It's done me good service since 2002, but about three days ago, my desktop machine refused to boot. So I did some digging on the Microsoft help site, configured my BIOS to boot from CD, and stuck in my Windows XP disk to attempt to repair Windows. Attempted to start Recovery Console, but it was not able to recognize my password, so I finally resorted to calling Microsoft (luckily I still had 2 free calls, so I didn't have to fork over $60). They walked me through a "repair install" of Windows, but it failed to copy over all the files. On starting Windows, it begins by running CHKDISK, which found about 200 unreadable segments on the drive. After finding the corrupt segments, it crashed, complaining of a missing or corrupt DLL. I was tempted to just get a new machine, since this one is rather out of date, and all the fancy quad core thingies make me drool every time I go to an office store (mine is a Pentium 4 2.0a GHz). But I reigned myself in and came up with a less expensive plan: Get a new hard drive, clean install WinXP on it, and then attempt to recover the data from my 80GB borked drive and move it to my 500GB external. Then, once my data is safely on the external drive, I can play around with my fresh drive and take the opportunity to experiment with Linux! The next hurdle was finding an IDE hard drive, since my computer is old and not compatible with all the new SATA drives. After failing to find one at a few stores, I had to go to Fry's. I got a sweet deal, though: $60 for a 320GB drive. I also gave into temptation to buy a 1GB DDR RAM stick, since they're cheap now...previously, my machine had 768MB RAM in two slots; removing the 256MB stick and inserted the 1GB stick gives me 1536MB, which is a pretty sweet upgrade. Anyway, I was up until 5 in the morning installing Windows and then installing the myriad of Windows Updates I needed (my install disk is so old that it contains only Service Pack 1), and then trying to install Ubuntu (which failed due to a bug in gparted, which I found a workaround for but haven't been able to try yet). Today I am recovering my data. It seems about 1 in 50 files is corrupted and can't be copied to the external drive, which is pretty good, I think. But it's annoying, because it's not smart enough to just skip the corrupted files. It stops every time it finds on, and I have to manually delete the unreadable file, and restart the copy operation. :( After that I am going to format the 80GB drive, and see about installing Ubuntu again. Ultimately I want to dual-boot so I can play around in both. If my 80GB drive is still functional after formatting, I'm going to install the OSes there and use the 320GB drive for data.