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Posted by briandh on November 26, 2006

You are lucky I am able to post this – everything went pear-shaped yesterday afternoon.

I had almost completed transferring everything from my old machine to my new machine, installed most of the software [read: games] I was likely to “need”. Tidied up the start menu, moved the swap file over to the second drive and defragged the hard drive.

Everything was working perfectly – I had even resolved most of the remaining issues.

  • the ViewSonic monitor not detecting the signal was simply a matter of selecting the preferred source from its on-screen menus.
  • it had a nasty habit of restarting itself after a shutdown – tracked that down to a combination of the OneClick main protector and a BIOS setting for restarting after a power failure. Just set the BIOS to go to the last mode it was in rather than ON.
  • I’m getting used to the new keyboard and mouse – a new mouse pad helped the mouse which was sticking on my desk.

I was getting ridiculous frame rates from my favourite games and I was happy.

Then all hell broke loose.

I restarted the system and it didn’t come back up. It stuck at the Windows is loading screen with a frozen progress bar.

Switch-off, restart, into Safe mode – everything looks fine, restart – FREEZE.

I tried everything:

  • disconnected all non-essential external peripherals
  • rolled back a restore point – then another
  • tried the XP CD Automatic System Restore – it froze in the same place
  • tried the same from the PowerQuest restore MESH build in – same result
  • tried a full system restore from the PowerQuest restore software – after an hour it finished copying everything and then reset – and froze at the same place.
  • now things got really scary – it was freezing in Safe mode too!
  • I checked all the BIOS settings – but I’d not really changed anything significant
  • I opened it up and pushed all the boards firmly into their slots (they were already)

Nothing worked

I was stuffed

Time to phone my 24/7 Technical support – what a joke.

“Thank you for calling … press one if you wish to place an order, press two if you have a technical problem.”

2: “You have two options – dial [premium rate number] if you have a software problem, press two if you have a hardware problem.”

2: “You now have two options – visit our website or call back during office hours.”

How are you supposed to visit a Website if you machine wont boot?

Time to give up, wait till Monday and send a rocket up their ass.

Sunday morning – lets have another try – maybe it got too hot (which would be a problem in itself). Nope. Same.

Walk off in disgust … wait a minute what’s that noise. After leaving it at the stuck pioint for a minute or so I noticed that the hard disk was grinding away. I left it alone for about 15minutes – and it rebooted and started normally!

Surprisingly, everything is back almost at where it was when everything went pear-shaped. There are a couple of things I installed that don’t show up on the Start menu (which is no longer quite as tidy) and I’ve just noticed that auto-spell checking does not seem to be working in Firefox. Nothing major seems out of place, which is a very pleasant surprise – I thought that the PowerQuest full system restore would have sent everything back to factory defaults – right back to needing to register Windows and start installing stuff.

So, what went wrong?

I think that something perhaps triggered a checkdisk on the next reboot and that Windows chose to hide the checkdisk output from me – I didn’t think it did that. I did ask for a checkdisk but I thought I only did it whilst in safe mode on one of the failed restarts.

I am going to log a possible problem with MESH and monitor the situation closely for any strange behaviour. There may be some intermittent hardware issue kicking around.

Back to the games …


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