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Topic:

Installing XP on a TIME PC

Posted by: John P.      21 Mar 2010 @ 20:59
Installing XP on a TIME PC

Hi,

I 'inherited' a TIME PC a while ago. It's a Model S31 with an FIC P4M-800M/T22 motherboard.

This machine gave intermittent boot up problems and I managed to copy the owner's files across to a replacement machine.

I subsequently decided to install XP PRO on the TINY (it originally had XP Home). After spending 'hours' I'm no closer to a successful install.

Can anyone here tell me if the XP that TINY installed is in any way different to a stock XP and is it in any way tied to the BIOS? Someone has suggested that TINY's XP might be slightly different and somehow 'tied' to the BIOS so that I can only install 'their' version.

I find this hard to believe but I've spent hours and got nowhere.

If there's someone on here who can help I'll provide more information.

Thank You,

John

Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      21 Mar 2010 @ 22:08
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

Time never had a model called "S31" so theres a degree of confusion here - unless its just one of their meaningless marketing names (which were totally ignored internally)
Next point is that neither Time or Tiny (under either ownership) supplied Windows XP installation CDs (except for a few Time laptops with 20GB hard drives). The recovery disks unlock a hidden image on the hard drive - they do not contain any installation files themselves
I'm a bit unclear what you are trying to do. If you are trying to install Windows using a recovery CD then you've no chance unless the disk matches the hidden image on the machine (there were numerous variants)
if you are simply trying to install XP on the machine using a standard CD, then yes, that should work. However note that the product certificate on the machine is an OEM cert and cannot be used with a Retail or Upgrade version CD
The BIOSes are locked on both Time and Tiny machines and the recovery disks will only work if a matching string is present in the DMI area
For legal reasons I cannot go into details of changing these here. However if you are trying to install from an Microsoft OEM CD (not a computer-company branded CD) then the DMI string is irrelevant

So I can give you more specific advice can you please advise
1) what the CD you are using is called and what it looks like. If its one of the Time or Tiny recovery disks the version number and colour are important
2) a way of identifying the machine. For a Time or Tiny machine built by Granville/VMT then either the full model number (in the form of 123XY456G7) or the product code (something line 123-999-45678)
For a Tiny machine sold by OM Technology then I need the alpha code - which is a four-digit alphanumeric. One or the other should be on the back of the machine on the makers plate
However I don't think OM ever used an FIC motherboard, so this is probably a machine built at Simonstone by Granville / VMT

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      21 Mar 2010 @ 22:35
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

just reread the original question and thought I'd better clarify
Both Time and Tiny reloads were BIOS locked, but that will not affect the use of a standard windows setup CD. Any XP CD should install as long as you have a matching CofA

Post details of whats actually going wrong and maybe we can work out whats
Also if you can advise the correct model number of the machine - and IF the hard drive still has the original hidden image then it could be worth trying the reload CD. I can post the correct ISO image on rapidshare if you give me the model number

PS is it a Time or Tiny branded machine?

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Reply by: Alan B. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Cambridge, CB22      21 Mar 2010 @ 23:27
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

You have a computer that can legitimately run XP Home but you want to install XP Professional on it? Why??? I sometimes see computers where XP Home has been replaced by XP Pro. but the XP Pro. is always a pirate copy.

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Reply by: John P.      22 Mar 2010 @ 10:32
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

Hi,

> You have a computer that can legitimately run XP Home but you want to install XP Professional on it? Why??? <

The computer was giving problems when booting up. I changed a number of things (PSU, memory etc). As I was getting nowhere I decided to do a clean install. I have a copy of XP PRO, I don't have a copy of XP Home.

> I sometimes see computers where XP Home has been replaced by XP Pro. but the XP Pro. is always a pirate copy. <

I can assure you my copy of XP PRO is legitimate.

Thanks greatly for your input.

John S - Sorry if I didn't make myself clear in my original posting.

This machine belonged to a friend of my daughter who asked me to have a look at it as the screen was blank. The graphics card was faulty and removing it cured the problem. However I soon discovered the TINY had another problem as it would often fail to boot.

At this point the owner asked if I could possibly rescue her files and as she'd had the TINY for a number of years she would buy a replacement.

I subsequently 'inherited' the TINY and as it's specs appeared reasonable I thought it a pity to scrap it.

[3 GB processor, 200GB HD, 2 x optical drives, floppy drive, card reader].

