So I think I may have finally recovered from my foray into the pre-release wilderness. After I got home yesterday, the attempted killdisk re-format and subsequent reinstall attempt resulted in the inevitable boot for a few seconds and then BSOD. Lather, rinse, repeat. So I googled and found someone who was having essentially the same problem as myself and an ITish person had suggested a different format utility while also suggesting that it didn’t sound like a Vista specific issue and perhaps it was something to do with the install program. I downloaded the suggested format utility which must have been really extra special deliciously good because instead of 3 hours, this thing took 14 hours to finish. Imagine my delight when I went home for lunch today and the cycle of reinstalling XP and the … wait for it… BSOD began yet again. This after peforming a destructive reformat 3 times in a row with a duration of approximately 20 hours of continuous erasing of the little 1s and 0s. So in a last dying gasp of an attempt I decided to try the Windows Vista disk to see if it would offer any recovery utility. After booting up I was given some recovery choices but I couldn’t tell if it meant recovering to my previous installation or to Windows Vista.
Since I was having no luck with anything else I decided to run a program called something like automatic or self repair of installation errors. I don’t know exactly what the focus of this utility is, but I couldn’t be any worse off than I was, so I tried it. The odd thing is that I let the program run for about 30 minutes (it does warn of taking several minutes, but several sounds like less than 30 to my ears) before giving up and shutting down the computer. After this I tried booting from the Windows XP install disc and lo and behold, there was my SATA original hard drive and the extra SATA I had added, ripe for installing XP upon (certainly no pesky data left to get in the way after having been formatted thrice over) which I immediately set about. After letting the install finish and getting to the Windows desktop, I realized that the Gateway recovery disk I had been using was to my wife’s Gateway and was actually from 2003 while my recovery disk is from 2005. I don’t know how much of a difference that makes, but I figured it would mean fewer updates to download, so I went ahead and ran my correct 2005 recovery disk right before I returned from lunch. I’ll see how it went when I get home.
I think I have learned my lesson in that running a beta operating system needs to be done on not only a drive that you’re willing to lose the data from, but probably also on a secondary drive (read: smallest) that isn’t a better default drive that you would prefer to use. In my case, I would have been better off using the 200GB SATA drive to play with so I would still have the 500GB as the fall back OS and backup drive if things went poorly. Fortunately I just lost a bit of time, but no significant data that I couldn’t do without. This has also given me the excuse of cleaning up some excess BS off the hard drive I needed to discard anyway. The only big pain now is going to be the Itunes and other authorization hoop jumping I will have to do since the DRM cops will assume I’m trying to run my software on a “new” computer even though I’m still going to be running one version of all my software on essentially the same computer. I think I have had to get Apple, Audible and a few other DRM happy companies to de&re-authorize my computers on several occasions since I don’t keep a static setup for more than about 1 year at a time.