peterbirks: (Default)
The man brought back my computer last night. He informed me that the company which built the video card that he installed in my machine so that it could run two monitors had gone bust, and that therefore there wasn't a driver that worked with Windows XP. On top of that, he returned the computer in the state that it was when he fucked it up on Friday night -- i.e., hanging as soon as it boots, even in safe mode.

One way to solve this was to enter the system not in safe mode but in one of the special reduced video modes and then to strip out the driver for the new card (which was what I discovered about 2am on the day I tried to install XP for the first time). However, I now know how to get at the card slots on the HP. You need to unscrew a couple of retention screws, which hinges the air-cooler at 90 degrees, allowing you to get to the card slots.

So I did this and took out the video card. And my machine works fine: except, of course, that I only have one monitor.

And the company which manufactured that video card has not gone bust (it's the 3D Phantom XP 3800, I think, made by Pine), although it is a discontinued model. But what should matter is not the card, but the core chipset, which in this case is the SIS 315, manufactured by SIS in Taiwan. And I happen to know that the driver for XP does exist, because this is the driver (unhelpfully numbered version 3.15, a total coincidence) making the damn thing hang.

What I feel fairly sure is happening is that the main video card and the second video card are trying to access the same area of RAM when boot up occurs, hence the hang. This is really irritating, because I feel that the solution is a trivial matter of getting the SIS driver to access another part of RAM, or something like that. And that might be a matter of just changing a single BIOS setting.

I may do some messing around after I buy a new machine. For example, I could swap round the video ocards, so that the SIS is the primary and the NVidia is the secondary. Or I could try some other drivers, to see if they happened to work (the original driver for Windows ME "nearly" worked, but there were vertical lines all over the screen).

So, single monitor-bound again. Sigh. Any recommendations for base units that I could buy into which I can plug two monitors, and they will work without hassle?
peterbirks: (Default)
Long-term readers of this litany of woe may recall that I upgraded to Windows XP a few months ago. However, I couldn't get the dual monitor system to work, so I downloaded the latest driver for the second graphics card, after which I entered several hours of hell, utterly unable to get the machine working at all. Eventually I managed to get it started again (without the second monitor working, natch), so I stripped out the driver, deleted the dual monitor set-up, and returned to some degree of normality.

Anyway, at the end of last week, in the middle of serious tidying up in the wake of collapsed ceilings and the like, I found the card of the guy who fitted the second graphics card and set up my machine for two monitors in the first place. Ah-hah! I thought. John (for that is his name) will be able to fix it up. So, I telephoned him and, last night at 8pm, round he came.

An hour and three-quarters later he had just about got as far as I did when I installed XP in the first place -- viz, the blue screen of death, with not even safe mode solving the problem. He looked at me sadly and said: "I think I'm going to have to take this away, Pete".

So, I'm minus the main computer until Monday. I got the laptop fired up with a line connection rather than a wireless connection, so I can play a single table, just.

Oh, and I bought a four-to-one USB extension "especially suitable for laptops" and plugged in the wireless connector. "You have attempted to connect a high-speed USB connection to a non high-speed extension. See documentation for how to solve this conflict" it said, unhelpfully. I think I have a case for taking that back to Maplins, since I bought both items there.

Computers, how much money is lost to the economy doing things with them that we didn't have to worry about in the past? I dread to think.

August 2017

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