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Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Arduous Task Of Reinstalling Windows XP

Every now and then, I am reminded why I am NOT so fond of Windows. My dad's laptop which runs on it has gone all wonky, so I decided to just reinstall the OS instead of trying to fix the numerous problems it had one by one. My intention was to erase everything and then reinstall XP. So I took out the installation discs (two recovery CDs, one software drivers CD and another one for Norton AntiVirus), did some stretches & took a few deep breaths, and began the arduous task of restoring my Dad's laptop to a decent working state. Long story short, after 3+ hours (littered with numerous alert messages, changing from one CD to another and one too many restarts), XP was reinstalled. But this would apparently NOT mark the end of my troubles, because when I checked my program files, I was surprised to see that all of my other programs from the previous installation were still there. As it turns out, I simply reinstalled Windows but did not reformat my hard drive. I suppose I only have myself to blame for expecting the whole process to be simple (or any process on a Windows system for that matter). On a Mac, if you wanted to reformat your hard drive and reinstall OS X, you run the installation disc and choose an option called "Erase and Install". It's THAT straightforward. But NOT in XP. Apparently (now that I know), you have to boot the recovery CD from the CD-ROM drive. To do this, you must power up the system, press F12 and select CD-ROM as boot device, insert recovery CD in CD-ROM drive, and press any key on the keyboard within 5 seconds once the "press any key to boot from CD" message appears. And then to format your hard drive, you'll have to press a few more keys, select partitions, remove partitions, create new partitions, etc... My point is, it's not that simple. And if you're the type of person who gets a heart attack with any alert message that pops up on your computer screen, you'll definitely have to find someone else to do this for you.

So here I am lamenting about the 3+ hours of my life wasted, all in vain because I have to do everything again hoping that things will go smoothly the second time around. But the next time my dad decides to get a new computer, I am telling him to get a Mac. He'll be much better off. And ultimately, so will I.
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7 comments:

Ron Castry said...

Believe me, I know the feeling. :-)

Don't forget to factor in the two hours or so to install all the Windows updates! What's really bad is that you end up restarting about 3 times or so since a lot of the updates require restarts... after restarting, you get a new batch of updates to download. Rinse and repeat.

I had a much better experience with both the Mac OS X and Ubuntu... in both cases only one restart was needed.

pinoymaclover said...

I couldn't even get the updates to start for a while because Windows somehow managed NOT to install the driver for my wireless antenna so I had to look for it in the drivers CD. I had to guess which one I needed, too, since it just gave me a list of drivers with the instruction: "look for the correct driver for your computer". Grrr... MUST. RESIST. URGE. TO. THROW. WINDOWS. LAPTOP.

nerdluck said...

Imagine if you had more than 1 windows machine with different sets of drivers... I remember those dark days when I maintained 3 PCs and remembering which driver goes where was the last thing I wanted to worry about

Eric said...

Clearly you know Mac OS X better than Windows XP. Otherwise, reformatting your drive and installing XP is pretty easy and straight forward. The longer part is re-installing all the applications and drivers because unlike OS X, XP runs on different kinds of hardware.

pinoymaclover said...

Ah perhaps the title should have been "The Arduous Task Of Reinstalling Windows XP And All The Applications And Drivers" then.

Eric said...

The title, whatever you come up with is misleading. It is "arduous" if you are not familiar with what you're doing. Of course your being biased towards Macs doesn't help the reader get the facts or convince your dad to dump his PC.

I love my MacBook Pro, but I am more comfortable using Vista Ultimate on it. Learning to do things in OS X is an arduous task for me simply because I have more important things to do.

A Mac or a PC are just tools. Your choice depends on what you need to do your tasks well.

pinoymaclover said...

It is my understanding that the word "arduous" is synonymous to toilsome and really has little to do with one's familiarity with a certain task or whether or not a person has more important things to do. I know how to wash my car, for instance. But my familiarity with the task does not seem to make it any less toilsome for me, even if I have no other important things to do. And I also do have to say that I don't think I am truly biased. Perhaps if I would speak negatively of Windows without ever having used it, then I should really be considered biased. But I was a Windows user for years, and then switched to a Mac and took the time out to learn my way around OS X. So I have experience with both, and I am not merely pulling my opinions out of thin air. Might I suggest that you take some time to learn OS X too? And if you find that you still prefer Windows, then others should respect that. In fact, I've mentioned in other entries that the Mac is not for everyone. I encourage that people do their research to come up with a decision that's right for them.

But at any rate, thank you for taking the time out to read this article and to share your thoughts. I'm a bit surprised actually. After all, you did say you have more important things to do.

 

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