Really Concerned About Upgrading HP Pavilion to XP Pro


S

Sid Joyner

Hi All:

I would appreciate some advice.

A friend of mine just recently purchased a HP Pavilion a350n from Amazon
which is pre-loaded with HP's OEM version of XP Home. My friend would like
for me to set it up and would like the capabilities of XP Pro; e.g., ability
for me to remote desktop to his computer for occasional maintenance,
possibly running IIS services such as a web server or ftp server.

I am really concerned about this upgrade. I tried a similar upgrade to a HP
Pavilion computer a few weeks ago with XP Home and the upgrade process
crashed. It destroyed the recovery partition and the DVD and CD-ROM drives
would not read and copy all the files during the upgrade process from the
Windows XP Pro CD. The drives would read 95% of the files but not all of
them. Making it more bizarre, depending on the drive I used (DVD or CD), it
would have problems reading and copying different files from the CD.

After working on this A LOT for 2 days and using a couple of different XP
Pro CDs (in case the new one I bought from Office Depot was defective) and
having the same problems, I finally got a install to complete with a clean
install (why this time, I don't know...). However, a lot of the drivers did
not install correctly - the ethernet card, the sound card, etc. Surely I
would think the generic XP drivers on the Microsoft XP Pro disk would
support this HP hardware.

Bottom line is I've done many a Home to XP Pro upgrade and never run into
such problems. I eventually concluded that the machine and the drives were
defective and took it back to Circuit City. I couldn't imagine that a
company like HP would produce a computer that couldn't be upgraded to XP
Pro.

I totally understand that HP will not give technical support for a computer
where the OS has been upgraded. I don't care about that. I don't ever expect
to call them for technical support and get anyone who can give me great tech
support anyway. And don't really care about the recovery partition if it's
destroyed by the process. I expect to backup and set my own restore points
anyway.

I've seen some posts here that implies I'm not the only one who has had
problems upgrading Pavilion machines to XP Pro. So I need some advice:

1. Has anyone done this without a hitch? Did you do a clean install or can I
use the XP Pro upgrade process from Windows so i can keep the installed
applications?

2. Is there any other unusual concerns I should have about this process?

I just can't believe that a person can buy a XP computer from anyone in this
day and time that can't be upgraded to XP Pro from the Microsoft CD. But
after my last experience and from some scary posts on this newsgroup, I'm
concerned about the process.

Thanks. Sorry about the long post.

Sid
 
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B

Ben Myers

Sid,

As you might imagine, approach any XP Pro install on a Pavilion with great
caution. Why would an XP Pro install be problematical?

1. The Pavilion line is sold by HP as a consumer computer, not intended for
business use. And XP Pro equates with business use. These computer companies
all fail to understand the fine lines of dinstinction among home, SOHO, small
business, medium business, and corporate or enterprise business. So they
arbitrarily draw the line between corporate/enterprise and consumer/SOHO/small.
What separates the two? Pavilions, like other consumer computers are made
cheaply, with cheap components, and the barest minimum of research and
development historically associated with design of computers. In fact, the
Pavilion line is still probably built by Daewoo of S. Korea or perhaps some
other contract electronics manufacturer. HP's contribution to the so-called
design consists entirely the HP BIOS splash screen logo and the HP colors and
shapes of plastic on the outside of the case. Oh, yeah! The price is cheap
too. Well, people get what they pay for.

2. One other small part of the HP "R&D" effort is to pre-load the operating
system software onto the hard drive including all drivers, some of which are not
normally found on the Windows XP Home CD. Drivers are not present on a Windows
OS CD for one of two reasons: They are completely oddball ones, not used
anywhere else. They are for chipsets designed AFTER the Windows OS shipped,
hence cannot possibly be included on the Windows OS CD. I suspect that the
chipsets on the A350N are not oddball. Neither HP nor anyone else can afford to
specify oddball chipsets for products any more, due to heavy price competition.
By carefully scrutinizing the chips on the motherboard and all add-in card, one
can determine what drivers are needed and where to get them. Hint: Not from the
HP web site, which rarely has drivers to download for its computers, except
those with the Compaq brand. That's what you would have to do if you wanted to
install XP Pro correctly on the system.

If any of this sounds like a defense of HP's policies and practices, the reader
is sorely mistaken. But... BUYER BEWARE. Unfortunately, niether HP nor any
other name brand manufacturer tells you these things before you buy, so it is
hard to beware, isn't it? Nevertheless, buying a computer on the cheap is bound
to lead to some disappointment somewhere along the way. Why didn't your friend
spend a few bucks more to buy a decent computer? Why? Because he is probably
like all the other computer buyers, who flock like lemmings to supposed
bargains. And you know what happens to lemmings.

