Repairing a Pentium 4 Windows PC… again

I was given another chance to work on an old Intel Pentium 4 Powered computer. It’s an HP Pavilion a630n. I had to use the HP-created recovery CDs to get the system back to “Factory Defaults”. It took a set of 7-CDs to do this. The result was Windows XP Home Edtion 32-bit w/ SP1 and almost every device driver installed. The only one missing was the for the 56k modem card. Thankfully, HP has the drivers online. The restore CDs also installed some very old software, This is a computer initially released back in 2004.

What software was HP loading on these computers back in 2004?

(Apple) iTunes 4
(Apple) Quicktime 6.4
Java Runtime 1.4.2
Real Player Real One (version 2)
Quicken 2004
WinDVD 4
Adobe (Acrobat) Reader 6
Microsoft Office 2003 trialware
Norton Anti-virus 2004 trialware
Wild Tangent game bundle
America On Line (AOL) was on version 9
Internet Explorer was still version 6.0
Windows Media Player was 7.0


I immediately uninstalled all of that and installed the most current versions…
Windows XP Service Pack 3
Avast Anti-Virus  6 Free (online registration needed)
iTunes 10.5.2
Java Runtime  1.7
Adobe Reader X (10.1)
Windows Media Player 11
VLC Player 1.1
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 ( latest version that Windows XP supports)
Mozilla Firefox 8
Adobe Flash Player 11
Microsoft Silverlight 5


The Processor fan for these Prescott Pentium 4 processors can get pretty loud. It would rev up during the OS recovery process and during the Full system virus scan.  With only a few more updates and tests to do to the OS, I’ll be able to hand this back to the user before Christmas.


Additional Info:

HP Pavilion a630n product/support page


Repairing an Intel Pentium 4 PC

Some time last month I took  on the task to repair a computer that belonged to a friend of the family. The specifications are as follows:

Intel Pentium 4 @ 2.8 Ghz
1.0 GB DDR
160 GB 7200 RPM
DVD Writer
Onboard Intel graphics
Onboard Sound
Windows XP Home Edition

I haven’t regularly used a Pentium 4 powered computer for a few years now, so I kind of wondered how it handled today’s websites and other tasks.

The user already started repairing the computer, software-wise at least, reinstalling MS Windows XP  with Service Pack 1 and a few of their favorite applications. I  continued from that point bringing Windows up to Service Pack 3, downloading  98 additional  (post-sp3) updates. One of the key updates was the Installer for Internet Explorer 8. version 9 is not supported for Windows systems running anything earlier than Windows Vista. XP SP2 also adds the Windows firewall to a little more security. For free anti-virus software, I decided to go with Avast! free 6, but Microsoft Security Essentials would have been fine as well.

The temperature  and fan speed readings looked fine for a system of this kind. Ran diagnostic utilities and they didn’t report any  errors either.

I took some to to test IE 8 and Mozilla Firefox on this system and while it’s still usable on the Internet for web surfing, streaming audio and Youtube. The low amount of memory  and old processor doesn’t leave you much computing power for anything else. Having more than one user logged on at one time would be a terrible idea. The user only does web browsing, music listening, image viewing and office productivity tasks.

There were a few other pieces of software I installed for them…

Microsoft Office 2007  (they provided their disc and product key)
Windows Live Photo Gallery (Far better than what’s included with Windows XP)
Upgraded Windows Media Player to 11
Upgrading IE  to 8 from the included 6
VLC Media Player

After a few final checks, I decided to hand in back to the user to take home. This experience just shows me how great even lower clocked (more power efficient)  dual core processor  can provide a better computing experience. Versus this system.



My Experience with Disney Studios Home Entertainment Technical Support

Last month I received a Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Blu-ray/DVD combo set.   When I opened the package, The 2nd Blu-ray disc ( Bonus Material) disc was nowhere to be found. It didn’t fall out when I opened the case, it wasn’t loose, it was just plain missing. Considering that it was a  factory-sealed set and the other discs and inserts were present and in good condition. I was very disappointed.   After an Internet search I found the Disney Blu-ray & DVD Help Center page and promptly submitted the details of my problem.

The Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Technical Support (team) was really helpful and responsive during the entire process.  Every time I sent a follow-up e-mail concerning my issue, I would get a response in less than 24 hours, and usually in the afternoon.  They ended up sending me a pre-paid mailing label,  in return I was requested to fill out a 1-page form (describing the issue) and supply my own padded envelope.  The longest part of this whole experience was the wait after the USPS picked up the envelope. It had to get processed>shipped>received, processed> new factory sealed set>shipped.  The wait was definitely worth it. I got a  new and compete 3-disc set in the mail and the overall experience was positive and I felt it needed to have an entry here.

Thanks again to The Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Technical Support (team).

Additional Info:

Disney Blu-ray & DVD Help Center
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Blu-ray/DVD combo set