Friday, November 21, 2008

Part 2 of "Are PCs more analog than digital"

This is a reprise of part-II of the diary of my PC-building experience, which was published on my original "The World is Analog" site in the fall of 2007.

Bad software totally kills great hardware.. analog or digital!
... But great customer support can make up for it.

Continuing my adventures in PC build-it-yourself, the analog problems were relatively easy to solve. The motherboard product guide provided no assistance whatsoever regarding the lack of audio output, and the PC booted up without recognizing new hardware for the built-in SigmaTel audio codec. Eventually I found the drivers on the installation CD and got them loaded manually, since the browser-based HTML link didn't work.

The software problems I encountered in attempting to migrate the programs and data from my old PC were another matter. First, of course, is the problem that Microsoft won't let you keep your Office software or Operating System if you replace your hardware. My first (totally legitimate) migration step of upgrading to a higher capacity hard drive was enough to trash the registry and disable most of my Office programs, despite the use of migration software provided by Maxtor.

Moving to a new CPU breaks everything completely, at least for Microsoft Windows OEM version, so only paying homage to Redmond, WA fixes that. To migrate data AND programs, which Microsoft does not enable, I used the PCmover software from Laplink. The documentation on how to do the migration with an external drive was unclear, so the hours-long transfer stopped in the wee hours of the morning on my first try, because it copied all my files to my original hard drive, filling it up.

However, I have to give credit to Laplink for the BEST Support I have ever had for a software product... truly amazing when you consider that I only paid $30 for it!! I got live online support through a chat client, and it was great. Manolo stayed online for an hour or so while I got the process restarted to archive my files on the external drive. That is truly amazing support. Congratulations to Laplink.


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