Ah Windows!
March 24, 2013 9:29 AM   Subscribe

The Windows laptop that I have been using for work has slowly been dying 1000 little deaths. They seemed to be all software related, So I decided to do a clean install. The install, from a USB, failed before it even got started. There was a missing DVD driver that could not be located anywhere. I canceled out of the install and try to boot up normally, But that won't work either. I have an error in my BCD file.

I am faced with two choices, it seems to me. First, go buy a new cheap laptop. Second, take a chance and buy Windows 7 media from the store. Those cost in the neighborhood of $200 versus, $600 or so for a new laptop. Obviously, the new laptop will be more or less guaranteed to work, while trying to reinstall from fresh media is no guarantee.

I need this to work tomorrow. There are no computers that I can borrow. I am an independent contractor and have no work resources beyond this computer. So, what should I do? Is there anything that I have not thought of?
posted by bluejayway to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Boot from a Linux LiveCD (I recommend Mint these days) and see if that works reliably-ish. If it does, it's unlikely to be a hardware problem, and your Windows installation will probably work. Otherwise, spring for the more expensive laptop.
posted by deadmessenger at 9:50 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

First thing that jumps out to me is that it sounds like a bad copy of the installer. Try a different method, different USB stick, burn it to DVD... maybe the ISO you used to make the USB installer is a bad download... something along those lines. It's happened to me before.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 10:14 AM on March 24, 2013

I use Ubuntu to launch and troubleshoot. Sounds to me like a software problem. I would try a different install media.
posted by dejah420 at 10:21 AM on March 24, 2013

Does your laptop have a recovery partition? Do you have a restore DVD that might have come with it? What laptop is this? You might be able to get a retore DVD from the manufacturer.

I wouldn't buy Windows 7 unless you were really confident of the hardware and it would hold up for a few more years.
posted by DarkForest at 1:16 PM on March 24, 2013

Thanks for the advice, all. I ended up getting a Windows 7 disc anyway, figuring that even if I had to buy new hardware, I would want it running 7 anyway.

The clean install from the disc worked fine and, aside from the sluggishness of Windows Update installing eleventy million files, seems to be working well.
posted by bluejayway at 11:37 AM on March 25, 2013

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