I need to reinstall Windows on my desktop PC at work. Why? Let's just say that installing an early pre-alpha release of Windows Live Messenger was a very, very bad idea. Next time I'll do it in a virtual PC.
Up until now, I've always been able to boot my PC from the network, which automagically connects it to a server that knows how to reinstall Windows. Easy!
Sadly, though, that's not working today. So I used my old floppy disk that's worked just fine for the past three years.
However, it's no longer working. Forty-five minutes on the phone with tech support has finally gotten an answer to my problem: Microsoft IT has arbitrarily dropped support for older network cards: they only support newer ones. This machine was manufactured in September 2002 and presumably is so mind-numbingly old that they cannot possibly support its bog-standard 3Com card.
The solution is apparently to wait for them to come around and re-image my PC for me [not an option: I have sensitive, irreplaceable data on two of the three hard drives in the box, and if they accidentally erase on of them, I will not be happy]. I asked if I could find an ISO somewhere on the network and just burn a CD I can use to install Windows... the answer is no. Not an option because I don't work on Windows, and those of us outside the Windows group are apparently not to be trusted with Windows CDs because we might... well, I don't know what.
Luckily, however, I know where I can find images of Windows XP Media Center Edition, burn them, and use those.
Nice to know that Microsoft is paying me to fuck around with Windows, though. Somehow it makes it all worthwhile.