I had known for a couple weeks that my primary hard drive was beginning to fail. I purchased a used drive to replace it with.
On Friday, I got out my original Setup disks and unplugged my secondary drive (for protection — all my documents, pictures, music, etc. were on my secondary disk). I completed the setup, and plugged my secondary drive in. The system rebooted every time I tried to dial in to the Internet. After a while of trying to fix that, it started rebooting every time it rebooted, a closed loop of booting. So I got out my old Windows 2000 Professional disk, and installed that. It kept booting up to Windows XP. I had no clue why that happened.
Then, upon inspection (performed using an old Windows 98 boot floppy), I found the problem. Using the Windows 98 boot floppy, my system failed to recognize the new primary drive, but saw the secondary drive, and so it formatted and installed Windows 2000 to my secondary drive. (I was already panicking over the first install not working, so I forgot to unplug that drive.) If it weren’t for the fact that this WIPED all my saved files, that wouldn’t be much of a problem. But at that point, I had lost all my files, except those I have posted to the Internet at my many websites or those I have sent in email using Yahoo or Gmail (I still have the Sent mail).
My old friend John came over with a present to lift my mood — a brand new 160 Gb hard drive. He offered to sell me a copy of Windows XP Professional for $80, and would take payments. OK, my troubles were over… I just had to spend days getting my favorite software installed on the new system, and then more days trying to get what files I could off the Internet to replace my lost files. I’ve spent a few days doing that, and am almost done…
Then Microsoft, as part of doing updates, scanned my XP Pro and determined that it was a counterfeit copy. This means that my system will shut down in a few weeks, if I do not replace it with a new copy. (They generously offered to sell me a copy for $149, and even offered a $30 mail-in rebate.) So, I still don’t have any money, and have to buy a new OS disk — and start over with getting my programs and files back.
I’m hoping to have something happen that will allow me to get a new, REAL copy of XP Pro. But if that doesn’t happen, I still have one option. I still have my old 60 Gb secondary disk with 2000 Pro on it, although I did not complete installation and updates… if I make that my primary disk, make the new 160 Gb disk my secondary, then I can save the files and downloads I’ve already done (although I’ll have to reinstall the programs, at least I won’t have to wait through hours of oft-failed downloads at dialup speed again). I’m going to wait a few days before making my decision.
If anyone has a better solution, let me know. The old adage holds, “Experience is directly proportional to ruined equipment.”