I tried various things, swopping out the memory sticks, changed the PSU etc but still boot up issues which led me to suspect Windows itself.

SO I decided to do a clean install. The TINY had XP Home installed but I only have a copy of PRO (a legitimate copy...) and I obviously assumed that a clean install would be a good place to start.

The original owner could not find any restore disks or indeed any other kind of discs.

After telling the TINY to boot from one of the optical drives all appeared to go as intended. Set up only showed one partition on the HD, of ~200GB. XP 'appeared' to be installing correctly but suddenly a BSOD appeared - I've never seen a BSOD during an install session before!

There was a cryptic error message but on subsequent re-tries I got various other errors and I have given up for now - well 'till someone on here gets me up and running!

I'll post again with as much information as I can to help ID the TINY, at present I'm at work and the TINY is at home. It is definately marked Model S31 and definately has an FIC board (model no. in my first posting). Interestingly there's motherboard on eBay which looks identical and even has the same model number - but is apparently badged ASUS...

Thank You

John

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Reply by: Alan B. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Cambridge, CB22      22 Mar 2010 @ 11:38
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

I've seen BSODs during an attempt to install Windows but this has to be due to a hardware fault. Or, I suppose, it could be a faulty installation disk.

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Reply by: David R H. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Sutton, SM1      22 Mar 2010 @ 12:44
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

My favourite hobby horse when I see random failures like this: Have you removed the CPU fan and cleaned out the heatsink? Also check that the fan is running at a reasonable speed. If there's a fan on the system chip, then the same thing applies to that.

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Reply by: John P.      22 Mar 2010 @ 13:43
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

David,

Quite agree, I'm the same.

I removed the CPU fan and heatsink and thoroughly cleaned them. Also cleaned under the heatsink and the top of the cpu and used new compound (Arctic Silver for what it's worth...) Also cleaned the system fan. When the machine was running the heatsink appeared very cool to the touch. Also replaced the PSU with a beefier one and checked individual voltages and they appear OK.

At the moment I'm running the TINY with the side cover off and it's innards are pretty much at room temperature.

Oddly enough before I tried a clean install and the TINY was playing up (intermittent boot up problems) it would almost inevitably boot up first thing in the morning but if it had been running for a while and I re-booted it would often fall over. Normally I'd put that down to a temperature issue but I really can't see how that could be.

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Reply by: Alan B. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Cambridge, CB22      22 Mar 2010 @ 15:15
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

Something on the motherboard (not the CPU) overheating?

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      22 Mar 2010 @ 15:50
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

something you need to know about these boards. They were made in a hurry to enable VIA to demonstrate (and sell) their Intel compatible chipsets.
At this stage Intel and VIA had fallen out, and Intel refused to licence the Socket 478 chipset technology. VIA had to reverse engineer it, but then found no-one would buy the chips - Intel had scared them off. So, VIA went next door to their sister company FIC ( both part owned by Formosa International Glass) and got them to knock together a cheap design to get the chips into the market ASAP
They were cheap, but not too reliable, especially as VIA were not privy to the technology required to get the best of the socket design (In contrast SiS were, which is why their P4 chipsets are a better bet)
If you take that into account, and also the fact that this machine probably has a six-year old hard drive, the economics of repair look poor

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Reply by: John P.      22 Mar 2010 @ 15:52
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

That's a possibility.

I've ran the TINY on it's side with the top cover off. I've also ran one of these programmes that supposedly monitor temps and nothing 'appears' to be getting hot.

I'm loth to spend good money on a replacement motherboard - and find the problem is still there !!!

Now who out there has an old TINY looking for a good home I wonder...

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Reply by: John P.      22 Mar 2010 @ 16:02
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

Alan B - thanks for the information on the m/board situation.

As you say the economics of a repair don't look too good, but I do hate to throw anything away even if there's a vague chance of getting it going - that's why my garage is full of crap !!!

This machine looks like new and it would be nice to get it going - it would be nice to know what the problem is...

I'll post the machine's ID when I get home.

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Reply by: John P.      22 Mar 2010 @ 18:20
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

Just posted ID information on the TINY but it didn't appear here - presumably still shooting through the Universe - or maybe sucked into a black hole... So, here's the information that appears on a sticker on the top of the machine, near the back:-

TINY
0001-500-70240
70240TFC06T4
TINY S31

The sticker also carries the numbers 2112 followed by the serial number.

