Sep 16


September 16th, 2002.

Sorry for the delay! My network connection took a dive and I couldn’t get back online no matter what I tried. I checked all the settings dozens of times over, tried going back to previous restore points, and lots of other stuff, but nothing worked. I tested and re-tested everything, bypassed the firewall router, replaced the cable modem, cables and Ethernet card 3 times each. Nothing. So, I finally decided to reinstall the operating system.

With all my stuff on this thing, and I haven’t done a good solid backup in a couple of months, I decided to back up all my files and start fresh. It took me 3 days and nearly 75 CD’s to do the backup. I spent another day poking through and worrying that I forgot something I’ll need later, like configuration settings for my FTP program or my favorite skin for my MP3 player and stuff like that. Have I got everything I need to recreate my outlook mail program settings and restore all my mail and categories for storing it? Am I SURE???

Ok, so now I’m ready to reinstall WinXP. I load the disk and find that I can attempt a repair… Hmmm… Ok, let’s try that. Lot’s of time and effort later, it didn’t work. I get exactly the same symptoms. All settings are correct, everything’s enabled properly, no flags on anything, but I still can’t connect. Back to square one.

This time, I load an XP boot floppy into A: and fire up the machine again. I decide to start fresh and immediately format C: to get a fresh, clean slate. That went faster than expected. Cool. Then I start the reinstall of WinXP. In a DOS command prompt from the floppy boot, I navigate to the i386 folder on the XP CD and fire up winnt.exe to start the process.

A loooooong time later, after copying a LOT of files and running through the install process, my machine finally reboots. Instead of getting what I expected, I have another DOS screen telling me to choose which operating system I want to use: WinXP or WinXP. I scratch my head and choose the first one.

Instead of seeing a fresh, new install, there are my background, desktop icons, etc. This looks WAY too familiar… And a quick test confirms I still can’t get online. What in the world is going on here?!

I reboot, but this time I choose the second WinXP. It fires up and there’s a fresh install staring me in the face asking me questions like, do I want to register now? Hmmm… I can get online now – cool. So I start setting up the machine. I start loading my programs back in. I start re-working my configurations for those programs. Then I notice it keeps defaulting to put everything on drive “J”. Wait a minute… I don’t recall having a drive “J”. I start digging around again. It turns out drive “J” is only 2 gigs big (out of my 140 gigs of hard drive space), and it’s an area I had previously marked off not to use because it has a few bad sectors on it. SHOOT!!!

More digging, and I discover that because all my other drive space is using NTFS, the boot floppy couldn’t see any of them. The only drive it could ‘see’ was the remaining FAT32 space “J”, which it decided was “C” and that’s where it loaded the fresh install of WinXP. The old install is still there, since it couldn’t even see that drive to wipe it out with a format. THAT‘s why the format went so quick! It only had to format 2 gigs, instead of about 30 gigs of space! YEESH!!! THAT‘s why I have a choice of 2 WinXP systems to boot into also. UGH!!!!

Ok, ok… I start from scratch. Somehow, I’ve got to get these NTFS partitions (especially the one I want to install the operating system on) back to FAT32, so the boot floppy can see it, so I can wipe it with a format like I want, and so I can put a fresh, shiny, new install of WinXP on it. I discover there’s no utility built into WinXP to convert from NTFS to FAT32. It’s a one-way ride the other way; from FAT32 to NTFS. Fine. I install Partition Magic on “J” from the newly installed operating system that resides there, and instruct it to convert “C” from NTFS to FAT32. It tells me it has to restart the machine to complete the operation, and I give it the green light. It reboots.

And with that, I could no longer access either of my hard drives, not even a single partition on either of them, not even “J”. I couldn’t boot into either install of WinXP anymore. The boot floppy didn’t see anything at all, other than the drive it was in; “A”, and the CD ROM and CD burner drives, which it decided to call “R” and “S”. And I thought things were getting complicated BEFORE!!! LOL!!

Hmmm… What to do? What to DO??? Then I hit upon an idea. I opened the case and disconnected both of my hard drives entirely. Then I pulled out an old, dusty 3 gig bigfoot drive that came out of a machine I recently upgraded for someone else (that’s why I never throw anything away!!) and hooked it up as a master on IDE 1. I rebooted, and there was their old Win98 system looking at me on the screen. Cool!

Next, I installed Partition Magic on it, made BACKUPS this time, and rebooted. Everything’s fine. Good. Next I shut down, reconfigured the hard drive I want to put WinXP on to ‘slave’ and hooked it up to IDE 2, then fired up the machine again. Win98 couldn’t see the drive because it was all formatted to NTFS, which it doesn’t recognize, but Partition Magic saw it fine. Again, I instructed PM to change the first partition on it from NTFS to FAT32 and reformat. I crossed my fingers and rebooted.

It worked. From there it was all pretty smooth sailing. I disconnected the bigfoot and marked “Buck’s emergency hard drive with Win98 and Partition Magic on it!”, reconfigured my main drive from master back to slave and hooked it up to IDE 1. I rebooted with the floppy and there was my drive “C”, freshly formatted without a thing on it. I did a fresh install of WinXP on it, rebooted and was right where I wanted to be – after 2 days of goofing around since the first re-install attempt that landed on drive “J”!

I started to reinstall and reconfigure my core programs, then my files, then hooked up my other hard drive to continue loading everything. That took almost 3 more days, and here I am after a good, solid week from start of problem till now! Sheesh…

As for the doctor appointment, (oh yeah… that… lol) he seemed to be poking around more than usual in my abdomen and then said he wants a CAT Scan of it. It’s scheduled for October 28th. Then I’ll go see him again on November 8th and he can re-examine me and tell me what the CAT Scan showed. Meanwhile, he didn’t seem to see anything out of the ordinary (unless there’s something about my abdomen bothering him that he didn’t tell me about).

Other than that, I feel pretty good, though I’ve been really tired lately and I’m sleeping and waking at odd hours again. But I haven’t got any pain. My teeth have been acting weird since the chemo. A filling fell out and a crown fell off. I heard the chemo probably did it, but I dunno for sure. Anyway, I need to get to a dentist to fix it.

Oh, and someone signed my guest book and wanted to know which type of NHL I have. I was diagnosed: Oct, 2001 @ 42 yrs old, with Indolent, Nodal Marginal Zone, monocytoid B-cell, stage 4. I finished 1st set of Rituxan treatments 12-3-01, 6 cycles of C.O.P (chemo) started 1-8-02 and ended on 4-25-02. I went into remission 6-6-02, and I’m holding steady so far. ALL the details are in this journal. Thanks for asking, and I hope you’re feeling ok as well.

Well, that’s my life since the last update. Till the next one, keep finding something to smile about every day, and I’ll see ya then!  😀