Friday, February 22, 2019

GROAN.....Down The Windoze Rabbit Hole.....

Arrrrrgh.......spent the last couple of days working on the wife's PC and all that entails.

It all started out when.......

She came to me the other night and said her PC no longer recognized her password and she couldn't log in to the machine. No problem, I'll just get my software tools out and reset her password to blank characters. Since she'd been allowing the grandson to pound away on the keys while logged in to her account, I figured maybe The Little Guy had randomly slapped some combination of control-alt-Windows key-delete or something and hosed her account.


First, I couldn't locate my discs. I used to keep a ton of stuff in my laptop bag so I could  fix/repair/read out/etc the various systems I used to work on. I had several special discs with various software tools on them, a portable USB CD/DVD burner, a USB floppy drive, cables, adapters, and other "misc junque". After I hung up my spurs, I unloaded that 10 pounds of stuff, which lightened the bag, and slimmed it down, too.

BUT......where'd I put the damn discs?

After spending an hour or so, I gave up and went online to find the tools again. Spent several hours doing that, and trying out "Trial Demo" programs that wouldn't do what I needed, I broke down and paid the $20 for the "Full Version".

I reset her password, rebooted the machine, and called her over to enter a new (or the old one) password, and when she tried it kicked back an error message about "Could Not Load The User Profile". She turned and said "See? It still doesn't recognize my password!".

Oh, boy..........that's a COMPLETELY different error message than "Password Incorrect. Try Again".

So having wasted (not "spent", but wasted) several hours, I had to research what the real error message meant, and fix that problem.

Hours later, after having implemented every single "answer" that Micro$oft had to fix this problem and getting nowhere, I decided to replace the hard drive with a new one, reinstall/update everything, and then go about collecting her data off the 'old' drive.

And as long as I'm at it, I'll replace the DVD drive that won't eject.

And upgrade the memory from 4GB to 8GB, the maximum this motherboard (Gigabyte GA-P35-DS4) can handle.

Wound up replacing both DVD drives with two NOS ASUS drives I had, and replaced the 300GB hard disc with a 2TB drive I had as a spare from some time back.

The DVD drives I had in there were IDE, with the big, flat ribbon cable, and the ASUS drives are SATA, with one small cable, and power. That meant I had to swap out the data cables and power cables to swap out the drives. So, another trip down to the basement to dig out the right cables, and BTW...where's my big tub of PC memory?

Finally got the cables and memory modules after 45 minutes of rooting around (it would have been several hours, but I've been sorting and binning stuff for the last several months), went back upstairs, and finished the hardware upgrade.

PC booted up just fine, and I started the Installation-Go-Round, with Windows 7 Professional, Office 2008, and all the drivers and stuff for the motherboard.

And then I started the Windoze Update go-round.

And round...

And round.

It's just finishing up the latest round of updates, 184 in all, and I'm sure once it's been rebooted it'll still want more.

And then I can reconnect the old drive and start moving files. If I can't get them using Windoze, I'll pull the drive and connect it to one of my Linux machines, and move them over the network.

And The Little Guy will no longer be allowed to pound on the keys while the computer is on.........


  1. My children allow the grandchildren to do those sorts of things. I am the grumpy old grumpster who does not, primarily for reasons you outlined. It pay to be a grumpy old DRJIM, my friend. Stand your ground or just buy them something that they can destroy, that neither you, MRSDRJIM or Pebbles-the-Wonder-Dog care about.

    1. I have a "mini" keyboard down in the basement that I used with a data interface to the radio in the car so I could send short text messages. He's seen it, and loves that it's "kid sized". I'll bring that upstairs so he can pound away on it, and I'll make him his own account on the PC, and instruct the wife she MUST use that account if he's going to be allowed to slap the keys around when the PC is powered up.....

    2. Better to give them a separate box...entirely. It needn't be fast or cool.

    3. Yeah, I've probably got enough stuff laying around that I could do that, or get him an HP or Dell that came off lease from SumBigCompany. You can get really nice PC's for small money if you know where to shop.

  2. I hope she said thank you after all that trouble!

    1. Frustrating at times, but "I Know The Drill".

  3. You have the skills. I get to take mine to the repair shop, usually three times before they get it right.

    1. Three times? Probably better than the Geek Squad!

      I had some friends who called them while I was at-sea. They took the PC apart, said they couldn't do the work, and gave the PC back to them disassembled.

      And charged them $130 to do it!

  4. Went down that same hole a few years back; tain't no fun atall. Years ago, in good old/bad old DOS days, I managed to corrupt the BIOS when a stack of something-or-other fell on the keyboard while the XT clone was booting up. Fortunately, two things applied: a) BIOS was really, really short & compact in those days, and b) I had just looked at in the previous session, and remembered what it said. Glad you got your issues sorted - Bravo Zulu, sailor!

    1. I'd been contemplating doing this, but then we moved, and things seemed OK.

      Oh, well. I had the parts, might as well get some use out of them!

  5. DrJim, look for and DL a program called "Baby Smash". It will play sounds and display animated letters when running. Our kids loved it. It doesn't allow the keyboard to do anything else while running...

    I still run win7 on a number of machines because it's the last one without the damnable tiles interface. I run Classic Shell on anything after win7 so I mostly don't have to see the ugly thing.

    Finally, after years of riding the updates for updates pony, someone clued me in to windows offline update.

    DON"T FORGET to check the box that lets it run unattended. I can't remember the exact setting but it's obvious once you look. Even with accepting and etc manually it's still faster than the MS servers.

    Finally, ninite will install all your additional software from D/L, automagically clicking on the defaults, and NOT installing any "helpers" or add on cr@p.

    Good luck,


    1. SOMEWHERE around here I have discs with Win 7 and most of the updates 'slipstreamed' into it.

      I'll look into the 'Baby Smash' thing.

  6. My dog will try to paw the keyboard or smush his face into it, invariably thrashing my settings and requiring a full reboot, clean, defrag, reboot, reboot...

    I love my dog, but...

    Sigh. Wife says it's my fault. And she's right, right?

    1. Never had any problems with the dogs here, except the one time Diamond stood up in the kitchen and grabbed the just-finished-and-now-cooling pork roast.

  7. Replies
    1. HAH!

      All's running just fine now, I was able to transfer all her music, photos, and documents to the new drive, and she can't believe how much faster it runs.

      And the mini-keyboard for The Little Guy is sitting next to gramma's keyboard.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. (Repost of the previous because I clicked on publish before preview)

    How old is the little guy? I think my grandsons are at a more reasonable age (5 and 7) than yours.

    Do you know of any way to crack the admin password in Win7 Home? I forgot the root password for my late mother's computer that my mother-in-law now has and need to do some updates and load some software.


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