Five and a half years ago I bought this computer and was stunned by its performance, disk space, and all that fun stuff. Then five and a half years passed. Somewhere along the line I decided it needed a fresh install. I then decided that would be a huge inconvenience to reinstall all my programs and games, backing everything up and restoring it, and hoping that my preferences survive. So I didn't do anything. Still, I had the feeling that at any moment my computer could come crashing down into nothing. It didn't have any hardware problems (beside the power supply fan which sometimes rattled and I learned to fix with well-placed blows) and always came up clean on viruses, except one scare, which might have just been some WoW component getting misread anyway. So I put it off.
Disk space was getting tight oh... last year, give or take. Getting Steam didn't help since it brought in more games, but I learned to juggle the downloading and removal of local files. Still, not a fun process.
Then I finally got sick of having no space. I bought an external hard drive. Shifting my music and movies to that would free up a ton of space. Games that I don't play too often could go there as well, along with CDs. I sometimes make isos of my games because I really hate the noise of a CD drive. So yea, those take up a lot of space.
I planned ahead and copied bookmarks and documents. iTunes was backed up, though somehow incorrectly, but all the files are still around and organized properly, so it's just a very slow process of telling it to import the folder. I even had the foresight to copy my WoW folder over, thereby saving me hours or days of redownloading everything since LK.
But where did my CDs go? For five and a half years I'd been carrying around the CDs that came with the computer. The ones with XP and drivers and all that stuff that I need if the computer is going to be more than a heavy box of toxicity. Oh well, I can just use the XP CD for my mom's old computer. Pop it in, load from CD, reformat and reinstall and boom, there we go.
Why the fuck isn't the internet working? ... dot dot dash fuck! Plug and play, PLUGGED IN WHY ARE YOU NOT PLAYING!? Oh, apparently my computer needs these things called "drivers". That explains the lack of internet, awful video performance, and why the external seems to have the same transfer speed as carrier pigeon, and not the one with the flash drive on its leg like they used in South Africa to demonstrate that their web was garbage (true story, the carrier pigeon had a higher transfer speed).
No, I do not want to search the internet for ethernet card drivers. For anyone worried about AI taking over the world: just repeat that previous sentence and know why you have nothing to worry about. At least not from a Windows XP-based AI.
Thankfully Dell has a nicely organized website for downloading drivers. I snagged the ethernet driver using my dad's Mac and thankfully, the USB worked well enough that I could copy it over with a flash drive. Internets! Internet Explorer! Oh thank god, it works! Now go to firefox.com and go away, forever. Things went uphill from there as I got video drivers, USB drivers, and various drivers for things like "chipsets" and "BIOS". I don't quite know what they do, but I am certain that they are important, since I know that the time I screwed up my BIOS it was bad. This is why I need videogames, if I don't have virtual worlds to explore and break, I explore and break my own computer.
So now things are humming along. WoW is copied back over and running just fine. Anti-virus is installed. NoScript. IM. All is good in the world.
Except for one problem: I haven't gotten a desktop background yet and I have barely any icons now, so I keep thinking my computer is still starting up when it's all ready to go, since I'm expecting a cascade of icons and a draenei shaman.