Computer idiot

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Per Don Y:

I would add:
- Not *too* regularly - because you don't want to be in the position of having backed up a compromised system so many times that the last "Good" version has fallen off the end of the backup list.
- Learn the discipline of separating "System" from "Data" and put data on a separate physical device or, at least, a separate D: partition.
- Use an Imaging utility that allows you to browse the image and copy files from it as if were just another drive. This because, inevitably, you will not be perfect in your practice of not keeping data on the System - and it will allow you to recover once you realize the error of your ways.
- Keep a change log where you note whenever/whatever programs have been installed/uninstalled... and any other system changes.
Then you can image the System only a few times - once when you know it is "Good" ... and then whenever changes to the log accumulate past a certain point - and take incremental backups of the "Data" drive/partition as often as desired.
Probably way to complicated for the user that thinks they have a toaster or a blender instead of a computer... but it seems to me like minimal basic hygiene to me
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Pete Cresswell

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On 3/14/2016 11:39 AM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

Good advice. At work we only have 6 computers, but each one has all their data files copied to another device "just in case" You can get a UPB drive for a few bucks for a quick backup.
You can always beg, buy, borrow, or steal a new word processing program, but you will never buy those individual files of your own.
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Per Ed Pawlowski:

For the life of me, I cannot understand why that is not built in to MS' operating systems.... it's just too obvious.
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Pete Cresswell

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On 03/14/2016 01:15 PM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

Most computers come from the factory with one hard drive.
Even if there is a separate partition for data, if the drive fails, so goes the data
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you need to do a "bare-metal" install of your OS all your data is still safe. The only issue there is you STILL need to reinstall ALL of your saftware.
My preference is to keep an image of the C: drive on the D: drive so you can simply restore the drive to what was there - 100%. Keep a copy on a separate drive so in case the hard drive itself fails
Better than an image is a live clone to an external drive, done on a regular basis. (a bit of a PITA with the new-style GPT drives which don't like to be cloned - - - )
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Per snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca:

My experience - with a teenager pounding on my PC couple hours a day five days a week - has been that the main virtue of having the data in it's own partition is that I can (and used to frequently) do a re-image without even thinking twice.
Box starts acting funny? Don't even *think* what the problem might be: just fire up the restore CD, kick it off, and get a cup of coffee.... Come back and all is well.
My SDD will probably cough up it's guts and die as soon as I post this, but I have never, ever had a System drive failure. I have retired a few System drives when my monitoring utility started complaining... but have never had one fail in use.
Separating data from System is huge... and my experience has been that physical drive failures are the least of the reasons why.
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On 03/14/2016 07:23 PM, (PeteCresswell) wrote: hinking twice.

I just got a machine...no data of importance...but Win7 was messed up.
After fooling with it for hours, I just did a fresh install.
Half an hour at most.
Let the updater run overnight though.
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Per philo:

The total system rebuilds of PCs I have owned and put a clock on each took me about six man-hours.
Yeah, maybe 45 minutes for the initial system install... but after that the time adds up.
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On 03/15/2016 08:08 AM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

The updating takes a long time, so I just start it, last thing in the day and let it run overnight.
Right now, perhaps thanks to Oren's prompting, I am finally creating a Win7 slipstreamed DVD. The one I have now has SP1 but none of the subsequent updates. The one I'm creating now will have about 200 updates included.
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On Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 9:33:31 AM UTC-5, philo wrote:

Also and essential slipsteam tool: http://www.nliteos.com/ (not sure if anyone mentioned this)
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On 03/15/2016 09:40 AM, bob_villain wrote:

Yep that's what I'm using
also used this
http://www.windowsupdatesdownloader.com/ProgramFiles.aspx
to download the updates, it really went fast
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On Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 9:40:31 AM UTC-5, bob_villain wrote:

"slipstream" not a hot negligee!
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On 3/15/2016 6:08 AM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

If I am moving tools to a new machine (not adding any "new" software or "updating" anything) *and* I have all of the drivers for that machine already downloaded, it takes me about 3 full *days* to build one of my workstations. (I have three; and the applications on each are essentially different).
But, at the end of that process (ordeal), the machine is "set for life" (I don't add stuff to a workstation once it has been built and configured).
At the end of each calendar year, I reevaluate my tools/equipment and upgrade (out with the old, in with the new) as I deem appropriate. I am *really* reluctant to replace/upgrade a workstation in that process (typically, the machines are faster than my meatware so why incur the cost and inconvenience of an upgrade unless there is some HUGE advantage to doing so?). And, only mildly less so willing to upgrade a piece of software ("for a NEW set of bugs!").
I chuckle at folks who are always buying the latest and greatest. Unless they're playing video games, they're just throwing money (and time!) away...
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Per Don Y:

