Monday, May 9, 2011

Windows killed my laptop

Our office isn't on Active Directory yet, so when I changed my network passwords this morning, I had to go through the ritual of booting back into Windows to change my password there too. As I watched Windows "preparing to install updates", I was reminded that yeah, I had let Windows install some updates last week after I attended a webinar (I attend a virtual meeting about once a month, and the other end requires Silverlight.)

It took only a few minutes, but I watched as Windows installed all its updates, then shut down. That was odd, I thought. But maybe it required a reboot for the updates to take effect.

I rebooted back into Windows - or tried to. After the BIOS screen, nothing happened. My laptop just sat there, blinking that underline cursor, doing nothing.

I tried rebooting. It did the same thing, just blinked that cursor at me. I let it sit that way for more than 5 minutes. Nothing.

A few more reboots, and I managed to convince myself that my laptop just won't boot anymore. My laptop will successfully make it past the BIOS screen, then blink the underscore at me. I can't even get to the Grub boot selector, to boot into Linux. Windows killed my laptop.

Gee, thanks, Windows.

I'm not sure what happened. I watched Windows install the updates, and everything seemed okay. I didn't see any error messages. And Windows shut down just fine, and rebooted the laptop, so it's not like the updates or the shutdown/reboot process was interrupted.

Fortunately, I have a USB flash drive with Fedora 15 beta, so I'm running that at the moment. That's Linux to the rescue.

Thanks, Linux!


  1. As I have noticed from my colleagues, 99% of "Linux doesn't work" actually comes from dual booting with Windows.
    Although Windows often "fixes" (actually breaks) boot sector that only it can boot, occasionally it can break it so hard that it can't boot even himself.

  2. I concur with anonymous Mayube not 99% (a few percent is broken hardware that people blame on Linux but would not blame on Windows).

  3. If it wasn't for Netflix, I wouldn't dual-boot at all. Using Win7 on Virtualbox is not satisfactory in my experience - I've tried. But for everything else, Linux works very well.

  4. @TomG: go buy a Roku box for streaming Netflix.

    @JH: Windows is doing its normal thing and taking over hte Pc. You only needed Windows, right? You can probably repair this by booting Linux and restoring the Mbr using Grub. Google tells how.

  5. @TomG Try VMWare Player. In my case, it plays with an acceptable quality (in 720p resolution, TV output) while VirtuabBox stutters. A second laptop (using native LCD screen), seems to be able to play netflix on virtualbox without major stutter.

  6. Thanks for the idea to try VMWare Player. I will see how to do that. We already have a Wii, so there's no need to buy a Roku box - I was focused on being able to stream Netflix on my computer while my wife watched something else on TV.

  7. Such a great information and I've been looking for this..


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