Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Fresh Start

I’m posting this from a gleamingly fresh copy of Windows XP Home. I reformatted the hard drive on my laptop, and stuck a crisp new installation onto it.

Long time readers, or those who know me well, will now be assuming two things:

  1. that I managed to backup 5GB of data somehow
  2. that I had trouble installing XP Pro

And they’d be right on both accounts.

Firstly, the backup. After a bit of help from my all-time best buddy Tom, I was able to set up a P2P network (read: glorified direct cable connection) with my parent’s computer – I’d tried it in the past but failed, due to the fact that I didn’t have IPX/NetBIOS installed (doh!). And, within the hour, all my data had been copied to their machine – it would have been done quicker had it not been for the fact that they only have an AMD K6-2 400Mhz – it’s not exactly the fastest machine in the world, especially when running XP…

I then created some boot floppies for XP Pro, since my laptop cannot boot from CDs (which is strange considering that almost all computers since 1999 can, but there you go…). Notice the plural – XP Pro requires no less than 6 floppies to boot the setup program. To put that in to context, Windows for Workgroups 3.11 (the first version of Windows we had at home) could be installed entirely from 6 disks, though this was 10 years ago.
I ended up doing this twice – I accidently forgot to change the disk so ended up with no disk 4… ooops… Anyway, I got setup running, and then, just as it started to copy the installation files, it hiccuped. It couldn’t read the files from the CD, even after multiple retries. Eugh. Time for Plan B.
I dug up the Windows 98 CD that came with my parent’s computer. I’d used this as the basis for my previous XP installation (an act that I would advise against), so I knew that it would install. I reformmated the hard disk, and installed it, without any problems. I then whipped out the XP Pro CD, and tried to install again. It wouldn’t. Something tells me that the CD is coastered. Darn. Time for Plan C.

My laptop came with Windows XP Home pre-installed, and a recovery+ CD. I say ‘recovery+’ because this isn’t you average recovery CD. You can have it return your system to its factory settings if you like, but you can also use it like any OEM XP Home CD – either by installing over your existing installation, or installing it fresh. Which is what I did.

I was even able to ditch the Windows 98 folders, so that it was installing to a clean hard disk. So now I have XP Home running on a full XP kernel, not one that was upgraded from 98, and I’m already noticing the speed difference.

So, it’s XP Home. Yes, I’d like to be using Pro, but any version of Windows is better than none, and Home is the nearest thing. I could have 98 running, but since it predates my hardware it’d take days to download all of the drivers and get them installed (fortunately SiS makes most of my hardware and they produce drivers for anything and everything, including Linux). Also, I’ve been using XP for 18 months now, and it’s certainly my favourite MS OS so far. Though I will be installing Mandrake 9.1 on here very soon.

Now that the system is running, my first step will be to get it patched up – I’m downloading SP1(a) now, and will add the remaining patches during tonight and tomorrow. Then I’ll download Mozilla – using the Infernal Exploder for even a few minutes has made me realise how much I hate the damn thing.

So, it’s been an eventful, if somewhat stressful day. Now the installation fun begins :).


  1. With all this downloading, you can tell you are on broadband!

  2. Hell yeah! I’d hate to have to download SP1 on a 56k connection…

  3. I have 🙂

  4. Poor you :(. Actually I know several people who have downloaded it in chunks using the BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service) feature of XP. I turned it off to conserve memory.

  5. neil, for gods sake, Get a life, please, don’t do any more of this crap, its not funny and it really is a nerd forum. at least don’t make jokes about this sort of stuff, Quote,’Hell yeah! I’d hate to have to download SP1 on a 56k connection’ WHAT???!!! that is the least funny thing in the world part two. (you twat)

  6. I agree with Bill.

  7. Did I say I was trying to be funny? Look, if you don’t like what you read, don’t read it. There’s billions of other web sites out there to look at – it’s not like anyone’s forcing you to read this.
    Oh, by the way Bill, I wouldn’t post inflammatory comments using a York College connection, if I were you.