So that's an explanation which would be corroborated by HP if someone were
allowed to talk. I am not sympathetic to either HP or your friend.

.... Ben Myers
 
N

notreallyme

Hey Ben! If you are so disgusted with HP, then why are you contributing to
this newsgroup?
 
S

Sid Joyner

HI Tom:

Thanks for your reply.

You're absolutely right; same thing happened to me - the sound, ethernet,
and VGA adapter. I don't exactly remember the model number but it was a
Pavilion with a 2.08 GHz Athelon chip and 120 MB drive.

Ben raises some good point in a post reply in other newsgroupls I sent this
post to. You might want to look at his response in comp.sys.hp.hardware and
microsoft.public.windowsxp.setup_deployment. Basically, he's saying that HP
makes their computers from such cheap oddball components, that the drivers
are not found on on the XP Pro CD. He also suggests that you probably won't
find those drivers, even on the HP website. However, it looks to me that HP
has a support section for the Pavilion a350n with a complete XP driver
section at
http://h20015.www2.hp.com/en/softwareList.jhtml?reg=&cc=us&prodId=hppavilion
371643&lc=en&plc=&softitem=Microsoft%20Windows%20XP&sw_lang=en&pagetype=soft
ware. It looks as though if the drivers for these components don't install
from the pro CD, I should be able to download these drivers beforehand and
put them on a CD and load them independently.

I'm nervous about this and haven't made a decision about it yet. But wish me
luck.

Sid

Tom Nowak said:
Join the club. I have a Pavilion 515n loaded with XP Home. Because I
like to program, I loaded XP Pro on it. The 1st time I did it, the system
would not recognize the sound, ethernet port, and VGA adapter. I
re-formatted the hard drive (wiping out the recovery partition), and tried
again. This time, the only the VGA adapter does not work. My kids can't
play games on the computer without it, so I ended up buying a new video
card. Best of luck to you.
 
S

Sid Joyner

Hi Ben:

Thanks for your information. It sounds logical and valuable.

This computer is a HP Pavilion a350n. It's an Intel 2.8 GHZ machine with
Nvidia GeForce 440 MX graphics, etc. When I had problems last time, it was
with the VGA adapter, ethernet, and sound card drivers after trying the XP
Pro upgrade. But it appears that all the XP drivers are available for
download at
http://h20015.www2.hp.com/en/softwareList.jhtml?reg=&cc=us&prodId=hppavilion
371643&lc=en&plc=&softitem=Microsoft%20Windows%20XP&sw_lang=en&pagetype=soft
ware. If I download these to CD prior to performing the upgrade, I would
think I could reload them if they're not available on the XP Pro CD during
installation.

My decision at this point is do I want to chance this at all. To play it
totally safe, I could put a third-party remote desktop application (PC
Anywhere?) and a third-party ftp server like Bulletproof FTP on the machine.

Also, I'm worried that if the Pro upgrade from Windows fails, the only way
to reinstall Pro would be a clean install, wiping out all the pre-installed
applications. I guess if that happened, I do have the recourse of having HP
send me the 7-CD recovery disks and restore it to a pristine condition.

As for your comments about the computer being "cheap", it's one of the
higher priced HP models. And I can't believe that Gateway or Dell are any
better. And between those three, you're talking about a huge part of the
total PC market share. I'd share your thoughts about "not having sympathy"
if he went and bought an off-brand, extremely cheap PC to save money. But
we're talking about a higher-end mainstream computer from the computer
manufacturer who sold more PCs than anyone in the world in Q4 2003 (even
topping Dell). I wouldn't expect to have to buy an expensive niche computer
to have good support on this issue.

Anyway, thanks for your help and response.

Sid

Sid,

As you might imagine, approach any XP Pro install on a Pavilion with great
caution. Why would an XP Pro install be problematical?

1. The Pavilion line is sold by HP as a consumer computer, not intended for
business use. And XP Pro equates with business use. These computer companies
all fail to understand the fine lines of dinstinction among home, SOHO, small
business, medium business, and corporate or enterprise business. So they
arbitrarily draw the line between corporate/enterprise and consumer/SOHO/small.
What separates the two? Pavilions, like other consumer computers are made
cheaply, with cheap components, and the barest minimum of research and
development historically associated with design of computers. In fact, the
Pavilion line is still probably built by Daewoo of S. Korea or perhaps some
other contract electronics manufacturer. HP's contribution to the so-called
design consists entirely the HP BIOS splash screen logo and the HP colors and
shapes of plastic on the outside of the case. Oh, yeah! The price is cheap
too. Well, people get what they pay for.

