Having recently bought Norton Ghost and discovering that it can convert Ghost backups to Microsoft Virtual PC drives I decided it would be good if I could Ghost the drive of my old computer, convert it to a Virtual PC hard drive and run it on my laptop. I already do that with the Win 98 computer (which is starting to show its’ age by randomly rebooting on the rare occasions I do switch it on).

The old computer is upstairs out of the way and of course hasn’t even been switched on in a few months at least. So I dig out Ghost, unplug the 500 GB USB hard drive and trot upstairs to install Ghost and let it chug away at backing up the drive.

Of course it doesn’t go like that. The computer boots up and gets halfway through the process before hanging. I restart it and get a blue screen of death (which I stupidly didn’t note down) and afterwards all it did was constantly reboot after offering me the start up option screens. Of course, I went through all of them one by one, from Safe Mode to Last Known Good Configuration but none of them worked.

It gets better.

The last time this happened – or something similar to it – I just got the Windows XP disk and did a repair. I keep all software like that in a separate bag, all together. Unfortunately as my copy of XP Home was an OEM version it did not come in a case but in a paper wallet, the disadvantages of which I found out as I hauled it from the bag to discover the disc was broken in two.

I’ve got a bunch of Operating Systems in that bag, all packed in together, and the one they chose to kill is the one I need. From Dos 6 floppy disks right up to Vista for the laptops. I still have the serial number – I stuck the sticker onto the computer itself – so if I can get another disk I should be able to make a repair of the system. If only to Ghost it and put it on my laptop; after which I think I might stick one of the other Operating Systems I have on it. Even though it’s a fair few years old the computer is still pretty high spec, even by today’s standards.  If it was more reliable as a machine I would use it more often.