After my Woe is Me entry a few weeks back, I thought I was all set to keep my old Windows ME machine running a good while longer. But it had other plans. One evening a couple weeks ago it failed to boot up, giving a "Non system disk" error. That usually means there's a floppy in the floppy drive, and it needs to be removed. But there wasn't. This time it wouldn't recognize its own hard drive.

Further investigation revealed the hard drive still had data on it, but the directories were gone, so the computer couldn't find anything.


Fortunately, I had backed up all my vital files the previous week. Unfortunately, I had not backed up all of my fun files, like my collections of NASA photos and comic strips, which I kept saying "I'll back those up when I have more time."

At this point I had two choices.

1. Run the so-called "Recovery" disk that came with the computer to restore it to its original factory condition (which means erasing everything on the hard drive and reinstalling Windows ME).

2. Buy a new computer.

I bought a new computer. It didn't make sense to start from scratch with an old computer, nor was it prudent to wipe out my old hard drive without at least trying to recover the old data.

I did all of a couple hours of research, and concluded that the HP A1730N offered the most bang for the buck. Much to my delight, that item was offered on sale at Office Depot and Circuit City in the following day's Sunday inserts.

So I went down to Sand City to check them out. But the advertised items were not in stock at either store.


The Salinas Circuit City had four in stock, however, so off I went. I called ahead and had my name put on one. When I got there, bless 'em (!), they had me in and out in five minutes.

I am now the first person I know to have Windows Vista. I kinda like it, but there is one small bug. The system will not automatically shut off the monitor unless the screensaver is set to "none." Except sometimes when it will.

It also has a slightly different form of navigation. It looks pretty familiar, but its just different enough to throw me off kilter a bit.

But it has a cool new 3D chess board along with more sophisticated looking solitare cards.

And thus far it is the most stable version of Windows I've ever used.

Somehow, now, I've got to figure out a way to salvage the rest of my old hard drive.


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