HTH identify the machine.

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      22 Mar 2010 @ 19:42
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

70240 = model number
TFC = Tiny branded (but made by Granville / VMT) using the third model of m/b purchased by Time from FIC
06 = the six software iteration preloaded on that motherboard
T4 = Tiny model with WinXP Home preloaded

Its in one of the better Foxconn cases, has 200GH hard drive (should have) an 8x Sony DVD-RW, Nidia 5200LE graphics, 3Ghz P4 CPU, 512MB RAM, Avermedia AVERTV 771 DVB-T card
card reader & Conexant HSF modem
Overall quite a nice machine for its time - except for that cheap m/b

Reload CD will be a Tiny version 8.3, with a hidden image on the hard drive

weak spots
1) motherboard has short life
2) hard drive is going to be close to life-expired
3) the TV card is good, but sometimes causes crashes. Solution to that is to use the "Hi-Def for Australia only" drivers from the Aver website
Also since the recent change in digital frequencies it has problems finding all the current digital mutiplexes on some transmitters: you have to plug the multiplex frequencies in by hand
Also the card is not compatible with Windows Media Centre as there are no BDA drivers for it


None of this helps with the specific problem
My course of action would be to strip out / rebuild / regrease / resinsert everything with a new CPU fan (not simply clean it)
Zero the hard drive using diagnostic tools from whoever its made by (could be anyone: its not speciiied) and then try reinstalling again
If you get any errors post the exact details here

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      22 Mar 2010 @ 19:53
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

just a PS to that - those were actually one of the better cases we used and they do look nice (or did for the time). We got into quite a bit of trouble about it as Foxconn had given another company exclusive purchasing rights to them in the UK. We simply bought them in container loads direct from China and parallel imported them. Foxconn never worked out how we got them as the paperwork was routed through the various associate companies set up around the world, which made tracking them impossible

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      22 Mar 2010 @ 20:04
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

and a PPS
if the board is faulty, then you've a limited choice of replacements. Only Socket 478 board I'm aware of that is currently available is the Asrock P4i945GC, which is based on an Intel chipset and uses DDR2 memory (not DDR as in this board)
price from this supplier is £39.94, it should be available from others as well

http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Motherboards/Socket+478+%28Intel%29/ASRock+P4i945GC+%28Socket+478%29+DDR2+PCI-Express+Motherboard+?productId=37268

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Reply by: John P.      22 Mar 2010 @ 21:02
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

John S. - thanks for the information, all appears to tie in with what I have here. It was as you say obviously a pretty nice machine in it's day.

The graphics card had failed when I initially got the machine. It's marked FX5200LP made, by Albatron my friend Google tells me. I think you mentioned earlier these were problematical. At the moment it's running off it's on board graphics.

Just tried to re-install XP again this evening and all appeared to be going well. Got to the end of the formatting then BANG - BSOD with 'A problem has been detected and Windows has shut down to prevent damage to your computer' message. It refers to disabling drivers, checking for BIOS updates, starting in Safe Mode (!) and finishes off with:-

** STOP: 0x0000008E (0xC0000005,0x807C660D,0xF714198C,0x00000000)

(hope I got all those right)

Does this information give any indication of where the problem might lie?

Thanks for the trouble you're all taking, I do appreciate it.

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      22 Mar 2010 @ 21:14
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

that message during setup is usually a memory error
see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315335

try replacing the RAM chips
or maybe better, download Microsofts memory diagnostic tool from here
http://www.softpedia.com/get/Tweak/Memory-Tweak/Microsoft-Windows-Memory-Diagnostic.shtml
the program creates a CD ISO image which you can burn to disk and then boot the machine with
try testing the machine with just one RAM stick in at a time to eliminate the faulty one

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Reply by: Alan B. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Cambridge, CB22      22 Mar 2010 @ 21:19
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

Well it has to be one of:

The processor
The motherboard
The memory

If by 'swapping out' the memory sticks you mean that you have tried completely different memory (from another computer) then you have eliminated the third possibility. Processors tend to be long-lived (unless overstressed by running too hot) so my money would be on the motherboard being faulty, even if Jon S. had not already written that this component has a short life.

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Reply by: John P.      23 Mar 2010 @ 15:13
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

Alan B. - yes I've tried memory from another machine so I don't think that's the problem. I've also downloaded Memory Diagnostic from Microsoft and I'll run that but I'm sure it will confirm that the memory is OK.

