Finally my laptop is back working smoothly again...
Everything started more than one month ago, when I noticed that my laptop was a lot slower then what it should be, and I found out that it was a problem with too much CPU time in kernel mode: this usually means a problem with the hardware.
10 days later, I decided to spend a night backing up all my data to the external drive and reinstalling everything.
Unfortunately the reinstallation didn't solve the problem, the time spent in kernel mode was still too much, and the application were still very slow.
Other 10 days later I had a chat with Igor which helped me troubleshooting the problem: we found out that the problem was my HDD with too many reallocated sectors. So the solution would been buying a new hard disk.
So, last week I bought a Hitachi 7200rpm 100GB 2.5" HDD, which arrived at my work place less than 1 day after I ordered it online (ordered last Thursday at 1pm, arrived on Friday at 8:30am).
But I didn't want to reinstall everything again, so on Saturday I decided to try the full-disk backup and restore procedure: I installed Nero BackItUp, created a bootable disk to make the backup of the full drive to my external drive, but, again a new problem, the linux-based backup application created by the BackItUp can't write to NTFS drives (as my external USB drive). So I had to run the backup directly from Windows, but, since I was doing the backup of the system partition, the program couldn't lock the drive. (By the way, the backup of a 13Gb took 2 hours and half)
Cool... now with the drive backup on my external drive I replaced my old HDD with the new one, I started the restore procedure (which took only 53 minutes).
But when I booted the laptop I received an error saying that the system partition is corrupt, and that I need to run the recovery system option using the Win XP installation disk. Of course the CD I burnt didn't work, so I had to wait till today when finally Nic burnt me an installation CD. Back from work I run the recovery console, and now here I am, running on my laptop with my new 7200rpm disk: I don't remember the startup of the system and of all the applications were so quick. I still have to run Visual Studio, but everything else (Outlook, MSN, Skype, GTalk) is amazingly fast.
So, now I hope this my last post about my laptop: of course till October, when I'm going to buy the MacBook with Leopard.