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What a week... arg... so much lost productivity. Maybe this is just karma for my public slap of the Ohio State Buckeyes. At any rate, things started off bad, got frustrating, and then just got worse.

Bad Thing #1 - Sunday: The Day QuickBooks Died...On Monday night, as I watched the latter half of the NCAA Championship Game between Florida & Ohio State (did I mention GO GATORS! ?), I popped open my laptop to get some backlogged tasks wrapped up in QuickBooks. For the last week QuickBooks kept telling me there was an update to apply, but I kept putting it off. Well, finally I let it install. Well wasn't that a bad decision. The next time I launched QuickBooks (QB), it complained about some bad qbregistration.dat file... that I should delete and reinstall QB. OK, no sweat. But that didn't fix it. So that night and the course fo the following day, I uninstalled QB and reinstalled it so many times it's not funny (seriously, you there, yeah you, the one reading this in your underwear with your coffee... stop laughing!). I was doing everything I could think of... delete anything in the registry related to Intuit, making sure my profile didn't have any artifacts in it... etc. Nothing was fixing it. So I tried to call support... only to move on to the second bad thing...

Bad Thing #2 - Monday: The Day the Phones Died...I pickup the phone receiver and there's no dialtone. CRAP! I use Vonage (voice-over-IP) for my business line. Thankfully I still had our personal landline (I work from home), but people were calling on my work line... I could tell as I get my voicemails emailed to me as WAV files. After a solid 1.5 hours on the line with Vonage tech support, it's determined my phone adapter decided to die after 1.5 years. Sheesh... ok, I'll go get a new one that night. Thankfully, CompUSA had what I needed (after Best Buy & Circuit City were sold out) and I was back up and running by mid-morning the following day.

But QuickBooks was still broken...

Bad Thing #3 - Tuesday: The Day the Laptop Died...I was in a state where I couldn't get QuickBooks back up. Any small business owner (or independent consultant) knows, you live and die by QuickBooks. Then it dawned on me:

Dell finally released the Wave Security Suite for my D820 last week. Before I installed it on Sunday, I took an image of my primary Vista partition... and QB was working back then. So, I'll just reimage my laptop and only lose what I had done on Sunday night, Monday & Tuesday morning (which was mostly email and a boat-load of uninstalls/reinstalls... so no data loss). While on a customer call, I ran the reimaging process... 1hr, 45m long. Then, with 5 seconds left: "Error: Invalid number of sectors in image." I almost dropped an "oh [s-bomb]" on the customer conference call when I saw that.

Uh oh... I tried to boot... but I was stuck in an infinite loop of booting in to the Dell Hardware diagnostics.

CRAP! OK, so I drop in my Vista install disk and then I see what no one ever wants to see (unless if it is intentional): one big, 75GB unpartitoned block. OHHHHH CRAAAAAP... it's all gone!

After entertaining my dogs with just about every 4-letter explitive (and possibly a few new ones thrown in), I sit down dejected, and plan out a course of action. I've been wanting to setup a dual boot on my laptop: a Vista boot I'll use most of the time, and a Win2003 partition with MOSS installed which I use for presentations/workshops/webcasts/teaching. Got the Win2003 partition setup and imaged. It only takes about 10 minutes to reimage the partition so I can always start with a clean MOSS development environment whenever I need it. Not 100% sure if I go this route from here on out, or if I'll revert back to Virtual PC for my MOSS development, but we'll see. Next week will be the first test with a customer gig (of course, if my customer is reading this, I will have my backup Virtual PC environment onhand). If all goes as planned, I might do a writeup on how I did this. Would this interest you? If so, drop a comment on this post please.

So... around 4p yesterday, I finally had my Vista partition back up, all apps fully installed and configured. Almost have the MOSS development partition all setup too, just a few last minute things to address. Oh... and QuickBooks is working again. Thankfully, I could explore the drive image I took last weekend and extract specific files out, so there was virtually no data loss. Suffice to say, I am re-evaluating my backup & disaster recovery strategy.

Is it Friday yet? Sheesh... what a week...

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