You sound like you know your stuff...
Question: has performance of PCs available on an common peasant's budget progressed to the point where I would notice a diff if I upgraded from my current GigaByte Z87X-UDH4 / i7-4770K @3.5 GHz with 16 gigs for ram, running from an SDD ?
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On 3/15/2016 11:07 AM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

Not really. I just spend a lot of time in front of machines actually "doing real work" (not watching movies or browsing the web, etc. but, rather, authoring multimedia presentations, designing circuit boards, writing software, etc.). In each of these cases, *I* am the limiting factor. A faster machine just means the machine spends more time WAITING for me to figure out which key I want to press next!

I would seriously doubt it. Unless you're doing gaming, etc. And, in that case, the video card is more important than the CPU (video cards have GPU's on them that do most of the graphic "processing")
I use a 1.8GHz Core2 Duo for our HTPC -- and that probably has the most demanding "real time" work to do (you don't want a movie to start skipping, pixelating, etc. while watching).
There are many things that my workstations may spend *hours* crunching (rendering 3-dimensional models, generating videos of those models moving in a predefined "scene", compiling thousands of files for a project I'm working on, etc.). But, having a machine that is *10* times faster would cut that down to *an* hour (or two) -- still too long for me to be sitting there twiddling my thumbs!
So, I start a machine on one of those lengthy tasks and then find something else to do while it is "busy thinking" (either using another machine *or* on that machine WHILE it is thinking).
My current big bottleneck is speed of network fabric (1Gb) and slow USB2 interfaces (I've not bothered to move to USB3 as it means replacing a lot of hardware JUST to get faster disk interfaces).
When I started out in this business, I could make exactly *two* changes to a project in an 8 hour "shift" -- 4 hours to see what the results of my change would be! The machines were *so* slow...
As a result, I learned how to plan the use of my time around the capabilities of the machines. As the tasks that I now do take considerably more machine power than back then, it's just not possible to buy hardware that is fast enough to ensure "no waiting" (at least not for the things that *I* do).
So, I rely on the same sorts of skills I learned decades ago and PLAN how my time will be spent so I'm not idle, waiting for a machine.
When I first started doing 3D CAD drawings on 25MHz 386's -- when THAT was the "spare no expense" hardware available -- it would take a machine 24-26 hours to render *one* drawing. If the lights blinked, your heart sank! (Oh, crap! I wonder if the machine "saw" that??)
Now, I can render that same drawing in a minute or two. But, now want that drawing to "move"... I want to see the mechanism operate, see the shadows that are cast as it moves around relative to the artificial light source, etc.
So, I'm back at the day-long renders :>
But, unlike back then, I don't have to move to another machine in order to keep working!
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Per Don Y:

One of my granddaughters got a BS in computer graphics from Drexel and now she makes a decent living doing same.
One of the companies she worked for as a student intern said she "revolutionized the way they do business" for them - by installing services on all of the employees' PCs that allowed offloading of rendering tasks to those PCs - creating a multi-PC rendering farm so productions could be rendered in minutes/hours instead of days.
Dunno how many PCs it was... but I would guess plenty...
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On 3/15/2016 1:40 PM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

Called a "network of workstations"/loosely-coupled cluster.
The amount of "surplus" computing power "being wasted" is staggering. Ages ago, I recall walking by the stock room with an employer and he glanced up, sighed and said, "Think of all that power sitting there *wasted* (bare chips)..."
When I designed the home automation system, I was very aware of this as a means of cutting cost 9at the expense of complexity!) by leveraging "underutilized" computers that were *needed* in particular places (in order to interface to particular devices) -- but that spent 99.9999% of their time twiddling their thumbs: "Why not use that surplus capacity INSTEAD OF adding a big computer someplace that throws off lots of heat, has noisey fans, etc.?" So, the design is far more complex. And, in many ways far less *efficient*. But, if stuff was being "underutilized", then who cares about efficiency?!
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wrote:

level is not something that will 'jump out at you".
The difference between 1/2 the blink of an eye and 1/4 of the blink of an eye is not noticeable. (and that's a 100% improvement!)
When you get into really intensive applications, yes, there is a (barely) noticeable improvement.
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Per snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca:

That's good news to me - now I can spend those bucks on a spinnaker for my itty-bitty sailboat.... -)
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On Tue, 15 Mar 2016 10:54:29 -0700, Don Y

of a "pioneer" is the guy laying in the dirt with a knife or arrow in his back.
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