Problem Event Name: BlueScreen

May 2, 2007 by · 53 Comments 

As if the giant blue-colored screen used in prior versions of Windows wasn't enough to let you know your computer crashed, apparently Microsoft has decided that in Vista they need to let you know that your computer blue-screened once it comes back up as well.

While, normally I would think that additional information about a crash was useful (I mean, many power users know that nv4_disp.dll is a video card problem, but a quick search on Google can help troubleshoot most of the info that you get on a blue screen), this particular message tells you absolutely nothing useful about the crash. Perhaps the developer who created the dialog could help, but your average Joe is going to be completely lost.

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OEM Operating System Install & Driver Disk Troubles…

December 11, 2006 by · 2 Comments 

Ok, for those of you that build your own systems, this really doesn't apply. However, for those of you that have pre-built OEM systems lying around (like I have at work), listen up because this advice is going to save you hours of wasted effort... DON'T LOSE YOUR WINDOWS OEM INSTALL CD AND DRIVER DISK!

Earlier today I spent almost 4 hours reinstalling a Gateway E-2100 system. The entire process was one giant comedy of errors. I started out by installing Windows XP Home because that is what all of the Gateway systems we have are running. As it turns out, that assumption was not a good one to make. It seems that this particular Gateway box is the ONLY Windows XP Professional system we have (aside from my notebook). In any case, there went 30 minutes...

Once learning that the only Windows XP Professional CD I had was for my Dell notebook (Latitude D820), I figured, "how badly could it go?". That, again, was a bad assumption to make. After spending 40 minutes installing Windows (again) I was greeted with a first boot at 640x480 in 4-bit color. Now, there probably aren't many people who remember 4-bit color, but yes, 20 years ago, 16 colors was all you got. Unfortunately, Windows XP was never meant to be viewed at this level and that made fixing the issue all that more difficult.

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