Oh what fun, finding that whatever I tried with my wife's ageing and increasingly flaky Vista laptop it refused to open a Samba share across a network. I lost count of how many reboots later I finally decided it was screwdriver time.
Yep, out came the mini screwdrivers, and out came the HDD, into a caddy, stuck into USB and a whole bunch (20K+, something like 60GB) of photographs, which were of course largely not stored anywhere else... backup, where art thou?, were copied over to my desktop machine (well, the little-used 1TB drive I have for my Win7 boot) in just over an hour.
The laptop still works, but is now sans HDD as I don't have a SATA spare lying around, so it looks like an eBay order will be going in later, along with one for a new keyboard as one of the cursor keys (the left one) is kaput, which is not a major problem but a nuisance.
I tried PCBSD from a USB, and it seemed to start OK, before falling over because there was no hard drive, so that will be probably be OS of choice here, although I was a bit confused/unconvinced about the wifi scanning as it didn't seem to offer up my network. Ah well, maybe that is something to fix later.
Just as a double-check I ran manjaro off a DVD, too, so that was all good.
Other than that, a bit of guitar practice, some shuffling practice (still on the overhand), a bit of light reading with some Kensington Gore - highly recommended - and away we go ready for a few bottles (Ringwood Old Thumper and Bad King John from Ridgeway) this evening!