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Tech Tips

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    PlanetQuake | Features | Tech Tips | 9-23-2000
   

Tech Tips
by Love2Play

Windows is starting for the first time

After rebooting half a million times, you will finally boot to Windows.  But don't get excited, it won't be for good.  Windows will probably detect your video card and want the driver disk.  Then as usual, it will want to restart.  So give it what it wants so we can move on here.

Now you're going to shut back down after successfully booting with your video drivers (and I hope you set your desktop to not be in that ugly 256 color scheme and 800x600) because NOW is when we want to hook up the LED wires.  We already know that the system is running fine and have a minimal amount of hardware to have trouble with.  So power down and get out the motherboard manual and a flashlight and hook em up.  If you boot and there is a problem such as it boots and then turns off, or that it won't boot, you goofed.  Pull the LED wires back off and try again.  If all else fails, live without the cute little lights.  The important thing is the thing runs!

Installing peripherals

Once again, a section full of my personal opinion.  But I have spent many hours on the floor with a box and rebuilding the same one over and over because of issues.  Let me share my tips that you may do this in one fell swoop.

My opinion of the order in which to install peripherals; I say "order" as in one-at-a-time you will install these, their drivers and reboot.  Repeating the process for each one.  You will NOT install all 3 at once. In my experience, Windows HATES to try to identify ALL your peripherals at once and will choke.  If you ignore this warning, be prepared to see the Blue Screen of Death (referred to as BSOD) This is when Windows has completely screwed up all the drivers and your only way to fix it is to yank out all the peripherals again and start back at format C:

The order is:

1. network card or modem
2. tv card or other misc such as an IDE controller card 
3. Sound card.

Obviously, the video card is already in.  The reason I have you install in this order is that if there are any IRQ conflicts, you pull the last card out first. And the first thing you want in working order is your internet so you can go get any drivers etc... that you may need.  If you are building your only computer and are reading this from having printed it out at a friends, this would be an important step. 

Therefore, one-at-a-time install the above cards.  If there is a close space between your AGP video card and the first PCI slot then move down one.  Skip a PCI slot and give your video card some room to breathe. Install your cards and their drivers according to the manual that came with them.  Confirming each time that peripheral is working BEFORE moving on to the next one.

If you run into IRQ conflicts along the way, all you have to do is move the card to another slot. And please, check the IRQ on the boot screen.  Windows does not always report IRQ sharing or that there is a problem.  Take a look (usually the second screen, you can hit pause) and see where the peripherals and IRQ are listed.  Make sure there are no duplicate numbers heree, that would be sharing.  DO NOT try to manually change the IRQ in Windows.  It won't happen.  You will tear your hair out trying to force it.  Much easier to just relocate the card to a different slot.

After installing all your peripherals including the sound card, don't forget to hook your cdrom sound wire up to your sound card so you can now listen to all your music cd's while you surf.

Final thoughts

Now that you have successfully assembled your hardware and installed windows on your new hardware, it's time to go back and review our articles about running a clean windows system.  

Maximizing Windows  
Managing Windows

If you start now, you will maintain a well run machine.  Remember, the purpose of this box is to game online and to kick a$$ on it. Keep it clean and free of programs running inthe background, don't over download a million shareware programs and bog it down with what I call "crapware".  This machine is for gaming. If you install 10 different multimedia shareware programs, don't be surprised if your sound or video start acting up.  Especially Real Player likes to mess with the integrity of your multimedia performance.  And once it settles itself in startup, well say goodbye to resources.

Now is the time for you to pick and choose how you want everything set up.  Plan ahead where you want it to go. Set up directories for downloading drivers and updates and patches and maps.  Make this the most organized gaming machine you have ever seen.  This way too, you're ready to go to any LAN party in town.  With all your gaming needs neatly organized on your drives, you will not be lost for files at he next LAN party.     This would also be a thought on your purchases, do you have a network card for the next LAN?  Install it now, make sure it's up and running.  Doesn't take being connected to make sure the card is installed properly.

Now you can put the sides back on.  It's time to PLAY!

We still want those tips from readers.  If you think you can help someone else to not throw their computer through the window, sent it in!  TechTips is waiting to hear from you.




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