2. One other small part of the HP "R&D" effort is to pre-load the operating
system software onto the hard drive including all drivers, some of which are not
normally found on the Windows XP Home CD. Drivers are not present on a Windows
OS CD for one of two reasons: They are completely oddball ones, not used
anywhere else. They are for chipsets designed AFTER the Windows OS shipped,
hence cannot possibly be included on the Windows OS CD. I suspect that the
chipsets on the A350N are not oddball. Neither HP nor anyone else can afford to
specify oddball chipsets for products any more, due to heavy price competition.
By carefully scrutinizing the chips on the motherboard and all add-in card, one
can determine what drivers are needed and where to get them. Hint: Not from the
HP web site, which rarely has drivers to download for its computers, except
those with the Compaq brand. That's what you would have to do if you wanted to
install XP Pro correctly on the system.

If any of this sounds like a defense of HP's policies and practices, the reader
is sorely mistaken. But... BUYER BEWARE. Unfortunately, niether HP nor any
other name brand manufacturer tells you these things before you buy, so it is
hard to beware, isn't it? Nevertheless, buying a computer on the cheap is bound
to lead to some disappointment somewhere along the way. Why didn't your friend
spend a few bucks more to buy a decent computer? Why? Because he is probably
like all the other computer buyers, who flock like lemmings to supposed
bargains. And you know what happens to lemmings.

So that's an explanation which would be corroborated by HP if someone were
allowed to talk. I am not sympathetic to either HP or your friend.

... Ben Myers
 
C

Ceg

I recently bought one of the Pavillion a305w boxes and am having one helluva
time trying to figure out the specifics on upgrading the RAM for it. I get
conflicting advice on whether to buy ECC or non-ecc, parity or non-parity.
Can you enlighten me? Thanks.

Sid Joyner said:
Hi Ben:

Thanks for your information. It sounds logical and valuable.

This computer is a HP Pavilion a350n. It's an Intel 2.8 GHZ machine with
Nvidia GeForce 440 MX graphics, etc. When I had problems last time, it was
with the VGA adapter, ethernet, and sound card drivers after trying the XP
Pro upgrade. But it appears that all the XP drivers are available for
download at
http://h20015.www2.hp.com/en/softwa...Microsoft Windows XP&sw_lang=en&pagetype=soft
ware. If I download these to CD prior to performing the upgrade, I would
think I could reload them if they're not available on the XP Pro CD during
installation.

My decision at this point is do I want to chance this at all. To play it
totally safe, I could put a third-party remote desktop application (PC
Anywhere?) and a third-party ftp server like Bulletproof FTP on the machine.

Also, I'm worried that if the Pro upgrade from Windows fails, the only way
to reinstall Pro would be a clean install, wiping out all the pre-installed
applications. I guess if that happened, I do have the recourse of having HP
send me the 7-CD recovery disks and restore it to a pristine condition.

As for your comments about the computer being "cheap", it's one of the
higher priced HP models. And I can't believe that Gateway or Dell are any
better. And between those three, you're talking about a huge part of the
total PC market share. I'd share your thoughts about "not having sympathy"
if he went and bought an off-brand, extremely cheap PC to save money. But
we're talking about a higher-end mainstream computer from the computer
manufacturer who sold more PCs than anyone in the world in Q4 2003 (even
topping Dell). I wouldn't expect to have to buy an expensive niche computer
to have good support on this issue.

Anyway, thanks for your help and response.

Sid

Sid,

As you might imagine, approach any XP Pro install on a Pavilion with great
caution. Why would an XP Pro install be problematical?

1. The Pavilion line is sold by HP as a consumer computer, not intended for
business use. And XP Pro equates with business use. These computer companies
all fail to understand the fine lines of dinstinction among home, SOHO, small
business, medium business, and corporate or enterprise business. So they
arbitrarily draw the line between corporate/enterprise and consumer/SOHO/small.
What separates the two? Pavilions, like other consumer computers are made
cheaply, with cheap components, and the barest minimum of research and
development historically associated with design of computers. In fact, the
Pavilion line is still probably built by Daewoo of S. Korea or perhaps some
other contract electronics manufacturer. HP's contribution to the so-called
design consists entirely the HP BIOS splash screen logo and the HP
colors
and
shapes of plastic on the outside of the case. Oh, yeah! The price is cheap
too. Well, people get what they pay for.

2. One other small part of the HP "R&D" effort is to pre-load the operating
system software onto the hard drive including all drivers, some of which are not
normally found on the Windows XP Home CD. Drivers are not present on a Windows
OS CD for one of two reasons: They are completely oddball ones, not used
anywhere else. They are for chipsets designed AFTER the Windows OS shipped,
hence cannot possibly be included on the Windows OS CD. I suspect that the
chipsets on the A350N are not oddball. Neither HP nor anyone else can afford to
specify oddball chipsets for products any more, due to heavy price competition.
By carefully scrutinizing the chips on the motherboard and all add-in card, one
can determine what drivers are needed and where to get them. Hint: Not from the
HP web site, which rarely has drivers to download for its computers, except
those with the Compaq brand. That's what you would have to do if you wanted to
install XP Pro correctly on the system.

