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Pain in the neck

My back hurts. More specifically, my upper back: my doctor said something about C4-5 and C5-6, and spondylolisthesis, which sounds like a kind of fungus. The pain comes and goes, and is sometimes accompanied by numbness in my arm. He prescribed painkillers and physiotherapy. I’ve been putting off the physio, but the pain today has gotten to be a bit much so I think its about time.

So, here I am, trying to find a way to be comfortable, and what happens? My computer goes kablooie: pretty much the worst crash I’ve had in years- when it rebooted, it eventually passed through a successful chkdsk and crashed with a big ugly “registry_error”. Safe mode boot failed, and I couldn’t even mount the drive successfully using the recovery console on the Windows XP (x64) install CD.

Since I am uncomfortable sitting, standing, or lying down, I figured I’d see if I could get my computer fixed. I managed to get it back up and running, and discovered a couple of really handy resources. Firstly, how about a fully bootable Windows XP CD, with all the basic utilities ready to go? Try BartPE (Bart’s preinstalled environment). With that, and my trusty RAID drivers, I was able to get access to my hard drive again.

Chkdsk didn’t find any more problems, so I decided the problem must be a badly corrupted registry. In the past, I’ve “fixed” a totally broken registry by reinstalling the OS: this keeps the data intact, but basically requires re-installing every application- not fun. So what alternatives exist? I was pleased to discover an excellent walkthrough guide in the Microsoft knowledge base for recovering from a badly corrupted registry that prevents booting. It worked perfectly, and I’m back in business.

The question remains: what caused the corruption? I can think of three things off the top of my head:

  • O&O disk defragmentor for Win XP64: I bought and installed this a couple of weeks ago and, since its technically a beta, there could be some problem there. The user commentary in general for O&O defragment on WinXP x64 has been positive…but I could be the lucky guy who’s found a flaw. For now I’m not disabling this, although I’ve turned off the “boot time” defrag
  • Out of date VIA RAID driver for x64: I was using a version of the Via drivers for X64 dated late 2004 (during XP x64 beta testing). The latest version is dated late April 2005- I’ve upgraded now
  • Activation of standby mode: I’ve been putting my computer in standby mode regularly recently…I suppose this could be working incorrectly on my machine (Asus K8V Deluxe). I’ve disabled the “automatic” standby features for now

Hopefully it was some subtle problem with the driver, because I’d like to keep on using O&O defrag and continue putting my machine in standby. I guess time will tell

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