OK I guess the title is a little bit over the top but that's just how I feel.
My damned C: drive suddenly gave up the ghost and I squarely lay the blame at a certain door in Redmond, WA. My PC was doing a .NET update, taking its time so I went out, leaving it to get on with it - came back to a blank screen.
Rebooted and found that it couldn't access my C: drive, so the OS wouldn't load :-(
Oh crap, tried all the usual tricks such as taking the drive out of the bay, cleaning everything, giving it a little 'tap' (in case the spindle drive was stuck), then into the freezer to chill it - sounds strange but I've heard that it can work - didn't.
So now I'm currently my main drive down (fortunately all my data is actually on an external drive and backed up into the 'cloud' - so safe) and am trying out a light version of Ubuntu called Xubuntu.
This is being run from a USB stick, has the operating system in it, along with Firefox (albeit an older version) embeded and it's also got a basic 'Office' software package to handle 'Word' and 'Excel' type activities.
So now it's time to get a new drive, this is of couse a good excuse to get a nice big one, after fitting I'm going to go for a full version of Ubuntu, it seems to do all I need in the interim - let's get away from this dependancy on MS products.
Only thing I'm a little disappointed with is that Google don't yet have a stable Chrome browser for Linux OS yet, might try their buggy Beta with Firefox (latest version) as a standby (although I can't do any of this until I get my new drive fitted).
So last night was a pain in the proverbial, but I am pleasantly surprised about how easy it was to get back up and running with a USB Drive operating system.