While I was testing some things the other day my desktop was running slow. I mean so slow that typing into Live Writer took 15-20 seconds for the screen to catch up with what I’d typed, and my testing in a VM (W2K3, Virtual PC) was really, really slow.
I’m not sure why since I had the VM running on a local disk with the rest of my XP installation, but I decided to check my settings for the computer. I right clicked “My Computer” and selected Properties. It showed me 2GB, which isn’t bad except I had put in 4GB of RAM awhile back.
At least I was fairly confident that I had. I know I’d wanted to upgrade this machine from 2GB to 4GB since I use it a lot. So I flipped through my expense folder, saw a receipt from Crucial.com and started wondering what could be wrong.
My first stop was to actually see if I had RAM in the machine. I could have shut down, opened the case and looked, but that’s a pain. So I went to the Crucial site to check and see if they could rescan my system. I downloaded the scanner and saw this:
Now I was really confused. They thought I had 4GB, why didn’t Windows? I surfed around a little, but this wasn’t a huge priority. There were some sites that said 32 bit XP might only show 3 or 3.5GB, which doesn’t make sense. 32-bit Windows server doesn’t have issues with 4GB, and it should show up, but it’s an old OS, maybe there’s something here.
The next day I opened the machine, and sure enough there was 4 sticks in there. The only thing I could think is that they didn’t want to work together. One is DDR2 5200 and the other is 5300. I had a new 1TB HDD to install, so I did that, reseated the memory and booted. Windows came up, the HDD was there, and on a whim I checked the properties. I now had 3GB.
So I shut down, closed up the case, and rebooted. And found 2GB.
I chatted with a rep at Crucial, and she was nice, letting me know that memory should work together, and suggesting I just try the new memory. Mental head slap, so after we were done, I did that. It didn’t help and while it worked, I still didn’t have 3GB.
I put things back together and sat down to think of what to do. The machine was still slow, not a good situation. I need to do more VM work, I have SQL stuff to mess with and a slow machine isn’t in anyone’s interest. So I had a couple of choices:
- I could rebuild this machine as a 64-bit OS
- I could buy a new machine
I’ll admit the second choice sounds extreme, but I’ve been wanting a Windows Home Server to back things up. I was considering the HP Media Smart server, which is 64-bit, and will help keep all the data at the Ranch safe. However, that’s a $500 investment. My old desktop doesn’t have SATA, an old motherboard (6 years old), and doesn’t want to load WHS right now. And I honestly don’t want to have something that’s a hassle. I just want it to work.
So I’m debating about what to do right now. I haven’t had a new machine in at least 2, maybe 3 years so I’m tempted to upgrade now and go 64-bit all the way.