Well, it seems my latest computer, just eleven months old, has become a cesspool of infection, its Vista 64 OS writhing with viruses. At least, this is what the Geek Squad tell me is the root cause of its slow performance, occasional blue screen crashes, slow or stalled shutdowns, and last but not least the thirty-seven minute lifespan of a battery charge that was about four hours on January 1. How it got so badly infected I don’t know. I’ve been installing all the critical Windows updates and service packs. I’ve been keeping my Norton Internet Security up to date and submitting with pained resignation to its continual pleas to run resource hogging full system scans. I don’t download illicit software or content. I avoid the sort of websites that exist only to send popups and adware my way. About the only unusual thing I’ve been doing is streaming German TV programs from ZDF, but that’s legal too. Yet there it is: an OS about to collapse under the weight of all these slimy, crawling viruses.
Having a good idea what’s coming, I backed up all my critical data, or most of it, on DVDs. Some of it is simply copied to the disks in WINRAR files and some of it was transferred using Windows Backup. What I thought was going to happen was that the Geek Squad, at Best Buy where I bought the computer would either repair the OS and save the data, or wipe the disk and replace the OS, but either way it would be free, because I paid extra for – err – “protection” – when I bought the computer. Turns out I was wrong about that; my service contract is only for hardware, like if a screw comes loose in the fan or something.
But I happen to have an installation disk for 64-bit Windows XP. I could never use it before because I was never in a position of being willing to wipe my hard drive and install an OS, but now I don’t have any option but. In fact, I would rather not try to retain anything presently on my HDD, since that way I can be reasonably sure that there will be no leftover segments of any old drivers or other software.
So how difficult is this going to be? Is there more to this process than simply, “(1) format C:, (2) insert XP disk, and (3) run setup.exe on the XP disk”? I do have a standby computer, so if something goes wrong I’ll still have some access to the Internet for troubleshooting the installation.