May 3, 2012

Blue Misery

I’ve been using two computers for the past few years. One mainly for general use and another for art. I was using my art computer to draw with my Cintiq on Easter Weekend, and I started to notice the cursor stutter. The computer would freeze for a second or two and then start back up again. This basically made digital drawing impossible. But it didn’t matter if I was drawing, or using a mouse, or typing on the keyboard, it would always happen. Something was causing the computer to just lock up for a moment. I did my best to try and figure it out by looking in the Event Viewer for errors. It seemed like the problem was centralized around a driver issue, but attempts to clear that up resulted in yet more problems. I witnessed more instances of the Blue Screen of Death than I had ever seen since Windows 98. Eventually, the whole thing became unbootable.

I used a live Linux boot disk called BootMed to try and fix things, but nothing worked. I figured there was only one way around this, and that was to start from scratch. So I used BootMed again to access my hard drive and back everything up, which happened with no problem. Then I formatted the hard drive and reinstalled Windows. Now just try to imagine my frustration when it started locking up again as if I had done nothing.

One big problem in dealing with this stuff is when these errors happen, there could be any number of possible solutions. There is usually some kind of error message or code and when you Google that you get a million results with different solutions, plus a ton of schemey sites trying to get you to pay for some generic solution. It’s next to impossible to uncover an applicable fix.

If reinstalling Windows didn’t work, then it must have been a hardware issue. I was unplugging components left and right. My best guess was that the motherboard was to blame. I decided that whatever the fix was, it must be beyond my capabilities to repair, and that it may be time to look into some replacement parts. But I didn’t give up entirely. I found a few old hard drives in some unused computers lying around, so I plugged one in in to the offending machine, installed Windows onto that, and everything worked fine.

What?! It was the hard drive all along?! Sheesh! Not that I’m complaining but if the hard drive went bad then how come I had no problems backing up?

While all this is happening, I took the opportunity to reformat and reinstall on my other computer as well, which went very smoothly. That’s an old piece of junk but now it’s working better than ever. Talk about polar opposites.

Anyway, after a month of dealing with this nonsense, I’m back in business again, such as it is. Hopefully I can get a little more usage out of these computers before I need to upgrade and/or the zombies show up.



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