Thank You, Redmond

I just did a Microsoft security update on my Windows 2000 machine, and now it bluescreens (something I hadn’t seen on this machine in years) when it reboots. I booted into safe mode, and removed the update (I think I removed the right one — I’m assuming that the latest one would be highest number, but that might not be right). It still won’t boot. I’m posting this from my Fedora box.

Any ideas?

[Late afternoon update]

Great. Now it blue screens going into Safe Mode.

I’ll have to find my setup disk, but I doubt if I’ll have time before I go to CA on Monday.

19 thoughts on “Thank You, Redmond”

  1. I assume you tried F8 and selecting “Boot to Last Known Good”? Then again, your safe mode activity might have altered that.

  2. It was a security update of some kind that turned our erstwhile Dell WinXP laptop into, essentially, Andrea Harris’ new-to-her Dell Ubuntu laptop.

    If Microsoft wants to drive more people to Linux, these security updates seem to be the way to go.

  3. Ah, the patch most likely touched on a core system file that was shuffled onto a bad block on the hard disk.

    Run chkdsk and see if the repair utility can recover bad clusters in the damaged file. Don’t forget to cross your fingers.

    A BSOD is usually broken into 2 useful areas of information. The 1st will be somewhere at the top screen. Usually there will be a couple of sentences of useless mumbo jumbo. Then, a gap with a single file name will appear. This is the file that is unable to be loaded into memory.

    Then, down towards the bottom you will see the actual hex values of the memory addresses that reported the fatal exception. The first value before the string in parentheses is usually the culprit. For instance 0x000007e or some such like that. You can do a google search for “BSOD Win2k 0x7e” to find out exactly which file usually gets written into that address.

    You can try to extract the damaged system file from your original setup CD into the appropriate system directory on the hard drive. Always rename the original file that you are going to replace. This way the damaged file continues to occupy the bad blocks and the new one will be written to an area of the disk that is hopefully working as intended.

  4. Yeah, that “Last Known Good feature” is very handy. It’s a shame MS didn’t think to remind users of it every freakin time they decide to change your machine.

    However, if what Josh suggested is true, and could be, LKG wouldn’t help either. The problem with LKG is that it really only fixes the registry, but often that can be very helpful.

    If you have a corrupted system file, you have few options. Josh’s method is the cleanest, but it can be time consuming. Honestly, I find a OS repair or total wipe and load to sometimes be faster, with the plus of a cleaner system. Unfortunately, that requires a lot of discipline in keeping important user created data off the system partition. And the means and willingness to reinstall applications.

    If you want to continue down your original effort, you can try this knowledge base article. Please don’t hurt you hand or head smashing it against something when you read the “note” under cause.

  5. Well, I ran chkdsk /F and it told me that it couldn’t do it because the volume was in use, so I set it up to do it at boot. It did it at boot, and blue screened again afterward…

  6. Boot off the original setup cd. After it finishes loading the setup utility at the first option screen press R for repair/recovery console

    At the recovery console you may need to select your O/S installation partition and enter the password for your built-in administrator account.

    At the recovery console run chkdsk /r

  7. Or, if you wanna be all cool and that you can create a BartPE boot disk and repair your installation from there.

    That is a whole project unto its own though.

    BTW, what are the details of the BSOD?

  8. Boot off the original setup cd.

    That would be a great idea. If I could find it…

    This is one of those days that everything is going wrong.

    BTW, what are the details of the BSOD?

    How would I know? It goes immediately into a boot attempt upon completion, and I am too busy doing other things to catch it in the act.

  9. “but it can be time consuming. Honestly, I find a OS repair or total wipe and load to sometimes be faster”

    A healthy 120gb drive usually takes anywhere from 1.5-3 hours on a chkdsk. Larger capacity HDD may add more time, especially when calculating free space. I can see a ghosted drive image or OEM recovery disk competing with these times. However, a vanilla install of Windows will take that long just in setup, installation, and hardware driver detection alone. That is not counting data migration from the failed disk and application configuration.

