OK, so my brother-in-law did a great job fixing my computer – replaced the hard drive, and it’s running like a dream. I’ve spent the last 2 days re-installing all of my software – what a pain in the ass.

The biggest problem came tonight when I could not find the Product Key for Microsoft Office. We had the disk, and the Certificate of Authenticity, but lost the jewel case that contains the Product Key. Which is, of course, pretty much the most important thing. <sigh> What to do? I decided to call Microsoft Tech Support to see if they would do anything besides laugh and say “tough shit”. I was very pleasantly surprised, as it turns out.

A lovely young Southeast Asian-sounding gentleman named Ernest (I’m guessing not his real name) assisted me through the process, and I ended up with a Replacement Product Key for a mere $10 fee. Good thing I had the Genuine Microsoft disk, otherwise I would have been headed to Best Buy…again. They needed me to read off the Part Number from the back of the CD, inscribed just outside the hole. I did, and voila! A new product key was mine.

Now I am back up and running. So, don’t despair if this happens to you…Microsoft is there to help 🙂

Now all I have to do is reinstall iTunes and get my iPod up to date. Looks like I’ll be up late tonight.