My main Windows hard drive started making whirrr-clunk noises a while ago - at first they were infrequent, but when we got back from either Belgium or Germany (I can't remember which now, which is a bit scary), it was doing it continuously and wouldn't start up. I did take backups recently, and I managed to squeeze a bit more life out of the drive by sticking it in the freezer for 40 minutes or so (inside two sealed plastic bags, of course). I've seen this trick mentioned in various places online, and it did seem to work in this case - for the first hour or two (enough to boot into Ubuntu and frantically copy anything off that I thought might have been missed by the backups), there were no clunking noises. Plenty of read errors, this wasn't a magic cure, but it was enough to make sure that I wasn't losing too much.
So, I managed to find a new hard drive last week and installed it, but decided to wait until today (a lazy bank holiday after Confounding Tales) to do the Windows install. It's going slowly but ok so far, except for some fiddling around with the wireless card driver (it requires the driver to be installed before the card - unlike almost any other hardware installation). This time around I'm updating to XP SP2, and then I get to do the rounds of video drivers and sound card drivers and so on. And then there's the apps and games. Ho hum.
I have to say, having done my Ubuntu install recently, that Ubuntu was quite a bit easier to install, especially for the apps - everything has been installed through Synaptic so far. There was a bit of fiddling required for the wireless card there too, of course, since TI haven't seen fit to release any useful specs to driver writers, but it seems that the ACX100 driver team have finally managed to get most of the issues sorted out.