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Other Worst set up computer you've seen?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Mac_Trekkie, 19 Jan 2012.

  1. Mac_Trekkie

    Mac_Trekkie Source Engine's #1 fan!

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    I just had to fix up a computer that was in the studio for a while putting out 3D video to a 3D monitor and TV. It had an i7 860 and a GTX 260. The 260 had its PCI ins powered by a single molex converter each, the CPU 8-pin was only a four pin, the GPU wasn't screwed to the expansion slots, so all the weight of the GPU was causing visible stress marks in the motherboard's PCB, the PSU was some OEM 300w with no PCI connectors, there were three different antivirus programs installed, and the CATALYST MOTHER****ING CONTROL CENTER! The ATi Catalyst control center, by the way, not the AMD one. I installed malwarebytes and it picked up about a dozen major viruses. I mean Christ it was a real mess. :wallbash:

    So what are the biggest messes you've had to fix for a relative/client/acquaintance?
     
  2. .//TuNdRa

    .//TuNdRa Resident Bulldozer Guru

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    On just the software end? My machine, about six months back. In the midst of tweaking my PC to automatically log on, but still retain the password; I de-admin'd my account.

    That took a while to fix.
     
  3. izools

    izools What's a Dremel?

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    Software wise I think one of my friends PCs.

    He bought a laptop second hand off some young woman - has a five year old installation of Windows Vista Home Premium x32 on it; no AV, and all still appears on my network when he pops over as "Linda-PC" (or whatever the previous owners name was)...

    Not to bad all in all as it runs some FPS games perfectly well despite having SiS integrated graphics...
     
  4. Almightyrastus

    Almightyrastus Rule #9

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    Pick any of our office PCs and have a giggle. I mean, who still uses novell? Macafee anti virus that is partially blocked from updating due to 'security policies', the same with most of the other software we use. Almost everything still on Xp - a new PC comes in with Win 7 64bit and IT have to remove it and put Xp 32bit on (although that is slowly changing).
     
  5. leslie

    leslie Just me!

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    Couple of bad ones...
    These aren't the worst, the worst ones need a post all to themselves so here are some highlights.

    One had 6mm of sticky tobacco/tar/smoke/dust coating almost everything, including dead roaches (probably died of cancer). I had to leave it outside because it stunk up the entire place. I think it all acted as a giant heatsink, because the fans barely turned.

    One computer suffered an electrical surge so bad that the capacitors in the power supply exploded so violently that they dented(!) the psu housing, another had crispy wires down to the hard disk due to lightning.

    Oh, and when the A\V scan hits 1000 infected files, just pull the plug and format. Trust me.


    By the way,
    Many boards will operate perfectly fine on a 4pin plug in an 8 pin socket. It's normal. Dual cores (in most cases) only need the 4pin, quads need the 8 for the extra juice. Similar applies to PCI-E connectors, so long as the power draw is low enough, it's fine the way it was. Peak power draw on a Nvidia 260 is around 180 watts, so 2 cords going to the PCI-E should cover it just fine since using all 4 would be capable of 300+.
     
    yassarikhan786 likes this.
  6. towelie

    towelie How do I Internet!!

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    Haha been there mate. My old place were like that well let keep everyone the same ,"that" application that was made 30 years ago won't work on 7 lol.There was even a windows 95 machine that had dial up to the bank to make payments i remember trouble shooting it like F**K havent used 95 in a while no usb slot a CD that had not been opened in possible 12 years that didn't work and a floppy drive for those massive floppy discs.

    Good times
     
  7. leslie

    leslie Just me!

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    This is long, but trust me, it's a good read on what not to to and how bad it can actually be.


    This isn't just a single computer, but an entire office of bad computers. Believe it or not, I'm leaving out a lot in order to keep this as short as it is. I could very easily write ten times this on this small office.



