Matt Carberry (kingpin248) wrote,
Matt Carberry

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Almost enough to drive me to the world of Mac...

...but not quite.

Nearly two weeks ago, I was rolling on BitTorrent in pursuit of an important ingredient in the maintenance of most people's sanity, despite the general reluctance of the fairer sex to admit it. That's right, I was downloading porn. Not content with the wonder of RedTube and other such sites, I sought to add to the collection on my personal drives. After bringing in one particular file, I tried to view it, and got a notification that something malicious had been detected. The more I looked into it, the more frustrated I was with what I saw. The word "rootkit." Volumes of tech support forum posts containing registry entries. More safe mode boots that one should have to endure in a lifetime. Finally, after a few days without success, and with a noticeable drag on the computer's performance, I decided to proceed with the "nuclear option" - format the hard drive and reinstall the operating system.

I didn't get a copy of Windows Vista with this computer, but I did have a copy of XP Professional. In the course of my troubleshooting research, I discovered that one could not install XP onto a computer that previously carried Vista. I figured that formatting the hard drive would remove that restriction. If you know anything about computers, you know that I just committed a serious personal fail there. The hidden recovery partition - ironically enough, the "X drive" on my computer - still recalled the existence of Vista, and it couldn't be overwritten. So there I was, with neither an operating system nor a means if installing one. I called it quits for the night, a decision influenced heavily by the facts that it was already 12:30 at night and that the next day was the opening day of classes at college.

After the classes and lunch, I pondered whether to attempt to acquire Vista via the Internet, thanks to the old computer now in the use and care of my mother. I decided to instead resolve this problem by paying for a fresh copy of Vista. The first place I looked, the Wal-Mart in East Meadow, had it on sale for a hundred dollars. I wanted to at least look at Best Buy, although I highly doubted they'd come with a lower price. But when I got there, I was blown away by the number I saw - $199.99. Bitch, say what? Are somebody's synapses misfiring? You really think I'm going to pay double what Wal-Mart wants? Please. I continued on to another Wal-Mart and paid up.

Once I got home, I proceeded immediately to the install. First I tried the product key on the copy of Vista I'd bought. I was swiftly rejected, being informed that I'd have to work from a previously installed copy of Windows. Not so much an option. Had I really wasted $100 plus tax on a product I couldn't use? Only one path remained open - using the product key on the bottom of the computer. I typed it in...

...and away the installation went. In the following hours, I repeatedly gave thanks to my external hard drive. The last time I did a clean reinstall and recovery - four and a half years and two computers ago - it took nearly half a day to get everything back to normal. Having all the important stuff backed up on a single drive - including install files of several important programs - my computer had been recovered around five hours after I'd commenced the Vista reinstall. And a lot of the unimportant software that was present when I bought the thing was no more. Most certainly not a pleasant experience, and a time sink to boot, but at least I did come out a little bit ahead. Unfortunately, this might make me less inclined to upgrade to Windows 7 immediately after it comes out next month...
Tags: insanity

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