A while back I started converting an older laptop, Dell M1730, and had the best intentions to setup a media center with Ubuntu. I stumbled into problems right away with the graphics card, but was able to overcome then. At least I thought. I setup a VNC server, plex, and started into setting up a VPN account. But no matter how little memory and processor throughput that I used the computer simply could not play a video without skipping. After a lot of work I discovered that there where issues with the graphics card causing hardware interrupts. After way too much time, I’ve finally tossed in the towel.
So rather than continue to eat up more time I’ve wiped the computer and loaded Windows 7. With a fresh install I started updating all the drivers and wham, my pc started going so slow, unusable slow. Again the culprit was the graphics card, specifically the Aegis physics processor. Even after an uninstall the computer couldn’t recover. Fortunately, I was able to revert back to all the defaults. I also found out that one of my external USB hard drives had failed and was causing windows to lock up. After some work on that I found out the drive really did fail and fortunately the drive was still under warranty and Seagate replaced it in 4 days.
Now I have a very simple pc setup as a media server with two 3TB external hard drives. I used Plex to share my videos. I have UltraVNC Server setup to remote into the laptop when I need to do something as I keep closed up and tucked under the entertainment center. I use GoodSync to backup from our computers and cell phones to an external drive and mirror the content to the other external drive. Finally, I have setup SoftEther for a VPN server so that I can get into our home network remotely. I would have to say this setup was much much easier than Ubuntu and it is working.