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July 18, 2008 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Trouble (shooting): Vista’s automatic update ate my laptop

In a heart-stopping moment this morning, I read the message on my laptop screen:

Windows did not start up normally.  Please choose an option below:

I chose the option to “Start Windows Normally.”  Duh.  The screen went to black, then:

Windows did not start up normally.  Please choose an option below:

The clincher:  Windows Vista restarted itself, after downloading some “crucial updates.”  Well, those “crucial updates” apparently gave my laptop a stroke.  This would not normally be heart-stopping, if it weren’t for the fact that I just lost all of my daughter’s infant pictures, the start of a new novel (not to mention the latest version of my other one), the detailed timelines of said novels, a great eggplant recipe and some hilarious avatars.  Mostly I am upset about the photos.  And I do not have good backups of these items, because Vista never let me install Nero 8, which is the software I use to burn DVDs.  That should have been my warning sign there.   However I felt a little better with my Vista Ultimate, which supposedly doesn’t have the eight billion bugs that Vista Home has.  In the end though, Ian said it best in a tweet:  Vista is the world’s first 10GB virus.

So since these sorts of ordeals have occured before, whenever I install an new OS I always leave an eensy partition on the drive with nothing on it.  So I installed XP on the partition, leaving Vista on there as well.  I was able to install Nero onto XP, sneak on there and copy all of my photos and documents, and burn them to DVD like I should have been doing all along.  So the only thing I really lost was most of the morning.  I am now going to spend the evening wiping Vista completely, installing XP, and hopefully that will be the end of that.

P.S.  I really hate Mac.  So I don’t even want to hear it.  We already have a couple of Macs in the home, and I don’t want to go there.  Yes.  I also know about Linux.  Save it already.



Leave a Comment
  1. David / Jun 28 2009 10:44 am

    I’m sorry it took me so long to find this post, but it was thanks to Computer Shop’s recent spam (?) comment that I did. Ironic.

    The lesson we should all take from this is that The Computer (Mac, Microsoft, Linux, whatever) is out to Fuck You Up and destroy your stuff. Irreplaceable stuff like photos and writings need to be redundantly backed up. That means burning all those things to more than one CD or DVD and storing them in a couple of safe places. Saving stuff to the web is OK, but it depends on being able to access the web. With that stuff safely backed up, The Computer can hurt your feelings and make you mad, but it can’t destroy your stuff. Human 1 Computer 0. Not exactly rocket science, but redundant backups remain the most important AND most often ignored good user habit.

    I think you’re gonna like Windows 7. Good for you for backing up to XP. Where I work we decided a while ago that Vista was skipworthy. 🙂

  2. Computer Shop / Jun 22 2009 10:44 pm

    Thank you for your post

  3. A.Y. Siu / Aug 27 2008 10:52 pm

    Instead of just knowing about Linux, you should keep a Linux live CD. It could have helped you save all the documents you thought you’d lost.

    Even now it’s possible that a Linux live CD and photorec could recover the deleted files if you’ve reformatted since the crash.

  4. Stacey / Jul 20 2008 6:44 am

    You handled that better than I would have. I’d probably have just cried and thrown things.

  5. steppingoverthejunk / Jul 19 2008 5:19 pm

    Shoot. Does this mean I shouldnt buy a mac? I am nearing needing a new computer.

    I don’t even think it matters. We should all just use notebook paper with the way they make things anymore.

  6. Madame Monet / Jul 18 2008 11:44 pm

    My friend here in Marrakesh told me she got Vista at the store here (not that I have any idea what that is, but I presume it’s a new software); but can’t get it to work. Apparently the internet service providers here are arguing with her that the product does not even exist!!!

    Madame Monet
    Writing, Painting, Music, and Wine

    Wow. That’s hilarious. It’s Microsoft’s latest operating system, like XP or Windows 95. I guess they are better off thinking it doesn’t exist though…most people who have it wish that were the case 🙂

  7. kaylee2 / Jul 18 2008 8:52 pm

    OH NOS

  8. Ian / Jul 18 2008 7:58 pm

    Find a little hole-in-the-wall computer shop. Talk to the guy (it’s always run by an old guy – the modern equivalent of the watchmaker) and tell him you want to replace Vistitis with a well-inoculated XP and migrate all your data. He’ll probably already have an estimate ready because he’s probably already done it for a hundred other people.


  9. Madame Monet / Jul 18 2008 4:33 pm


    This is just plain scary. I think I would have stayed afterward and spoken to that minister, even if just to tell her how I ended up there and how she made me feel.

    Madame Monet
    Writing, Painting, Music, and Wine

    I think this went to the previous blog, but that’s okay. This would have taken a lot more nerve than I must have had that day. It sounds like something I would do today if I were in the same situation…but that day I was just ready to go to Taco Bell and forget that it happened.

  10. crisitunity / Jul 18 2008 3:48 pm

    I agree with Ian’s tweet.

  11. fawnahareo / Jul 18 2008 12:52 pm

    My hubby got a Mac after he had to replace his last laptop and he’s not in love with it, either. Although he doesn’t HATE it. 🙂 Me, I got to have the brand-new laptop that the warranty FINALLY came through. And I hate Vista, too. I’m so nuking it. I just have to find the time. *sigh*

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