I picked up a printer from Freecycle a couple of weeks ago: an “All in one” unit made by Dell, which has a scanner and a color printer and a fax machine all built in.
They asked me for a photo id at my new job. I thought they wanted a photo for an ID, so I put on a shirt and tie and had my wife take a few shots, outside in the morning light. The funny part was that I couldn’t find the cord that connects my camera to my laptop, but after hunting in all the usual place, I remembered something that I had noticed-in-passing while reading the laptop’s documentation, and I took the memory stick out of the camera and plugged it into the special port on the front of the laptop that’s made just for that purpose.
I sent the best one in, but I got a call and they told me that they were looking for a copy of my drivers license instead, I guess because everyone has to check that kind of stuff now. No problem, I told them: I’ve got a scanner right here.
… Except it wouldn’t scan. The Dell website has drivers for everything up to windows Vista, but nothing for the Windows 7 OS that’s in the laptop. I tried to install the one for Windows Vista, and it didn’t work, and then I realized that the “Vista” drivers came in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors, so I downloaded the 64-bit version, and put that in instead. It worked fine.
Still, I’m a belt-and-suspenders kind of a guy, so I took the Dimension 4500 that I had just installed Ubuntu on, and put on Windows 2000 instead: I figured if the time came when my wife wanted to scan something, she’d need the machine in user-friendly condition.
The screen came up in 640×480 mode, and I realized that I was taking a trip down memory lane, back to the time before all the drivers in the world came bundled with Windows. There was no network connection, and the copy of Internet Exploder was doing just that every time I turned it on. I downloaded the Ethernet driver – thank you, Mister Dell, for Service Tags and your great website – and that got me to the point where I could acquire the video driver that allowed the screen to run at 1280×1024 again.
The drivers for the printer needed upgrades for some of the chipset software, and some of the I/O components, so I decided that I’d wait a while and see if I can borrow a copy of Windows XP from someone at the club: there’s a license tag on the machine, but I don’t have any media handy, at least not for the “Home” edition. Until then, Windows 2000 would have to do. I waved away the nostalgia, and set to work on fixing the DVD drive in the Dimension 600. It’s just not reading DVD’s anymore, so off I went to the recycling station, to try to get a replacement drive.
There wasn’t anything there except for an old HP machine, which had been stripped of RAM and the hard drive – funny how common that’s become, almost as if someone is doing it at the recycling center – but it still had a CD-RW and a DVD-RW in it, and I brought them home and took them out.
I had to open the DVD by hand, with a two penny nail, and I found a CD inside it, which was unlabeled. I popped it into the laptop, and found out that it was a copy of Windows XP Home Edition.
I still had to download SP2 from Microsoft, but you can’t have everything. Funny how things seem to work out like that sometimes: my desktop can print and scan and send faxes, and so can my laptop, and although XP isn’t the premier OS anymore, they still issue security patches for it, so for now, the 4500 is back in the Windows world, set up for duel boot with Lubuntu 13.04.