I should have known better
11 September 2004 in General, Windows | Comments enabled

…and I did, when I was installing the “Longhorn transformation pack 7″ I was trying to decide if I should complete the install as I’m damn sure swapping components in from an alpha operating system into a stable one was a bad idea.

But then I thought “It’s just screensavers and themes”. How wrong I was.

Everything was fine except that windows seemed to have gotten damn slow. Often the system would appear to hang – the mouse would move just fine, but nothing else was responding for several seconds. Then it would come right, so I monitored task manager to see what was up – nothing seemed to play the resource-grabbing game in the freeze ups, everything seemed “normal”.

After a day or two I had gotten a bit sick of this and decided to uninstall the transformation pack. This is where the trouble really began.

Let me paint you a mental picture – it was around 10pm on a Friday night, my friend had just left from watching a movie and I decided that I wanted to do some coding. Rowena had gifted me some GuyLian chocolates before leaving yesterday so I thought I would enjoy a couple of those while having a Red Bull that Bev from work had given to me earlier. Everything was good, all I needed to do was crank up some music and get to coding.

Of course I’m missing out that I still needed to get rid of the transformation pack. Well the instructions just said “run the install again, and select uninstall”. Good thing I have a computer science degree.

First off the uninstall tells me there is already an install in progress. Odd since there wasn’t. So I reboot and try again, this time it seems to like me a bit more and gets part way through the uninstall and terminates for no apparent reason. Upon re-running it complains that an incomplete uninstall is pending and I should restart.

Note: Computers can lie

I restart and bam – try to login and I get a lovely message about my account being damaged. There is only one option – use the default. So I click to use the default, windows loads and all I get is a desktop image and a cursor. Hitting ALT+CTRL+DEL does nothing, windows key does nothing, everything does nothing.

Maybe if I restart it will work? Nope.

I’m somewhat security concious about my system and have any accounts that aren’t needed disabled. This proved to my downfall since I couldn’t do things like login in as Rowena (she’s in the Administrators group). I guess my lesson learned was that I shouldn’t use the default Administrator account as my own (I know, it’s a pretty simple rule even though not fully pushed on the Windows platform).

So, to re-cap to where we are now, I can’t get into windows, nothing seems to work.

I also tried:

  • Safe Mode – same problem, just with a shitty screen size
  • Last known – same problem, nicer screen size

So now I’ve got out my Win2k3 CD and chuck it in, I spend some time in the repair console but I don’t have access to most folders even though I’m an admin – my guess is that it was because the problem seemed to be my profiles were rooted. Nothing in their offered much help, I couldn’t even backup my files because I couldn’t access the folders they were in.

So I try running a repair install to re-install key system files. 30 minutes later I’m ready to reboot into Windows.

Guess what? I get as far as the loading screen which appears for a whole 3 peco-seconds before the system reboots.

So I try:

  • Safe mode – same problem
  • Debug mode – I don’t even know what this does but it didn’t seem to generate any logs or anything but I still have the problem
  • Enable boot logging – No boot log was generated, same problem
  • Last known – worth a shot, but since there never was a last know good boot it also fails

Hmm… so I decide it could just be a oncer – I run the repair install again – still screwed.

By now it’s about 12:30am

I bite the bullet and do a complete overwrite of windows – it’s complaining loudly that it might destroy my files and kill my future children – I press on in my epic battle.

This seemed to work, however it took until about 1:30am for me to be back in windows. I didn’t format because I wanted to see if I could save any of my files, thankfully I could however the system was a bit icky – I went in and manually deleted almost all the application folders from program files etc so the system was semi-clean (saving the files from them that I still needed).

Things seemed to be going alright now and I’m still reinstalling all the applications that I need.

Note to Microsoft: Please allow me to save my email account settings. Setting up the 7 or so accounts I have in outlook is painful. Surely it can’t be that hard to do!

Anyway, that explains why there wasn’t much posted on here yesterday. Now I need to reinstall Visual Studio 2003 and finally get to some coding (My joke challange to to build a complete content management system over the weekend. I know I won’t make it but I bet I can still get something basic working).

Hopefully all you out there are having a more enjoyable time with your computers.

- JD


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