Monday, April 16, 2007

Putting the desktop back together

This is mostly a genealogy-free post...I posted back in February about the failure of my desktop computer. In late March, I was able to recover all of my files, except for my email files, at my daughter's house courtesy of my IT son-in-law, who has a USB enclosure to recover data files.

I got my desktop computer back on last Friday from my son-in-law who installed a new hard drive in it, installed Windows XP, and blew out the dust. I waited until today to try to sort things out, since my daughter and granddaughter were here over the weekend, and I knew my computer time would be limited.

I got home from the CVGS "Computer Basics" class, and a nice lunch with my colleagues, at 1 PM. By 2 PM I started reconstructing the desktop computer setup. The steps I took included:

1) Connect the monitor, mouse, router/modem, speakers, external hard drive and printer to the computer box. Plug it in, turn it on, it works!

2) It sensed "new hardware" in the form of the printer, so I had to get out the printer CD to install the all-in-one printer.

3) Found my Works for Windows, MSWord and other Microsoft software that came with the unit two years ago, and installed that.

4) Tried the Internet connection and made it work. Went to the McAfee web site, entered my user ID and password, and downloaded the Virus protection software that I have paid for. No problem!

5) Tried the Outlook Express connection and made it work - I had printed off a number of informative articles from my ISP earlier. Set up the accounts and identities for my wife and myself.

6) Went onto the laptop and moved hundreds of emails to the Inbox so they would download to the desktop.

7) On the desktop computer, Outlook Express downloaded over 400 emails to my accounts and 200 to Linda's account. I then went into each account and reconstructed the address books and email groups for both us, using the eddresses and names in the From or To headers.

8) Back on the laptop, I saved my Favorites to the flash drive, then put the flash drive into the desktop computer, and imported the Favorites I had set up on the laptop. The Internet setup for both computers are nearly identical.

9) Back on the Internet and downloaded the program suite, ran the installation procedure and tested it.

10) Found my FamilyTreeMaker 2005 CD and installed the software. Tested it out on my databases. No problems.

11) Copied the My Documents folder from the external hard drive (previously copied from the laptop to the external drive) onto the desktop computer. The desktop directories now look like the laptop directories. This took about a hour for 12 Gb of data.

12) In Outlook Express, I set up my folders and sub-folders and started transferring messages into the folders. I did about 100 before I stopped.

13) On the Internet, I accessed many of my subscription sites and accessed them, saving the user IDs and passwords.

I did take time to watch the Padres game, eat dinner, and watch "24" tonight.

So, 8 hours after I started, I'm pretty well set up to do all of my genealogy work on the desktop computer again, with a real keyboard and mouse, and a large screen with true colors (not subject to the angle of the screen).

Genealogy blogging will resume on Tuesday! Stay tuned!

UPDATE 4/17, 4:30 PM: I wasn't done, of course! I had to download Adobe Reader, CutePDF and Picasa2 and install them. I still have to download the trial versions of RootsMagic and Legacy genealogy software so that I can try them out. There are probably other software items that I'm missing - I'm sure I'll figure it all out sometime! I have my email pile down to about 120 to delete or save. I need to save the real "keepers" as files on my hard drive so they get backed up to the external hard drive.