My XP installation went up in smoke, well, a “user32.dll not found” BSOD on boot error at least. At least my reinstallation was partially planned.
Just to note in case I ever come across the error again (it BSOD’ed after the scrolling loading bar of windows, but before the login screen appeared) there are a variety of probable reasons the BOSD occured – all of them pretty unrecoverable. Hive registry corruption, files being missing or corrupted from the system32 folder, driver problems or hardware problems. Notably checkdsk performed fine off a PE disk, there are no viruses, and the only hardware problem I did know of was an external HDD (a older Maxtor one) noting a missing driver for installing it’s front button.
It’s a toss up between a “as good as reinstalled” fresh registry, meaning nothing appears as installed, and many programs break (gee, thanks Microsoft. I love single points of failure), and reinstalling. The latter option at least means I can install newer drivers, and get it fresh – and more importantly, sort my RAID config out.
Interestingly, I couldn’t do RAID1 with more then 2 drives, or RAID5 with more then 3. Funny motherboard support for software RAID to be honest. RAID10 (1+0) on 4 HDD’s is good enough for my OS and data – so cut back on the data a bit. RAID0 on 2 HDD’s for my games, for speed, and since I wouldn’t miss the installations as much as the data.
This is one reason I’m effectively offline though. I only just got things installed yesterday (nLite is brilliant in most respects for creating a good boot CD, just takes a while going through all the tweaks 🙂 ). I did get all my data off before deleting my RAID config, well, I hope everything important.
This also gives me a chance to try some new firewall/AV stuff. I’m trying ESET security (nod32) on trial – not too impressed so far (the firewall seems a bit cumbersome to edit, AV a bit uncustomisable), but the memory/CPU front seems lower then my past firewalls or AV’s. Once the trial is over I’ll decide whether to keep or try Comodo’s (which firewall I used before, and was okay), or some other – suggestions welcome, and AV isn’t entirely necessary (not many seem to integrate well with Thunderbird, sigh), to be honest – but a decent firewall is paramount (stopping outgoing things, and opening incoming ports, for a variety of reasons – especially when I am up to trying some networking stuff).
Quickly before I continue though, I won’t be using AVG or Avira, since they’re okay but pretty hefty. McAfee isn’t very good generally, Kapersky is not great in any respect (totally unusable, unbearably slow). Avast and Sophos are pretty unweildy (and not free). Don’t even get me started on Samantec/Norton, the bane of all problems on a PC (it’s almost true, if there are viruses it’s not detected or can’t remove, they’re less of a problem then Symantec itself. Shame people pay for it).
Since starting work I’ve also decided system restory at a low % of my drive space (80GB OS partition) is a good idea for the OS. At least it’ll give me a chance to get back in easily if the registry corrupts. some other things I usually remove I’ve left running too, a bit more typical setup – for the minor problems I sometimes had before, because I have 3GB of RAM now.