Wednesday, April 11, 2007

First BSOD just four hours after getting Windows Vista

So Best Buy and Circuit City have a great deal this week on the Toshiba A135-S4527. It's a Pentium Dual Core computer with a 15.4 inch screen, 120GB hard drive, and 1GB of RAM. I picked it up for $650 plus tax.

The thing is, we're still living in campus housing, and will be for the next month. So while we have a T1 internet connection for next to nothing, we have to pay $100 for each computer we add to the network. So I couldn't really go online with my new computer. And really, what's the point of having a new computer if you can't take it online to update the software?

So I picked up a bluetooth dongle. I already had one for my desktop, which allowed me to synchronize my Windows Mobile PDA with my computer wirelessly. I figured I could use the two dongles to set up some internet connection sharing action.

It took a couple of tries, but I finally got the Bluesoleil software that one of my dongles had come with to talk to the Widcomm software for the other dongle. I had to update the Bluesoleil software though, and the latest version is free for registered users. But if you don't happen to have your registration handy (like me), then you can only transfer 5MB of data, and then you have to pay.

Well, smart guy that I am, I figured I'd try installing the original Bluesoleil software that I've had lying around for two years... on my Vista machine. Then I'd uninstall it and upgrade to the latest version. That should solve the registration problem, I figured.

What it actually did was give me my first Windows Vista blue screen of death.

I rebooted my computer and was rewarded with the blue screen again. Since I hadn't actually installed anything other than Bluesoleil on the computer, I booted into safe mode and used system restore to set my computer back to its configuration when I first brought it home.

I'll probably just cough up the money for Bluesoleil so that I can use my notebook for the next few weeks until we move. Either that, or I'll stick it in a box until we move to New York and have the freedom to set up a home network.

But my other goal was to partition the hard drive and install Ubuntu as soon as possible so that I wouldn't be faced with the prospect of losing all my data if I mess up an installation down the road. Yeah, yeah, I do automated nightly backups of all my important files to an external hard drive. But it just takes so much time and effort to reinstall every program from scratch.

Anyway, having seen the BSOD twice now from incompatible software, I think I have a little more incentive to install Ubuntu.

Update: It looks like Toshiba threw some bluetooth software onto this PC after all, so I'm up and running without Bluesoleil. But it does look like the Toshiba software is only a 30 day free trial. Why I can't get Vista to recognize my bluetooth device on its own, I still can't figure out.

In other news, I'm pretty happy with the laptop so far. It's not blazing fast, but it gets the job done for not much more than I paid for my last desktop PC.

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