So I start reinstalling the OS. The laptop shipped with XP Home SP2, and I was installing XP Pro SP1. The comp balked at that while in Windows but when I booted from CD it was fine. So I reformatted the entire hard drive and installed a nice fresh copy of XP Pro. However when the comp rebooted for the first time I got hit with a boot menu that gave me the option of booting into XP Pro or XP Home. WTF??
So I figure, eh no biggie - I'll just edit the boot menu options in Windows so it automatically chooses the Pro version. Next hurdle was figuring out how I was going to get the drivers installed now that I had no recovery CDs and thus no internet connection. Luckily I had a wireless USB adapter that I was using with my old comp that I installed in the new one to get me online to get the drivers from Sony's website. Sweet. So I get all the drivers installed and have talked through tech support again to see if I could get rid of the boot menu all together (they told me to send an email. Whatever). Then when I tried installing SP2 the download kept hanging.
By this time it was getting onwards of midnight, and I was beginning to get a little cranky. So I threw my hands up in the air and reinstalled XP Pro all over again. Sure, I mighta over-reacted a bit, but at least it solved all my problems. When the comp rebooted after the reinstall the XP Home ghost was no more, it booted straight into XP Pro. Good, that was just nagging me.
To make my downloads faster I took the comp downstairs to sit on the couch and be almost right under the router. I also reset the router to clear its brain up. That helped a bit too. Since installing drivers and updates is boring and tedious, I popped in the LotR: RotK Special Extended Edition DVD and watched it on my TV (not on my laptop) while I worked.
So I guess the night turned out aiight after all. I'm still at it - installing updates and apps until I can't keep my eye open any longer. I guess I'll get a bit more done before I catch a few hours sleep.
What a fiasco.