Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Frugal" and "fun" activity: clean up your computer system

As part of a general aim to get more organized (technically one of my 2008 goals), I decided last week that I should clean up my home computer system. I've been running a dual-boot system (Windows 2000 and Ubuntu) for a number of years, and as always seems to happen, the computer has become rather cluttered. I always keep my computer relatively spyware- and virus-free, but there's inevitably some junk that builds up over time.

Well, enough is finally enough, so on Monday afternoon, I logged into Windows and started the process of formatting the hard drive and reinstalling the operating system. I have an old copy of Windows 2000 Professional, and there is no limit to the number of times I can reinstall this, so out of somewhat sentimental reasons, I still want to keep this OS alive. In addition, I wanted to reinstall my copy of Windows XP, which hasn't been used since the computer on which it was installed kicked the bucket a year ago. Finally, the plan is to add Ubuntu 7.10 to the mix, for a triple-boot system.

I hit a few snags in the installation process, but after a day or so of tinkering, I have Windows 2000 and XP peacefully coexisting. Tonight I'll add Ubuntu to the computer, and start the process of sharing my Firefox and Thunderbird profiles between the three operating system. I also want to take a stab at running Windows seamlessly in my Ubuntu session using virtualization software.

Personally, despite the frustration and hundred or so reboots, I find this sort of spring cleaning a lot of fun. Ms. Loonie shakes her head as I stare at my blue screen of life, but I love the idea of having a well-organized, freshly installed and up-to-date computer system. There's also the matter of actually using my copy of XP, which has been collecting dust for over a year.

When you combine breathing new life into my existing computer, with getting benefit out of an OS I've paid for, while continuing to use a free OS, and I think this counts as a pretty frugal activity.

I simply prefer not to think of the dollar value that I've spent during the installation process.

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