The Spud’s computer went sort of kerblooey, in a software-ish sort of way, a week or so ago. Luckily it’s a Compaq D310 (well, most of it is, anyway) and I have all of the restore CDs, still in the big fancy ziploc bag they came in. I booted off of a handy-dandy “Bart” DVD, copied off everything that I deemed worth saving onto the network drive (wasn’t about to use the USB drive on a machine that old), and swapped out the two smaller drives for a newer, bigger model I happened to have kicking around.

You’ll be amazed to know that I can see eight unused IDE hard drives from where I’m sitting, without even turning my head, won’t you? Right.

Sorry, that’s ten. And two SCSI drives. Anyway…

Say what you will about PCs built by megacorporations, but HP/Compaq restore disks have saved my bacon dozens of times in the last half-dozen years. You have to go in afterward and tweak a few things, it’s true. If you leave out the “supplemental software” disk, however, there’s surprisingly little garbage to worry about. Among the nifty benefits is that you don’t have to worry about entering the license key. Any time I don’t have to stress about typos is a good time.

The next step is to install video drivers (you don’t think it’s using the motherboard video chipset, do you?), throw on some of the key software that no Windows PC should be without, and haul those files back off of the network drive. When I’m done the machine will be cleaner (dust bunnies? try dust elephants) and leaner (less leftover cruft from years of installing and removing software) and feature greater capacity on a single drive instead of two drives so it’ll also run cooler and on less power.

All I need to do is complete it by the weekend. I can do that, right?