I arrived home from work a week or so ago and discovered the oh-so-friendly and wondrous Blue Screen of Death on my Windows XP x64 Dell Precision 470, which bore the foreboding phrase: STOP 0x000000ED UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME.
A reboot eventually returned the same error, but not before the (non)operating system at least pretended to start up and display the Windows OS logo. That made me somewhat hopeful since it was a sign that the hard drive wasn’t completely hosed. It was at least partially functioning, unlike the marquee at Toronto’s The Bay department store.
Dell has an extensive diagnostic utility included on a separate partition on the hard drive. If you are lucky enough to be able to access the partition, you can get a good sense as to what the problem is. I was lucky. The suite of tests (that ran through the night and well into the next day) only came up with two bad sector errors on my main C partition. One full day gone.
I determined that I needed to run
chkdsk /r at a shell prompt to hopefully fix the problem. How lovely that the Windows operating system doesn’t natively self-diagnose problems when it boots up like every other major operating system does. A ding against Dell or Microsoft (whichever you choose), the OEM version of WinXP does not include the repair utility from the “advanced” startup menu. Worse, the PC also didn’t come with the OS install disks (Dell’s fault this time), so I lost another potential gaming night because I had to go to work to burn a bootable ISO from the MSDN.
Popped the disk in, reconfigured my BIOS to boot from the CD drive, rebooted, got my shell prompt, ran
chkdsk /r, rebooted again, and everything worked just fine.
Oh, by the way, I bought a new Mac Mini the other day. A noob, I screwed up something, and the Mac rebooted and fixed itself. Nice!