My MCPC: Stage 1

For the first time, I powered on my new media center PC last night. All the hardware seemed to be
okay so I started installing Windows MCE 2005. That’s when it all went
wrong and this became a religious experience.

My first problem was partioning the drive. I’ve been using Linux for so
long that I forgot that, if you want to partition the drive in Windows,
it’s best to do it before installing.  What I’ve done in the
past is to boot off of a DOS disk, run fdisk to create the partitions
(without formatting), and then run the Windows install.

If you don’t, Windows XP, bless all Microsoft programmers, will gladly partition your drive, but not
format both partitions. Then, perhaps because I have my DVD burner on
ATA primary and my hard drive on SATA primary, assigned drive G: to my
hard drive, not C: as you would think it should be. Sigh.

During the install, it asked me to insert the CD for Windows XP Service Pack 2. Well, bless all
Microsoft executives, I didn’t happen to have a copy of SP2 handy and
why should I? Why shouldn’t it be included in the Windows install
itself? Nowhere in the scant documentation included does it say you
have to have SP2 on CD before you can install Windows MCE. Yes, I know,
MCE is an OEM edition so, perhaps, MS has double secret instructions
just for OEMs. But I still don’t see why, when MCE already comes on two
CDs, bless all Microsoft accountants, why I have to have SP2 on a
separate CD.

Then, since you have to install the Nvidia drivers for sound, video, and network card before they will
work (just like you have to with all the Intel motherboards I’ve ever
installed) and, bless all Microsoft programmers, you can’t install
those drivers until after Windows is completely installed, Windows
can’t get sound, video, or the network connection working. Although the
default video driver at least allows to see what you are doing, there’s
no sound and no network access.

What is even stranger, during the install, Windows tried to use the “1394” firewire bus as a network
card. You can even look at it in Device Manager and the firewire bus
will be identified as a network card.  No amount of trying to
get Windows to switch to the built in network card has, so far, worked.
Sigh.

Since Windows tries to use the firewire bus as a network card and, bless all Microsoft programmers,
 it refuses to use any other, networking is not. Working, that
is. This is even after installing the Nvidia driver for their built in
network card it still doesn’t work. I may try disabling firewire in the
BIOS to see if that will help. I did try
disabling and then uninstalling the firewire network card in Windows
Device Manager but that
didn’t seem to help. Sigh.

Now, it is entirely possible that this problem is a result of Nvidia’s network driver since I see on
various forums all kinds of problems with their NICs. But maybe not. I can’t
tell at this point what the problem is.  What I may also do is
disable both firewire and the built in network card in the BIOS and
just use a PCI Ethernet card. Sigh.

Lord willing and the ‘crick don’t rise, I will try installing again
tonight and will let you folks know how things went tomorrow.

Aloha!

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One response to “My MCPC: Stage 1

  1. J H RICKETSON

    Dan –

    Enjoy your ordeal. Think how much you’re learning! – Which is of little use unless you plan to build another Box right away.

    On the partitioning: From many many previous experiences of having to partition a brand-new HDD & version of W2K Pro, I always install to C: (which, at that point, is the ONLY drive). I then go to Windows\system32 and fire up diskmgmt.msc. Dont be fooled that is not an .exe extension – .msc somehow brings up an applet that gives you all the tools you need to, well – manage your disc(s) I need this badly, right away, because I divide both DRIVE0 and its twin, DRIVE1 each into 7 virtual drives, all except C: part of 1 long extended partition subdivided into the virtual drives.

    I, too, have encountered all too many Catch-22 situations in the past week before I got it all put together. Some drivers had to be installed numerous times before the gottsverdammt Wizard would quit nagging about that particular thing.

    Good hobby, neh?

    Oh, BTW – please don’t be upset if I send you a .jpg of my diskmgmt.msc screen. It’s safe.

    Regards,

    JHR
    [Delta-W@bwoodtx.com