On Monday I started to notice that IE and Maxthon were not working correctly following the installation of IE7 on Windows 2003 server (my desktop). IE would just stop opening new web pages completely, Firefox was fine but Maxthon is too integrated into my working practices so I decided IE7 must go and did a de-install. Unfortunately the resulting machine running IE6 was badly broken, IE6 would not browse to any web pages, just download them.
I poked around for 30 minutes but failed to fix it, not to worry I thought a quick repair would fix it, but to no avail and this tipped me over the edge and I decided to do a rebuild.
This machine – my current desktop – is about to become my server when my new desktop arrives in January so a rebuild was due anyway as this build has lasted me a couple of rock solid years.
Just at the end of the build (after lots of installing and lots of patching) I di a final restart and horror of horrors I get some error about services.exe won’t start because some dll is missing. Using the repair console I copy over the dll, no joy, then I do a full repair – no better so I had to do the whole rebuild again!!! I am not sure but I think it was VMware or the latest ATI drivers that did it.
Anyway the second time was much better and I took more care with the install sequence, my machine was running great. I had been working on my laptop during these rebuilds so not much time had been wasted.
At the end I thought I will do a quick image backup using Ghost 2003, I decided to avoid the Virtual Partition utility that’s included as I thought there may be compatibility issues but made the mistake of invoking the image from the windows UI which without asking installs the virtual partition and reboots to that.
Anyway the virtual partition doesn’t seem to be compatible with 2003 server! It boots first and it’s impossible to get out of it. After deleting this partition, changing boot.ini and marking my 2003 server partition active (thanks to BartPE) I was up and running again.
WHY NOT USE A BOOT FLOPPY!!! to run Ghost you may well ask, my floppy drive has been broken for 3 years and I have never had to fix it. A new USB floppy drive is on the way from eBay!
The moral of this story, pay some attention to system backups. I have great data backups in place and have coped seamlessly with a disk and 2 motherboard failures without a hitch but I always said to myself it’s as easy to rebuild - NOT AFTER 2 YEARS OF FINE TUNING ITS NOT!!!
So I now do a weekly ASR backup as well as daily data backups (my software library is part of my data backup).