    I was called to Hell Office (my official name for it) after being referred by one of my best clients. They were in a jam and needed someone NOW who could help them. Hell Office as it turns out has a few computers, basically thin clients (the actual desktop is hosted by the server), and a server. The server is an older Dell P4 Xeon server w/raid running Windows Server 2003 and is handling their DNS, routing, authentication, remote desktop sharing (thin clients), email and file serving, all locked down like Fort Knox. It runs Norton Server\network A\V ($$$), has a fairly expensive hardware firewall, and what was once a $400 router. All running off what appears to be a fairly modern, industrial (and expensive) looking cable modem with built in router. I was rather impressed when I saw everything. While it's all older hardware, it was all quality high end stuff. I had never even seen a setup like this outside big business, which I don't handle and don't want to handle.

    Now I understand remote desktops and such, I use them all the time, but this is a step above what I'm used to. This is corporate level stuff. So here I am trying to learn on the job on an emergency call, late in the afternoon, on Friday, with no passwords.

    Wait, what!?

    Before I get to that, let me tell you what it all is connected to and what is all this equipment and security actually being used for? It's used by 5 (completely computer illiterate) realtors to access real estate websites and run a real estate office as well as web access for the real estate agents who operate out of there. Internet Explorer, MS Office and Quickbooks is the extent of their programs pretty much. All of that security protects a grand total of 8 very basic computers.

    I was called in because the former I.T. guy had walked out after the company was bought out. He still had remote access and they needed that stopped. When the I.T. guy walked, he also took all of the passwords with him. Passwords, contacts, routing tables, network port maps, you name it. It's 8 computers, other than the passwords, it's not a big deal. Uh huh... You will see.

    With that out of the way, let me explain a bit about Hell Office.
    All printers are networked, however, instead of using a network port, they are connected through usb to the thin clients, all of which are various Windows XP machines of various age (all of which run like dogs), and all authentication still runs through the server. In fact all print jobs run entirely through the server, using accounts and passwords of people that have not been there in years. This bogs down the server, the thin client and the network, but, it's only 8 systems you say...

    Now when I say the systems run like dogs, I don't mean greyhounds. The best/fastest system in the place is a Core2Duo with 2gigs of memory. Not bad you say. Well, it takes 5 minutes to boot to login(!). No, really. Then it takes a further 5 minutes to load the thinclient desktop (that doesn't start until you log in). Don't ask me how they did it, there is no viruses or anything. No insane programs. In fact loading up the admin desktop for the machine itself, all of which is local, takes the same amount of time. I don't know how long it took to update Adobe Acrobat Reader (from 5? to 10!), I don't want to know.

    Now, most of the systems were relatively clean, and they put the Norton client A\V on, but because of how the permissions are it was never able to run, clean or even update. Worse, they locked down the system in this way, with the viruses still on them. A few had serious infections and keyloggers, though they couldn't do much because again, everything was locked down and of course no one had the passwords or the know how to do anything about it anyhow and they were not on the remote desktop and therefore most were not running, luckily.


    So obviously, it's bad, but you haven't seen nothing yet.
    Inbound traffic goes from the (high end) cable modem/router which is set in bridge mode to the switch (the router), to the server, to the firewall, back to the switch (the router), to the 24 port hubs (2) which also connects to a Belkin wireless router (in bridge/access point mode) attached, then out to the desktops.

    In case you missed it, that means everything is actually in front of the firewall. Their server, containing the companies data is not only in front of the firewall, but is also doing the routing from in front of said firewall. Did you also happen to catch the fact that their $400 router is acting as an 8 port switch? The Cable Modem router is not being used, or that there is two 24 port HUBS, yes hubs, not switches, being used for only 8 computers. While 8 would be fine, remember, all data passes through twice and goes through the server which is out of space, low on memory and generally over-worked, and there is a LOT of data flowing.

    This means that to print, the job has to make the entire system. This happens even if you are at the computer the printer is operating at. Remember the desktop is being rendered through the network and all traffic is going through hubs, not switches, so there is constant collisions and the entire office comes to a crawl any time anyone prints, which happens to be about every 5 minutes. Half of the prints are high resolution color flyers for homes. I won't even get into the printers themselves, which is another disaster entirely.

