Pissed at XP.
I had a very frustrating weekend. As I was about to wrap up the taxes on Saturday night, my Windows XP desktop machine started giving me crap. First it, after being awoken, it informed me that there had been a registry problem, but it had recovered and everything was fine. Then it refused to open new applications - one of those "An error occurred. Would you like to report it to Microsoft?" situations. So I figured I'd better reboot the silly thing. Sadly, rebooting was the last straw for poor Lulu.
After rebooting, all I got was a black screen. There was no error message, and I hadn't installed anything recently. How am I supposed to troubleshoot nothing? No amount of work would allow me to boot from the hard drive - even Last Known Good configuration. I pulled out my XP CD and booted from there. I couldn't get into Safe Mode, or Command Prompt, but I could get into the Recovery Console. I tried a couple rounds of fixes in Recovery Mode, including this Repairing Recipe from a Squad Geek. Alas, nothing helped.
Do you know how long it takes to boot the Recovery Console from the CD? That was my whole Saturday night. I was so mad I broke a piece of furniture. Seriously. It was flimsy furniture; it crumbled beneath my wrath.
On Sunday, we copied my hard drive to the husband's external USB drive. Yay - external USB drive saves the day again! Then I was able to reinstall WinXP on my drive from scratch. Monday night it was the apps, as was Tuesday. Now on Wednesday, and I think I've got things under control again.
As an aside, I keep a pretty tidy system, and I'd backed my critical data just 6 weeks ago. But I still didn't want to lose the newest data. I haven't a clue what caused the crash, but a co-worker suggested it might have been one of the myriad of updates that my computer downloads all the time. I really do feel that auto-updating is the right policy, but the news of Apple pushing Safari as an iTunes update news does make me suspicious.