We’re are in and the computers are now up and running.

However everything was not as rosy as I’d hoped and I still have a slightly sour taste in my mouth.

First my main machine had developed a problem regarding booting – it would take about 3 attempts to boot. It would load fine until it was supposed to do the final mode switch to the desktop and it would just black screen and go no further. Since the moment of death was just as it was switching resolutions I thought it was a driver problem. I thought my suspicion were confirmed when after a reinstall the problem came back immeadiately after a reformat.

But I am getting ahead of myself – the reformat was the problem.

I needed to first back up C: drive and in particular the Documents and Settings folder. So after booting into safe mode, I selected everything on C (Windows, Program Files, Documents and Settings) and dragging it to the E drive I went away and made myself a cuppa.

I came back to find the machine still sat on “Preparing to copy files”. It was still there 15 minutes later. Not wanting to waste anymore time on it I opened the command prompt and navigated to the respective directories and entered the command “xcopy c: /E” and away it went. Then about an hour later the drive had finished copying and I rebooted to let the Windows CD do it’s stuff.

As well as the problem with the graphics card I also had the problem of not having the CD for the Creative Labs Live! 5.1 Digital card. Creative have the annoying business logic of not allowing you to install a sound card from the drivers on their website. They only allow you to upgrade the drivers from a previously installed set. Also the age of the card meant concrete information was hard to come by on the internet. Or maybe I was just using the wrong search parameters.

When I had the machine open to install the wireless network card I checked the graphics card. The bvlo was (and still is) held in by two screws. Even it looked like it hadn’t moved I decided to reseat it while the case was open in the off chance that it was that was causing my range of problems. Turned out it was. Should of checked earlier really, but with two screws holding it in you would guess it would be pretty secure.

So my machine was booted, the picture was sharp and crisp, the sound card was making all the right bleeps and internet was streaming bits into my home. Time to copy everything I had moved back. But it wasn’t there. Application Data wasn’t there, Local Settings wasn’t there, nor was the other half dozen directories that normally live in the user directory there. Had I done my research properly and not been in so much of a hurry I would of used the modifiers /H /E.

So what did I lose? The previous 4 years of email and instant messages, which is why Google’s online storage of email and chat is so good (pity not many people actually use the chat): Lose your system settings due to stupidity or just bad luck you won’t lose your continuing record. However it is useful to have a separate system that is suitable for newsgroup and mailing lists.

Then there was my file server which is still experiencing teething troubles which I will leave until they are sorted…