Windows are for breaking

05Jan08

Automated breakage

Yesterday I wanted to boot into my Windows XP Professional partition to see if Perfect World ran better in Windows than in Wine, but what was this? Windows refused to boot.
Now, this has happened to me before, and I have read lots and lots of post online about the dreaded Mup.sys problem, but this time – I just could not get it to go away and get into Windows.

It was time for the reinstall.

Reinstall part one

So, I dig out my original Windows XP CD, pop it in the PC and reboot.
5-10 minutes later I’m at the installation program where it tells me that it’s not happy about installing over the old XP installation and that I should pick another partition, so I go back, delete the old XP partition and tell it to create a new one.
It can’t.
Sigh.

Reinstall 2: Now with training wheels

Reboot again with an Ubuntu live CD (notice that the adventure would just be over now if it wasn’t for Linux).
It appears the Windows setup has somehow changed to order of my partitions, and generally corrupted the partition table, but Linux let’s me read my data anyhow, and I backup everything important to an external drive and clear the entire disk.
As I now don’t trust the Windows installer, I create the NTFS partition forehand, so it won’t choke on it next time.
Reboot.

After many minutes, I’m finally in the installation again, I can select the NTFS partition and start the installation.
I lean back and let it do it’s “magic” and after some time it reboots, supposedly having copied all required files.
After the reboot I get a nice message telling me that it can’t find a required file, and won’t boot.
Sigh again.
Reboot.

Third time’s a charm – right?

Now, in the setup program I select the same options as before, let it finish copying the files, reboot, and for some reason it works this time – hurray!
Now I put on a movie and wait the about 40-50 minutes the Windows install takes.


The install is finished, and I now have a shiny, newly installed Windows XP! Yay! All should be good from now on, right?
Wrong. It doesn’t recognise my network card, so I’m left with a VESA display driver and no programs.
Luckily I still have the CD that came with my motherboard, so I pop that in and install the network driver.
Reboot again.

One driver down, two more to go…

After the reboot I am online and go straight to Nvidia.com, since I have an nForce2 motherboard and would like proper drivers, but to my surprise the driver for it isn’t that easy to find. I eventually find it through Google (it’s under “Legacy” at Nvidia.com), download it and install it.
Reboot again again.

Next boot is starting very, very slowly…. after about 15 minutes, I finally get a desktop, but it freezes after a couple of seconds. What now?

I turn off the computer on the switch, since Ctrl+Alt+Del doesn’t work, restart it and start Windows in Safe Mode.
…it stops at Mup.sys…
Come on!
I let it run for about 20 minutes before I turn it off again.

I try again and can start the desktop, but it still freezes after a couple of seconds.

This is the last straw. After it having corrupted my partition, installed faulty, not having any drivers and then just not working when it gets the only official driver available, I walk away from Windows.

Conclusion

I am writing this post from the Ubuntu Live CD, where it is installing in the background (it’s finished now – it started just before I started writing this post), and I’m also downloading an ISO of xubuntu and Sabayon at the same time, so I can try them as well – this all took me about 15 minutes in all, as opposed to my 2 1/2 hours wasted on NOT getting Windows to install (but enjoying 7 wonderful reboots; Microsoft knows how we love those reboots).

XP might be a dated system, but the motherboard is two years older than XP SP2 (which is the version I installed), so there’s really no excuse for it working so poorly.

I think I’ll try and install Vista at some point, just for the lulz.

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