January 04, 2006


What a way to come back from vacation.

Mere hours after arriving in Ottawa from my parents' place where I spent Christmas and New Year's, my Windows PC crashed. Hard. Now it won't reboot, and even the XP installation disk won't run properly.

That means that I had to make a quick switch to my old Linux installation to get the computer working. Now it works just fine, except for one thing: my ancient SMC Wi-Fi adapter doesn't appear to be supported. That means if I want to use the Net at home I have to resort to dialup, and with three other guys in the house, it also means I'm restricted to the early morning or after midnight if I want to be polite about it.

Also, my friends on #pros might remember back in mid-2004 where I disappeared suddenly from channel only to reappear about an hour or so later to announce that my hard drive had caught fire. This is that hard drive. While it seems to work fine and has been running about 24 hours now with nary a spark, you can understand why I don't trust it.

Here are the symptoms of The Crash. If anyone with experience recovering XP systems is reading this and can suggest a fix, please leave a comment or drop me an email.

  • The drive appears to boot just fine. I get the text screen where Windows notices that the it didn't restart properly the last time and gives me the option of starting normally, in safe mode, with the last known good configuration, etc.
  • No matter which of these options I choose, the screen goes blank for a few seconds, then the computer reboots, and the whole thing starts all over again.
  • In safe mode, the last file that appears to be loaded by Windows before it spontaneously reboots is "Mup.sys".
  • I haven't yet checked the disk to see if the data is still fine.
  • If I insert the Windows XP CD, it boots normally, but after the message telling me to press F6 if I want to install a third-party SCSI driver disappears, it locks up thoroughly. Only a hard reset revives the PC. I tried this with a roommate's CD instead of my own and got precisely the same result.

I hate Windows.