June 25th, 2009

Pensive Kevin

Maybe Not Hardware After All

After my machine installed all of the pending Windows updates this morning, it failed on reboot, with the "blank screen after the Windows Dell startup logo" [corrected] issue again. You can't boot to Safe Mode or anything like that. The drive is hosed. And this is a brand new drive. This suggests that the problem is software related in some way.

I cannot spend 2-3 hours/day rebuilding hard drives like this. I'm contemplating doing a bare-metal installation (again!) on one of the three 250GB drives just to see if doing that (and downloading the inevitable mountain of updates) before installing any of my software will do any good. There's enough stuff on my machine that there's no telling exactly where the problem lies.

I'm doing some other things like making a fresh copy to DVD of all of my program and driver installer files, which I'll need in particular if I have to reinstall everything from scratch again. I'm also turning off automatic updates until I isolate this problem, because it seems highly likely that something in the current batch of updates is contaminating my machine.

Update, 12:30: Corrected the point where the computer goes to a blank screen: it's right after the power-on screen but before Windows actually boots.