The past, and a total wipe of a hard drive, has a way of coming back to haunt you.
I have to admit that my reintroduction to Windows should have gone smoother. My fault. After becoming frustrated with the mess of an installation Dell had saddled me with, I nuked my restore partition. My only means of installing Windows then became an unused OEM disk I had on hand, WITHOUT service pack 2. Yes, I know, NOW.
Booting from my XP disk, I partition my drive and begin the install. All together this process takes from 45 minuets to about 1 hour, not bad. This gets me to a basic XP install, but unexpectedly little of my hardware worked properly. Using another computer, I surfed over to Dell.com and burrowed 6 layers deep to the drivers I needed. I picked out seven files (~120 megs) from the 57 possibles to burn to disk. The drivers were all, mercifully, runnable or self installing, but then it began..
I can't remember which program it was. It may have been R122161.EXE or I would not put it past R114079.EXE, that dog! Whichever, at some point my laptop needed to reboot. And reboot it did! For the next three and a half to four hours it was an endless, insane cycle of downloading updates, rebooting, and then downloading more updates.
To cover my basic computing needs I had to install the Flash player, Java RE, and Firefox. I also grabbed PuTTY for my SSH and SCP needs. MD5sums was a quick get and ISO Recorder, to burn CD's, rounded out my list.
Some times you just don't think things out, all the way. For example, I thought it would be o.k. to install the Visual C# 2005 Express Edition from the disk I had. The software installed fine and even included SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, yay, but then they're BACK!! Like the monster in a B-movie, our nemesis, Dr. Reboot and Mr. Update roll me for another 30 minutes.
At this point I have a clean, fully updated AND HOW, Windows XP installed. I can't listen to my shoutcast streams, but having been at this for over six hours, I don't care. I'm curious as to how much time I would have saved by having SP2 and drivers, or how quick Vista installs. This "raw" install of Windows has been both extremely frustrating and quite an eyeopener.
I vow to return. I want to play with Visual C# Express more because it looks really slick, but after such an investment of time just to get XP up and running, I've had my fill for now.
Let's move on to Linux Mint.