If any of this sounds like a defense of HP's policies and practices, the reader
is sorely mistaken. But... BUYER BEWARE. Unfortunately, niether HP nor any
other name brand manufacturer tells you these things before you buy, so
it
is
hard to beware, isn't it? Nevertheless, buying a computer on the cheap
is
 
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C

Carey Frisch [MVP]

Visit www.crucial.com and use the free RAM configurator.

--
Carey Frisch
Microsoft MVP
Windows XP - Shell/User

Be Smart! Protect your PC!
http://www.microsoft.com/security/protect/

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


| I recently bought one of the Pavillion a305w boxes and am having one helluva
| time trying to figure out the specifics on upgrading the RAM for it. I get
| conflicting advice on whether to buy ECC or non-ecc, parity or non-parity.
| Can you enlighten me? Thanks.
 
S

Sid Joyner

Under the FAQ section of the HP Customer Care section for the Pavilion
a305w, there a entry for "Memory Specifications and Upgrading RAM". Here's
the link:
http://h20015.www2.hp.com/en/taskPageSelect.jhtml?reg=&plc=&lc=en&cc=us&prod
Id=hppavilion362754&pagetype=faq&docparent=faq

Hope it's what you're looking for.

Sid

Ceg said:
I recently bought one of the Pavillion a305w boxes and am having one helluva
time trying to figure out the specifics on upgrading the RAM for it. I get
conflicting advice on whether to buy ECC or non-ecc, parity or non-parity.
Can you enlighten me? Thanks.

Sid Joyner said:
Hi Ben:

Thanks for your information. It sounds logical and valuable.

This computer is a HP Pavilion a350n. It's an Intel 2.8 GHZ machine with
Nvidia GeForce 440 MX graphics, etc. When I had problems last time, it was
with the VGA adapter, ethernet, and sound card drivers after trying the XP
Pro upgrade. But it appears that all the XP drivers are available for
download at
http://h20015.www2.hp.com/en/softwa...Microsoft Windows XP&sw_lang=en&pagetype=soft
ware. If I download these to CD prior to performing the upgrade, I would
think I could reload them if they're not available on the XP Pro CD during
installation.

My decision at this point is do I want to chance this at all. To play it
totally safe, I could put a third-party remote desktop application (PC
Anywhere?) and a third-party ftp server like Bulletproof FTP on the machine.

Also, I'm worried that if the Pro upgrade from Windows fails, the only way
to reinstall Pro would be a clean install, wiping out all the pre-installed
applications. I guess if that happened, I do have the recourse of having HP
send me the 7-CD recovery disks and restore it to a pristine condition.

As for your comments about the computer being "cheap", it's one of the
higher priced HP models. And I can't believe that Gateway or Dell are any
better. And between those three, you're talking about a huge part of the
total PC market share. I'd share your thoughts about "not having sympathy"
if he went and bought an off-brand, extremely cheap PC to save money. But
we're talking about a higher-end mainstream computer from the computer
manufacturer who sold more PCs than anyone in the world in Q4 2003 (even
topping Dell). I wouldn't expect to have to buy an expensive niche computer
to have good support on this issue.

Anyway, thanks for your help and response.

Sid

intended
for SOHO,
small fact,
the colors which
are not a
Windows that
the Not
from the the
reader nor
any
so
cheap
 
B

Ben Myers

Sid et al,

Not quite. Here is what I said earlier: "Drivers are not present on a Windows
OS CD for one of two reasons: They are completely oddball ones, not used
anywhere else. They are for chipsets designed AFTER the Windows OS shipped,
hence cannot possibly be included on the Windows OS CD. I suspect that the
chipsets on the A350N are not oddball. Neither HP nor anyone else can afford to
specify oddball chipsets for products any more, due to heavy price competition."

In short, HP motherboards most likely have standard chipsets for which the
drivers are not present on the Windows XP CD. NOT oddball ones.

Having restated my point, I must confess to thinking that the Athlon's chipset
support is less ubiquitous than Intel's 810, 815, 820, 845, 850, 865 and 875
mobo chipsets. Are the Athlon chipsets oddball? No, not really. Just less
prevalent than Intel's... Ben Myers
 
B

Ben Myers

Well, some people appreciate honest and frank answers, especially when the
responses lead the way to some problems solved.

