Bloody computers

I’ve got way too much damn e-mail. Outlook tells me that something like 200Mb of my hard drive is filled with the bloody stuff. It would take me years to read all that. Oh, about 90Mb of that is supposedly Deleted Items. I suppose it’s useful to have that stuff temporarily stored so I can get it back for a little while if I need to, but that seems a bit over the top.

Mind you, the amount of disk space it takes up doesn’t really worry me. I’ve got plenty. Not so much that I can keep burning it up, but enough to get by with. What really worries me is that I’ve got 76 items in my Inbox. Imagine if it were a physical Inbox – it would be overflowing!

It’s not helped of course by the roughly 20 spams I get every day, advertising Viagra, get rich quick schemes, and just about everything in between. But one of mails I got during the week on a programmers’ mailing list I’m on, was a joke about a hand-operated e-mail virus. It said the virus operated on the honour principle, and that I should forward the message to everyone I knew, and delete all my files myself. I didn’t do it, but within a few hours, my spare PC found itself as good as wiped.

From here on it gets a little bit technical, but geeks amongst you may like to keep reading.

I should have known better. My spare PC, the one I used to use before I got this spanking shiny new one a couple of months ago, had been misbehaving a bit. Normally Iris uses it in Windows NT to do her work, but I foolishly wanted its Windows 95 persona to work as well, which it wasn’t. After wrestling with it for some time, I decided that simply re-installing Windows 95 could be the way to go.

Bad move. I should have remembered back to a day in 1995, when a colleague of mine (hi Mike) tried this on a dual-boot Linux/Windows machine. It must have been before Microsoft adopted the philosophy of "embrace and extend" to rival technologies, instead aiming for "squash and strangle", because back then it zapped the nice dual boot menu.

And by golly, trying it today with that same old version of Windows 95, it still does the same thing. With the really nasty bit being that it also loses track of non-FAT partitions: in order words, the partitions holding Windows NT and all my precious data.

Lucky my data wasn’t all that precious, because I’d moved all the important stuff onto my new PC, and Iris’s stuff was also running off the new PC, from a mapped drive.

All attempts to get Windows to recognise the other partitions failed. Even the Windows NT setup didn’t seem to like it. It might have stood a chance had I made an Emergency Repair Disk. It would have only taken a couple of minutes to do. But I hadn’t. I won’t make that mistake again, but in the mean time, it’s re-installation time, what fun…

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.