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Gavin Greig [userpic]

Kill or cure?

December 5th, 2005 (10:48 am)

It occurs to me that I've never run an LJ poll, so here is one that may - or may not - actually influence my behaviour. Think of it as the electronic equivalent of poking a stick into an ant-farm.

Over the weekend, one of three pieces of software installed on my PC appears to have gubbed it to the extent that it's difficult to log in and get anything done before the machine blue-screens. Safe mode, though it doesn't crash, is not tremendously helpful in solving the problem, though no doubt if I persevere more I would be able to fix it eventually.

However, I am considering just wiping the disk and reinstalling, as it is long, long overdue.

What should I do? (I'm making no promises to do what the poll results say!)

Poll #627066 Kill or cure?

Should I attempt to cure Windows XP, or kill it and reinstall?

I want to make a pointless statement about MacOS or Linux that will be ignored completely


Posted by: Nik Whitehead (sharikkamur)
Posted at: December 5th, 2005 10:58 am (UTC)

Unfortunately, I've generally found that I have to completely wipe and rebuild Windows machines at least once a year. It sounds like that time has come for your machine.

Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: December 5th, 2005 12:17 pm (UTC)
Crazy or smart?

This install is four years old. It was done when Windows XP had just been released, at the end of 2001 - and yes, I think that time may have come!

Posted by: Steve Pugh (very_true_thing)
Posted at: December 5th, 2005 03:38 pm (UTC)

Four years? That's very good going. I think the half life of Win 98 was six months (I was very happy to get 18 months between reinstalls) and whilst we would expect XP to be somewhat better it is still Windows.

Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: December 5th, 2005 04:05 pm (UTC)
Robot Maria

I used to do much more frequent reinstalls with older versions of Windows, and even enjoyed it on occasion, but age has dampened my enthusiasm for the reinstall! Still, I am quite pleased with four years.

Posted by: msinvisfem (msinvisfem)
Posted at: December 5th, 2005 11:52 am (UTC)
South Park

...then KILL! >:-)

Really though, I think you would feel better if you solved the problem rather than scraping your current setup and learning nothing. (Though I believe there is a mild learning curve for saving your current setup without actually reinstalling, i.e. iTunes...)

Posted by: Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures)
Posted at: December 5th, 2005 12:15 pm (UTC)
Angel of the Revolution

Total reinstallation usually has to be done sooner or later, though Windows XP is actually a lot better at cleaning up its messes than previous versions. Remember to back up things like your browser favourites etc. as well as documents, mail, etc.

Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: December 5th, 2005 12:28 pm (UTC)
Crazy or smart?

A weekly full, uncompressed back up to an external hard disk (and daily incrementals) should mean I'm OK. I'll be checking it before I do anything rash though!

Posted by: Andrew Patterson (qidane)
Posted at: December 5th, 2005 01:37 pm (UTC)

Oh also remember to deauthorise any protected content before the wipe. e.g. iTunes purchased music.

Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: December 5th, 2005 01:52 pm (UTC)
Robot Maria

I don't think I have any - I still like to get a physical product when I buy music.

Posted by: silverwhistle (silverwhistle)
Posted at: December 5th, 2005 03:31 pm (UTC)

I agree entirely. I like my music with the informative booklet in the case!

Posted by: silverwhistle (silverwhistle)
Posted at: December 5th, 2005 03:30 pm (UTC)

Have you though of going Mac? The new wee tiny ones can hook up to your existing screen and keyboard.
I'm not being a Smug Mac-user, I promise: it just seems to be a more operating platform, and may save you a lot of frazzled nerves.

Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: December 5th, 2005 04:16 pm (UTC)
Robot Maria

I borrowed a Mac once from tobyaw, in order to broaden my mind, but found it was too late. Aspects of the Mac experience that Apple are widely regarded as having got "right", and that I had expected to be at worst indifferent to, I found I actively disliked.

When I bought my first PC, I was advised to do so by an established Mac supporter (flybynightpress) and am lastingly grateful for his impartiality. He reckoned it was the right choice for someone looking for a career as a developer, and I think time has shown him to be right.

Also, to give Windows its due, it has to cope with a range of hardware and applications that Apple just don't have to work to accommodate. It does pretty well when you take that into account.

Posted by: silverwhistle (silverwhistle)
Posted at: December 5th, 2005 04:25 pm (UTC)

Oh, work-wise I understand the use of the PC. I have to use one at work, and it drives me mad at times as it has a habit of crashing (especially Explorer).
But for home use I prefer something more stable.

Posted by: Scotty (scottymcleod)
Posted at: December 5th, 2005 10:53 pm (UTC)
Kill It

If it does not bounce back from last known good or a mild amount of tinkering and you have no data to recover then the time you will spend on this is just not productive.

Take it from someone who would like the weeks or maybe months of his life back.

One thing to watch out for is that your four year old hardware is on the way out and this is just a sympton.

Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: December 6th, 2005 09:18 am (UTC)
Re: Kill It
Robot Maria

I zapped it last night and am now in the process of reinstalling. I haven't ruled out the possibility of hardware failure, particularly as other symptoms were starting to show up last night before I gave up; but they might just be knock-on effects of the original instability.

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