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In this area I will relate some of my horrible (and not so horrible) experiences in the realm of PC consulting (hardware and software installation, trouble shooting, and general head scratching) in the hopes some of you may avoid the same dead ends I have traversed, or at least get a chuckle out of my misadventures.
Christophers Napkin Sketch by Al Gleichman

Wolf's Law of Planning: A good place to start from is where you are.

In the Trenches with LAROKE


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Konsultant's Log, Cyberdate 11.22.1997 (4-Bits - The final stretch)


    Situation Report
    Take Charge And Move Out
    United States of America
    Mission Report

SITREP: I'm gonna finish the location swap of the P2 and 4-Bits computers this week "come hell or high water!" There's still a lot to do and several obstacles to overcome, but I finally prevail . . . kinda. Three major tasks are covered in this session: 1) the completion of 4-Bits' configuration, 2) the software setup and environment configuration of P2 for his new user, Christine, and 3) the actual physical move of P2, including connection to existing components and in place configuration. ~!@#$%^& darn!


Task 1: Completion of 4-Bits' configuration.

3:00 P.M. 10/21/97. It was time to set up 4-Bits' Internet connection to my ISP. I hadn't done this for some time, and I got the sequence of events out of order. First, I added a new "Dial-Up Networking Connection".


Adding a Dial-Up Networking Connection
  1. Double-click the "My Computer" Icon to open the My Computer Window.
  2. Double-click the "Dial-Up Networking" Icon in the My Computer Window to open the Dial-Up Networking Folder.
  3. Double-click the "Make New Connection" Icon in the Dial-Up Networking Folder to start the Dial-Up Connection Wizard.
  4. In the wizard's first screen enter a descriptive name for this connection in the "Type a name for the computer you are dialing:" Field, overriding the imaginative "My Connection" default provided by the wizard.
  5. The next Field in this screen is "Select a modem:" If you have only one modem installed on your system, it will be shown as the default. If you have more than one modem, pick the one you want to use for this connection from the Drop-Down List. Then click the "Next" Button to go to the wizard's second screen.
  6. This Dialog has three fields: "Area code:", "Telephone number:" and "Country code". The default settings for the selected modem are displayed for the "Area code" and "Country code" and need not be changed unless the number the connection will be dialing is in another country or area code. Enter the seven digit telephone number for your connection in the "Telephone number:" Field (You can put a "-" in the number for better human readibility but the computer doesn't care whether it's there or not). Click the "Next" Button to go to the wizard's last screen.
  7. Click the "Finish" Button to have the wizard set up the connection and return you to the Dial-Up Networking Folder. You will now have a new Icon in the Folder with the name you entered in the wizard's first screen. Double-clicking this Icon in the future will cause the selected modem to dial the number. Other Windows 95 aware applications can also use this connection to dial the number.
Updated 11.22.1997

I set up the "Dial-Up Networking Connection" for my ISP using the existing connection on P2 as a template.

After rebooting 4-Bits, I tried to logon to my ISP using the new connection. Double-clicking the new connection Icon produced the "Connect To" Dialog. I duly entered my user name and password and clicked the "Connect" Button. The number was dialed, but the remote computer broke the connection because of a protocol problem.

One advantage of having several computers is that you can compare a PC with a non-working configuration to another PC with a functioning configuration for the same software and see what the differences are. P2 still had its setup for the ISP connection I was trying to make on 4-Bits.

Comparing 4-Bits' "Network" Dialog (accessed from the Control Panel) with P2's Network Dialog revealed that P2 had a "Dial-Up Adapter" component and a "TCP/IP" protocol component that 4-Bits didn't have. These were both Microsoft Networking components and easy to install.

In 4-Bits' Network Dialog, under the "Configuration" Tab I clicked the "Add" Button. In the resulting "Select Network Component Type" Dialog, "Adapter" was highlighted and the "Add" Button clicked. Next, in the "Select Network adapters" Dialog, "Microsoft" was chosen from the "Manufacturers:" List and "Dial-Up Adapter" from the "Network Adapters:" List. The TCP/IP protocol was added the same way. The installation utility "remembered" that the Windows 95 setup files were in the "C:\WINDOWS\OPTIONS\CABS" directory on 4-Bits, so I wasn't asked to insert any disks or CD during the process.

