Blnking Dash Problem: The Non-Solution

I figured I should probably post my solution to the blinking dash problem. As you may know, few days ago I rebooted my machine only to be greeted a blank screen and a blinking dash in the upper left corner of the screen. This was happening right after the BIOS memory tests. The system was booting just fine from the CD and so I was able to back everything up.

I tried just about everything to get my windows installation bootable, including running FIXMBR from the recovery console, repairing windows installation, doing parallel install and etc. Nothing worked.

I’m glad to report that I finally got this machine up and running. My solution?

Format the hard drive and reinstall windows.

Yup, sorry that’s the only thing that helped. I tried, and tried to find a better way to do this but there was just no way this machine would cooperate with me. The interesting question is: what caused this? Was it the graphics card as Alphast suggested in the other thread? I kinda doubt it since the installation went so smoothly after I reformatted. Was it a hard drive issue? It would be odd since this was a relatively new HD. I got it in July when my old system drive failed on me. Could it be the HD controller? But if so, how come my second drive is working just fine?

I hope this was just some random fluke…

As a side note, I noticed that it only took me few minutes to get the machine to the point of usability after I finished installing the drivers and AV suite. Here is the list of apps I really needed to function:

  1. Firefox
  2. Vim
  3. WinRar
  4. VLC
  5. uTorrent

That’s about all I needed to feel at home. In fact I don’t really “need” VLC and uTorrent right away, but I installed them for a good measure. I will probably need MS Office on here sooner or later, but for now I’m fine. I hardly use that damn thing anyway. I will probably end up installing MikTex and Emacs first. :P

I guess this is an evidence that I do live in the browser more than I think. Once I copied my Firefox profile from the backup drive, I was ready to pick up things where I left few days ago. Btw, does your browser let you completely save the current state (including all the open tabs in the current session) by simply copying a folder? This is why I love Firefox so much – all my plugins, bookmarks, custom adblock filters and greasemonkey scripts fit nicely in just few KB – and that’s just about everything I need for my daily browsing and blogging. :)

What are the crucial apps that you install after a clean install?

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9 Responses to Blnking Dash Problem: The Non-Solution

  1. Gothmog UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Glad to hear you’re back up and running.

    My list is remarkably similar:
    1.) Servant Salamander
    2.) Firefox
    3.) VLC
    4.) WinRar
    5.) Evernote
    6.) Pidgin

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  2. Zack Sloane UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    My list is fairly sizeable :)

    1. Firefox
    2. BitDefender AV
    3. Quickbooks 2006 (my business needs this)
    4. MS office ’07 (again, do my invoices in Excel)
    5. PC Anywhere (connect to clients machines)
    6. Azureus (not super crucial)
    7. WinRar
    8. VNC
    9. Acronis True Image home (backups)
    10. And of course, my online poker programs (UB, FT, etc)

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  3. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    @Gothmog – Heh, I forgot abut pidgin. Actually I forgot to install it too – I’m not a huge IM person. :P

    Btw, judging from the gravatar I assume that your nick refers to Gothmog the Balrog rather than Gothmog the Orc. Am I rite? ;)

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  4. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    @Zack – I didn’t count the AV suite cause that’s essentially a given. I did install McAfee cause my subscription is still valid with them.

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  5. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I wrote a rather large post, then discovered when I pressed “post” that my wireless connection has temporarily died, so instead of a happy “oh look, there’s my post” page, I got a “could not connect” page. Then I pressed back and my post was gone.

    I’ll cut down on the typing here, Firefox, MSN and uTorrent will cover my online doings. Then VLC, possibly foobar2000, and TweakUI rounds out my main “must-haves”. Once I’ve customised some other stuff the way I like it (autoplay goes off, colour goes to silver, a toolbar for program shortcuts goes across the top of the screen) the place starts to feel home-y.

    I keep the little installer files in a folder in “My Downloads” which makes it easier to reinstall everything without hunting around online, but does mean I have a whole stack of updates to install every time. Current size of said folder stands at 467MB, so maybe it could do with some deleting of the files for programs I later decided against keeping….

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  6. Gothmog UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Yep, Gothmog the Balrog it is. Well spotted! :D

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  7. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Ah, foobar is also a great app. I also usually install Launchy and Cropper. :)

    Btw, have you ever tried InstallPad? It fetches stuff for you and background installs it. Might be more convenient than maintaining that install folder.

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  8. Binking dash? Did you mean Blinking? :-)

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  9. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Oh wow. I haven’t noticed that until you brought it up.

    Fixed now. Thanks!

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