Friday, August 19, 2005

A week in "computer hell"

What a week this has been! It started when the server of SCC ROSA broke down at the end of last week. After having tried to put in a new power supply (didn't help) it was sent to a computer company. They told us the motherboard had burnt and offered to replace it + new processor, memory and harddisk.

I set up a temporary solution by moving the disk containing user data to a workstation and reconfigure the other to access this. That part worked.

Tuesday the "revamped" server arrived. I put the old disk back and started repairing the installation of Windows2003 server. So far no big problems, it crashed once but did not think much of it. Once it was up the problems started. When you repair an installation of Windows2003 (or XP for that matter) it wants to "revalidate" its authenticity by connecting to Microsoft over the internet, before this is done you can't even log in. This did not work. Second option is to call Microsoft, in our case in Southafrica, tell them an endless code you get from the software and then type an equally endless confirmation code to get started. Tried twice and didn't work. Microsoft SA suggested calling their support service.

Decided to reinstall Windows2003 fresh instead. Put the new drive as "master" and installed on that. Finally installed after a couple of the much hated "blue screen of death". Managed to log on and install network and other drivers and to set up the server system.

Tried to authenticate again. Did not work even though internet was working. Strange but nevermind, went home around 9 pm.

Wednesday morning start adding the users, most of them can log on and, after reconfiguration, access data on the server. Some can't though and while trying to sort this problem we get the bsod screen. On restart the server refuses and tells me that a system file is damaged. Try to fix this by copying it from the CD or using the Recovery Console (don't ask, too complicated to explain). Doesn't help.

Try to repair using the CD again. All of a sudden several files can not be copied from the CD and I discover that it has now developed a CRACK rendering it completely useless. So there I stand with a non-working server and a useless CD.

Bring out the old Windows2000 server CD and try to install this instead so we can get the system up. Blue screen of death. Then it almost works for a while until I install network drivers and set up the server system. Blue screen of death. And again and again and again. Try swapping disks, try with one disk instead of two, try disabling various features on the motherboard. Nothing works.

By now I decide to try and install Windows XP just to see if ANYTHING works. After a few attempts with the dreaded "bsod" I give up. I put the data disk back in the workstation and set things back to the temporary configuration. Home late again.

Next morning I give it one final try with Windows2000 server. Blue sceen of death. Then ship it back to the supplier who called this morning. The motherboard they fitted is faulty and they are looking for a new - this could take a few days.

Sometimes when things go wrong they really decide to go wrong in all possible ways.
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