I am as disgusted with HP as I am with the whole computer industry which is
attempting to carry planned obsolesence to an extreme that we have never ever
seen prior to computers. (Buying a new car or washer or dryer or TV or
refrigerator is and was never like this.) Part of the trend is to build
computers so cheaply that it is more cost-effective to throw them away than it
is to upgrade either hardware or software. Another piece of the action is
Microsoft's apparent collusion with name brand vendors (especially printers and
scanners, and especially HP products) by changing software driver APIs with
every new release, thereby causing device drivers to break. So the device
driver breaks, the name brand vendor (read HP here) chooses either to not do any
driver for the new release or to do a bare-bones minimal driver (read HP inkjets
and printer-scanner-copier inkjet products here). So then the device becomes
unusable with the new release or it is usable with much reduced capabilities,
and the owner has the bad choice of replacing a still perfectly functional
device or using it as minimally supported by the new operating system release.

The above scenario has been reported 1000x over in this and other newsgroups by
frustrated computer owners. Neither MicroBloat, nor the name brand
manufacturers, nor the led-around-by-the-balls trade press have a shred of the
common decency to disclose any of this in advance of a sale. So somebody buys a
new computer with XPee, and finds out they also have to throw money into a
bottomless pit to replace still-useful software, printers, scanners, etc.

Um, don't get me started... Ben Myers
 
G

Guest

Sid:

I have an old HP Pavilion 8595C (circa 11/99) that used to
be Win98. I always assumed I could get out of any jam
with the HP First Aid Recovery CD, HP System Recovery CD,
and HP Application CD. Not so .... Read on for my tale
of woe, and the solution which may work for you, too.

Last week I finally upgraded all my apps and data to a new
Best Buy eMachines T3265, and decided to repartition the
old HP8595C as a spare for learning. Then yesterday, I
tried to revive a year-old interest in Solaris 2.8 for
x86. I dug out the Sun disks and tried again more care-
free. Big mistake. This time, the failure was so
dramatic that I trashed the entire system.

Last year, I had used V-Com System Commander 7 to protect
myself by hiding partitions. Since I didn't bother this
time, SC7 couldn't fix my mistake. Since I didn't really
need anything on the box, I then tried to use SC7 to
delete and recreate the partitions. Also, no luck! I
gave up and went for the HP recovery.

Now, the bootable HP First Aid Recovery CD, which I was
trying to use for the first time couldn't even recognize
the system as an HP, and refused to proceed to the HP
System CD. Maybe it was because I had a different video
cardBut I could get into the DOS directory of First Aid,
and ran FDISK, which saw a number of garbage partitions.

I used FDISK to delete the garbage, and created a new
primary 2G FAT. Did that fix it? Not yet. First Aid
still wouldn't recognize it as an HP box, and XP Home
upgrade wouldn't recognize any of my OEM recovery disks
for any of my computers.

I was about to give up when I spotted an HP Win 95
Companion CD in my collection. That confused me since I
can't remember buying this or any other HP box with Win95
or upgrading to Win98. But it saved the day, since XP
Home upgrade accepted it. (I didn't think XP Home would
upgrade Win95, but I am not looking a gift horse in the
mouth.)

At that point, I successfully installed XP Home with 170MB
free in the 2G FAT partition. I then reinstalled SC7 and
converted the 2G FAT to a 10G FAT32. It runs fine now.

Next week, I am upgrading to XP Pro, since this XP Home is
only temporary -- I can't use it for real since it is
already installed on another machine. I don't expect next
week's upgrade to give me any more trouble. Hopefully, it
will be a lot less trouble.

e-mail me privately, for an update either way (yours or
mine).

Good luck,
Walt
 
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G

Guest

Sid:

I have an old HP Pavilion 8595C (circa 11/99) that used to
be Win98. I always assumed I could get out of any jam
with the HP First Aid Recovery CD, HP System Recovery CD,
and HP Application CD. Not so .... Read on for my tale
of woe, and the solution which may work for you, too.

Last week I finally upgraded all my apps and data to a new
Best Buy eMachines T3265, and decided to repartition the
old HP8595C as a spare for learning. Then yesterday, I
tried to revive a year-old interest in Solaris 2.8 for
x86. I dug out the Sun disks and tried again more care-
free. Big mistake. This time, the failure was so
dramatic that I trashed the entire system.

Last year, I had used V-Com System Commander 7 to protect
myself by hiding partitions. Since I didn't bother this
time, SC7 couldn't fix my mistake. Since I didn't really
need anything on the box, I then tried to use SC7 to
delete and recreate the partitions. Also, no luck! I
gave up and went for the HP recovery.

Now, the bootable HP First Aid Recovery CD, which I was
trying to use for the first time couldn't even recognize
the system as an HP, and refused to proceed to the HP
System CD. Maybe it was because I had a different video
cardBut I could get into the DOS directory of First Aid,
and ran FDISK, which saw a number of garbage partitions.

