Saturday, November 7, 2009

DIY Project Report #2

Here's the second report on my computer building project. The first post is here. Here are a few notes on the project that might interest you.

Windows Stuff

First off Windows 7 networking sucks...
that is if you're trying to network a Windows XP machine with a Windows 7 computer. Windows 7 Networking relies upon the Link-Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) protocol which was introduced with Windows Vista. Of course most of us avoided Vista like the plague, so one should expect that many will be trying to network XP machines with their new Windows 7 computers. You can do it, but it takes some doin'. Here's how:

First, make sure your Windows XP machine is updated with the Service Pack 3.
(By the way, you can install the LLTD on XP with Service Pack 2. However, I tried this and the computer still wouldn't appear on the network map. So spare yourself a headache and install Service Pack 3!)

Then, apply this Microsoft Hotfix and LLTD should be correctly installed.

Finally, follow this blog post from the How-To Geek and and you should be able to share resources between machines.

(This is way too much work. Like I said, it sucks.)

I also experienced an issue with firewire drivers. I found that I had to manually change the 1394a driver to OCHI Compliant Host Legacy in order for the computer to recognize and work with my Sony DV deck. It's easy to do. Here are the instructions.


I selected Comodo Backup which is free and has a very good reputation. I'm sure you've read this a million times, but it's very important to set up regular reliable backup routines to protect your data. A major computer hardware meltdown motivated me to build this new machine in the first place. Thanks to maintaining good backups, that computer crash only cost me time. No important data was lost and everything else has been restored to the new machine.

For anti-virus support I installed AVG's free version. I've been running AVG on one of my computers for well over a year with no problems. If you insist on spending money, I recommend ESET's NOD32 which I've had good luck with. (I'm not too high on Norton's Anti-Virus. In my experience, the application ground my computer to a crawl. Totally unacceptable.) If you go with AVG, I suggest you uncheck the option to install the AVG toolbar in your browser. Otherwise there's no way to get rid of it short of completely removing the application.

After installing virus protection and backup software, I installed Adobe's Creative Suite 4 Production Premium. This suite includes the 64-bit versions of Premiere Pro and Photoshop Extended. Nice.

I also installed Magic Bullet Looks, Video Copilot Twitch and Knoll Light Factory. If you use Looks or Knoll Light Factory make sure to confirm that your display adapter is compatible. I made doubly sure by contacting Red Giant Software's support to confirm compatibility with my Nvidia 9800 GeForce GT. (I did get a little scare installing Looks, only to see a message warning that my display adapter wasn't compatible. However, the plug-in works fine and I've had no issues using it.)

Hardware Compatibility Issues

Don't assume that your cards and peripherals are necessarily compatible with the new operating system. A good place to check is Windows 7 Compatibility Center. Since the OS is so new, you may be surprised to see that many contemporary cards and devices still lack drivers. This will change with time, but for now you can hit some snags if your not careful.

For example, the Pyro AVTurbo 1394b PCI card
has no Windows 7 drivers as of yet although I expect that will change.

I also own a Tascam US-122 USB audio interface. Same story as no drivers are available. This is an older model so its quite possible there never will be Windows 7 drivers for this unit.


I won't spend a lot of time on the actual performance of the computer other than to say the computer is very fast. Windows 7 boots up very quickly. The computer's POST takes longer than the time needed for the the operating system to be up and running.

32-bit applications run fast, but 64-bit are even faster.
The computer really flies. And the Adobe Creative Suite is tightly integrated to improve the workflow. Adobe has done a great job here.

I'll post additional notes after I've spent more time breaking the machine in.

No comments: