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In order to do the Win7 installation, I'd had to take the machine back upstairs, where I could plug it into the router. Just in case there was something weird about the wireless adapter, though, I decided to leave the computer upstairs so I could plug it into the internet if need be. Back to install the adapter software, which goes fine. Time to plug in the adapter! I do so, and the computer can't find it. Same flippin' error as last time. WTF? This is a new mobo! It has brand-new USB ports! What have I done wrong? Was the adapter borked? While I am contemplating this, the computer pops up with a little message that essentially says "Hey, you've got a new piece of hardware there, but I can't find a driver for it." Hm. So I check the Device Manager. Look at that! There's a network adapter that's marked as not working, because it doesn't have a driver, and by the way would I like it to check for a driver? Since the machine is still connected to the internet, I tell it to seek out a driver forthwith. Which it does. And now the adapter works! Glory!

(It is at this point that it occurs to me that perhaps if I had not already been convinced that the problem with the adapter was the malfunctioning USB ports on the old mobo, I might have tried this a couple of weeks ago and saved myself a lot of time and money. OTOH, it was a seven-year-old computer, and now I have a much faster machine [1].)

So now it's time to connect the old hard drive and see if I can read it. Which I do, and I can. I think. There might be a missing partition there, but I can definitely read my old files. I still have to reinstall Office, but I've got antivirus software and all the Windows patches taken care of. Though now the monitor is being a bit flaky, and I still have the nonbooting optical drive to deal with...maybe next month. I've kind of blown the discretionary budget for a while.

[1]How much faster? Before removing the old mobo, I backed up FireFox and Thunderbird email using MozBackup to extract the profiles. It took a while to do Thunderbird, as I have a lot of saved emails--a few Gb worth. I had reinstalled FireFox and Thunderbird, reloaded the default profile (including user history, bookmarks, plugins, etc.) for FireFox (it took a few seconds), and then when I reloaded the email profile it also took a few seconds. I was not expecting that, after how long it took to save the profile, so I checked to make sure that it had, indeed, put in all the emails. It had. In about a tenth or less of the time it took to save them. Whee!

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