Tag Archives: hardware

Introducing the GenTower

21 Nov

This is my new PC (codename: GenTower) and it has one purpose in life, to be my genealogy PC. As you can see it is not really new, that is rather given away by the presence of a 3½” floppy drive on the front.

Introducing the GenTower

Interestingly I have never bought a new PC in my entire life, only a new netbook. All my other PCs have either been second-hand or upgraded from existing PCs. I just can’t bear to throw away a PC that is still working, without at least pulling parts out of it for re-use.

The truth is that most of what I will use it for is not going to be that demanding, it doesn’t need an expensive graphics card or a water-cooled processor for viewing census images. What I do need is more memory and a newer operating system than my current PC provides.

It already has more memory than my current PC, but importantly it has the capacity for more, so I will probably add the maximum I can over the next few months, dependant on the price of course.

The hard drive is a reasonable 80GB, which doesn’t sound a lot these days, but knowing that my family history files all still fit on a 4GB memory stick makes me think that 80GB will probably be sufficient for the time being, unless I happen to come across a large hoard of family photos that need scanning.

It has a DVD player, but I will probably swap that with the DVD writer from my current PC. I can’t actually see much use for the 3½” floppy drive, although I do still have some old DOS games on 3½” disks, but I expect they are probably unreadable now anyway.

For some strange reason I am overcome by the desire to have a 5¼” floppy drive in the machine as well. I don’t really know why, I can’t imagine that I would ever use, but I think it would be really cool just to have it sitting there alongside the DVD writer.

The operating system on the GenTower is Windows XP Pro, which is a step up from the Windows 2000 that I have on my current PC. I know I am still a couple of operating systems behind, but XP should be good enough to keep me going for another couple of years at least, and at least now I will have a PC that will be capable of handling a newer operating system.

Most of the software I need will be removed from my old PC and re-installed on the new one. Having Windows XP will give me a greater choice of software to use, because so much new software doesn’t support Windows 2000 and several online services don’t support Windows 2000 either, like Dropbox.

Before I can start using it there is much to be done, in it’s previous life the GenTower was a business machine and today, after having a good look around it’s hard drive, I decided that best option was to do a complete restore, back to it’s original factory settings.

That has cleared out a lot of rubbish, but it has also cluttered it up with a few bits of unwanted and out-dated software (like Norton Anti-Virus 2004), so my next task is to remove all that, get some fresh virus and firewall protection on it and then plug it in to the internet.

Then I will point it to the Microsoft Update website and let it spend several hours updating everything in sight. Only then will it be ready for me to plug in all my other devices and start cluttering up the hard drive with my family history.

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