I used FDISK to delete the garbage, and created a new
primary 2G FAT. Did that fix it? Not yet. First Aid
still wouldn't recognize it as an HP box, and XP Home
upgrade wouldn't recognize any of my OEM recovery disks
for any of my computers.

I was about to give up when I spotted an HP Win 95
Companion CD in my collection. That confused me since I
can't remember buying this or any other HP box with Win95
or upgrading to Win98. But it saved the day, since XP
Home upgrade accepted it. (I didn't think XP Home would
upgrade Win95, but I am not looking a gift horse in the
mouth.)

At that point, I successfully installed XP Home with 170MB
free in the 2G FAT partition. I then reinstalled SC7 and
converted the 2G FAT to a 10G FAT32. It runs fine now.

Next week, I am upgrading to XP Pro, since this XP Home is
only temporary -- I can't use it for real since it is
already installed on another machine. I don't expect next
week's upgrade to give me any more trouble. Hopefully, it
will be a lot less trouble.

e-mail me privately, for an update either way (yours or
mine).

Good luck,
Walt
 
B

Ben Myers

Sid,

Interesting URL you supplied. This leads me to believe that there is an
ex-Compaq hand in structuring driver downloads. The file names all have the
Compaq SPnnnnnn.exe nomenclature, where SP stands for service pack. This URL
also represents a 1000% improvement over the not too helpful motherboard support
garbage associated with older systems. Maybe my (and others, too) bitching and
complaing on this newsgroup got thru to Carly and friends.

The other way to go about it would be to download the nVidia drivers from the
nVidia web site, and the motherboard-related drivers (audio, Ethernet,
underlying chipset) from the Intel web site. Another URL tied to the one you
reference describes the motherboard as an "ASUS P4SD-LA without Integrated
Graphics", and states that the board uses the Intel 865 chipset, very much a
standard chipset which was designed and shipped AFTER XP was released, hence the
absence of 865 chipset (and nVidia MX400) drivers on the Windows XP Pro (or XP
Home) CD.

Once again, these chipsets are not oddballs, just fairly standard ones designed
after XP was released. This sort of thing happens all the time with computers
and operating systems, which is why I have become accustomed to reading
identifiers on chips... Ben Myers

Hi Ben:

Thanks for your information. It sounds logical and valuable.

This computer is a HP Pavilion a350n. It's an Intel 2.8 GHZ machine with
Nvidia GeForce 440 MX graphics, etc. When I had problems last time, it was
with the VGA adapter, ethernet, and sound card drivers after trying the XP
Pro upgrade. But it appears that all the XP drivers are available for
download at
http://h20015.www2.hp.com/en/softwareList.jhtml?reg=&cc=us&prodId=hppavilion
371643&lc=en&plc=&softitem=Microsoft%20Windows%20XP&sw_lang=en&pagetype=soft
ware. If I download these to CD prior to performing the upgrade, I would
think I could reload them if they're not available on the XP Pro CD during
installation.

My decision at this point is do I want to chance this at all. To play it
totally safe, I could put a third-party remote desktop application (PC
Anywhere?) and a third-party ftp server like Bulletproof FTP on the machine.

Also, I'm worried that if the Pro upgrade from Windows fails, the only way
to reinstall Pro would be a clean install, wiping out all the pre-installed
applications. I guess if that happened, I do have the recourse of having HP
send me the 7-CD recovery disks and restore it to a pristine condition.

As for your comments about the computer being "cheap", it's one of the
higher priced HP models. And I can't believe that Gateway or Dell are any
better. And between those three, you're talking about a huge part of the
total PC market share. I'd share your thoughts about "not having sympathy"
if he went and bought an off-brand, extremely cheap PC to save money. But
we're talking about a higher-end mainstream computer from the computer
manufacturer who sold more PCs than anyone in the world in Q4 2003 (even
topping Dell). I wouldn't expect to have to buy an expensive niche computer
to have good support on this issue.

Anyway, thanks for your help and response.

Sid
 
W

Walt Kraslawsky

Sid:

sorry ... forgot to change the Sender info before
submitting.

Walt
 
S

Sid Joyner

Thanks Ben:

That being said, I think I have found all the HP Pavilion a350n-specific XP
drivers on the HP Customer Care site. Here's the URL:

http://h20015.www2.hp.com/en/softwareList.jhtml?reg=&cc=us&prodId=hppavilion
371643&lc=en&plc=&softitem=Microsoft%20Windows%20XP&sw_lang=en&pagetype=soft
ware.

If I download these to CD prior to upgrading to XP Pro, I'd think I'd be
safe. Wouldn't you?

