Another dead computer

It has to be some sort of networking conspiracy.  I have yet another computer just die on me.  We had a heavy thunderstorm heading our way, so I shut down my computers.  They all shut down normally.  I have a UPS, but it was connected last storm we had so my power supply in another computer got killed by a surge.  So, what the heck use is a UPS?  But I digress.

Today, when I started up one of them, it told me that ‘boot.ini’ was invalid and couldn’t load ‘hal.dll’ because it was corrupted.  Both of those are absolutely necessary for a proper boot.  I fiddled around for almost three hours trying everything I could think of to get the system running.  I ended up doing a “repair” install of XP.

This is really a misnomer – what you are doing is making a completely fresh install of the operating system.  I went from XP Pro SP3 back all the way to XP Pro SP-nothing.  I had to then hunt up a copy of SP1a, SP2, and SP3.  With each install, it took a reboot (actually several of them).  On the final reboot (after SP3) the damn thing told me – using a Blue Screen of Death – that I had an ERROR: 000000000000000000007E.

Now, this error is very insidious as it won’t actually TELL you anything that you don’t already know – you’re screwed.  I tried Safe Mode – it worked.  Nothing amiss in the device manager but I disabled practically everything anyway.  No good, same BSOD.

This computer is used, normally, as a printer server.  I have several printers and all are connected to this machine.  Now I had to shift all of them over to another machine so that remote computers could have access to the printers.  This also meant I had to go around and tell everyone that I had done this and for them to create another shared printer for their computers.  Pain in the behind, for sure.

I’m tempted to just start the stupid thing in safe mode with networking and use it that way.  But, there is a snag: USB devices aren’t loaded in safe mode – damn.

So now I have added this computer to the “wall of shame” in my garage which now holds seven computers in various states of operability.  You can’t get rid of them without “harming the environment”, but you can’t actually USE them either.

I swear that if I had some sort of cruicible, I’d dismantle every one of these machines and melt them down for their gold.  With my luck, it would probably turn out to be fools gold.