I’ve been having a lot of computer problems recently. The last 6-8 months I’ve experienced strange and severe massive crashing with not much warning at all. Then intermittent boot problems began.


My comp was getting slower and slower when it would boot, too. Quite often it would refuse to boot at all, saying something like “XP absolutely refuses to boot because the following file is missing or corrupted: Windows\system32\config\system.” Which is a registry file. I’d mess around and try a bunch of things, or just try rebooting and rebooting and eventually I’d drag it kicking and screaming back to life.

Until this week.

Nothing I tried would work. I tried a bazillion reboots (worked sometimes before), dove deep in the Recovery Console swapping out registry files, even tried Fred’s great idea on a complete non-destructive XP reinstall. No such luck.

I finally gave up and typed that magic problem-solving line, “format C:\” and sat back to wait. Yep, I wiped ‘er clean and started afresh. I had everything backed up so I don’t think I lost anything.

I started putting things back together then and determined to find the underlying problem that caused the whole mess. My theory is that all those massive crashes over the last number of months gradually trashed the registry and/or some other rather important files. I thought that the crashing problem was related to my sound card somehow, as the crashes were usually right after some audio-related action.

I gradually reinstalled drivers and enabled devices, until sure enough, Windows Media Player started choking and a fresh install of XP fell flat on its face. Then I realized that in addition to my monster studio sound card, I had another more basic sound card activated, and maybe the problem was in a vicious feud between them. I should have figured that out a long time ago. At least I’ve got it figured out now, I hope. I disabled the second sound device, and so far preliminary tests have come back very positive.

Anyway, that’s pretty much all I’ve been doing the last half of this week.