Thanks Ben for your time.

Sid

Sid et al,

Not quite. Here is what I said earlier: "Drivers are not present on a Windows
OS CD for one of two reasons: They are completely oddball ones, not used
anywhere else. They are for chipsets designed AFTER the Windows OS shipped,
hence cannot possibly be included on the Windows OS CD. I suspect that the
chipsets on the A350N are not oddball. Neither HP nor anyone else can afford to
specify oddball chipsets for products any more, due to heavy price competition."

In short, HP motherboards most likely have standard chipsets for which the
drivers are not present on the Windows XP CD. NOT oddball ones.

Having restated my point, I must confess to thinking that the Athlon's chipset
support is less ubiquitous than Intel's 810, 815, 820, 845, 850, 865 and 875
mobo chipsets. Are the Athlon chipsets oddball? No, not really. Just less
prevalent than Intel's... Ben Myers
 
B

Ben Myers

Sid,

Yes, burn a CD with all the drivers for the system at the HP web site. That
should work out. In a way, the most critical one is the network driver. Once
the system is up and running with a network connection, it is very easy to
download additional drivers if required... Ben

Thanks Ben:

That being said, I think I have found all the HP Pavilion a350n-specific XP
drivers on the HP Customer Care site. Here's the URL:

http://h20015.www2.hp.com/en/softwareList.jhtml?reg=&cc=us&prodId=hppavilion
371643&lc=en&plc=&softitem=Microsoft%20Windows%20XP&sw_lang=en&pagetype=soft
ware.

If I download these to CD prior to upgrading to XP Pro, I'd think I'd be
safe. Wouldn't you?

Thanks Ben for your time.

Sid
 
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F

Frank

This whole situation with proprietary PC's is really sad.
I read in these forums problem after problem that is really
costly to the end user. This is not a matter of being cheap
it is a matter of being locked into something. What if your
HDD goes bad? You now have nothing, no software, no
data, nothing.

Sid Joyner said:
Hi Ben:

Thanks for your information. It sounds logical and valuable.

This computer is a HP Pavilion a350n. It's an Intel 2.8 GHZ machine with
Nvidia GeForce 440 MX graphics, etc. When I had problems last time, it was
with the VGA adapter, ethernet, and sound card drivers after trying the XP
Pro upgrade. But it appears that all the XP drivers are available for
download at
http://h20015.www2.hp.com/en/softwa...titem=Microsoft Windows XP&sw_lang=en&pagetyp
e=soft
ware. If I download these to CD prior to performing the upgrade, I would
think I could reload them if they're not available on the XP Pro CD during
installation.

My decision at this point is do I want to chance this at all. To play it
totally safe, I could put a third-party remote desktop application (PC
Anywhere?) and a third-party ftp server like Bulletproof FTP on the machine.

Also, I'm worried that if the Pro upgrade from Windows fails, the only way
to reinstall Pro would be a clean install, wiping out all the pre-installed
applications. I guess if that happened, I do have the recourse of having HP
send me the 7-CD recovery disks and restore it to a pristine condition.

As for your comments about the computer being "cheap", it's one of the
higher priced HP models. And I can't believe that Gateway or Dell are any
better. And between those three, you're talking about a huge part of the
total PC market share. I'd share your thoughts about "not having sympathy"
if he went and bought an off-brand, extremely cheap PC to save money. But
we're talking about a higher-end mainstream computer from the computer
manufacturer who sold more PCs than anyone in the world in Q4 2003 (even
topping Dell). I wouldn't expect to have to buy an expensive niche computer
to have good support on this issue.

Anyway, thanks for your help and response.

Sid

Sid,

As you might imagine, approach any XP Pro install on a Pavilion with great
caution. Why would an XP Pro install be problematical?

1. The Pavilion line is sold by HP as a consumer computer, not
intended
for
business use. And XP Pro equates with business use. These
computer
companies
all fail to understand the fine lines of dinstinction among home,
SOHO,
small
business, medium business, and corporate or enterprise business. So they
arbitrarily draw the line between corporate/enterprise and consumer/SOHO/small.
What separates the two? Pavilions, like other consumer computers are made
cheaply, with cheap components, and the barest minimum of research and
development historically associated with design of computers. In
fact,
the
Pavilion line is still probably built by Daewoo of S. Korea or
perhaps
some
other contract electronics manufacturer. HP's contribution to the so-called
design consists entirely the HP BIOS splash screen logo and the HP
colors
and
shapes of plastic on the outside of the case. Oh, yeah! The
price is
cheap
too. Well, people get what they pay for.

