It's times like this when you realise how precious your hard drive of Ones and Zeros really is. What I needed was a external drive big enough to store a copy of my whole hard drive. Only then would I be immune to such disasters. So, after warning the wife, I pedalled off to Tottenham Court Road after work and returned home with a beautiful 80GB Lacie P3 (sculpted by the Porsche Design Team, don't you know?). That night, using Norton Disk Editor, I made a backup of my whole drive, ready for a Reinstall of Panther.
With a reinstalled System, and a few apps, things were up and running again. All was back to normal. Or so I thought. It was only when I synced my iPod I realised that all was not as hunky-dory as I was led to believe. iTunes informed me that some tracks were missing from my library. I scrolled through my track list and there must have been at least 100 missing files. Nortons Utilities had failed to make a complete copy. Not something I'd expect from the great Doctor.
Realising that these missing files were still sitting 'invisibly' on my iPod, I downloaded a piece of shareware called iPod Access which enabled me to copy the missing tracks back to my iTunes folder. All I did next was remove all the tracks in my library with missing files (this meant going through 3000-odd songs).
Learn by my mistakes: Back up everything - then check that your backups all there. Don't go to Symantec for your Backup Utility. Try out Disk Warrior or Drive 10. Check the reviews.
NB. MacUser or MacWorld have not reviewed Nortons version 8. Symantec probably 'forgot' to send them a copy (catch my drift?).