Building a DIY Vista PC - part 3)
Part 1) Computer Building Basics:
Store (Hell) Bound First?
A Masochists tale
Meet the Hardware
The Theory of the Blood Sacrifice
Part 2) Building:
Installing the motherboard, Cpu and memory
Installing the Drives
Cable installation - headers, power and drive connections
Installing Vista Home - Basic
The "Moment of Doh!"
The system will not boot into BIOS even, no video, no beep codes, lights are on, fans are on, but no startup visible at all with a couple monitors tried, and the usual tricks - swap ram around, reseat connectors, zap the CMOS, etc. After checking out the Asus forums I should have checked in the first place, I found that the E4300 cpu most likely needs a BIOS update to work with the board. How wonderful... Hard to check what Bios version you have when you can't see the bios startup screen. So it will be tricky indeed to update the BIOS with the current cpu, eh? Well, going back to the Asus site and checking out the compatibility of the motherboard and likely bios version and cpu gives us the older E6x00 series as compatible going way back to like, 207 or something? Looks like we need the 504 or 606 bios version for an E4300 cpu. Having been into this awhile, I don't get angry with manufacturers for this type of thing. Motherboards and their Bios and chipsets are always a work in progress. If they did not have updates we'd be stuck with bugs and limited in cpu support. You have to live with the good and the bad of the upgradeable bios or live in the "safe zone" - way behind the edge of price/performance if you are going to DIY build a computer. Crap.
So, we need an E6300 or higher E6xxx series cpu, it seems, to boot the thing as specified on the Asus site with an "older" bios. We could, then, upgrade the bios and use the E4300 cpu, but that's a lot of work, and leaves you with an E6x00 cpu laying about doing nothing. A lot simpler to leave in the E6300, upgrade the bios and fuggedaboudit. That E4300 is going somewhere, but not here. Um, Doh!
Uninstall/Install new CPU
Fun, fun fun! Well, ok, this was actually so easy it's not worth a lot of mention. I love socket 775! Easy cpu installation, easy fan installation, how much easier could it possibly be? Not much. Maybe a big arrow with the words "this end up" printed on both cpu and socket so even the most mechanically inept could do this? That's all I can imagine.
To remove the CPU fan, unscrew the CPU locks with a flat blade scewdriver. They pop right out. Beautiful. Unplug the fan power and remove the fan.
You can tell the fan has been installed, the cpu heatsink compound is a flattened, gooey mess. You can reuse the fan later by cleaning it off and using a little heat sink compound on a new processor or the same processor.
Unlock the cpu cover latch, (down, and to the right) Open the cpu cover, and lift out the cpu. Don't touch the bottom. Store it very carefully using the anti-static cover and case it came in.
Install the new E6300 cpu
the same way you installed the E4300.
Insert the new cpu fan, just like the old one. Swapping Cpu's was neverthis easy for us old timers.
Basic - Again ...
Joy! The thing finally boots!
hit <Ctrl D> to get into the BIOS
We did end up with a bios CPU uCode loading error and other errors caused by flashing the Bios memory earlier. The uCode loading error could only be resolved with a bios upgrade. We downloaded the update to a USB flash thumb drive, following instructions to update the Bios using the bios. You can do this after installing windows. Easier.
Getting into the Bios:
Hit the usual "Ctrl D" keys to get into the motherboard BIOS setup.
The processor looks right.
Bios advanced screen
Main Bios screen with Bios version. No wonder it would not boot the E4300, this Bios is months old! Shocking! Er, well, not really. Pretty common, really. Maybe early march 2007 is a bit of a rush for our motherboard/cpu choices. You jump ahead a little too far, and you have to take a step back.
Setting the date was a lttle wierd. Keep hitting enter, don't try jumping around the dates with the arrow keys. Exit while saving.
Smoochies to Microsoft!
Windows Vista installation was a snap. Buenisimo. Kudos to Microsoft. Not to say all installs will go so well, but this sure was easy.
I, for one, don't like spendinga whole bunch of money on applications if I don't have to. Hey, I don't like spending money even when I do have to. It's only natural. So, I do take advantage of a lot of the good open source software that is available. I'm not talkingabout allof that garbage you find on the"freeware" or "shareware" sites because it is often filled with "spyware" and other junk . Here's a few links to things that are good and free:
Open Office is an alternative to the Other "Office" Suites
Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird
Firefox is a great web browser and Thunderbird is a nice email client alternative
for Spyware/Malware detection, removal
Hard to describe - it's Google, ya know?
Yes, they do have some good free stuff - document readers for most of their document types, and other stuff. If you are going to install Vista, you should keep up with things, right? Jeez, don't be a hater....
There is a lot of antivirus software available as well, but not much is free and good at the same time. You need it though. Don't get on the "Net" without it. Norton and Kaspersky are very good, but Fprot might be the best bang for your buck.
Next you'll need some Audio and Video software. I am stuck on iTunes for Audio and podcasts. It is easy to use and it works. Set it to import CD's as AIFF if you don't mind eating up extra hard drive space and want the best possible sound quality. There are plenty of nice alternatives if you loathe Apple. Go fish. Or just useWindows media player.
For Video, I figured Windows Media player would be just fine. Well, think again...
Die Microsoft Die!
Here is some strange
"Hey our operating system is too big to put on a CD, we'll need to provide it on a DVD just to fit it."
"Well, that's no problem, it's 2007, everyone has a DVD player in their computer, let's just go with the DVD."
"Oh, ok, no problem."
(Genius2) "Heh, heh, I just had a brilliant idea! We can save a few cents if we don't include the video codecs to be able to play DVD's in the cheaper Home Basic version."
(Genius1) "Hey, sounds like a plan, why would people with a DVD drive in their computer want to play DVD's?"
OK, sarcastic as this may sound, it really is the biggest goof I can imagine other than, say, not ... er... maybe ....
OK, I give up, is this the stupidist operating system blunder ever?
It is 2007! Who watches DVD's on their computers? Just the most basic of all home computer users - kids! Really unbelievable, really, really, really unbelievable.
Time to stop crying andget on with it. Downloaded Cyberlink PowerDVD 7 Standard demo and verified it worked. Bought it online. Works great.
Friggin Microsoft, they do so many things right, but it is always something.
Tested all applications and made sure they worked. Everything is hapnin. What did we learn? Take nothing for granted. New hardware and Operating systems can really try your patience. In the end, though, with a bit of perseverance, everything works out fine. We're done. Now the real work begins..............
Next -> Is it time to try a VistaMCE or HTPC Build?
Back -> Installing Hardare -> Basics -> Intro
Drivers and Bios updates
Vista 32 bit
0307 2006/09/14 update
Version 0504 2007/02/26 update
Version V188.8.131.527 2007/01/18 update
or Version V184.108.40.2067 2007/01/30 update