So I have found yet another reason to hate Microsoft. It's actually been a while since I've been really mad at them. Sure there's spyware, but they shouldn't get the lion's share of the blame for that. I mean it's been a long time since XP crashed on me when it wasn't blatently my fault, and the live and let live deal I've had with Microsoft seamed to have been working.
That is until I tried to re-install my iPod after migrating to a new CPU/motherboard force me to reinstall XP. For the life of me I couldn't figure out why the iTunes installer wasn't finding my ipod. I tried again and again, and XP kept finding a removable storage device, but for some reason the installer couldn't talk to it. And the drive wasn't being mounted either.
Well, after abot 10 reboots, 4 re-installs of iTunes, and an actual reseating of the firewire card (I tried USB to a similiarly stunning lack of success) I finally wandered my way into the disk manager from 'My Computer' > 'Right Click' > 'Manage' (which I only knew about recently since fdisk is no longer the preferred means of getting a new hard drive to work, but there's no real help on that anywhere).
As it turns out, I had a share drive mounted on 'G:' and when windows saw the iPod it thought, 'Hey G: sounds like a good place to put this' and so silently hid the fact that it had mounted it underneath my network drive. A simple letter change and I was good to go (I don't know how many hours later - got some good TV in during the reboots though).
If you're going to be smart about something (i.e. keep the drives in the same place, and not bother the user about what to do), you really need to go whole-ass. Half-ass smart just makes things worse.