Geeking in Laos

This week has been a little geekier than normal. It's the last week of the term break so I've been madly trying to get all the computers working as well as they can.

Since most of them haven't been well maintained for ages and have been in the lab for at least 4 years or more, this has meant formatting all of the old computers. I've got 14 of 19 done now so I should be able to wrap it up tomorrow. Along side formatting everything I've also been "upgrading" everything to Windows ME. The machines are really too old to run XP so it's the only feasible option.

The big pain has been that there's so many little extras that I have to do to get the computers really setup nicely. First, I make sure to do a custom install of ME to make sure that some of the garbage that's put on by default isn't there. Then of course, I have to install some drivers for devices that ME doesn't have drivers for (Video, Sound, Modem and LAN) then restart. Then I have to configure the network (IP addresses, add file and printer sharing) and another restart. Then I set up the shared drive and install AVG, another restart. Then install the updates for AVG that I've downloaded and do a full scan (there's been a lot of viruses on the PCs in the past so I like to make sure they're clean and it's quickest to do it at this point before more stuff gets loaded on).

Then it's time to install Office which is another custom install. Then I have to go into Word to set the default units to centimeters and the default paper size to A4 (why it can't do this automatically when I told Windows I'm in a metric country is beyond me) plus I need to switch macro security to medium because the install for Lao language support needs me to open a file with macros. Then I install Lao language support. That's the "barebones" setup. I'm to the point where I can get 3 machines going at once in some process of this setup. After this I'll still need to go back and install some extra software but it's not as much of a priority.