2. One other small part of the HP "R&D" effort is to pre-load the operating
system software onto the hard drive including all drivers, some of
which
are not
normally found on the Windows XP Home CD. Drivers are not present
on a
Windows
OS CD for one of two reasons: They are completely oddball ones, not used
anywhere else. They are for chipsets designed AFTER the Windows
OS
shipped,
hence cannot possibly be included on the Windows OS CD. I suspect
that
the
chipsets on the A350N are not oddball. Neither HP nor anyone else
can
afford to
specify oddball chipsets for products any more, due to heavy price competition.
By carefully scrutinizing the chips on the motherboard and all
add-in
card, one
can determine what drivers are needed and where to get them.
Hint: Not
from the
HP web site, which rarely has drivers to download for its
computers,
except
those with the Compaq brand. That's what you would have to do if
you
wanted to
install XP Pro correctly on the system.

If any of this sounds like a defense of HP's policies and
practices, the
reader
is sorely mistaken. But... BUYER BEWARE. Unfortunately, niether
HP nor
any
other name brand manufacturer tells you these things before you
buy, so it
is
hard to beware, isn't it? Nevertheless, buying a computer on the
cheap is
bound
to lead to some disappointment somewhere along the way. Why
didn't your
friend
spend a few bucks more to buy a decent computer? Why? Because he
is
 
B

Ben Myers

It's the combination of proprietary and cheaply built that costs the consumer in
the long run. Cheap because HP won't include the Windows XP Home restore CD in
the box with the system, like (Harrumph!) Dell does. Cheap and proprietary
because HP squeezes everything into tight spaces inside the computer, like a
slick expensive sports car. Maintenance costs are the same as an expensive
sports car, too, 'cause you pay a premium for one of the HP power supplies with
unusual shape and size and INSUFFICIENT wattage. Cheap, because the power
supply is underpowered, making it risky to add anything to the inside the
chassis, even something so simple as an add-in card or a stick of memory.
Cheap, because the power supply is cheaply made with low quality standards,
leading to more frequent burnouts of power supplies. Proprietary, because the
damned chassis is so hard to disassemble. Ever try to upgrade the memory in a
Pavilion where the DIMM sockets are located beneath the power supply? Ugh! The
add-in memory doesn't cost much, but I have to charge my clients for the
ridiculously long time it takes to do a careful memory upgrade.

This summarizes my experiences providing service, repairs, and upgrades for all
manner of computers, HP and other brands... Ben Myers

This whole situation with proprietary PC's is really sad.
I read in these forums problem after problem that is really
costly to the end user. This is not a matter of being cheap
it is a matter of being locked into something. What if your
HDD goes bad? You now have nothing, no software, no
data, nothing.
 
S

Sid Joyner

Hi All:

Just to finish up this thread I started and report back on the final
verdict. It wasn't good...

I decided to upgrade the XP Home on the HP Pavilion a350n to XP Pro. I used
the Upgrade (recommended) process instead of the clean install. (I was
trying to salvage the apps that came pre-installed on the box.) As soon as
the upgrade process went to reboot for the first time to copy the
installation files to the disk (very early in the process), upon reboot, I
get the blue screen of death - ProcessInitializationFailed. It was
impossible to get by this screen upon rebooting without doing a clean
install and overwriting the Windows installation on disk. (I didn't FDISK
the thing, although I probably should have.)

I then proceeded to install XP Pro, reinstall the drivers from the HP
Customer Care web site I had diligently downloaded in case of this disaster,
updated the OS with the XP service packs and other Windows updates, and now
I have a fairly clean, fast installation to build upon. I even found the
original drivers and some other pre-installed software in a hidden folder on
the C: drive (C:\HP). You'll be seeing some further posts from me requesting
some advice on getting it where I want it; e.g., reallocating the ~6 GB
recovery partition to C:, recovering the memory card reader icons in My
Computer (hope I can do that), etc.

Bottom line: the upgrade from XP Home to XP Pro on the HP Pavilion totally
sucked. But it's a fairly fast machine and it didn't take that long
rebuilding it. It would have probably taken me that long to go through all
the crap trial softwares and games installed that they put on the system to
start with.

Thanks for everyone's help.

Sid
 
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D

Dave

I 've had a HP Pavilion 541C for about a year and a half. I got so fed
up with their OS, recovery partition and incompatibilites that I decided to
start from scratch. I added a second hard drive, did a clean install of XP
Home (retail not HP) to it and migrated my data from the old drive to the
new one. Then I wiped out the original drive and am using it to store
backups and data. I did some research and found that the motherboard was an
MSI board (MS-6367) with Nvidia onboard video and sound. I was able to get
drivers that worked from Nvidia and get the new install running fine without
any of the outdated HP drivers. In fact, it's running as good as any OS
ever has for me. I haven't had any problems with the power supply when
adding hardware. I added the second hard drive and a DVD-RW.
 

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