XP SP2 Makes a Hash Of It

As you know, I am quite impressed with Microsoft's ability to build and ship and deploy and sell and support software at an absolutely mass scale.

Yet, on my second XP SP2 installation, it totally destroyed and hosed my computer. It took a superhuman effort (with Google and MSDN help) to recover it.

Briefly, here's what happened:

The computer being upgraded (a 4 year old Dell running XP with .5 Gig of Memory and 40 G of Disk) lost connectivity to the server that had the upgrade pack on it (due to a wire being unplugged - duh.) This aborted the upgrade, and which caused the upgrade to try to unwind itself.

Up to a point when one of those famous "about to install unsigned software, do you want to proceed" messages that I love so much came up, quite unexpectedly. Being suspicious of what might be going on, I said "no." Everything seemed fine.

Later on, when I tried to reboot, it failed, hard.

Over and over again, blue screen of death! Booting from floppies didn't work. Booting from CDs didn't work. Booting to DOS worked, but when I tried to look at the C: drive it said that it wasn't there.

Anyway, long story short, after a bit of searching I found that I was not the only one. And Microsoft, God Bless em, had a technote that took me through a tortured process of cutting 8 floppies, booting of of them into the "Recovery Console", lighting some incese, and following a bunch of steps. And yes, I am back up again, without SP2 installed.

So I guess this is the exception that proves the rule.
Posted on August 12, 2004 and filed under Technology.