On Friday night, I picked up my mother's digital camera and the serial lead from her boyfriend's house in Reading, and promised her that she could pick up a CD full of photos on Saturday morning. These are photos from my brother's wedding the previous weekend -- I already had some photos from Mark which he had emailed me.
The CD with the camera's driver software was missing so I downloaded something from the manufacturer's website and installed it on the laptop, which promptly toasted my W2K user profile.
I logged in as the local Administrator, clobbered the profile, logged out and logged in as me again.
I pulled the pictures off the camera and copied them over the LAN onto the stepson's PC, since his is the one with the CD burner.
I rotated the pictures which needed rotating and put the results into a folder next to Mark's photos. I created a bunch of thumbnails at about 100x75 in a third folder, and built a nice HTML page to show the thums and allow you to pull up the full-size photos -- and then I burnt the whole lot to CD. This was great.
Meanwhile the laptop had crashed again. A bit of mucking around and I got it up again, and copied some vital stuff up to the server -- like the local message stores from my various email clients, the contents of "D:\Clients", "D:\Douglas" and "D:\MDF". I always back up after the thing crashes, in contradiction to the standard advice I offer the customers. It crashed again half way through "D:\Software", practically all of which resides on assorted CDs.
Stuff that, I thought, and went to bed.
On Saturday morning Mother turned up, and I gave her the camera and leads back, together with the CD. I burnt another copy, and delivered it to my brother (whose wedding it had been) on my way to Julia's barbecue, described elsewhere.
On my return from the barbecue, I discovered that the laptop would not boot at all, having toasted the contents of C:\WinNT\System32\config.
I made several attempts to re-install Windows, all of which failed with disk errors sooner or later. I took the laptop apart and re-seated everything that could be disconnected, and re-assembled it.
Now I've re-installed everything successfully, restored the contents of the former D: drive, re-established my email clients, and it seems to be OK.
However when I'd finished doing this at about 10pm on Sunday, one of the emails I received was from my hosts when I go to Scotland in six weeks, telling me that they'd been flash-flooded and would be unable to put me up. Makes my laptop look trivial in comparison. I lost about five hours on Friday and Sunday -- they will be losing about six months revenue. At least they're insured.