Due to the unexpected illness of my Corporate Vaio SZ390P (the increasing blue screens of death and "hardware failure" messages were not just a plot to annoy me but it turns out the warning signs of impending doom - or in this case it seems symptoms of the death of my TPM chip) I've had to go back to my old trusty Vaio T27GP (which was used to build BigBrother 06 and v1 Mytalk sites).

It should hardly come as a surprise that the machine (which I've not really used since leaving Aus) was a little out of date but it was simply a case of running Windows Update a couple of times and all was good with WinXP.

SQL Server has proven to be a little more interesting... I can't get Service Pack 2 to install and the error message isn't that helpful. I'm going to play some more with that one (I suspect it may have been my fault... halfway through trying to install it the first time I pulled power forgetting the battery wasn't actually charged!)

Office turned into a bit of a saga though. When I last used this machine Office 2007 was at Beta 2 Technical Refresh... long since expired. So I needed to upgrade to the current RTM version. But in order to do that I needed to uninstall B2TR which proved to be rather difficult thanks to a variety of changes in registry (and probably other consequences of my install/uninstall approach to anything new and shiny).

Luckily on my searches it turned out I wasn't the only one to have hit the problem so thanks to UKSMBGirl I was able to find a handy step by step guide to getting B2TR uninstalled - which actually applies to pretty much any product you can't get rid of easily.

The star of the piece was C(rap)Cleaner - a very simple utility which does exactly what it says on the tin going through and de-crufting your machine. Along with my favorite hard-core tune up toolkit for PCs this is a worthy addition to any toolkit if you're trying to maintain a machine in tip-top condition (especially when it may have been without care and attention for a while).

Like CCleaner, Tune-up does a great job as an on-demand cleaner but it also does a good job of scheduled maintenance. Personally I use OneCare on the machines at home because of their security integration but if you have a different choice of firewall/antivirus package (eg NOD32) then Tune-up is worth adding to your machine.

If you want to make sure your machine is in tip-top shape then it's also worth sniffing out the many malware infections that could creep in unannounced. Spybot S&D is still my favorite for a deep scan as part of regular maintenance though again day-to-day OneCare does the job of keeping comfort factor high