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Stupider Computer

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

After two evenings of boot disks, operating system CDs, external drives, SATA drives balanced precariously atop an open case, and a couple of hard ciders, it appears the great computer meltdown of 2010 has been repaired.

Sadly, after all the effort, I still don’t know what was wrong. The computer stopped booting without an error, so I tried to fix it with a variety of different tools.  Some of them may have introduced other errors, or exacerbated the original error, and somehow it all ended up booting again around 6pm today.

Things which I tried which did not help: fixmbr, fixboot, copy partitions to a spare SATA drive I have lying around (waiting for that new build I’ve been planning for nearly a year now), copying NTLDR, hiding and unhiding partitions, making partitions active and boot, and pulling out hair.

Things which I think led to the fix: editing the boot.ini file via a Linux boot disk to point to partition(2) instead of partition(1), ensuring the recovery partition does not get assigned a drive letter in XP. And possibly the cider.

And this is why I have several USB drives about, as well as why I experiment with live distros on USB keys so I’m not completely flummoxed when everything goes pear shaped.  I still don’t trust this machine, though.  Flaky like croissant dough.