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May 25, 2008

Note from the underground

I know no one's surprised that I haven't posted anything over this three-day weekend. But I wanted to let you know that, aside from socializing today, I was busy formatting the hard drive on one of my computers and reinstalling Windows XP.

If you've never formatted and reinstalled, you don't know the pleasures you're missing. Why, just this evening, I had a chance to speak to Microsoft's representative in Redmond, India. I love the Indians, but he was just a little hard to understand. See, I had to call to activate the Windows software. My Dell restoration CD didn't boot, so I used a freestanding Windows CD I'd bought for another computer. When I tried to activate using the Windows key for the computer's OEM installation, it didn't work. It took me a while to explain this to the Microsoft guy, but finally, he read off the nine sets of six digits that allowed me to activate. Approximate elapsed time: 12 minutes. But a mere fragment of the time needed for the overall project.

I've given up for the night. Tomorrow morning is software installation time, followed by restoring my settings, followed by restoring my backed up files. All I can say is that I once had to restore a clone of my drive to a new hard drive, and it was a heck of a lot easier.

UPDATE (5/26): With time off to go the baseball game today (and get sunburned as all get-out), I'm about 95% of the way to restoring the computer. So I guess that means posting will resume soon.

UPDATE (5/27): Finally done with the tinkering. Let me say, though, that the unsung hero of this was Acronis TrueImage, a backup program that lets you clone your hard drive. I did a clone before formatting, and TrueImage allowed me to pick and choose what I wanted to restore. You still have to install software from scratch (assuming you're not simply reimaging your drive, which would defeat the purpose, anyway), but being able to select some file and not others, including the image on my wife's desktop out of gazillions of others, was a blessing.