The reformat has hit a snag. Of the "machine won't boot at all any more" variety. Er…oops?
It was all going so well, until I made the apparently foolish mistake of updating the system drivers, as microsoft requested. I should have known better, eh? I didn't realise it was possible to achieve the blue screen of death on a fresh, uncorrupted install. Not only did I achieve the blue screen of death, I've taken it a step further and trapped the desktop in a pre-boot failing cycle. I suspect this is because XP triggered an automatic restart after installing one driver, not quite realising it had simultaneously moved on to installing the next driver and wasn't finished that yet.
So I have admitted defeat: a new computer it is.
And because I don't want to fight with Microsoft any more (Vista? No thanks!), and because I don't quite trust myself with Linux yet (I'd probably spend all my time tweaking system configurations instead of, you know, writing)… there is a brand new MacBook on her way to me.