During a brief visit to my hometown recently, I built a computer for one of my brothers. Actually, I instructed him on how to build it, since I wanted him to have a better understanding of his own computer. He and I went to the local computer mega-store armed with my shopping list and his credit card. I even wanted him to be involved in buying all the parts and pieces we'd need for him to BYOB – Build Your Own Box.
We got back to his house and promptly began unwrapping all the components, we draped a large blanket over his kitchen table and placed that shiny black Antec Sonata case on its side, ready to assemble what was bound to be a real screamer of a computer. His eBay experiences were about to make the jump into relative light-speed.
I must say, it was both fun and challenging explaining to him how to install every component. Doing it yourself and explaining every little detail to a novice are quite different. But it was nice just sitting back, sipping on his own special blend of coffee, letting him do all the assembly work. In just under a couple of hours, he had everything installed, ready to load the operating system.
As luck would have it, however, we were unable to purchase the operating system I wanted – the 64-bit OEM version of Windows Vista Ultimate. We could have purchased the retail boxed version, which I might normally do, and which has both the 32 bit and 64 bit DVDs, but in this case, there was no point in spending the extra money (about a $200 difference). It seems that the store did not have the 64-bit OEM because Microsoft ceased delivery in anticipation of shipping the version with SP1 already integrated.
After only about a 7 day wait, the 64-bit OEM operating system arrived, and we were ready to finish his computer. The only problem was distance - I was now 600 miles away. At least all the hardware was assembled, and I figured I could help him get the OS installed and configured with minimal phone instruction. All went very well, actually, and within a short amount of time, he had everything installed and configured; he had Open Office downloaded and installed; he had his e-mail account configured and working; and everything seemed good to go. Transferring data from his old computer would come last, but at this point a strange thing was happening.
It seems that his DVD drive designation would continually disappear. A reboot would bring it back, but after a while, it would disappear again. I won't bore you with all the troubleshooting steps I instructed him to take, but suffice it to say that I decided another brand of DVD drive might play nicer with Vista. I recalled that during my own Vista upgrade at my office, I did experience bad performance with some brands of DVD drives. And for some reason, I let the sales representative talk me into a brand different than the one on my original list - one that I knew was Vista compatible.
"Yes, by all means, go ahead and reboot," I said (all the while thinking how on earth that motherboard didn't get fried). I made a bad assumption. I overlooked step one: turn off the computer and unplug the power source.
In this case, I think we dodged that proverbial bullet. (And yes, the DVD Drive remains to be recognized by Vista.)