I don't think the cpu has seen any stress so as you and Jon S. say it's all pointing towards the FIC motherboard.

~£40 for a replacement motherboard and ~£20 for some memory. Time to do some sums...

I have seen a similar motherboard on eBay but that might also go a few weeks down the line so best give that a wide berth...

Thanks for all your patience and good advice, I'll keep you informed of what happens.

John

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      23 Mar 2010 @ 16:58
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

John
I really would avoid Ebay for computer parts unless they are rare/hard to find e.g. laptop parts
In the main you can buy stuff from the likes of Scan & Aria cheaper than from Ebay - and if you buy from a company like that you know who to return it to when it goes wrong

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Reply by: John P.      23 Mar 2010 @ 18:20
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

Jon - I'm sure you're right ref eBay items.

I'm running MS Memory Diagnostic on the TINY at the moment, we'll see what happens...

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Reply by: John P.      24 Mar 2010 @ 16:34
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

I can't believe it !!!

I started running MS Memory Diagnostic ~6 pm yesterday - and it's still running 4:30 today - that's over 22 hours...

It's still on PASS 1, test 3 of 6.

Perhaps I should have run MemTest?

Incidentally I have 1Gb of memory (2 x 512)

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      24 Mar 2010 @ 19:40
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

well its completed three tests and its not crashed so I think you can assume the memory is OK
Looks like the motherboard then, though before going down that route do a diagnostic on the hard drive
What make of drive do you have in there? Let us know and I'll try to point you to the correct test disk

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Reply by: John P.      25 Mar 2010 @ 17:25
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

Thanks for the input Jon.

I let the memory tester do one complete pass - took 'ages' but it didn't throw up any errors.

I've removed the hard drive and it's a:-

Barracuda 7200.7
200 Gbytes
Model ST3200822A

John

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Reply by: Alan D. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Oakham, LE15      25 Mar 2010 @ 23:24
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

Given the age of the machine, and the fact that it was probably a cheap one, could it be faulty caps on the motherboard?

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      26 Mar 2010 @ 00:11
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

John

to test that drive you need Seagate Seatools for DOS
Available from
http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/downloads/seatools
Comes down as an ISO of a bootable CD

Alan
capacitors - very likely
Having said that I had one board I put in a machine fail with no apparent visual fault - but that was a prototype board with noticeably different circuitry from the production ones

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Reply by: John P.      27 Mar 2010 @ 11:35
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

I downloaded the SeaTools for DOS and ran it last night and again this morning, including the long tests. No problems were highlighted.

Tried to install XP 'again' this morning and got the following:-

File i386halaacpi.dll could not be found error code is 32768

Tried a second time and got something totally different, think it was the same as what I had a few days ago which I posted earlier and which you thought referred to a memory problem.

I find it strange that the TINY will run an extended memory or hard disk check but won't entertain an install. That might make sense to someone with a greater knowledge of PC's than me...

Is it looking like a faulty motherboard now?

Thanks again

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Reply by: David R H. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Sutton, SM1      27 Mar 2010 @ 12:33
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

This is actually looking like a faulty system chip. Certain parts of both the CPU and system chip circuitry, to do with virtual memory and virtual machines, are not used by these low level test programs. They are not used by Windows either until part way through the boot and install processes when the OS switches from Real Mode to Virtual Mode.

The later Windows installers actually run under a special version of Windows itself &, after a certain point, make that switch. Once that happens, certain bits of chips start getting worked quite hard & may overheat if they have developed a fault, giving rise to seemingly random failures.

Net result: need to replace the MoBo :{

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      27 Mar 2010 @ 15:28
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

one last check before you do that - if you have a spare CD drive plug that in and try running setup from that
faulty CD or DVD drive misreading can cause random "missing file" messages during setup, However I think its unlikely in this case: I also feel its probably the board, but its something to eliminate

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Reply by: John P.      31 Mar 2010 @ 17:23
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

Apologies for the rather delayed reply.

David - I 'think' I understand what's happening here. The fact that the install does not always fail at the same place confuses me though.

Jon - the TINY has two optical drives and I've tried to install from both with similar results. I also found an old CD drive in the garage and tried that but again no luck.

Interestingly when the installation started XP appeared to show the h/disc as being ~30Gb when in fact it's 200Gb. When I initially had installation problems the hard drive was being correctly 'seen' as 200.

