I am sure the gods are playing a little joke on me. MY HTPC is running great at the moment : its quiet , theatertek does a lovely job , it was a breeze to build from start to finish and it feels very stable in use , no freezes and the best pans I've seen so far, also the picture adjustments work great and this thing is well calibratable. The only thing was I just couldn't bring myself to pay out again for a floppy drive. I have one in my ordinary PC so thought I'd just swap it over for firmware flashing duties. Now my PC is an athlon based machine and runs some fairly intensive image manipulation , video editing and 3d packages. It took me quite some time to get it nice and stable but it had been solid for about 18 months. I should have seen it coming of course : some vengeful deity of home cinema hubris was hanging over me. I only went and knackered the motherboard on my PC when I was disconencting the floppy. I suppose there is a certain justice in it : trashing a 100quid motherboard for wont of a 10quid floppy drive. OK I thought I'll just buy another one no problems. I found one on ebuyer ( an asus a7v) for 40quid (depreciation is swift in PC land) but it wasn't there the next day when I went to order it! Then I found one at Simply but it had audio onboard and was 100quid again but I'd learnt my lesson I'd pay the extra and grab it whilst I could. Simply are down the road too nice and handy as they have an express pick up desk...well did have they got rid of it I was informed so I'd have to wait for 6 days whilst it was sent to me by which time I'd be on holiday and there would be no-one in to take delivery. I'd try online at work again and get it cheaper methinks. A miracle : a friend of mine had the same motherboard but had fried his bios chip about 18 months ago but he had kept the board he gives it to me for the price of a pint great. I gingerly swap over the bios chip ( great I won't even have to reflash the new one from scratch). Rebuild machine with new motherboard under watchful gaze of wife studiously taking note of amount of time I'm spending on this PC malarkey for future retribution. Hooray the thing works ! Once again man has triumphed over the machines by guile and cunning. Well it worked for about a week and then it started going senile on me. Ah well I thought , its about time I cleaned it out and reinstalled everything. The only thing was though I got an error message halfway through the install indicating the W2K cd was probably damaged. So I looked at the disc and there were one or two possibly problematic blemished on the disc... toothpaste! Yep 'll do the toothpast trick on it and polish them off ( nicely done too although I had to swap to brasso towards the end for a finer polish!) Still problems reading the disc. I know I'll use the drive out of my HTPC ah no I've just installed that new floppy in there that I should have bought in the first place and its in the way I'd have to pull them both out : wife walks past tuts at the lovely weather outside. Aha what a cunning sod I am I'll just pull the connector cable out of the PC CDrom and connect it to the one in the HTPC along with a power connection bingo works a treat , W2K installs finally now to apply all the relevant MOBO drivers and SP2 patch before getting the card drivers on the go. Ah the mobo drivers have caused a bluescreen luckily I can remove the offending article in the recovery console ( this is way more familiarity with PCs than I ever intended). That works but now everthing hangs at the login . Hell back to scratch reinstall the lot again its the best way in the long run. This time just run the SP2 patch as it will have additional drivers so maybe I won't need the hitherto problem free asus ones. Ah its gotten halfway though installing the SP2 patch and says its corrupt and advises me to unistall everything : this is the same patch I used on my HTPC and it works fine on that. Ok uninstall it . Ah bluescreen again ah to hell with it. So either its the W2K disc I toothpasted. The memorex trimax 200 cd/dvd/cdrcombo drive which has always been a bit clunky if you ask me. Possibly its the motherboard again , maybe it wasn't quite so undamaged. i This is why am writing this on my HTPC which was never ntended to surf the net. Remember kids a floppy drive might seem like a redundant bit of hardware but its only a tenner alright ! So on wednesday I'll be shopping for a CDR drive and a dvd drive ( never again a combi for me) a cd repair kit ( and later possibly a new W2K disc) and more than likely I;ll get a new motherboard which may not be an athlon one so I'll need a new cpu and possibly some DDR ram. And I'll need to buy the missus some flowers too. I know its probably very boring but have a heart I had to tell someone!