start again with a clean slate.

Set the new machine down on the floor next to Jessica and connected the power and KVM. This allows Jessica and the new machine, which I named Alison, to share the monitor and keyboard. It doesn't let me share USB devices, only PS/2 ones, so I plugged in an old 2-button mouse. Jessica's keyboard, incidentally, broke down a couple of weeks back and I replaced it with a fine spare from the cupboard, which looks like the one she came with. I tend to be fussier about mice than keyboards; the cheap mouse soon started to annoy me and now I've unplugged the cordless USB mouse from Jessica and given it in to Alison. Swapping mice will be annoying but having two cordless mice on the desktop would certainly be confusing.

At first glance, Alison doesn't look much. She has a black case which is slightly larger than Jessica's, with a beige DVD burner. Gadget couldn't get them in matching black. She has no other peripherals. Unlike Jessica, she has no disk caddy, no floppy drive, no zip drive, no second DVD drive. She has a network card and a TV tuner which doesn't work because there is no 64-bit driver for it. She's a lot less noisy than Jessica but this doesn't mean much with the two of them sitting there side-by-side. Like most Windows machines, she seems to complain about new hardware all the time, although there isn't any.

Changed the name of the machine and created a user account. Then set up the internet connection. This was fairly painless; the router allocated Alison an IP address from a bucket via DHCP and she was able to ping Jessica and Sandy by name. The name servers needed to be set by hand - one day I'll figure out why the router doesn't handle this right.

A surprise when I logged off as Administrator to configure the new login; only it was offered. So what happened to the Administrator account? After much fright and fiddling, it seems that only accounts with passwords appear on the login screen; but you can still bring up an old-style login window with the magic keystrokes: Ctrl-Alt-Delete.

Mapped a drive to Jessica's hard disk nd then copied across some of my data files. Unfortuinately, Jessica's hard disk was full of gigabytes of crap, which took some hours to clean up and (largely) roll off. Configured Firefox by importing my bookmarks from Jessica and installing my favourite add-ons.