Monday, September 01, 2008

in the interest of time,

i system-erased & reinstalled windows myself. i know nothing about this sort of thing so to prepare, i studied windows xp reinstall articles for a few days so that when the time came to boot from the disk, i would know what i was doing.

if this ever happens to you & you find yourself facing a reinstall, let me save you the time & headache of figuring this out for yourself-- windows xp reinstall articles from (or anywhere else on the web for that matter) are worthless unless it is literally your business to know how to reinstall windows or you are absolutely fascinated by this sort of thing & have a passion for researching it, in-depth, in your spare time.

the instructions appear to be a step-by-step how to, but are instead a poorly-lit path with a couple of barely-visable road signs. all major bridges are washed out, so the only way to get to the other side is to hit enter at each new screen that poses a question & hope for the best. it helps tremendously if you've got nothing to lose, which was the case for me. i could not get to safe mode (or any other mode) at all. the reinstall disk was either going to work or it was not. i certainly wasn't going to be doing any more damage to the system by hitting enter a few times.

here are my instructions on what you should do if you have to erase your hard drive & do a complete reinstall of windows, because we are not just about baking & fashion here, apparently:

1) stick the reinstall CD in & turn your laptop on. hopefully your system is configured to boot from the disk. luckily, mine was because i couldn't get to system or control panel to configure it anyway. which reminds me, i should make sure my new reinstall is configured to boot from the disk.

2) when the first screen comes up you will see F8 & F12 (boot menu) in the upper right hand corner. hit F12.

3) you will then get a series of screens asking questions & providing options for what you should do next. if you don't know what they're talking about, just hit enter to accept whatever option is already highlighted on the screen. don't waste time considering what the right option might be or should be.

do you want to _____?


where should windows _____?


should windows_____?


4) the partitions question (what partition do you want to install the new windows in?) is a little tricky. the install disk gave me a few options like- creating a new partition. but then it wouldn't let me do it. it wouldn't let me do some other things either. in fact, the only thing it let me do was delete the existing partition so that's what i did. i'm assuming this is the step that effectively erased my entire hard drive which is what i wanted to happen, but most importantly it allowed me to move on to the next screen where i created a new partition by accepting the highlighted whatever & hitting enter a couple of times.

things went very smoothly after that. files were automatically copied, moved, primed, installed, refreshed & whatever else was going on in there & approximately 45 minutes later:

5) install the rest of the disks that came with your laptop. some will install automatically, some you need to unzip/extract/install/update yourself - like the drivers. this i discovered by spending 2 hours on the phone with tech support who patiently walked me through it all.

5) download & install windows updates, including windows xp service pack 2 (i had a grand total of 73 updates)

6) put up the firewall, security, etc.

3 days later & windows is still running for me. nothing seems to be crashing or acting weird so i'm tentatively calling this reinstall a success.

i lost absolutely everything on my hard drive but as always, completely wiping out old crap & starting with a clean slate has been liberating & exhilarating.

bye-bye past, hello future.

& what have i learned from this experience? that shit happens, that i can reinstall windows myself, that you cannot locate my interest in computer technology.

not before, not now, not future, not ever.

when the tax return comes, i'm getting a Mac.