I finished off last night by saying I needed to back everything up again, and that's just what I got down to after eating breakfast today. The first bit of organization went okay, but then I plugged in the external drive that I store all my random files on - everything that I want to keep but doesn't fit into any other folder. Now, over the past couple weeks I've noticed it's been slower and slower to open in Explorer after I plugged it in, but thought maybe that was just because my laptop had been running for over a month, and made do with the delays as best I could. Then this afternoon came, and I got the bright idea to first try defragmenting the whole drive. The program made it about halfway through before I stopped it for some reason or another, and that's when the problems started. Both laptops said it couldn't be read due to an I/O error, but instead of taking the advice I found online as true, I figured "Maybe if I reinstall XP it'll work again", and I'm sure you already know the outcome. So after that came the three hours of reinstalling programs and waiting for Windows Updates and installing more programs and configuring everything, and just generally nothing fun. The good part that came out of that is I've decided to go with foobar2000 as a music player now (Winamp was far too choppy playing files stored on the computer downstairs, and I couldn't find any way to disable the visualizations in Windows Media Player), but even that has a downside, being necessitating the need to copy that program over to my reinstallation folder(s). In the end though, I'm 99% certain everything is back as it was now. Oh, sure, the desktop isn't arranged quite the same, and there are bound to be a couple other small inconsistencies, but on a whole, everything is just as it was before I grabbed the installation CD.
As for the second thing, given that reinstalling XP took up most of my night (until 11pm), I wasn't able to wash the dishes at my normal time. I finally made it down there at midnight, and was greeted with everything from the entire day. In truth it wasn't unlike washing dishes at work, but I don't enjoy spending two hours washing the things no matter where I am, especially when I'm at home and they have to be dried before being put back in the cupboard. Anyways, things did get a bit better after that, because I went out to 7-11 (didn't go there either of the past two nights), then relaxed and did very little aside from some work on Picross DS and running chkdsk on that external drive. Last I checked (it's running on my other laptop) it was recovering "orphaned files", which I suppose is just what I'm after, but also leaves me somewhat concerned that the directory structure won't remain intact if and when they're all recovered. It would be a truly monumental task to work through ~60GB of files, but at this point I'll just be happy to have them back. Not that they're absolutely vital, but they do date back to 2006, possibly earlier, which should say enough for why I'd like to recover them. Still, if that is what the utility is doing right now, it's going to take a fair while, so I have plenty of time to think about whether or not there were any on there that I did need.
In such light, I'm off to bed here and now. Last night I ended up staying awake until after 9am, but this time I have work tomorrow to worry about, and it wouldn't do to go there all tired as if it was a supper shift. Well, I will take one more quick look at my other laptop to see how chkdsk is doing first. Hopefully it's still recovering stuff~