Remember my blinking underscore issue from February? It’s back again, and I still have no clue what is causing it.
Quick recap for new readers – I have a peculiar issue with my windows machine. Sometimes I shut it down, and it just won’t boot back up again. The damn thing goes through POST diagnostic at the beginning of the boot sequence and then just displays a blinking underscore/dash/cursor in the upper left corner of the screen. Apparently that indicates “boot failure” of some sort/ The data on the drive is still intact, and can be easily backed.
If you look through the archives here, you will see that I tried just about anything. Every time this happens I disconnect all the shit from this machine with exception of the mouse and keyboard hoping this is one of those odd USB related flukes. I then boot into recovery console, run fixboot and fixmbr commands, recreate my boot.ini with bootcfg /rebuild, run chkdsk and etc. Sadly going these motions usually doesn’t do squat. The only reliable way to get the machine working again is to format the drive and reinstall windows from scratch. But as it appears this is also only a temporary measure. The problem keeps coming back.
I’m beginning to suspect that my disk is faulty but I can’t really prove it (yet). I have ran chkdsk on this volume so many times I think I’m going to wear it out soon. At one occasion it told me the drive had a irrecoverable error on it and wouldn’t even attempt to scan it. Rebooting seemed to solve that issue, and all subsequent scans went through without major problems. On some occasions it said it fixed some errors but there didn’t seem to be any show stoppers in there. Anyone can recommend good hard drive diagnostic tools?
I’m thinking that perhaps something funky is going on in the boot sector, or perhaps the windows boot loader region which is just to subtle or to odd for chkdsk to worry about. This is the only thing that I can think of – I have literally no clue what else could be causing this issue. Then again, my drive is not that old. If I remember correctly I replaced it less than 2 years ago – in fact, it may still be on the warranty. I might still be able to return it back to Seagate and get a replacement. I will have to look into that.
In the meantime I ordered a new larger HD (I was running low on space anyway). This time I went with Western Digital. Once the drive ships (probably Friday although knowing my luck it will probably be Monday) I’m going to plug it into the machine, reinstall windows one last time and see how it goes. If I never have this issue again, then it means it was definitely a faulty drive. If it comes back after a month, I will know it must be something else. In either case I think I should just start putting together a new gaming rig for myself.
Worst of this is that I had some spare time yesterday and was planning to use it to finish KOTOR and then start on the final review post about this game. It seems that I will have to hold off with that until I reinstall windows again. It’s kinda sad that I will have to install the game for mere 20-30 minutes of gameplay I have left in order. But it has to be done. I need closure! :(
[tags]blinking dash, blinking underscore, blinking cursor, windows, windows xp[/tags]