Scampo Vigil: Last Rites and Anatomical Gifts

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When the inventory and backups from Scampo, the failing Media Center PC, were complete, I needed to do some final cleanups.  I had uninstalled all Windows-programs that I could while remaining in operation.  Now I needed to scrub the disk, delete accounts, power down, and remove some parts that I had further use for.  These would be the anatomical gifts to other systems.

Retained Backups

Software installation files, data, and documents, including my inventory document, were all preserved into shared folders of my Windows Home Server.

In addition, the Windows Home Server retained a complete backup-image set as of the point just before I started removing things:

Windows Home Server retained backup images up through the point where I began decommissioning the system.

If I found that I missed anything, I could recover it from the backups.  This was my backstop against not having everything necessary preserved in the shared folders.

Final Removal

The first sense of final decline was removal of HyperSnap-DX, my screen capture utility:

Removing the screen capture utility was much light dimming the lights as part of final operations

The next was removal of the backup software for the HP MediaSmart Server (the Windows Home Server system).  Although I could still access shared folders, it seemed as if I had finally cut off all communication with the SOHO LAN and other machines.  Any subsequent images could only be obtained by photography of the display.

Sweeping Up

With cessation of all further preservation work, I began eliminating any residue on the machine that I could.  I worked through and deleted folders in Program Files, Local Application Data, and anything else that still left me in control of the system.  Since I was not sure what I would do about the hard drive, I ran a defragmentation to obscure as much of the removed information as possible:

After cleaning out as much as I could without dsiabling the machine, I used the disk defragmenter to tidy up

There are more-drastic approaches to removal of personal data and files, but I figured this would be good enough.

Saying Goodbye

Before shutting down for the final time, I switched to the admin account and deleted my main profile and its files, something I almost forgot to do:

I was definitely finished when I deleted my own user account from the machine.

Once that was completed, I shut down the machine for the last time, leaving the single administrator account which is not allowed to be deleted and which also has nothing useful or interesting (it being used for administration and nothing else):

The final shutdown left only an adminstrator account and the bare operating-system on the machine.

Anatomical Gifts

After disconnecting Scampo, I removed the hard drive and the E-MU 1820M PCI and daughter cards

I will recycle the computer, putting it in the original packaging along with the cabling and a keyboard and mouse that I never used.

In packing the computer, I discovered a pair of audio speakers that I also did not need but that I can use for a time with my failing laptop, Compagno, and with my docked Tablet PC, Quadro, after that.

I removed the 250GB hard drive.  My intention is to adapt it as a swappable backup drive in my Windows Home Server.  I think this may be useful for backing up the WHS software and other material that is not protected by duplicate storage and backup onto USB drives. 

The other salvaged component is an E-MU 1820M digital audio subsystem.  The 1820M PCI board has a tap into the power supply (the connector on the left) that powers the separate audio-dock unit (not shown).  There is also a daughter card connected by ribbon cable to the 1820M PCI board.  The 1820M figured into my care in avoiding add-ons to the next machine that might deny room for addition of the 1820M and its power demands.  It remains unclear whether the Windows 7 version of the E-MU drivers will become available and work well enough now that the 1820M is no longer in production.

Afterthoughts

I am not embarrassed to personify an inanimate object, although to portray Scampo as falling into ill-health and decline is a little awkward.  It seemed appropriate because of the fight to keep things running long enough to have preserved everything that could be important later.  And once I adopted that tone, I simply persisted until this end point.

There’s some embarrassment of a different kind.  It seems that I should have kept Scampo running longer than the five years that lapsed before I decided to upgraded to a more-powerful system.  I had managed to keep computers running longer than this (and Compagno is now over 11 years old), with no difficulty about making upgrades.  But there was no way that Scampo was adequate for Windows Vista or Windows 7 and I definitely needed a 64-bit development system that provided substantial performance and expandability.

It still doesn’t seem right, even though the machine’s useful life had definitely ended and I am overjoyed to work with the new system.

 

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This page contains a single entry by Dennis E. Hamilton published on March 7, 2011 10:07 PM.

Web Deployment: Mitigating Windows 7 FrontPage Client Difficulties was the previous entry in this blog.

Live Hideout: Preservation and Repurposing as Live Writer Drafts is the next entry in this blog.

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