    Significantly damaged drives will lengthen the scan because of all the cycle time needed to locate orphaned files, recover lost clusters, and repair indexes. If you see the screen scrolling up with a long list of damaged goods then a drive replacement is in your future. You might as well locate a new disk, reload your O/S, and begin on migrating your user data. CHKDSK is your friend, its output will tell you what is the next step. Either your system will be repaired and your back to pwning the internet or your off to the store to get another drive.

  10. Ah, I forget the last part in that if chkdsk finds nothing but Windows still doesn’t boot. Then, you’ve encountered the lovely fact that Windows just sometimes likes to take an enormous dump in the system32 directory. Backup, wipe, and reload — it works in more places than just the bathroom.

    You can try the repair feature of the Windows setup CD. However, if it comes to that point, since your taking the time to play with all this stuff anyways, a clean install is usually the way to go. A repaired O/S may very well boot normally; however, the overall system will often times be quite unstable and frustrating to use in general.

  11. “How would I know? It goes immediately into a boot attempt upon completion, and I am too busy doing other things to catch it in the act.”

    When Windows first starts to boot pound the f8 key over and over until you get the Windows startup menu. There should be an option that says, “Disable automatic reboot upon system error” or some such.

  12. I’ve had no trouble so far with my Ubuntu laptop (once a Windoze laptop). I’ve noticed in the past that sometimes Windows updates just make things worse, though personally I haven’t had one die on me due to that. (I do have another dead laptop, but I think it has hardware issues). I will say, though, that the desktop I have with Windows Vista Premium has worked pretty good so far. It’s frozen up a few times, but I was always able to restore it from a complete reboot. That’s faint praise, I know… I also don’t have much personal experience with Windows 2000 — I haven’t used a computer with that system in over ten years, and that was at work, and I was just a secretary.

  13. Yea, win2k is getting pretty long in the tooth. In fact Winxp has matured to the point that it will run faster as an upgrade to win2k on the exact same machine. Also, the system restore features allow one to roll back the machine to a point before a patch snafu.

    Vista is so much slower than Winxp because the Vista Kernel is far more complex than the WinXP kernel. It takes more instruction loop cycles for the same action on a Vista machine than a Winxp machine — thanks DRM. Vista in theory will make better use of multi core processors than WinXP. However, it would take something on the order of 16 cores on a Vista machine to outperform a Winxp machine when compared instruction loop cycle to cycle.

    Linux will encounter fatal exceptions just like Windows. That is why the shell will just suddenly close and (most new distros) restarts. However, since the kernel is running in protected root level access it is more resilient to runtime exceptions. So, the shell merely restarts and your quickly back in business. Or, you just replace the damaged modules from a root level shell and your up and running.

    Vista is trying to mimic this in some ways to protect the core system. That is why Winxp driver compatibility was a bust and why the user has to click, ” I allow” to every single application you want to open or make changes too. Microsoft insists that if developers just cleaned up their code and didn’t just run everything at top level privileges than the user experience would improve tremendously.

  14. I didn’t think about it until Josh mentioned Win2k being long in the tooth. Uh, MS doesn’t support win2k anymore, which means they aren’t suppose to release security updates intended for that OS.

    You might have received a XP or vista dll that shouldn’t be there.

  15. The obvious question: why are you (or: why is Windows) still downloading updates for an operating system that Microsoft claims no longer to support? Once MS stopped debugging Win2K, I stopped the automatic update feature. It seems inevitable that some new “upgrade” will eventually break Windows 2000 — since they no longer test the upgrades on Win2K machines. I’m sure if you called Microsoft, they would ask “Have you considered upgrading to Vista?”

    I get this a lot with the occasional crash of Office 95 (yes, I still use O95!) — sending the crash analysis to Microsoft always pops up a web page suggesting I upgrade to (the even less-stable) Office 2007….


  16. I don’t automatically update (partly because I can’t, due to some weirdness with my installation). I do it manually. Windows Update told me I needed that patch. I went to the page, where it said it was for W2K, and installed it. Then the trouble began.

    I may have to upgrade to something else (XP, or maybe Seven Beta).

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