Friend of the Missus (so I can’t say I don’t do Windows any more, and expect to keep my hearing) has a Windows PC that has developed a few bad sectors at the beginning of the hard drive, so Windows refuses to boot… all the user files/documents seem OK… chkdsk /R does it’s usual job of getting to the bad sectors, and stopping dead.
And as a home system, nothing is backed up, nothing is documented, and most of the software disks are missing (if they ever had them in the first place).
The plan -
Install a new hard drive… reinstall Windows to it…copy user files/docs from old drive to new one… reinstall software…
Sound easy? … Yeh right. :o
What I’ve got to look forward to in Windows -
Install Windows to new drive.
Install Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware software before I can go online to get the updates (and you have to be selective here, as some AV needs an up-to-date Windows before it will install… forcing you to go online unprotected)
Spend a couple of hours gathering the needed drivers together, and installing them… having to reboot after every one.
Install a few hours worth of updates, rebooting every time it says it finished, just to find there are now some more it needs.
Phone M$, because the online Windows activation doesn’t work.
Connect the old drive, and run a FULL AV scan, before even thinking about copying anything across.
Browse/search all over the old drive to find what software was installed, and any user files they might want to keep, as nobody keeps everything in their “My Documents” folder, you can’t just copy the whole “Documents and Settings” folder because Windows won’t let you, so you’'d still have to spend time filtering out the stuff Windows complains about (OK there are ways round some of this, but usually more hassle than it’s worth)
Spend half a day (at least) gathering together all the software they want and attempting to installing it (only to find they don’t have the keys for half of it, so having to find free alternatives), again having to reboot after half of the installs.
Find there are suddenly a load more Updates, that need installing, and rebooting.
And then if they don’t use webmail, you’re going to have to enter the settings/passwords etc. for that and any other software that requires them.
Go have a SLEEP, because I’ll have been up for ages, and need it.
OK, now for what I’d have to do if it was an Ubuntu system -
Attach both hard drives.
Install Ubuntu to the new drive, and create any users.
Copy across the “sources.list” files, and the /home contents from the old drive, which will not only copy the user files/docs, but will also copy across user specific system and application settings).
Use chroot to attach to the old hard drives file system.
Export the package markings from Synaptic.
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade (probably have to reboot ONCE here because of a kernel update)
Import the package markings into Synaptic, allowing you to install ALL the same software that was on the old drive with a few clicks.
Activate any additional drivers that are automatically offered to me.
Go have a BEER (or ten), and wonder what to do with the rest of the day