BIOS? Why does this still matter?

Fri, 09/06/2013 - 13:43 -- webmaster

When turning on this computer and logging in, I have to take some steps that just seem insane in this day and age. Since this computer isn't going to be mine for much longer I do need to document these issues.

First, while the system is in the very early stages of booting up I have to hit the Delete key to enter the BIOS settings, right arrow three times to get to the correct page of settings ("Boot"), down arrow to a setting ("Hard Drive BBS Priorities") that allows me to select which hard drive is the one that it will even attempt to boot from ("Boot Option #1"), change that setting (to "P2: Samsung SSD 840 PRO Series"), and then hit F4 to save and reboot. I have to do this each time because apparently the BIOS can save every configuration detail except that I want to boot from the SSD drive (which has the OS installed on it) instead of the slower hard drive (which doesn't).

Second, during boot up the system waits for two full minutes just to try getting a network connection. I don't have to do anything but wait, but it seems ridiculous to have to wait for something I know is going to fail. Which leads me to...

The third weird thing I have to do when starting up this computer is to, once logged in, open up a terminal and enter the following command "sudo service network-manager start" which actually starts the network service that took two minutes to fail during bootup.

The fact that in this day and age, after a few decades of building so-called commodity computers, things can be this messed up is a real shame. I know a good IT guy with years of experience troublshooting hardware and Linux could probably fix these things, but Internet searches have been no help. It just doesn't make sense to me that a new BIOS on a new motherboard can't properly handle finding the one drive that has the OS on it. On top of that, the very idea that the networking component can fail seems absurd - especially since networking is a necessity. Just how in the hell can that even fail? There just shouldn't be any conditions where a network card can fail, other than obvious ones like "the cable isn't plugged in" or "the WiFi router is turned off".

Unbelievably, the wired Ethernet port on the motherboard doesn't work; but only sometimes. It had been working until it just decided to stop. And then for a while it was working again, for no known reason, then it stopped again. Thankfully I was able to download a pre-compiled WiFi driver from some random website that some random forum post that I found while searching for an answer pointed me to. But given that Ethernet has been a known commodity for decades, it not working seems crazy.

I know a lot of computers do seem to just work, most of the time. But they should pretty much always work, and tell you in plain English what the real problem is when they don't.

Content Category: