- 1 Overview
- 2 Backup change
- 3 Flaky Monitor
- 4 Virtual Machines
EJBDESK1 was getting slower and slower, particularly when running SolidWorks, and the USB ports seemed to be getting flaky, so I replaced it with a newer HP machine and called it EJBDESK. The old ejbdesk1 moved to the shop downstairs. It is now EJBSHOP. EJBDESK came with Windows 10 home, which I upgraded to Windows 10 Pro for its RAID functionality.
This is an HP ENVY Desktop computer, model 750-415. I bought it at Best Buy, probably sometime in 2018.
- Motherboard - Odense2-5
- Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-6400 CPU @ 2.70GHz, 2712 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s)
- Memory - Shipped with 8 GB, upgraded to 16 GB
- Hard Drive 1 TB, upgraded to 1 TB SSD (SanDisk SDSSDH31000G)
- DVD Burner drive, disconnected to free up the sata port.
- Added 4 TB software RAID1 for content storage.
- USB 3 expansion card
- BIOS AMI A0.14, 1/11/2016
- BIOS mode UEFI
2 HP z24i ZDisplay 1920x1200 monitors.
For email, I use gmail on the web, which forwards emails from email@example.com
Most of the content raid is synchronized with a Synology file server and backed up by Code42 small business backup, both locally and on the cloud. The local backup drive is a 4TB Lacie ruggedized USB drive.
For a system drive, I use a 1TB SSD, which I periodically clone. With the SSD, this is a much better/faster machine that it was with the original drive.
Security is NORTON 360 and I run Private Internet Access VPN on this machine and other Windows 10 machines in the house.
Photo editing software is Adobe Creative Cloud with a photographer subscription.
Video editing software is Vegas Pro V18.0, which is probably overkill for me, but I got 16.0 with a great discount, and the upgrade was not that bad. I don't want to end up having to spend big bucks on new software after letting stuff get too old. This is very good editing software.
Virtual Machine software is Oracle Virtualbox and I run Windows XT (for old Corel Draw software) and Ubuntu virtual machines.
Sound still drives my old Cambridge Soundworks speakers with subwoofer. This has been on four different computers.
Crashplan for small business is not really working for me anymore. Recently, moderate sized files like 300MB videos have gone 2 or 3 weeks without getting backed up. Archive maintenance takes up a lot of time, and during maintenance, no backups get done. 99% backed up on a 2.5TB archive still leaves a lot of stuff not backed up, including recent media files. My backup for media files also includes my Synology NAS, which synchronizes with my content raid, so I am somewhat covered. Research reveals interesting alternatives. I am going with iDrive, which offers service for multiple computers and different price points for different archive sizes. The 5TB level is cheaper than Crashplan, and they offer one courier backup per year for free, so I can ship them an archive on a hard drive they provide to seed the cloud archive. I does take days to create a local archive. I am 59% complete in 53 hours on a new LaCie 4 TB drive and the courier drive is on the way, so hopefully I can just copy the archive to the courier drive when it arrives. iDrive does not maintain both the local and cloud archives at the same time, but doing this manually should not be a problem.
iDrive initial backup
When I ordered the iDrive Express device for seeding the cloud archive, I started a local backup to a 4TB drive to get a head start and maybe copy that one to the seed drive they sent me. But they don't want me to do that, and they want me to leave the drive formatted to exFat instead of ntfs. Besides, the initial backup was taking forever, so there was no way it would finish on time. I might clone the iDrive Express to my local drive before I send it back.
Why was it taking forever?
I think I worked it out. Included in the backup file list, I had AppData, which has a huge number (553,876) of small files adding up to about 30 GB. I think that because it has to index the contents of the archive, the sheer number of files just clobbered it. And there is really no reason to back that stuff up. Part of my backup strategy is periodically making system drive clones, which will include that kind of stuff. Once I got the iDrive express device, which is a 4 TB Seagate USB3 drive just like the one I was using, I removed the AppData directory from the backup set, and only included files that I really care about. That backup completed in about 50 hours.
Initial local backup drive
Before I returned the express device with the seeding archive to iDrive, I cloned it the drive I originally tried to back up to with all of the tiny files. I used Macrium Reflect for this and it ran over night. So now I have a local backup archive to start with. It is formatted exFat, which would not have been my original choice, but it works fine.
Backing up other devices
iDrive charges by the total archive size, not by the device, so as long as I keep below 5TB, I can back up as many devices as I want to. I started by making an archive for EJBYOGA, which is about 50 GB. I will probably add AIBIMAC and EJBSHOP.
One of my HP monitors (Z24i model D7P53A) is flickering during cold start for 5 to 10 minutes. I am guessing it is a power supply issue. It also seems to have a slight backlight flaw in the upper quarter, but this might be part of the same issue. I moved that monitor to the secondary monitor position and will live with it until it gets worse. So far, it is solid after the startup period of 5 to 10 minutes. I found a used power supply board for this monitor on ebay for $25 with free shipping, so I ordered it to have on hand.
Replaced the power supply. Not fixed
I took the monitor apart and installed the replacement from ebay. A little tricky to open the monitor. The bezel snaps onto the main body of the monitor with no fasteners. There are a couple of screwdriver slots on the bottom edge. A quick twist starts to disengage the plastic closures, and you can work around the bezel from there. Nothing breaks, so it is pretty easy. On the back of the monitor under the stand attachment are four screws that hold the back cover on. Once you have the bezel removed and those four screws out, the back cover comes off, revealing the sheet metal electronics chassis. There are a few connectors that need to be parted, and the electronics chassis can be separated from the back of the display and flipped over. There are two boards, the larger of which is the power supply. I found that it was easiest to remove both of them so I could get at the connection between them. Once I replaced the power supply board, and put it back together, reconnected the monitor and turned it on. Looks like the flicker is gone.
After letting it sit over night...not fixed. Same flicker. Again, it calms down after a few minutes. Maybe something on the logic board or the backlight itself. The upper 20% is still slightly darker. I will live with it until it gets worse...
Update: Replaced Monitor
I moved the bad monitor to my shop machine, where it is working adequately, but I assume will eventually fail. There is now a dark area in the middle bottom, but for the stuff I do on that machine, this is not a big deal. I did try replacing the logic board, which was very cheap on ebay, so all of the electronics has been replaced, so I assume the backlight itself is failing. I replaced my primary monitor on EJBDESK with a new HP Z24i G2 monitor, which is the updated version of the bad one. They are exactly the same size, except the new one has a very thin bezel, and fits better on the table top.
I am running Oracle VirtualBox with three virtual machines:
Windows 11 Preview
Since Windows 11 was announced, I had to give it a try. As a Windows Insider member, I was able to download the installation ISO for the development track, and it installed fine without major issues. The user interface has changed some, but it does not seem that different from Windows 10. This installation does not require activation, so as an evaluator, I can use it until the real product is released.
I installed this years ago so I could run my ancient licensed version of CorelDraw. The XP license is from an old machine that no longer works.
Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS
I don't use this a lot, but I like to have the latest version handy. My shop machine is a dual boot setup with Ubuntu and Windows 10, so if I want to do serious Linux stuff, I use that. This virtual machine's name in the network is ejbdesk-ubuntu-vb.