Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Catastrophic Windows Failure ... ho hum

Another day, another refusal to boot. Switched on my PC at 7:30 am and it wouldn't go anywhere. Tried safe mode and it kept rebooting after showing the MUP.sys driver. Used Google from the laptop, found a zillion people with the same problem and about as many solutions. (This is the third time this has happened to me in the past 18 months. You think I'd have switched to Linux by now. If it weren't for certain games ...)

Anyway, I set up a second copy of XP on a spare hard drive, booted it, tinkered with the main C partition, no go. Fortunately (or rather, intelligently) my C drive is just Windows and Program Files - my 'My Documents' folder is on its own 5gb partition on a second drive.

So, I ran Paragon Drive Backup, took a snapshot of the broken C partition, then restored my latest snapshot dated October the 11th. Rebooted into my now-working, but outdated install, let AVG and Firefox and Microsoft and Adobe and Java all update themselves, sorted folders in the Program Files folder by date on my C drive AND in the backup snapshot, and reinstalled all apps I'd added to my system after October. Updated to OpenOffice 2.3.1. Restored my Firefox profile in the Documents and Settings folder. Rebooted to confirm it's all working.

Total lost time: around 5 or 6 hours. I have to pick the kids up from school in half an hour, which means basically the whole day is shot, and I've yet to answer a single email. Mind you, I'm lucky I can fix this stuff. For the average punter it would have been wipe and reinstall, perhaps losing all their data in the process.

Now, had this been a Linux installation I'd have booted from a live CD, manually edited the broken config file in a text editor (no registry on linux, thank heavens) and rebooted to a working machine. Net wasted time: around 5 minutes.

And Microsoft want me to upgrade to Vista? The hell I will.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)


DarcKnyt said...

Nicely done, Simon. Great job, and nice call having your data on a separate drive. I keep telling myself to do that and still haven't gotten around to doing it.

Good to know you're back up and running. By the way, will yWriter work on non-Windows machines? Any plans for *nix versions? Just curious.

Ed Pahule said...

Sorry about all that wasted time, Simon.

I guess I've led a charmed life. I've never (knocks wood) had any serious issues with XP in all the years I've had it on my base machine.

And Vista on my laptop? I wouldn't give it up if you paid me.

--Shadow Ferret

Simon Haynes said...

I've only done one complete reinstall of Windows XP after my initial purchase, and that's probably something to do with the horror of having to put all the usual progs back. Now, if only there was a way to batch install Firefox, OpenOffice, The Gimp, all my own apps, Irfanview, Visual Studio 97 with all the patches, etc, etc. Problem is, the version numbers keep updating. And there are 150-200 games installed on this PC. Granted, I probably use 4 of them but last time it was two years before they were all reinstalled again.

Jean said...

I refuse to go to Vista. At this point, I'm shifting to Mac when the time comes for a new computer.

Hubby just got a new laptop with Vista on it. I bought him two Vista books and told him, you're to be the Vista expert. I'm not going there.