It’s been a remarkably long time since Windows crashed on me. I was actually getting to think that XP was stable. And even thinking that going to Win 7 might be tolerable.
Well it’s back to the bad old days. This evening I fired up the scanner connected to main desktop machine, and everything froze. I tried to do a software reboot but it wouldn’t even do that. So I did a hardware reboot.
Only, Windows wouldn’t start right. A little box popped up saying that it could not load my profile and I should contact my administrator. There was a countdown and an “OK” box. But I clicked “OK”. And just got another message about my user profile being damaged. So I contacted my administrator. Which would be me. We had a very nice discussion about the problem, and decided to try rebooting again.
But that didn’t work any better than the first time.
I was eventually able to enter safe mode (after using another computer to remind myself that it’s the oh-so-intuitive F8 key you have to push). Once there I was able to go back to the most recent restore point (after consulting help files to be reminded where it is hidden), two days ago. Suggestively, this restore point was made just before I installed the latest Win XP patches, numbers KB2494047, KB2479943, KB2481109, KB2508979 and KB890830. Post hoc, propter hoc?
So on the one hand, this is not a nice way for software to fail. On the other hand, I was able to get things seeming back to normal in about an hour. After the rollback, my virus checking files were out of date — one of them by several weeks, which is most peculiar. That took a very long time to download and install. Otherwise most everything else seemed to be working except that my Firefox profile got trashed, and I even lost my theme — but not, it seems, my plugins.
Crashes got a whole lot less scary ever since I started putting all my working documents on dropobox. Having copies of all my work on several other machines means that the most I would lose even if my disk went is the day’s time it would take to reinstall and reconfigure all the software.