Sunday, 12 September 2010

Rebuilding an old computer to use the video capture card

HP Vectra
The past few days I have been rebuilding an old computer – boy, I forgot how much work it used to be to get a computer up and running. I want to digitize my analog home videos and I already bought the card to do it – but that was about 8 years ago and I have been a bit busy, so I have never gotten around to it.
To start with, I bought this computer about 10 years ago – no wait, that was the computer that this one replaced – I remember because my husband came in the door with the computer during the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and it was the first thing I did with the computer – look on the internet at all the chaos and videos and write an online article about it. (see below)

Anyway, I bought audio and video cards for it and set it up, but did not have time to use it much with the new babies and all, so my daughter started using it. Right. So, then it became her computer. Then it died and we went and bought a replacement at a refurbishing warehouse. Eventually, she wanted a laptop and this old computer ended up in the closet.
“So I hauled the old, beige Pentium III with 1 GB of Ram onto the desk it, hoisted the heavy, huge monitor up and pulled out my floppy disks out to set it up again – on Windows 98”.

ATI All-In-Wonder TV Tuner Card
First, I checked the computer to see if I could get away with just cleaning it up and installing the old ATI All-In-Wonder 128 video capture and TV tuner card. The computer was full of junk data and a nasty, persistent virus that would not be cleaned no matter how much I scrubbed. So out came Partition Magic and a new partition, formatted to NTFS was ready in about 5 minutes. I installed Windows 2000 first, applied Service Pack 4 and the hundreds of patches. Then the Creative Sound Blaster 16, which went on easily and came with some very nice software for audio editing. After that I searched for the old drives for the All-In-Wonder card. I finally found a driver site I trusted at the manufacture’s site, in the “archived” drivers section.


(Drivers for Discontinued ATI Rage™ Series Products for Windows 2000

Rage 128/Rage 128 PRO - Includes All-in-Wonder® 128 PRO, All-in-Wonder® 128, Rage Fury Pro, Rage Fury, Rage Magnum, Xpert 2000 PRO, Xpert 2000, Xpert 128, and Xper 99 products.)

When done, I installed Adobe Flash Player 10 so my husband can watch himself sing on YouTube (Blistercats) and we sat for a while watching all his videos. Then we went to bed.

In the morning, I tried hooking up the video camera and discovered that the video tuner did not work. After more Googling, I discovered that the video tuner will only work in Windows 98. Crap.

So, I needed to reimage again. Now that the hard drive had been reimaged a few times and since my husband’s hard drive had recently failed, I decided to wipe it clean with DataGone and write zeros. Took five hours.

PARTITITION MAGIC to the rescue after that. Boot floppy disks I have not used in years came out and blinded me with their dust. I repartitioned the hard drive and formatted it with a small FAT partition at the beginning to allow for Dos files to be loaded. I formatted the rest of the the 80Gig hard drive in FAT32. Alas, Windows 98 did not like the amount of FAT space I had allowed it, so I had to go back and resize the partition, allowing a generous 2 Gig this time.

Windows 98 did not find all the files it needed. I had to skip a lot of important files. So tonight, I finish the install and then load up the Creative Sound Blaster and the ATI All-In-Wonder card.

I hope to get all my old videos onto the computer and burned onto DVD (after I buy a burner) and then I will begin using only my new Canon Vixia HF M30 HD camcorder, which lets me capture video easily onto my laptop and edit it in Adobe Premiere.

I probably will need to use the Windows 98 driver, though. At AMD, the page is called:

TV Wonder™ PRO Drivers and ATI Multimedia Software for Windows 98/Windows 98SE/Windows ME
After many trials and error, the video capture now works. The sound, however, is not working. I will have to fiddle some more – with the Creative Labs Sound Blaster card.

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