The newly installed network components were checked against the ones on P2 for configuration options, then the Network Dialog was exited and 4-Bits permitted to reboot as requested by Windows to allow the configuration changes to take effect. I retried my ISP logon and was rewarded by a connection.

I tried to access the company intranet next . . . no luck. Back to the Network Dialog in 4-Bits' Control Panel. Again, after reviewing P2's working setup, I saw I had to add a "TCP/IP" protocol component for the NE2000 Compatible LAN Adapter. The protocol was added the same way the other TCP/IP protocol for the Dial-Up Adapter was added above and then configured similarly to P2's setup for the protocol. 4-Bits was allowed to reboot again and now she also had access to the company intranet.

Marketwave Hit List Standard Edition v3: Back in July I had installed Marketwave's Hit List Standard Edition v3 on P2 when I found it wouldn't work with MSIE 4.0 PP1 setup on HAL (see In the Trenches Cyberdate 09.06.1997). This is an excellent utility for analyzing Web site access logs (See LAROKE Toolbox). I rooted around on HAL's disk drives until I found the Hit List installation file I had originally downloaded from the Marketwave Web site.

When Hit List was installed on 4-Bits, it had to be registered again at the Marketwave Web site. I then configured Hit List using the installation on P2 as a template. After the Hit List configuration was complete, I connected to my ISP and ran a Hit List report for testing. I was satisfied that Hit List was working properly on 4-Bits.

At this point, it was time to set up the MSIE 3.x browser on 4-Bits with the extras it needed to view all the documents on the company intranet. First, the CAD drawing viewer WHIP ActiveX control was installed and tested (see In the Trenches Cyberdate 09.06.1997). Next, The Envoy electronic document viewer ActiveX control was installed at the Tumbleweed Web site. However, it didn't seem to work on 4-Bits for reasons unknown to me, so I went back to Tumbleweed and downloaded and configured the standalone viewer which did work.

Now, it was time to move some of P2's applications to 4-Bits, so she was rebooted without her startup programs to provide a clean environment for software installation.

QuarterDeck CleanSweep Deluxe v1.0: This version of CleanSweep had been installed on P2 in early October (See In the Trenches Cyberdate 10.25.1997). It was installed on 4-Bits the same way it had been installed on P2, by mapping HAL's CD-ROM drive across the network and installing from there. This time all the setup defaults were accepted. The CleanSweep installation completed cleanly and 4-Bits was again rebooted without startup programs to make ready for the next program installation.

QuarterDeck HiJaak Pro v4.00: The last time I installed HiJaak Pro on P2 was back in early September when it started to malfunction for some reason known only to the electron gods (see In the Trenches Cyberdate 09.20.1997). The CleanSweep SmartSweep agent was started to monitor the HiJaak setup. HiJaak was then installed on 4-Bits from HAL's CD-ROM drive and all defaults were accepted. The installation completed without error.

Symantec GrandView v2.0: GrandView is a legacy DOS program, an "outline processor." Many of the architectural firm's old "Project Specifications" from the eighties are still in GrandView format. GrandView resides on the server "Old Blue" and is run from there in a DOS Window when one of these old documents has to be accessed.

I moved GrandView's "PIF" (Program Information File), Icon file, etc. to 4-Bits using CleanSweep's Transport feature, but when 4-Bits was rebooted, GrandView was nowhere to be found. This was due to a difference in Windows 95 "User Profiles" between the two machines. GrandView was in the "Merlin" User Profile on P2 whereas User Profiles were not set up on 4-Bits.

I opened 4-Bits' Windows Explorer file manager and found the GrandView PIF file Shortcut in a "Merlin" directory that CleanSweep had created in the "C:\WINDOWS\PROFILES" directory. I made a new "Legacy Applications" directory in the default Windows 95 "Start Menu" directory (C:\WINDOWS\START MENU\PROGRAMS\LEGACY APPLICATIONS\) and moved the GrandView PIF Shortcut there.

