The partial crashing of a second computer in my house has finally gotten me motivated to get not only that machine fixed, but also address the other machine that arbitrarily decided to no longer be internet capable nearly two years ago. Also this is one of the primary reasons WHY it took me nearly two years to get around to fixing the networking problem that prevents the other machine from getting on the net. On January 12th, I was watching the news, where they mentioned that Microsoft had several critical security updates that spanned their entire operating system lineup dating clear back to the days of Windows 95. As I have broadband, and basically have a 24/7 active connection to the 'net, I immediately got busy with updating the two machines (I have three around my house) that still accessed the 'net. One machine, and the oldest of the three, crashed four times during this process. It's been another machine that I've been putting off upgrading as well, since it's primary purpose is to store data gathered from a weather station installed at my house. Irritated at having what shouldn't have been more than an hour's work turning into nearly a day, I decided that enough was enough, and it was high time to replace that system. I head into town, and to an electonics warehouse type store called Fry's Electronics. Here I pick out a brand new Pentium IV motherboard, 2.4 gig processor and finally a 256 meg memory stick. I'm out the door for a bit over $200. Not bad for an upgrade. The more I'm thinking about my new parts, the more I'm thinking that they'll be put to better use in the machine that quit connecting to the net. BTW, it's called "HAL." as it had on it at one time, that desktop theme. Cool, I'll upgrade TWO machines for the price of one. It's too late to get started by the time I get home, so I simply install the memory and processor to the motherboard, put it back in the anti static bag, and put it away for the evening. Next day, after work, I decide to get busy. I do a couple of quick final tasks on that machine, before shutting it down for surgery. I pull the box out from under the desk (it's a 3 foot tall server tower), and I'm off to the dining room table to perform the parts replacements. I get the old board out and new one in the box. I grab my video card, only to find that it too will not work on this board. Damn another trip to the 'puter store. After work that Friday, I head over to Fry's for the second time, and pick up a new video card for the new motherboard. This time around I also noticed that they had a new style of hard drive, (Serial ATA), and it's specs were better than the IDE version of the same drive. It was also on sale, and cheaper than the regular drive. I grab one to install into HAL. I'm out the door again, this time to the tune of another $170. I'll get $50 of that back in rebates - hopefully. I get home, and decide to quickly install the new video and at least get a bench test on the box before calling it a night. HAL comes up once to the expected CMOS error, where I get to go in and tell the new board some of what is connected to it. After saving the settings, HAL crashes hard. I'm now PLENTY pissed, and it's time for bed. I'll mess with it Saturday. After work Saturday, I get back to the task of trying to figure out what is amiss amongst the new parts. I can find nothing installed incorrectly, so I figure it was something incorrectly selected in CMOS. I clear the CMOS, and the machine comes back up. Windows goes through the task of recognizing all of the new "goodies" on the new board and is happily installing it. All looks good untill time for a reboot. Once again, HAL is playing dead. Once again, I clear the CMOS, and it comes back up, only to crash again on the next reboot. It's now too late to even think about taking anything back, so I call it a night. Since this will be the third time back to Fry's, and it's an hour and 15 minutes one way to get there, I decide to wait untill after work Monday to go back, and I bring HAL along so that I can leave the store knowing that I won't have to come back yet again. Monday comes along, it's my Friday, so I don't have to be so concerned with the clock either. I head over to Fry's, and sit down with tech support on figuring out what is causing HAL's problems. They concur with my suspicions - a bad motherboard. Out come the new board, and I go through the return line to get my money back, and go get a new one. I'm back over to the tech support, and we install the second new motherboard. It's worse than the first one, no boot, no tones, no CMOS, nothing. Now they give me the OK to just go back to the shelf and grab another. Now, what will be the third motherboard goes back in. I'm now back to my original problem. It's now approaching 9pm, and they are getting ready to close. Mad, I leave HAL there, with a work order to find the cause of this problem. Tuesday and Wednesday both pass, with me calling them, and having no solution to the problems. Thursday, I'm back to work, and I finally get a call from them. HAL is ready, and booting consistently. After work, I go back to Fry's, for the fourth time now, and pick up HAL. Apparently, the memory chip was bad, and I needed to exchange it. All they have left that was not the same brand as the one I was returning, was 512mb chips. Another $120 later, I have a new memory chip, and also a replacement CPU fan and heat sink to replace the one that I broke a few days eariler. I install the new components in the store, and check again that the machine is working before I finally leave. I get home, and install that new Serial ATA drive that I bought a week earlier. I'm impressed as I watch it format a full 160 gig drive in about three seconds. I then transfer all of the materials (music, recorded TV programs, pictures, etc..) from the old 120 gig drive to the new one. Once done, I verify that everyting works correctly on the new drive. HAL now works correctly, with the exception of the old refusal to connect to the net. Finally, something went smoothly. Calling it a night, I shut it down. After work yesterday, I head back to the house, go down to the neighbours for a short visit, and then return home to get back to the job of what should be the final step in getting HAL fixed, and then, getting the weather station PC back up and running. I take the small 10 gig hard drive out of the loop, and proceed to install windows on the 120 gig drive. The first several attempts gives me corrupt data errors, and I'm finally forced to go back to CMOS to reset the drive boot order, so that the machine will go to the CDROM drive like it's supposed to. Windows finally begins it's installation process. Formating THIS drive takes the typical forever and a day. It still wasn't finished when I gave up and went to bed. I wake up this morning, only to find "the blue screen of death." Great, now we are back to fighting tooth and nail for every tiny incriment forward. HAL locks down twice more, before I finally get mad, and start that drive from scratch. It was still formatting when I left for work this morning. All of this effort now, for what should have been maybe an afternoons worth of work. On top of this, a program that I had the DVDR set to record last night, failed. I'm PRAYING that I'll be able to go home from work tonight, and find HAL patiently waiting for me to tell Windows to continue it's setup. Right now I HATE computers!!!!!!!!!