    Oh, and while there is 48 ports for 8 computers, there is actually closer to 70 ethernet cables coming from the wall, without patch panels. So there is around 50 cables coming from the wall hooked to various ports on the hubs and switches, with no idea of where they all go and another 20 not connected at all. Some lead to the next office down, some are connected, some are not. Not a place to be butterfingers and drop an end. It's only a few people and a few computers, but it's a big office, mostly empty, at one point probably had offices for 40 agents, so there is lots of empty ports. Those 40 agents, only used printing and internet, not the remote desktop. So again, the entire system was overkill.

    Did I mention the cheap off brand, external usb backup drive sitting right alongside the server (which I doubt works), or that the server hard disk is partitioned so that C drive is just under 40 gigs, but is also full? Or that while the sever itself has an UPS, it's old, off brand, small, and only hooked to the server. Or that the power cords for all of the server and routers are connected to three power strips hanging from hooks on the walls inside a small hot closet connected to a single outlet... On the same circuit as the heating and cooling for the office. While the server sits a few inches off the floor, the cords don't (despite the strips hanging) and it's all only 6 feet away from the water heater and a drain. A drain that has been known to back up and flood.




    And no, it's not all straightened out yet.
    Not even close, and while there is a reason behind this madness, it's another long story. I do what I can to keep them running, but they haven't really made any indication they want to actually fix the issues, they have no interest in it. So long as things run, even poorly, it doesn't matter. Business is business, and computers are computers. I figure between 6 months to a year they will have to make a major decision and investment to finally deal with the issues once their work comes crashing to a halt. It's already happened once but I was able to get them up and going again with a temporary fix. Bandages only work for so long.
     
  8. suragh

    suragh Derp

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    The ones at school I work with (I am a technician) are Lenovo PC's which are utter crap. When I went to college I used those bog standard dell PC's which take years to load up windows XP lol.
     
  9. j4mi3

    j4mi3 What's a Dremel?

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    any of the computers at my old school (except the one in the recording studio which had a xeon and was only allowed to be used by people studying music tech)

    they had like some intel dual core (not sb) 4gb 1066mhz ram and thats it. they came with windows 7, but the admins had blocked quite literally 90% of features. all you got was your desktop with one icon, the recycle bin, and your documents folder and internet.

    they were slow as fuk even with nothing on them
     
  10. Margo Baggins

    Margo Baggins I'm good at Soldering Super Moderator

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    Thats because kids at school are bad and do bad things haha. I had to do a job a few months ago at a edu place in london, had to set up a computer room of 20 pc's that weren't on an active directory, so had to set up a group policy on all the machines to limit most functions of the pc's - but this is because the kids (i say kids, it is actually a college, so i guess young adults) put pictures of cocks and other profanity up on the screens for parents evenings etc. Unfortunately, edu pc's are always going to be locked down, because youths are bad, and also the schools often cant afford to keep getting them fixed because someone decided to click something daft.

    hopefully going to be doing some work for these guys, they are old clients of the company I work for, havent been our clients for sometime, but hopefully we might get them back, currently looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    I like how some of the fly leads are really tight with tensions, especially those going between racks! Guess what first port of call will be, and guess who is lowest in the pecking order....
     
  11. Virus44

    Virus44 What's a Dremel?

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    Have fun then (sarcasm intended) :D
     
  12. deathtaker27

    deathtaker27 #noob

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    easy answer to the above wiring cabinet, wait for half term and start again, will be easier
     
  13. legoman

    legoman breaker of things

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    Id love to tell you about my horrendous network but im not allowed to by law.

    What i can say is im a network admin on a network in two languages with over 12 domains for UK users alone and our thin client network contains around 17,000.00 virtual machines with around the same number of physical machines (laptop and desktop).

    Also I got lost in a server farm last week :geek:
     
  14. Cookie Monster

    Cookie Monster Multimodder

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    I have no stories to compete with you lot as I'm just the family and friend's "expert".

    But I can beat that by a good 14,500 infections or so. I let it run just for a laugh and it got to somewhere past 15,500 and I formatted it.
     
  15. izools

    izools What's a Dremel?

