So after the joys of setting up the network card, the next problem was (and for all I know still is) random crashes.  All I know about them so far is that it’s related to the graphics card an ATI Radeon 2600XT.  Every now and then, usually while playing certain games (STALKER and X3 being the worst culprits) but sometimes while web browsing, the mouse will lock up and shortly thereafter the dreaded BSoD will inform me that Microsoft’s much vaunted separation of the display driver from the kernel hasn’t changed much really.

For some reason though one time that wasn’t enough.  It needed to teach me a lesson for my impertinence.  After a couple of these crashes, the machine wouldn’t boot, instead going straight to a BSoD although I can’t for the life of me remember what the error message was.  Something to do with log.sys or some .sys file with ‘log’ in it.  Relating to some kind of logfile service.  Anyways, seeing as I’d just started, I figured it wasn’t such a big loss to start again.

Except I couldn’t. As booting using the Vista Install Disc had the same effect.  This completely threw me for a good couple of hours and I was starting to think I might have damaged something.  I had one last theory though and thankfully I was right.  So I pulled out a Linux Live CD I had lying around and sure enough, whatever Vista had managed to do to convince itself it was unreadable, Linux knew better.  Wiped the partition and then happy as Larry (at least after his lobotomy).

As the last driver update for the ATI cards initially caused problems rather than fixed them, I tried disabling the control panel program that comes with them as I remembered back when they first introduced it that it wasn’t entirely stable.  It still isn’t.  Turning that off seems to have helped a fair bit, but I’ll need to try the really troublesome programs before I’ll know for sure that it’s all fixed.

Next time – There’s one thing that was even more bizarre to fix and to be honest it’s still broken.