It is that time again - time for the annual re-install of Windows. Seems like I need to re-install Windows on my PC pretty much once a year, every year. As a developer I occasionally have to do rude things to my machine, and eventually something goes wobbly, and it’s time.

The machine was running Windows XP Pro, and I was looking to (re-)install XP Pro, so I wasn’t expecting any difficulty. Wrong. The installation gets to “34 minutes remaining” and (apparently) setting up devices … and stays there forever. Re-booted to see if the second try would detect the prior attempt and go down a different path - nope. Re-booted and tried the “repair” option - nope. Installed Linux (Ubuntu) without trouble, and then re-tried the XP install - nope. Installed Windows 2000 without trouble, and re-tried the XP install (in case upgrading from Win2K might do better) - nope.

Wish I had some idea what was tripping up the XP install. With Linux I can Alt-Shift-F1 into a console and poke around while the install is running. Something similar in Windows would be a help. The hardware is pretty generic - a Shuttle XPC SN43G box with 1GB memory, a 120GB ATA disk, and an ATI Radeon 6800 with dual DVI driving two Dell 2405FPW panels.

Argh. I am seriously tempted to install Linux, and use VMware to host my build-and-debug environment for work on Windows software. One big (REALLY big) advantage with VMware is the ability to revert to an earlier snapshot. I might never have to re-install Windows again. :)

Update: Did figure this out (much) later. The power supply was overloaded. Shuttle offers upgraded power supplies for these boxes. Ordered, installed, and the problem went away.