I will soon convert my pop's machine from XP to Linux. Typically every 2yrs he runs into a problem which renders his computer unusable. At this point I have stopped remembering each incident, suffice to say that myself or someone else gets tasked with formatting the disk and re-installing the OS. When dealing with a M$ system this inevitably means that you must hunt for drivers and anti-virus / anti-adware programs. I often thought about storing a disk image on his network, so when the system became corrupted an image could simply be restored. Unfortunately, I never got around to it.
The latest episode was driven on by the nebulous and spurious "Genuine Microsoft" message that appeared routinely during system reboot. In truth, so many hands have touched that machine it is very likely that a so-called non-certified copy of WinXP Pro ended up on his hard drive. So what is a law abiding citizen to do? Heh, apparently he was spooked by the messages and more importantly his box was left out off the patch Tuesday fan fest..
So he decided to download WinXP SP2 from Redmond. Now the fun begins. For whatever reason the existing SP2 was improperly installed or installed twice. He also installed SP2 via CD as he ordered it via USPS. What a cluster... I have no idea how you could be 'allowed' to install the same Service Pack twice on the same Registry. Obviously, this corrupted the Registry and sent the machine into an endless loop, that prevented the machine from booting. Intelligent design at its best.
Eventually, he reformatted his drive and lost everything on the hard disk. Of course, if I were home, I would have booted the machine with a Knoppix Live-CD and mounted NTFS partition and restored the essential files from ...\My Documents\ etc... I then would have blasted away the OS and installed a Linux distribution.. Most likely I will give him Ubuntu 8.04 Hearty Heron. It would probably be the most windoze-like environment for him.
Bottom-Line: I never want Pops to be told he is a criminal by some software company.