Even the RAM is red
Looks good!

I've been offline for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was my wife's recent birthday. Her present was a new computer. We spent, all told, about $400, including Windows XP Home (her choice, not mine). What we got was worth about $800 if you try to buy it in the store.

It's an Athlon Core2 Duo 4600+, with built-in nVidia graphics, 2GB of DDR RAM, and a 320GB SATA drive. I used the old computer's DVD recorder and replaced it with an old CD-RW. The case is red, with blue glow everywhere. The motherboard is red. Even the RAM is red (although that was unplanned). It's perfect for her stated intended use: home video editing.

The biggest challenge was migrating all the old data; partly because it was an OEM WinME install, and partly because the old computer really didn't want to go. In fact, it bit me...

While the old computer was still working, I used it to grab some Linux LiveCDs: eLive and dyne:bolic. Then I swapped the old drives into the new computer. I booted from the LiveCDs with no problem, partitioned the new drive with fdisk, and used the Linux dd command to copy the data from the old drives into new partitions.

I needed to install ddrescue to copy the old system disk, since it had some sector problems. I expected problems, but these are both Debian distributions, and they both recognized the built-in network card. I just used apt-get and I was ready in under a minute.

The GNU Partition Editor (gparted) was very useful, too. Although these are NTFS partitions, gparted recognized them and expanded them as I needed, with a nice graphical interface. Again, apt-get was my friend.

The WinXP install didn't go quite as smoothly. It took forever, and it didn't want to keep the old settings. It insisted it had to install its partition. I let it; I've got the old drive still around, so I can copy any data I need. Then there was the interminable installing and rebooting. Then it didn't even recognize my video, audio, or network. I nearly gave up at that point.

Luckily, the motherboard came with a CD that had all the drivers. Even that was frustrating, though; it needed three more reboots. Nevertheless, I had a functioning Windows system by the end of the day.

It took a few more days, work with the Files and Settings Transfer wizard, and some manual directory copying to retrieve all the email, browser, and other important settings. Firefox and Thunderbird had to be manually tweaked, for instance. QuickBooks had to be reinstalled. The driver for the printer, an HP all-in-one, had to be redownloaded and reinstalled.

She hasn't done any video editing yet, but she loves it. Worth every penny. Happy birthday, Eri!