Sunday, 16 November 2008

Back to the future of Windows 2000

Windows 2000. Anyone remember what that looked like?

Just mentioning the name makes me think of Windows 95 (shudder), Windows 98 (shudder even more) and NT 3.51 (actually not too bad).

We are a four computer family, which is not bad given that two of us are still in nappies. J has the oldest PC in the place, and it has finally been retired as a work PC and is currently being rebuilt for Junior as an "educational" tool.

Until about 6 hours ago, it was running XP. "Running" is not really the right word. Dawdling would be more accurate. The poor old thing only had 192MB of RAM in it - less than 10% of what the PC that I am typing this on contains. 192MB would have been marvelous for running Windows 3.11 (actually, 8MB wasn't bad for Windows 3.11), but it was utter rubbish for XP.

So I have downgraded it to Windows 2000. And boy, with that on it, it flies. It zooms. It is now by far the fastest computer in the house to boot. Don't ask me tricky questions like "what sort of processor has it got in it", because I don't know. I do know that the processor is utterly buried under a pile of fluff, because I had to open the case to look at the chip for the onboard network card in order to find the right driver for it, and it was like looking into an enormous bellybutton. Every bit of dead skin and navel lint that we have shed over the last 5 years has ended up in the guts of that computer. It really does look like a small fluffy thing has crept in there, bred several hundred other small fluffy things and they are now nesting on the motherboard.

I think we might have tribbles.

I am now in the process of loading service packs and updates. It has taken longer to load SP4 and 68 (!) - yes 68 (!!!!!) critical updates than it took to install the base operating system.

Finding drivers for it has been a complete pain in the ring. The video chip was from Nvidia - that was easy to track down, but the network chip, also from Nvidia, was as hard to find as Bill Clinton's honour. As I said earlier, I had to open the case to find the chip type, because the HP and Compaq websites were a complete waste of space. You think that they'd be able to tell you what drivers to use with each model...... but that is so 1990's I guess. Who needs to bother with that sort of thing these days, since Vista comes with about a Petabyte of drivers when you install it.

I have been dreading this rebuild, thinking that it would take days, but the surprising thing is how quickly it has gone. It's amazing to think that in comparsion to the bloated carcases that we install today, Windows 2000 could now be considered as a lean and mean OS.

Never thought I'd ever see myself writing those words.

1 comment:

kae said...


"Every bit of dead skin and navel lint that we have shed over the last 5 years has ended up in the guts of that computer."

So that's where it comes from...

word ver: snuappu (close to SNAFU, huh?)