Technical Difficulties

So a few days ago, I rebooted my Windows notebook because of a Windows 8 update, and it crashed like it did back in March. I became enraged, and after a few choice words I can summarize as “#$%&! Windows 8 !#@%^&$%!!” I started to recover my system.

The system would boot into a never-ending loop between recovery attempt (which failed) and crash (which prompted another recovery attempt), but nothing seemed to fix it. I eventually gave up with the usual repair options, which themselves seemed useless.

I dug out the DVD and started a clean install. Except gui-mode install wouldn’t recognize the disk as a valid target. It claimed the bios settings were wrong and that disk wasn’t marked bootable.

What?

I looked through the bios menu, fiddled with this and that, and still nothing.

Eventually I punted and pulled out a Fedora 18 x64 DVD, and installed that. Fedora happily installed onto the “non bootable disk” and off I went. Except on the reboot from live CD into the newly installed OS, I received “Operating System Not Found”. Doh!

After more fiddling around *sigh* I believe that the SSD I installed a mere 8 months or so ago, has crapped out. Or at least what passes as the boot sector of an SSD, where the bios looks for the info needed to boot the rest of the system, has failed. I can boot off DVD into the system, but booting from the SSD itself bombs out.

This investigation took up and hour or two over the past oh… 5 days or so.

I have a coworker tell me he is disappointed in SSDs, due to their failure rate. The rest of us would jokingly tell him that was in the past! Modern SSDs are much better, with huge MTBFs that can support years of writes! On the other hand, my gaming system chewed one up in 8 months. Or I was just unlucky and got a bum SSD.

In any case, while I do have my trusty Mac Mini, I would like to get a Windows system back up and running. For one thing, I’ll miss playing The Secret World. At least LoTRO and GW2 are still available to me.

The other thing I did was configure a new gaming system. Never let a crisis go to waste. 😉 In years past I would build my own PCs, usually SFF (small form factor) systems, and assemble everything after the parts arrived. It was kind of fun. However now I’m lazy and instead I went with a vendor that lists barebones to complete systems and lets you configure them within a menu for various items.

I wound up specing out:

  • core i5 4570 3.6 GHz
  • MSI B85M P33 mainboard
  • 16 GB mem
  • 1 TB SATA 3 harddrive – yeah, no SSD this time around
  • GeForce GTX 650

I’ve got an old monitor (20 inch, in another few months I might splurge and get another 24 inch like the one for my Mac Mini), mice, and keyboards so I can reuse those and save a little. The system comes in at just over $1K. I think it compares well against the Ars Technica budget gaming box from April 2013, however it is difficult to directly compare due to the number of differences.

This should be a nice bump up – the previous system was a 2nd gen core i7 (2.6 GHz), 6 GB mem, and a GeForce 285M. It served me well but it is time to replace it.

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3 thoughts on “Technical Difficulties”

  1. Background: I have a SSD HDD system and installed windows 8 in audit mode so I could move my Program Data and User folders to the HDD. When the system finally boots into windows for the first time I can create a user, but then have no ability to access the PC Settings and Store options from Metro. I click on them and they do nothing. I tried sfc /scannow with no positive results and even reinstalled everything from scratch with no luck.

  2. If you bought a windows 8 laptop can you not make recovery DVD/CDs and just use them on your SSD? At work we had a test windows 8 laptop it was full of bloat, just did a remove everthing and refresh windows and it installed Win 8 but no Samsung crap.

    1. My notebook came with Win7, and I took advantage of that $15 Win8 offer. In any case, I am reasonably convinced the SSD actually failed. That’s OK, there wasn’t anything critical on the system. Now I’ve got my new PC up and running I can mess around with my previous system more!

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