God damn lazy bastard machine!

OK, so my tower fell over on its arse last night. I am less than happy. Mostly, I am less than happy because I don’t really know what’s wrong with it; it isn’t connected to the Internet, or anything that isn’t itself, and yet it’s behaving awfully “Look at me with a virus!” like…

(Can you get a virus through a USB key?)

On the offchance it helps, the order of events was roughly:

1. JTA boots computer. All is well.
2. JTA launches C&C Generals. Plays about five minutes.
3. Generals terminates, shuts self down, accompanied by warning box from Windows to say it’s encountered a critical error.
4. Click ‘OK’. Computer restarts.
5. Windows returns. “Recovered from serious error” dialogue box. Click OK, don’t tell anyone (because how the Hell can it? It’s not wired to anything).
6. Computer restarts.
7. Windows loads. Waits five minutes. Restarts.
8. Ditto.
9. Windows starts to load, is displaying desktop. Explorer presumably loading (no toolbar or start menu yet). Computer restarts.
10. Attempt to start in safemode. Computer BSODs.
11. Worry.
12. Attempt to start in safemode. Computer tells me that “txtsetup.ini” is corrupt, startup cannot continue.
13. Manually restart machine.
14. Wait, whilst computer whirs and clicks and does nothing. Don’t even get a “no signal” message to monitor, it’s just firing black at me.
15. Repeat five times. Switch tower off at wall. Switch on again.
16. BIOS starts in “fail-safe mode.” Never seen that before. Getting worried now.
17. Discover BIOS fail-safe mode appears not to include support for USB keyboards. Can’t F8 into safemode.
18. Plug in proper keyboard via ATX – PS2 converter. Start safemode. Roll back to System Restore from Friday 14th September.
19. Computer restarts mid roll-back.
20. Repeat step 18. Computer crashes during restore, sits there half an hour. Manual restart, repeat step 16.
21. Turn on power at wall. Contrive roll-back to System Restore from Sunday 16th September.
22. Computer completes system restore, looks fine and happy.
23. JTA gets suspicious, waits ten minutes.
24. Computer restarts at random.
25. JTA leaves house to get bus to work.

…Seriously, I’m kinda stuck here. (All my live CDs and boot disks are in Norfolk, with Ruth (apart from some old ones, which are in Suffolk, which is just as useless.)

Not sure what can’ve happened to it; all I can think is that there’s a virus come in on my USB key, but I’ve just run that though Sophos here at work (because I dinnae want to infect the office PC, of course) and that’s come out clean… The only other thing I can think is that, when I cleaned up the Rev’s PC a while back, and got all her My Documents files off it (because that had a nasty virus) one of those files contained a virus itself. Word documents, a couple of spreadsheets and .jpgs of dead people from memorial service booklets, any of them likely to harbour a virus that waits two months and then goes off without you opening the files? Or is there just a mechanical failure in there?

…I was kinda relying on that PC to, pathetically, take my mind off how weird it is to be in the house whilst Ruth’s away (seriously, it’s not something that’s ever happened before in the year and a bit I’ve been here), so I’m vaguely strapped now.

No internet at home, either, because Ruth has the laptop.

Any ideas? (Just wondered, don’t really expect much… Might need someone to help me resurrect the damn thing once I get back to Aber, though. Any volunteers for that, either?)


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  1. On September 18, 2007 The Pacifist says:

    A cursory glance would suggest some system files have become corrupted. And what you don’t do then is constantly restart the computer without shutting down properly and that’s not going to help.

    Could be your hard drive is dying… or a few bad sectors have just appeared in rather important places. Run CHKDSK and see if it can move the important bits elsewhere.

    Random full resets could be a power supply failure (Either not enough power or damaged). This can sometimes be the cause of random crashes, especially if it happens during high-intensity activities like playing 3D games.

    The BIOS fail-safe mode probably tripped as a precaution. I wouldn’t worry about that…

    Sometimes when you do a quick succession of soft-resets it will sit there doing nothing. I’ve had it happen to me a few times and switching it off at the wall for a few minutes always seems to fix it. Probably something to do with capacitors…

  2. On September 18, 2007 Mister JTA says:

    Hey, I only restarted it twice!

    Anytime it doesn’t say “manual restart,” that’s the tower doing it to itself. Bloody thing.

  3. On September 18, 2007 Scatman Dan says:

    Yes, you can get a virus from anything that can hold an executable file. No, I don’t think that’s what your problem is.

    I’d suggest doing an OS repair from a boot CD of the appropriate OS, but you don’t have one to hand. Not much use. We can probably post you one, though. Drop me an e-mail if you need that.

  4. On September 18, 2007 Statto says:

    Still no word on when I’ll be back in Oxford, but probably not soon enough that a promise of an XP CD when I arrive would be any use!

    Certainly sounds like a reinstall/repair is what you need, though…

    You could always take a day off and pop to Shropshire!

  5. On September 18, 2007 Mister JTA says:

    I haven’t got any days off! I’ve used my last one to get back to Aber a day early, via Shropshire for sufficient minutes to lob the stuff in the entry, the PC speakers, and the SVGA monitor for the DOS box into the back of the van, and get the Hell out again!

    Never mind… Got Spinrite, somewhere. Might that help?

  6. On September 19, 2007 Scatman Dan says: