Okay, I’m going to expose my ignorance of current generation PC hardware by confessing that I thought that a single cable was enough to hook up my new SATA drive to my motherboard. Oh no. Not nearly enough.
Not only does it need a separate power cable, which wasn’t supplied with my motherboard, but the Windows XP installation doesn’t recognize SATA drives out of the box. You have to supply the drivers manually at the start of the install on a floppy disk mounted as drive A:. No, you can’t just stick them on a CD. How quaint.
As my PC doesn’t have a floppy disk drive any more, and we don’t seem to have a spare one lying around the house, the alternative to going out and buying a new one (do computer shops even sell floppy disk drives any more?) is to create a new Windows XP install CD, and slipstream the drivers onto it. Fortunately, there is a useful program called XPCreate which simplifies the process of creating slipstreamed disks.
Nevertheless, this means that my PC is going to be out of commission for most of the week. If I order a SATA power adapter this evening, it’ll get dispatched tomorrow, the postman will try and deliver it on Thursday, fail because there’s no-one at home, and I’ll be able to pick it up from the Post Office depot on Friday morning.
On the brighter side, I had been worrying about using up another authorization token for iTunes. Music you buy from the iTunes music library is authorized to play on up to 5 machines. You can manually de-authorize a computer, for example if you want to sell it, or move all your stuff to a different machine, but this is no use if your PC up and dies on you before you can do that. However, I just found out that once you have used up your 5 authorizations, iTunes will give you a button to instantly deauthorize all machines that were registered to play your music.
I haven’t bought all that much music from the iTunes Music Library, partly because of the 5 machine restriction. (And partly because AllOfMP3.com is much cheaper.) But knowing that there’s a big shiny “reset” button at the end of the road is a big a relief. You can only use it once a year, but fortunately my disks don’t tend to crash that often.