Next, I tested GrandView by selecting it from 4-Bits' Start Menu . . . No Go . . . Back to the file manager . . . The GrandView PIF Shortcut file was right-clicked, and "Properties" chosen from it's "Context-sensitive" Menu. The remote drive mappings for the drive on Old Blue where GrandView is located is different for 4-Bits than it is for P2, so the drive letters were changed in the "Cmd line:" and "Working:" fields to the correct Old Blue mapping for 4-Bits. These changes were saved and GrandView was again tested. It worked fine this time.

Touchstone Software PC-cillin95 v1.02: 12:50 P.M. 10/23/97 After clean-booting 4-Bits without her startup programs, the CleanSweep SmartSweep agent was started as I prepared to install PC-cillin anti-virus software.

The PC-cillin serial number was requested during setup, and I had to stop long enough to find it among the piles of documentation that klutter my office. When I found the serial number, I copied it to the diskette labels so I wouldn't have to search the next time if ever there was a need to install this software again.

There was an option during setup to prepare a PC-cillin emergency boot disk. I prepared the boot disk and the setup continued to completion successfully. I logged on the Internet and reregistered PC-cillin at the Touchstone Web site using the original registration information on P2. That done, I attempted to download the latest anti-virus inoculation updates. PC-cillin kept locking up during the update download, requiring me to reboot 4-Bits and try again. Finally, on the fourth try, the update download worked, although it took a very long time to complete. After disconnecting from the Internet, a complete PC-cillin virus scan gave 4-Bits a clean bill of health.

Vertisoft's Zip-IT v3.0: P2 has Symantec's Norton Navigator for Windows 95 file manager installed. Navigator has some problems reading the Stacker compressed drives on the server Old Blue. Navigator often dignoses the compressed drives as not having room enough to perform some file operations.

I had decided not to install Navigator on 4-Bits. This decision created a new problem since I had been using Navigator to manipulate Pkzip compressed files over the network. I toyed with the idea of downloading and trying the popular WinZip shareware utility. I've installed Zip-IT on some of the CAD workstations in the office, so in the end I chose it as the replacement for the Norton Navigator zip file utility, since I can familiarize myself with the program, the better to answer any of my co-workers' questions. Some of them have been fooled into believing me to be a PC wizard, and I must do what I can to maintain the illusion. Zip-IT was installed on 4-Bits with no other programs except CleanSweep SmartSweep running, and the setup finished without incident.

Intuit Quickbooks v2.0: The architectural firm I work for uses Quickbooks v2.0 and Quickpay v3.0. for accounting. These are both old versions, but we do not want to upgrade, if we don't have to, until Intuit finally offers a version with network support. I moved Quickbooks and Quickpay from P2 to 4-Bits using CleanSweep's Transport feature.

Upon starting Quickbooks on 4-Bits for the first time, Windows 95 displayed a warning Dialog. This happens anytime you install an application that has known problems working under Windows 95 that Microsoft knew about when Windows 95 was released. The Dialog said there were problems with Quickbooks v3.0 and older running in the Windows 95 environment.

I had the option of running Quickbooks anyway, or I could click a "Help" Button. A Checkbox for not displaying this warning window again was also provided. I clicked the Help Button, and was taken to a special Quickbooks section in Windows 95 Help which described a step-by-step work-around for running the older version of Quickbooks under Windows 95. I followed the instructions, and restarted 4-Bits. This time when the Quickbooks startup initiated the Warning Dialog, I clicked the Checkbox not to show this warning again, then clicked the start quickbooks anyway Button. Quickbooks started normally, and seems to be working well.

MISREP: Well, heck! I was hoping to get a lot more done this session, but it just didn't happen. We are now at that milestone in this long stange trip (no offense to other DeadHeads out there) where all of P2's previous functions have been taken over by either HAL or 4-Bits. The next task is to remove the rest of the software from P2 that his new operator won't be using. Then all that remains is to reconfigure P2, load new software, and physically move him to his new location. like every other task in this adventure, the remaining work with P2 continues to be a series of little nightmares, a few of which I'll relate next time.


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LAROKE Microcomputer Consultants
155 East Boca Raton Road
Boca Raton, Florida 33432
(561)368-0659 (Tel & Fax)

Issued Saturday, November 22, 1997

copyright © 1997 LAROKE Microcomputer Consultants all rights reserved