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    A public office I was working at a couple of years ago had the same server room in County Hall as they've had since the days of the IBM 360 series mainframes in the last '60s.

    They had retained the original air conditioning and wiring but now had multitutes of rackmount servers, reasonably up to date for a public sector organisation.

    The bad bit?

    During the summer months the AC would cause the ring main to overheat resulting in brownouts.

    The solution? Turn off the AC, open up all the doors and windows, and stand mahoosive fans besside the entrances and windows to get airflow through the server room. This was fine until one day a fire started in the wiring cabinet at the other end of the corridor because the other circuit the fans were on couldn't handle the load.

    The building was evacuated and the women's toilets in the lower ground floor was oblitterated. We had to call the fire brigade obviously, but we got the building evacuated and the fire brigade arrive prior to the fire triggering the automatic fire alarm.

    I left shortly thereafter but as I understand this finally prompted them to have their antiquated pre-microprocessor era wiring and air conditioning replaced :p I hope they purchased some smoke / fire / heat detectors that actually work, too.

    Sidenote: They'd only replaced their Halon with FM200 a couple of years prior, i.e. over five years after Halon was outlawed...
     
    Last edited: 19 Jan 2012
  16. Mac_Trekkie

    Mac_Trekkie Source Engine's #1 fan!

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    Must say, these are some fascinating stories. I really can't compare to Hell Office. Keep em coming, guys!
     
  17. leslie

    leslie Just me!

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    That's all fine and good on your own, but when customers are paying you by the hour you need to pull the plug before the bill tops the cost of 2 new systems plus install.

    As much as I'm curious on some of these computers, the one chance I had to sit and wait, the scan was going to take nearly 50 hours to accomplish.
     
  18. Farting Bob

    Farting Bob What's a Dremel?

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    My uncle knows very little about computers but likes to have something up to date. After always getting OEM's from Dell etc he decided he would take the plunge and build his own. He asked by dad to help him put it together when everything turned up. My dad sent me an email saying what parts my uncle has decided on.

    This was last year btw, just after Sandy birdge chips were out i believe.

    CPU: Athlon x3 chip, cant remember the model number.
    Motherboard: An Intel P55 (Yes, a good start here...)
    RAM: 16GB of DDR3 (which cost a hell of alot still)
    GPU: Nvidia 580 (we dont know why, he doesnt play anything more stressful than the sims and flash games)
    HDD: FIRST generation Raptor HDD. I think it was the 140GB version, something around that.
    Screen: a 32" "HD Ready" TV with 1366x768. My god the pixels! They are so square!
    Case: A unknown brand £20 job with a box that optimistically called itself a power supply.

    My dad told him to send back the PSU/case, GPU, screen and either CPU or motherboard, and to sell half the RAM. My dad then told him exactly which parts to buy, not to deviate from the list at all for any reason. In the end he saved hundreds (mainly from the crazy GPU choice) and got a far better computer.


    Worst software setup i ever saw was at my school, back in 1999. Not many computers there, the ones we were allowed to use were horribly out of date even then. Windows 95 as standard, although a few 3.1's and macs floating about. For some reason they were all locked down so we couldnt install stuff (fair enough point) except 1 single computer in the library, which had admin rights. My god, you should have seen the **** that was on there. Probably more viruses than ever seen on a single computer before, pop ups every few seconds. just about any program (except an anitvirus of course) that anybody in the school had ever thought to download, all torturing this computer for 9 hours a day. It must have had about 100 processes running in the background, the lag on moving the mouse was painful, turning it on and getting windows fully loaded up took half an hour.
     
  19. ninjaplease

    ninjaplease I don't know what I'm doing

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    Visited my grandparents a few months back, clicked on IE (I had no choice) and I kid you not there was about 2" of screen left below all the toolbars.. Or there was the time I opened up my mum's desktop to see why it kept turning off randomly and there was a dead mouse in one of the case fans, further searching led to a nest of shredded old family photos next to the PSU. I guess it's a logical place..
     
  20. izools

    izools What's a Dremel?

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    Like this?

    [​IMG]
     

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