We’re back in business, baby.

Too late to get much done tonight — but that just means we’ll have a lot of fun playing catch-up tomorrow.


You know what? I’ve had cocktails and dinner with my wife’s best friend and her husband, so how’s about a little rant?

Let’s get the pro-Microsoft crap out of the way first. I love Windows XP. I’ve gone weeks, even a couple months, without rebooting. Right up until my hard drive crashed, it booted fast, ran fast, and was stable — day in, day out. Oh, sure, I went through Windows Reinstall Hell back in January. But in all fairness, that was after two years of hard computer use, complete with installing, deinstalling, and reinstalling all sorts of software. And never out of necessity, mind you — just stuff I thought I needed, decided I didn’t need, then decided I really needed after all.

Windows had treated me well. So had Office. Certainly, it’s not their fault my hard drive got a fatal case of the hiccups. Here’s what happened.

I was finding more and more bad clusters on my main hard drive — the kind of thing you get sometimes. Boot-ups had slowed down, applications were opening with the same haste molasses pours uphill in winter, data errors, etc. My data was safely backed up, so that wasn’t a concern. I only waited to replace the hard drive because my patience hadn’t yet run out.

It ran out on Tuesday. No special reason — I’d just decided now was probably easier than later. On Monday, later had seemed easier than now. So I made a trip to the computer store and purchased a new drive.

Pretty simple process, really. Open the ‘puter, put in the new drive. Install the disc copy software and tell it to move everything from C: to D:. Which it did. Oh, the process (which took eight hours or so) might have taken less time, had I purged the multi-gig Internet cache, but I didn’t want to lose anything. So I let it copy everything.

Then I realized I’d wasted those eight hours, because I’d clicked the wrong box and hadn’t made the new drive bootable. Windows tried to boot, bless its little heart, but just didn’t have the right stuff to do it.

Now, I figured there had to be a way to fix my mistake without starting from scratch, but my computer guru wasn’t available. So I started from scratch — another eight hours of my computer life, gone.

Everything copied over, I double checked, triple checked, and made yet another backup of my critical Office files. Unplugged the old hard drive — and, sure enough, the new drive booted up just fine. All was well in the world.

Except it wasn’t.

Word didn’t work. Excel didn’t work. Outlook didn’t work. My data was fine — I just couldn’t get to it.

Like a good little user, I’d kept Office updated with all the latest patches. Microsoft, in its infinite wisdom, kept the patch files so completely hidden that they didn’t get copied to the new drive. I tried to copy them manually. They weren’t on the old drive anywhere I could see. So, when Office prompted me for them, I pointed them to the proper location on the old drive — and it still couldn’t find them.

Gone, like they’d never existed.

OK, fine. I figured the worst I’d have to do was uninstall and reinstall Office. Only I couldn’t. One of the programs Microsoft changed was the uninstaller. They even admitted it right on their website, that I might not be able to uninstall my old version. And I couldn’t reinstall it, either.

My data was there. I just couldn’t read it.

My good friend Matt Traylor calmed me down, and pointed me to some helpful programs — none of which worked. He showed me a site detailing how to uninstall Office without using the uninstaller. That didn’t work, either.

So you know what I did.

I uninstalled freakin’ Windows. Reinstalled it. Which means now, 24 hours later, I’m still reinstalling everything else.

But I’ve got my basics. I have Windows XP. I have the latest Service Pack. I have Office, I have Norton Internet Security — and that’s it. Everything else, from games to spyware protection, is still on backup CDs. Meantime, I still have two columns to write, and two houseguests to entertain.

You know what that means? For the next couple of days, VodkaPundit will feature twice the crankiness in half the space.