Saturday, August 30, 2008

BSoD-- not Even! Hate Mail.

All of us who use Windows regularly know this image very well, in fact I bet it is the most common computer picture in the universe.
The dreaded BSoD, or Blue Screen of Death. Indicating that some obscure process has poisoned the opererating system to the extent that there is no returning to your virtual desktop and the only answer is a primitive interruption of the power supply.
I know this screen especially well, as I tend to push my machines to their limits anyhow.
But now Microsoft has done one better: the latest Service Pack, downloaded behind my back and installed without my knowledge, has managed to do what no carelessly programed application has done to me before: the machine is simply no longer bootable.
If it were, I know a few things that I could do to fix it, you know, things like massaging my hard disk and slipping asperin suppositories into the the rearend of the WIN32/ directories.
But at the moment the laptop whizzes away, starts to load Windows, gives me a stern warning that my hard disk has been messed with, does a tedious validation check of the file systems, tells me I need to refer the problem to my supervisor (!!), gives a mighty sigh, and does a reboot... and the whole process begins anew.

I have another computer or two around the house, so I google for confirmation that I am not alone with this. At a conservative estimate, at least half a million users have been similarly struck.

But the appalling thing is that Microsoft insists that it is not a problem, or that it is not THEIR problem, even when it patently is. They provide a "workaround", giving you 4 different ways of restarting and repairing the system. 3 of them involve using a working Windows system, which I obviously cannot use because the machine is in a constant reboot loop. The last one involves using a Windows CD-- and this solution, lovely as it may be, is of no use to me because the CDs I got as recovery CDs with the laptop only give me the option of returning the machine to its pristine factory setup.
That is: all data erased, all programs needing reintallation, plus (and this is the inevitable question) returning to Windows XP without ANY service packs... and the automatic download will be of Service Pack 3, which caused the problem in the first place.

For the interim, I am scanning cyberspace for a solution (anyone out there got a good idea?) and using Linux. (one year running and nary a system crash!)

Friday, August 08, 2008

My office this week

Unfortunately they won't let me stay past next Sunday.
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