Sometime Tuesday, my laptop crashed. I don’t know exactly what happened, except when I woke up, the machine had powered itself off and would not get past its POST. I power-cycled the machine several times, expecting different results. No, I’m not crazy; computing is just that nondeterministic.
I undocked the laptop and tried again. This time, it had made it past the BIOS select screen. (See!) Anticipating the usual 5 minute boot cycle, I went to get breakfast.
Something horribly wrong happened when Windows 2000 tried to bootstrap itself: “a missing file.” The error message wasn’t going elaborate, but it did suggest booting from the system disk and using the “recover” option. Yurp. I took my computer to work where I could tend to it and still be productive on my other machine.
The “recovery” option is a waste of time if the operating system is horked because it depends on a floppy disk-based system backup. You know, those little square things that hold “up to 1.44Mb?” Yeah, I’m sure I have one somewhere among my pile of cassette tapes, 1/4″ cartridges and 9-track reel tape. I had to reinstall the OS.
Installation was designed for the the least common demominator of circa 1999 PC. My first task was to jack the video resolution to something beyond 640×480, but I needed a special driver. On my work machine, I downloaded two of the meaty service packs (SP4, Internet Explorer 6), the video driver, and the wireless LAN software onto CD to get started. Each requires a reboot. Thank God I had something better to do while this was happening.
When the machine connected to Windows Update, there were 28 critical fixes, 7 recommended fixes (including the stupid “Journal Viewer”), and six driver updates. Super. That’s just the operating system..
Installing my set of applications, their patches/service packs/drivers/add-ons, freeware, and shareware took a couple of nights. During that time, I’ve run the various spyware, anti-virus, and disk utilities trying to diagnose the original problem. Everything looks chirpy.
Now for the obvious questions:
If there are any awstats hackers that want a smallish project to help track link spammers, I’m interested in two small modules and am willing to toss in $50 each for them.
Linux is an option for next time, especially since
OpenOffice.org is supposed to be very stable now and Firefox rocks.
A second reason is I still have a lot of data I need to move, and Linux support for NTFS is lacking. That will be taken care of next.
Except for this experience, Windows 2000 has been very stable and securable. I don’t have that level of confidence with Windows XP.