Reinstalling XP

My office computer going again after XP was reinstalled. The computer case is still open after I put a new hard drive into it.

My office computer after I had reinstalled XP Pro. The computer case is still open after I put a new hard drive into it.

A few posts ago I wrote about installing a new vanity unit at our Martinborough cottage and talked about unforseen things cropping up in simple jobs like this and the air turning blue – just like when one reinstalls Windows.

Since then I’ve actually had to reinstall Windows. The air turned blue and has remained that way.

The backup hard drive in my office computer had died and although it didn’t have the operating system on it, I decided the replacement 320Gb replacement drive should. My existing XP Pro system had been running for 2.5 years – long enough to have become flaky and long enough, when looking forward to using the computer for a couple more years, to consider drive reliability. I did all the correct backup things before I installed XP on the new drive. I backed up to my external 320Gb drive.

Then I went ahead and installed Windows. But wait – I had forgotten some things – the communications drivers and the sound card drivers. The latter I expected to have to reinstall, from a backup on the external drive. I hadn’t even considered the comms drivers and for a while, the new installation was crippled. Eventually a friend suggested that I investigate motherboard chipset drivers. This hadn’t been mentioned on the Asus motherboard site, and it’s never been an issue for me in the past when I’ve reinstalled Windows.

Fortunately I managed to find chipset software from a third-party site, and I was away laughing. Then I discovered that the newly set up system was refusing to recognise my external hard drive. That’s been a major hassle. I have no serious loss of business data because most of that was on the original drive that hadn’t been replaced. Key files were also sitting in cloud computing land through my Syncplicity online backup system. But my Outlook backup was a problem – it was only on the non-functioning external drive.

That drive is a mystery. I can see it via XP utilities, but Explorer won’t give it a drive letter or access it. I put the drive in another external drive box and that didn’t help. Then I took it to a repair shop and asked if they could look at it connected directly in a PC. (I couldn’t try that in my own box because it has SATA drives, the faulty drive is IDE and the bios won’t let them co-exist.) The repair shop couldn’t make the drive work either, but they had some tools that let them to ‘see’ the files on the drive. They think the data can be extracted OK. Tomorrow I’m going to ask them to grab the Outlook backup files and I’ll think about the other files some time in January.

As Fred, my computer-savvy friend in Florida says, “Always something…”

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