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FROM THE SHOP - DIARY 6/8/99

THE SWITCH-A-ROO TRICK (a slang expression, origin unknown)...  Well, I had given up trying to install a Windows 98 upgrade on a Windows 95 computer...  Like too many Win 98 upgrades this one had gone bad.  During the hardware detect, the machine wedged, but wasn't dead.  The mouse moved the cursor, but the button didn't work.  The keyboard locked intermittently.  It smelled of an IRQ conflict, but it wasn't.  Setup timed-out.  Odd symptoms... Reinstalls produced the same results.  Over more hours than I'd like to admit or will get paid for, I pulled every board in the machine, replaced everything except the motherboard, poked around the CMOS, brought it up in the safe mode and inspected/removed drivers, looked for IRQ and address conflicts, flashed the BIOS, and spent too much time wondering  around Microsoft's Knowledgebase, etc. etc.  It was hopeless.  Time for a clean install, and many boring hours reinstalling applications, Internet, etc.

Then, I learned a new trick...  I had taken the drive to my computer and connected it as slave to back-up everything (something I should have done earlier).  I said to myself, "well, what the heck, something on this drive is wedging the other computer, or It's got  a bad EpoX EP-58MVP3C-M motherboard (and that would be the first bad one I've seen)."  My machine has an EpoX EP-51MVP3E-M motherboard, which, except for the ATX form factor and one MByte instead of 1/2 MByte of cache', is almost identical to the my customer's board.   Both had the same BIOS version.  I backed-up the drive...  And while doing so, I thought, "wonder what booting the drive on my computer would do?"   So, after the back-up, I changed his drive into a master and disconnected my drive.  I pulled all of the boards out of my computer except the display adapter, and powered-up.  Win 98 thrashed around quite a bit after discovering itself on another computer, but it worked:  it didn't lock-up as it did with my customer's computer.  I cleaned up the drive, returned to my customer's computer, and installed it.  Win 98 thrashed around again, but it didn't lock-up.  The computer is now working fine after detecting hardware, and reinstalling the MODEM, Zip, and display adapter.  'One of those mysteries' and another method  for fixing them...  If you try this, you do it at your own risk.

Larry

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