OK, so I teach for a second living. So, I decided to buy Visual C++ version 5.0, the academically priced version ($99). This came with Windows NT 4.0 Workstation. I figured, "What the heck", and decided to install it.
I backed up all my data files to my Zip drive (great piece of hardware, though I'd get a Jaz drive now), and since I only own legal software, could just reinstall anything I owned. Any new drivers I needed, I figured I could just download.
So, I format my hard disks, install NT, and NTFS. Right away, I made an error in selecting networking, because I figured I wanted TCP/IP installed. Well, every time I booted, I got network errors because I wasn't on a network. So, in typical magoo fashion, I removed all the networking components. Great, the problem went away.
First, I noticed my sound card doesn't work. An Ensoniq sound-blaster compatible card. After some time, I find that the Ensoinq is an ISA Plug 'n Play device, and ISA Plug 'n Play isn't enabled normally in NT. I figure out how to activate it (thank goodness for the MSDN CD that came with VC++ 5.0). The card is now recognized by NT, but there is no driver. So I decide to download it.
This is when I notice that my new $200 US Robotics 56K WinModem wasn't recognized either. It's ISA Plug 'n Play also, and after some research it seems like it should be running (NT sees it, but no drivers work for it). So, I punch my computer, and go to sleep. Next morning, I call US Robotics, and they say in no uncertain terms, "It just won't work".
So, I go off to the store, and buy my 2nd 56K modem in 3 weeks. A Teleport, also ISA Plug 'n Play, but the PNP feature can be disabled, which I do. Finally, the modem is recognized. But now, for some reason I can't install Dial Up Networking. I try and try. And try again. No luck. I punch my computer, and go to sleep.
Frustrated to no end, I decided to take a road trip for the weekend, and go away to upstate NY. No computers, just the great outdoors, and a loud motorcycle. Thumbs up for the weekend.
I realize now, that some of the network components I had earlier removed, were needed to install Dial-up networking. So I try to remove and re-install networking. No luck. I try again and again. And, while I hate to resort to it, I completely re-install NT 4.0 again, this time I specifiy No Networking. 5 minutes after the installation, I install the modem with no problems.
I then download my audio card driver for the Ensonique, and again, in 5 minutes I'm sitting pretty. Well, not Pretty, but you know. So, I re-install all my software (over a dozen CDs). I'm sitting there, and suddenly realize that there isn't any faxing ability, like I had in Win95. Now, I've maybe faxed something twice from my computer in the last 5 years, but that doesn't mean anything. If I think it should be there, then it should be there.
On Microsoft's web site, I find their free, personal Fax software for NT 4.0 (why wasn't it on my CD, if it's free?). But, I note that you need Service Pack 2 or greater to install. Piss. I have service pack 1 on my CD. So, I attempt to download service pack 3 (the latest). The download is 18 Megabytes!! I attempt 3 times, and each time, the FTP just stops after anywhere between 1 and 3 megabytes. And, trying just to figure out what to download was a pain (some of the backup FTP sites listed the same file but with file sizes varying by megabytes).
So, now I have a brainstorm. I telnet into my web server, and FTP it to my web site. I am amazed, as it takes about 2 minutes to transfer 18 megabytes. But, it's still not on my computer, it's on my host computer. I move it into my own FTP area, and I then FTP it from my host to my PC. The transfer finished in about 1 hour and 40 minutes (interesting note: the Bits Per Second rate for the other sites was about 1K per second, but my ftp host was 3K per second, thumbs up to Best.com, my hosting site).
OK, so finally, not 20 minutes ago, I installed the service pack, downloaded the faxing software, installed it, and sent a test fax.
Finally, it's all installed, all done. Probably a solid 8 hours of work. And, some heavy troubleshooting on my part, in my opinion. I always wonder, if I do this for a living, how is the average Joe (or Jane) supposed to figure this out? And of course, as my personality dictates, I'll be keeping my eye out for any other updates, just so that I can further complicate my life. In the mean time, I got school work to get to.