I hate Windows!

I haven't blogged much this week and that's mainly because I've been wrestling with Windows XP until I hate looking at the screen. Something . . . happened recently. I rebooted into XP Friday night with the intent of playing a game and discovered that XP no longer boots. (It complains that it can't find HAL.DLL). Oddly enough, the Parallels Desktop version still runs but it (XP inside the virtual machine that is) is crashing on logout - WIndows does some typically brilliant thing where it wants to know if I want to put logon.exe in the debugger (oh that sounds like it should work just great!) Although . . . it turns out Windows Update no longer runs inside Parallels so clearly all is not well inside the VM box either.

After some fiddling I decided to give up and reinstall Windows XP. Turns out you can "repair" the XP installation which seems to basically reinstall the OS but keep your Registry, apps, and so forth. Fantastic. And it turns out that Windows Update isn't running on the repaired XP either. There was a lot of comedy with this because there are a lot of conflicting reports on the net on how to best fix this. I did some steps that I think were false, but here's what I think fixed it. This worked (twice) to repair the problem, and I think the other steps were just misdirection. In IE open Internet Options. On the General Tab select Tempory Internet Files->Settings and remove the MUWebControl and the WUWebControl. You may or may not need to stop the service before doing this.

Anyway, finally got XP running again, let it download the 70+ (!) critical patches, rebooting like four times, blah, blah, blah.

Reboot into OS X, try to run Parallels Desktop. Parallels just reboots the VM immediately. Fantastic. Reboot to XP. Now we're back to missing HAL.DLL. Grrr. The Parallels FAQ claims I should try to reboot XP (inside the VM) in "Safe Mode", but it still reboots just after loading MUP.SYS. This is either because of the Parallel Tools or because some USB issue (or both - one of the things Parallels does is shims my USB keyboard/mouse into virtual PS2 connections).

Run the whole drill again. Get a functioning XP install and attempt to uninstall the Parallels Tools - oh they can't be uninstalled except when running in the VM. Wanna bet? One slash & burn through the registry later and a delete inside C:\Program Files and I think they are really gone. But I'm not going to rely on that. I'm not gonna try Parallels again until I find a satisfactory way to back and restore the entire partition. (Remember my previous backup strategy relied on Parallels - which now isn't running.) At the moment I'm letting a OS X app called WinClone crunch on making an image of my running XP System - Dev Studio installed and so forth. If THAT works then I'll try Parallels again.


I didn't work on it last night though, Karin and I went and saw The Police in concert. That was a fine show, well worth seeing if you can.

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