Family PC Support Helpdesk

While on the subject of fixing family member PC’s (my last post was about removing viruses from my mother-in-law’s PC)… I’ve just reinstalled Windows XP onto my brother-in-law’s laptop because of the issues he’s been having with Vista Home. Personally, I love Vista, but acknowledge it’s still got some teething problems. It seems to be the norm with new OS’s. It takes a while for drivers to catch up.

Anyway, he had some photos on the laptop which he wanted (no, no backups anywhere) and he said other than the pics, I could wipe the laptop. First couple of attempts I thought I would just install XP over the top. No can do. When I told it to install into the same Window directory, overwriting the old (Vista) version it came up with a number of xml files that it could not write to disk. The install failed so I retried with my own XP disc and got the same errors. I figured there must be some permission issues overwriting some files so installed into a new folder (called it WinXp). I got another error trying to boot up. So having already copied the photos to a DVD I went the format approach. No problems…

Well, except for one. While the format was happening I put the DVD into my laptop to check the photos were all there ok (before I started the format of course) and it was all fine. I was looking at a power point funny on the DVD when my laptop hung. Everythign stopped responding and the DVD drive would not eject. After about 5 minutes of nothing I powered off my laptop. On rebooting and looking at the DVD it showed it as blank. Copy your files here it said. It showed me nothing on the DVD. I felt horrible as I looked across to his laptop as it was 60% through a format. Crap.

I took the DVD out and you could see the session on the DVD so I thought maybe Vista had opened a new session for burning and that hid the previous one temporarily. I left the DVD alone until I had reinstalled XP. On putting the DVD into the freshly built XP system I could once again see the photos. Man that was a LONG install. So I copied the pics all back to his laptop with a sigh of relief… I’ll have a look at the DVD on Vista later and see if closing the session brings back the files. If thats how DVD’s work under Vista it makes me wonder if that is a good thing.

What stories of family PC support have you got?

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