So pretty much nothing worked yesterday.

It started with an 8:00 phone call over VoIP that only had one-way audio. Then my 11:00 phone call gave a potential client an “all circuits busy” instead of ringing through to my VoIP phone. I’ve been using Asterisk for almost 18 months, and this is the first time that I’ve ever seen either of these, so I spent a while trying to reproduce the problems and sending support email off to two different VoIP providers.

After that, I finally started in on The Evil Thing–I bought a copy of XP and I was planning on installing it on a spare PC so I could test Typo with IE 6. How hard could it be, right?

I gave up on it at 8:00 PM.

Here’s a short list of things that went wrong:

  • I couldn’t find an old Windows CD to use to make the upgrade test on my XP CD happy. I should have CDs for ‘98 and 2000 sitting here somewhere, but I couldn’t find either. I had to borrow one to make XP’s installer happy. It would have been easier to download a cracked copy then to use the legitimate version and fight with its copy and licensing protection.

  • Once I got past the upgrade test, the installer refused to format my hard drive. No matter which options I picked (full disk or small partition, NTFS or FAT, quick format or full format), it would always die out within 5 seconds with a “Setup was unable to format the partition” error. The error suggests that I check the power on my external SCSI drive. Since I’m installing onto a completely standard 80 GB internal IDE drive, the error isn’t very helpful. Digging around a bit, bad IDE cables and bad CD drives seem to be the most common causes for this error. Since this is an old box that I put together from spare parts, the system is using old 40-pin IDE cables; I need to swing by a store and pick up a couple 80-pin IDE cables. Maybe that will help.

  • For the fun of it, I tried booting my borrowed XP disk (the one that I was using to pass the upgrade test), and it partitioned the drive without any problems. Unfortunately, it refused to take my license key. The nice hologrammed one that came directly from Microsoft. Apparently my key is just good for XP Pro Upgrade CDs that come with SP2 pre-installed or something. Rebooting with my CD put me right back into formatting limbo.

I swear, I should have just downloaded and installed a cracked version–I would have been done early yesterday afternoon.