January 19, 2008

Working with Windows

I work with Windows. Mostly XP Pro and various Server builds. Some Vista.

Today I am upgrading my laptop from XP home to XP pro, so I can remote into work via our VPN (virtual private networ). A VPN is a digitally secure way to connect across the internet.

The reason you need XP pro for this is to connect to a Domain. A Domain is a large computer network consisting of various servers, workstations and other devices.

Using the VPN I can access our Domain and do pretty much anything I could do at work. Neato! So phone calls early on a Sunday that somone needs a password reset means I can help out in my PJ's and then go back to bed. Versus, throwing on sweats and driving the mile to work. Seeing as how its a 5 min round trip I havent really jumped on this as soon as I could have.

So installing XP is something you do while your doing other things because it takes awhile and its about as much fun as watching paint dry on a cold rainy day. If you are lucky enough to have an office with all the same make and model of computer all purchased about the same time this is a really quick job. You have your computer boot from the NIC (Network Interface Card) and download an image file of exactly how you want the system to work.

If you have a mishmash of systems and not all the images then your stuck doing it by CD.

So, you set your computer to boot off the CD, you let it go through the steps and then delete the partions set up new partitions and reformat them (trust me its the cleanest bestest way). After it finishes up you have your windows but it will look large on the screen and will not be able to connect to the internet very well.

So, you need to have the drivers for your NIC or Wireless device ready to go. I do this in advance because I have done it after the fact and ended up looking for a computer that is hooked to the internet.

Okay so you install the driver and viola, your on the internet. Now comes the fun part. XP will require three update sessions the longest about two hours to get all the security patches and service packs into place.

Next you will need to find out what other devices are not working. Probably the video and audio. So now you need to either find out what is in y0ur system (again knowing in advance, good plan) and go to said websites and get the latest greatest for your system.

Now if you bought your computer from a decent company, they will have a nice website with all your drivers in an easy to find and download place. If you went to a mom and pop local guy, hopefully he provided you with a good list with the make and model numbers of your components.

Otherwise your gonna have to know what each device is, where to find the make and model number and hope that the manufacturer decided to mark the item.

Finally, you need to add in your security stuff. I like freeware like Free AVG and Windows Defender. Yes, there are others out there. Yes, they are arguably just as good or better. I like these ones, cuz the cost is right.

So now you got your system all in shape, and if your a good IT guy you make an image and save it for the next time. If you are not a good IT guy you figure you will do the same thing again and it will just take time. If your a home person and want to make a recovery disk, this is the point to find somone with a program that will do just that. Like Ghost. Your mom and pop people will probably be able to do just that for a small fee. Make sure they make the CD or DVD bootable.

What a fun way to spend a morning eh? At least I can blog during most of this.


Tina said...

I'm so glad you know this stuff.

I may be okay around puters, but I would definitely be an AOL lamer if I didn't have my very own Lee!

flyingvan said...

When humans devolve into two distinct species, us AOL/dial up people will become the Morlocks. You Eloi will think you're sooo much better than us.

timmer said...

or... you can get a mac. ;->

Lee said...

Yup, You can get an overpriced MAC that will only do about 1/8 the stuff I need it too unless I plunk down additional money to have it run Windows XP. In which case I am back to square one but out more cash.

Good suggestion there...

timmer said...

can you vnc over vpn to your machine at work?
your company should pick up the cost of your remote access.