Hash Town

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

What's the worst that could happen?

Being a self-proclaimed IT guru (and Microsoft Certified Solution Developer in training), much of my work and personal life relies on my laptop. OK, it's not my laptop, it's really work's laptop, but nonetheless, I rely on it for almost everything.

What's about the wirst thing that could happen?

My laptop crashed. It wasn't a bad crash...at first.

About 6 months ago, I decided to instlaled the latest and greatest Symantec AntiVirus: version 9.0. "Cool," I thought, "I'll test it out before I roll it out to others in the company." Well, apparently, it did not like something about my laptop configuration. Perhaps it was the 250+ programs listed in Add/Remove Programs, or the fact that I had 3 versions of Crystal Reports installed (8, 8.5 and 10), Visual Studio .NET 2003, MSDE, IIS, 4 versions of the .NET runtime, multiple homebrew applications for .NET, etc. To say the least, I had a lot of stuff on my PC - all legitimately used.

Something in Symentec's first release of 9.0 started the chain reaction. Things started to go downhill - but they got better when I spent a few hours on the phone with Symantec manually uninstalled Symantec v9.0.

6 months pass and everything is going great - well, except that I couldn't install Symantec AV without total chaos erupting on my system. This past Monday, I walk into the office and hook up my laptop. I get back to work on some Crystal Reports, but I find that my PC will not communicate with any of my ODBC connections. I try deleting them, recreating them, double checking everything, reinstalling MDAC, etc. Everything I can think of. Nothing. I can't use ODBC. Since ODBC is a large part of my development at work, I start to get worried. At least I can still use my SQL Enterprise Manager and Query Analyzer, along with ADO, DAO, and ADO .NET data sources. Tuesday morning, I'm still trying to figure out why ODBC (RDO) doesn't work and then it happened - Explorer starts crashing constantly, DAO, ADO, ADO .NET and any database component on my machine malfuncitons. I'm dead in the water.

I begin the ritual of backing up everything I possibly can. This is just a safety precaution because I already have a good backup. Two backups is always a good idea. So, I spend the next 6 hours backing up 30+ GB of data onto a USB 1.0 external harddrive. Oh yeah, and I do have to reboot my laptop every time I copy large files over because Explorer keeps crashing.

...Wednesday...

I'm almost back to normal now - XP reinstalled, SP2 applied (after 1 failed attempt) - see today's previous entry for details.

So, with my life (and laptop) pieced back together, I'm off to be a busy worker bee.

Last thoughts: I still don't know what hit me - I scanned my drive for viruses before I wiped the drive...I also scanned for spyware. Nothing out of the norm. Maybe it was Matt - he used my laptop for 10 minutes to check email on Saturday. I'm satisfied with blaming it on him :-0)

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