Oh boy… My home PC did a number on me once again. I’m currently confined to the laptop propped up on the nightstand next to my bed. Yeah, I can’t even sit at my desk, because I have a CRT which is obscenely long in the back and takes up 85% of my desk space. Typing from my bed can be done in two positions: uncomfortable, and fucking uncomfortable. The laptop is kinda big to actually be a lap-top. :P
The desktop was working just fine for the most of the day yesterday. In fact, I only did two changes to the system in the last few days. First one was installing the intelisense drivers to support my brand new Microsoft Sidewinder Mouse that I got for Christmas. I will write a review at one point btw, but seeing how my desktop is out of commission right now that post is on the back burner. I restarted the system after the installation and it was fine. The second change was a Windows Media Player update. Recently I noticed that I was experiencing weird discoloration when playing WMV files. In hindsight, I think this issue started when I updated by graphic card’s drivers but initially I thought it might be a media player or a codec issue. I usually use VLC for most of my media but for an obvious reason, WMV files sometimes work better in the MS player.
Since I hardly ever use Windows Media Player, I figured I might as well update it. So I hit the “check for updates” menu item, and allowed it to pull down and install required files. Oddly enough it asked me to reboot afterwards. So I did, and as windows was shutting down I went to grab some food. When I came back, I was greeted by a blank screen with a single dash blinking in the upper left corner.
So here is the situation: when I power up the machine I can see the POST screen, and I can access the BIOS as normal. Right after the POST the screen goes blank and I get that damn blinking dash. I can boot from the CD normally – and in fact, when I booted Knoppix, I was able to access and back up all my data on the C drive. It doesn’t seem to be a hard drive or a controller failure – it even passed the quick built in Dell IDE diagnostic test available from the F12 boot menu.
I ran CHKDSK on the drive from the recovery console and it said it found and repaired some errors but this did not fix my issue. I even ran FIXBOOT to write out a new boot sector, but that didn’t help either.
My next step will probably be FIXMBR, but I don’t want to do that just yet. As far as I can remember, this would always hose the partition table and make the problems worse. So I want to make this the very last step, before formating and reinstalling windows. If I hose a partition or two then, who cares. Before that I want to make sure my backups are working, and uncorrupted. Since I was using Knoppix to write to a NTFS partition, I want to test the backed up files and make sure they are ok before I do any irreversible changes to the master boot record.
Anyway, did anything like this ever happen to you? Any suggestions on how to fix it without killing my current windows install?
Sigh… At least this didn’t happen yesterday or on Christmas Eve. It would surely ruin the holidays for me.
I posted some updates on this issue in here.
I found a solution to this. Well, sort off. Read the linked post.
[tags]blinking dash, fixboot, fixmbr, boot sector, master boot record[/tags]