Friday, February 02, 2007

My day as an Eddie Izzard on computers type thing.......

It started off so well, today was all mapped out; fun lessons with year 2, year 5 and year 3, my favourite part of the week at break - the ks1 playground duty (4-6 year olds, opening bananas, sorting out why A doesn't want to play with B and making sure C hasn't done any lasting damage after falling over). I also planned on finally getting the ICT cupboard sorted out.

All this was ruined, in one quick sentence from the year 2 teacher......
"Richard, I think there's something wrong with this CD drive....."
Oh, if only I'd have known the misery and torment that was going to ensue from that I may well have just put a teatowel over it there and then and pretended the bloody computer was in actual fact a very attractive plant stand. I'd have even bought a nice plant with my own money.

Anyway, the cd drivers had packed up so I carefully unistalled them.
Reboot. Nothing doing.
So I unistalled a couple more associated drivers, figuring that it couldn't do any harm and Windows XP, being a big, grown up kind of operating system, could actually handle it.
Oh, how wrong I was.

On the next reboot I got that nice black screen telling me Windows had decided not to start properly and would I like to try Safe Mode?
Okay, game for a laugh and still figuring, in all my naivety, that once it booted into safe mode I could simple reinstall the drivers I'd removed, I went for it.
Nothing. Big, nasty black screen again.

Ooops. Now I began to realise I was in trouble.
Time to do a Windows XP repair job. Now, weirdly enough, in all my time messing with computers, I've never actually had to do this.
(And I realise some of you are now looking at the screen incredulously, like I'd just pointed out that I've never actually cooked an egg before or something that simple)
But I hadn't. I'd managed to get by all this time without majorly pissing around with re-installs.
So I ended up getting the Dell install discs out and set it going to repair the installation. Except it kept asking for an administrator password.
Guess what? No administrator password. Or at least, not one that either myself or the ICT co-ordinator could find.
So it was then onto stage 2; complete XP reinstall.

Which is meant to be relatively simple. Yes?
Of course it's not, this is Microsoft we're talking about.
Halfway through the install it asks for a file on the XP service pack cd. What service pack cd? We never had one of those. I'm beginning to lose the will to live by this point - 2 hours after the initial problem with a dodgy cd drive.
A quick Google later and I'm on the Microsoft knowledge base website following detailed instructions on how to work around this problem by tweaking the registry. Or at least the instructions start out relatively detailed. By the end of the article they practically tell you to mess around a little bit with the thingy and the whatsit and cross your fingers on reboooting because we honestly don't know if this is going to work. Thanks Microsoft for that.

But miraculously, 4 hours after starting this whole sorry thing off, I'm happy to say I've managed it, my first XP install. Virgin installer no longer. I can hold my head up in nerdy ICT quarters and join in with the stories.
Of course, on Monday I still have to sort out all the network connections and reinstall the software, but I know I can actually do that so I feel the hard work is done.

That was my day. One machine partly fixed. Still, at least I still managed my break duty. Compared to installing dodgy operating systems, looking after 80 hyper primary school children, having to have eyes everywhere and be able to deal with all the small disasters and tragedies that go on during playtime is an absolute joy.

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