I also found an old hard drive which I stuck on the PC and I'm unable to install on this either

I will be going to an electronics/computer fair in a couple of weeks time and will have a look to see if anyone has that ASUS board you mentioned for sale and post here later.

Meanwhile thanks for all your help and patience.

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Reply by: John P.      31 Mar 2010 @ 18:40
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

Jon

> that ASUS board you mentioned <

Sorry I meant Asrock P4i945GC.

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Reply by: Alan B. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Cambridge, CB22      31 Mar 2010 @ 18:41
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

On 22nd of March I suggested as a throwaway that your problem could be a faulty installation disk. Have you eliminated that possibility? Trying a range of different optical drives will not help if it is the disk that is at fault.

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      31 Mar 2010 @ 18:56
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

"nterestingly when the installation started XP appeared to show the h/disc as being ~30Gb when in fact it's 200Gb. When I initially had installation problems the hard drive was being correctly 'seen' as 200."

well that sounds like the machine has been formatted to FAT16 which has a 32GB limit
Just what disk are you trying to install windows from? Sounds like an early Windows 95 one - which did not support FAT32. Also Win9x wont work with that board: it can't handle the memory addressing. Now that would explain all your problems

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      31 Mar 2010 @ 18:58
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

= or it could be any Win9X series disk if you failed to say yes to "enable large disk support" during the FDISK/format options
It really does sound like you are using the wrong version of windows

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Reply by: John P.      31 Mar 2010 @ 21:10
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

Alan - I 'do' remember you mentioning the possibility of a faulty XP disc.

> Have you eliminated that possibility? <

No, short of obtaining another disc I can't see how. I'll have a word with our IT MS Licensing Guru when he returns after the holidays and see if I'm eligible for a replacement disc.

Happy Easter.

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Reply by: John P.      7 Jul 2010 @ 14:38
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

Jon S et al,

Many thanks for the good advice you gave me when I had problems with the Tiny PC.

I took your advice and purchased the replacement m/board you suggested and it all works fine now. I should have bought it sooner as the price has now gone up! This board uses DDR2 but I managed to source 2 x 1Gb strips on eBay at a reasonable price.

I did have a hiccup initially. Repeated tries at installing XP (with the original m/board) had somehow 'configured' my hard drive to look like a 32Gb - instead of 200Gb, (nothing I did - honestly). I ran SeaTools and managed to return it to it's rightful 200Gb. Not 'too' sure what happened there but the outcome was good anyway.

So thanks again to all those who offered advice and enabled me to salvage the old Tiny. Running PerformanceTest gives it a benchmark of ~500 so it can still hold it's own with many machines!!!

Thanks again,

JohnP

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      7 Jul 2010 @ 18:30
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

thanks for the feedback. Its alway good to know when something works OK
The 32GB hard drive was almost certainly due to a formatting error: somehow the primary partition was converted to FAT16, and the 32GB is the maximum size that Windows can "address" in FAT16

One question - did you manage to find the TV card drivers on the Avermedia website OK? They can be a bit confusing to ID and they weren't included in any of the Time/Tiny driver CDs

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Reply by: John P.      7 Jul 2010 @ 18:38
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

I'm sure you're right about the hard drive. I had a couple of old ones here and I also tried to install on those - and now they are 32Gb as well!!!

I never got 'round to looking for the tv card drivers, I will though. I have a tv card in my main pc (a Dell Dimension 9150) but now that analogue has gone it's of no use. I seem to remember you mentioned earlier that the Tiny one won't work in the Dell (it has the Media Centre OS).

Thanks again Jon, really appreciate your help on this one.

JohnP

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      7 Jul 2010 @ 19:05
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

the drivers for that card are here
It will work on an XP Media Center machine, it just can't interface with the Media Center software: you have to use the card's own TV software instead
Note there are no drivers for Vista or Win7: just WinXP or earlier

One problem I've found with it is that since last years change in the digital frequencies, when scanning for channels it no longer finds hem ass as it has the wrong presets. I had to look up the details of the various local broadcast multiplexes and manually add them to the list of channels to scan. This may just be something peculiar to our local TV masts and may not affect you

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Reply by: John P.      7 Jul 2010 @ 19:09
RE: Installing XP on a TIME PC

OK thanks Jon.

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Do you need computer support?