The Windows 2000 Incident

My hard drive was slowly dying from the dreaded click of death. The reads were slower and slower and various diagnostic tools were telling me of multiple read errors. For those who aren't aware, I've lost over three hard drives in one year. If you're looking for a subject in a human magnetic field study, I think I may be able to help you.

So I went out and bought a new hard drive. 80 GB, 7200 RPM Maxtor for $202 with tax, Canadian dollars. I also came into possession of a legitimate copy of Windows 2000 Professional. Away I went partitioning the drive into OS and documents, then installed Windows 2000.

The problems started with the Windows Update program. I like to get all the updates before working. Best to be safe and up to date. The problem was the Windows Update program didn't work. Clicking on the 'Accept' button did nothing. I had a small contract deadline so I decided to forgo the updates for now. I had to install IIS for the project, without an update this turned out to be a big mistake.

After working on the project for a few short hours I noticed a consistent amount of drive activity that shouldn't be happening. I installed McAfee virus professional and after a scan found the Nimda virus all over my drives. I proceeded to clean it out taking several hours as I didn't realize it wasn't able to clean a lot of files until IIS was shut down. I also installed the firewall portion of the software only to discover just how many programs Windows opens up to the network by default.

Finally several hours later the virus scan was complete. But a new problem decided to rear it's ugly head. Every time I logged in as Administrator the system would reboot. After much searching through the registry for what I thought would be some sort of Trojan horse I reformatted the OS partition and started the reinstall again.

After the reinstall McAfee went in first. A full scan showed more Nimda left over on the documents partition. Finally it was all cleared out. "Perhaps I'll try Windows Update again" I thought. Still no go. I tried several times until magically one of the critical updates for networking and IE worked. Upon reboot my Internet connection was lost. Great. I guessed that it might be the firewall getting in the way. I removed McAfee firewall and sure enough the network was back up. Back to Windows Update. No go. In fact now it wouldn't even scan the system to see what updates I needed. Furthermore deleting the Update ActiveX control didn't cause IE to download the control again. I ended up downloading Service Pack 3 (SP3) manually.

What to do about the remaining updates? I noticed that SP3 had installed "Automatic Updates". Shortly after that the automatic updates icon indicated an update download. For now, this will suffice. I don't know if I'm getting all the updates but exhaustive searches on the net resulted in no solutions for my Windows Update problems.

Finally to add further frustration to this upgrade / reinstall, the dreaded mystery reboot returned. Attempting safe mode failed several times until a hard boot allowed safe mode and I surmised that the mystery reboot was being caused most likely my the Adaptec software I just installed. So a little registry hunting and editing and the programs were removed so I could log in again.

So now I can hopefully get back to work in between program reinstalls. The saga continues, stay tuned...