Started my New Computer (Day 1) – Booting


This is a continuation of “Started my New Computer (Day 1) – Case Modding

After I had done all the superficial bits of putting in the lights, it was time to get down to business! I first had to get the computer to successfully boot! Without that, the computer could do nothing (that is debatable to be honest… I mean you could sit there staring at the BIOS for a few hours… Yeah, that sounds like fun :P)!

The problem when booting was that the computer would complain about some .ini file being missing. To me the simple solution to this was to re-install windows… well… supposedly, that would be an easy option! I put in the Windows XP disk, turned on the computer, waited and was ended up back in the same position. I then presumed that the boot order was different to how I normally have PCs set-up (which is with HDD as the last thing to boot) so I manually selected the CD Drive as the drive to boot. I got exactly the same thing. This baffled me… From previous installs of XP, the screen should have blacked out and a message saying something along the lines of, “Press any key to boot from CD/DVD…” You would then press any key and the installation would start. From what I could see, this was not happening so my next presumption was that the CD drive was not working.

I thought to myself when deciding to swap but the drives, “If it is the drives then we have hit 2 birds with one stone and if not, I was going to have to replace the drives anyway because beige and silver, really do not go!”. I knew I had one drive that had interchangeable faceplates of which I had the faceplates store in a box in my loft and I thought that the drive matching these faceplates was in an old Asus barebones PC that I bought a couple of years back! This however was not the case; when I got downstairs with the faceplates and the drive I discovered that the drive was not the one that went with the faceplates.

At first my thought were, “Oh no!” as I had already gone to the effort of removing drives but after returning to my loft, digging around and finding the correct drive, I was quite please and I now had 2 drives to put in! I changed the faceplate on the soon to be silver drive and slid it in; the perfect colour! I now knew that when I get round to buying the BD drive I want for this PC that it would have to be silver. The black drive didn’t fit in so well but it was satisfactory for my needs which was to get the computer going again!

After all this I was almost certain it would work but if you are catching the trend in this blog you will realise nothing is ever that simple! I was getting the exact same problem… but then… I noticed something!!! The message I had been looking for that goes something along the lines of, “Press any key to boot from CD/DVD…” was appearing, but just not on its own page! It was appearing on the second page of the BIOS boot screens. Quickly I hit the “m” key (well I dunno which letter it was for sure but you get the idea; I pressed the first key i could get to).

Was this it? Had I finally got the Windows XP CD to boot up?

No… of course not! I tried this again, and again! It must have been at least 7 times that I tried  and nothing was happening. My thought process at the time was this:

  1. I can use the keyboard on the first page of the boot and in the BIOS settings as well as the boot selector so it cannot be a problem with the keyboard.
  2. The only thing that has changed on the second page is that the system has detected the the Hard Drives and is about to try and boot it
  3. So it must be some sort of issue with the Hard Drive!!!

I then had a little think and remembered about another 120GB (well this one was 122.9GB for some stupid reason) that I had in my bedroom! It was being used in my Media Player (which I rarely use anyway) so I went and got that, swapped over the drives and prayed it would work. Once again the same thing :(! At this point I was getting quite frustrated with the computer and was nearing the point where I would give up for the night when I went back and looked at the thought process I had used and tried to work out where I could have gone wrong!

Then suddenly it clicked! I made a big mistake by ruling out the keyboard as a problem in part 1 of my thought process! The keyboard I was using was USB and for some reason the system could regonise it on the first part of the boot but no on the second :S. All I had to do then to correct this was go and get a PS/2 keyboard! How hard could that be? Right?

Very hard actually! I spent 20 minutes searching for one that was not being used when I gave up and decided to nick (if you want to get all technical about it, it was borrowed because the keyboard has now been returned) the one from my loft sever! I gave the server my roll-up keyboard (which I recently discover was also inflatable) and stole the PS/2 keyboard.

Was that the solution I had been looking for? Yes! It worked, hooray :D! Well, it was clearly plain sailing from there onwards. If you beleived that last sentence I really do not think you have been paying attention to the sarcastic tone of this blog post where nothing can go right or be simple!

I followed the installation and it all looked like it was going well. Windows copied the files extremely quickly and efficiently and then restarted with no trouble at all! 🙂 The next part of the automated installation also went surprisingly well. But then, from out of nowhere, like a brick wall hitting me in the face I reached the product serial page. If you have ever installed windows or any other software that uses these sort of serials, you will know how easy it is to make mistakes. I read the code of the faded sticker, and typed slowly, “ABCDE-FGHIJ-KLMNO-PQRST-UVWXY” (what? you think I would actually give you my real serial? haha!). Quite pleased with the progress I had made I click next.

Then the computer said, “The serial you have entered is not valid!”

I tried again and as you may have guessed the computer said, “The serial you have entered is not valid!”

It took nearly 45 minutes to work out the serial and enter it and in the end it was all down to the letter “Q” – that bit isn’t actually made up, it was definitely “Q” causing the issues as I had typed it an “O” – I had been playing with ever other letter for the last 45 minutes except for this one “Q”! I even restarted the install twice thinking that was the problem.

After this I continued the install and go to the networking section of the install. I naturally chose for the computer to be part of a domain, entered all the information then realised, “I have no network connected to this computer, how will it find the server?” Doh! I am such a wally (or “pleb” as my good friend @MelissaAmbrose_ would say)! To be honest this was not a major problem, just an inconvenience. I carried on the install without a domain but set-up so that I would have to add one later (or just use the system-based Administrator account).

If you are wondering why I had no network it was due to the fact that I was working in my front room (I know… the front room has always been the best workshop) and that I live in a home where hard wiring is impossible and I blown 4 Advent Powerline Ethernet adapter a few months before, but that is another story (the thing you have to remember is that I blew all 4 within a week of them arriving :S).

This blog continues with the the Final Modifications

[cb type=”product”]Windows XP[/cb]

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