I have been repairing computers for 12 years now, so I regard myself as pretty well experienced. I’ve managed to do battle with a lot of viruses, damaged and/or otherwise broken computers and have managed to come out on top after the appropriate amount of sweat and toil.

However…

“If there’s one thing I really can’t stand – it’s when an inamimate object developes an emotional response system – those smug little bastards!” What’s even worse is when that emotion is pure and utter spite.

Want to know how unified field theory works? It’s simple – all the forces of nature unite under one over riding force of Nature – it’s called Sod’s F’ing Law.

If there’s one thing to bear in mind about Sod’s Law is that it’s all encompassing – rediculuous levels of probability¬† – no problem.

If every atom in the Universe could systematically conspire against me (conservatively estimated at about 1*10^80) to make Sod’s Law that could bring all other forces of nature into complete harmony.

For the first time in my life I find myself actually blogging about a computer laptop repair not only that, it was a laptop repair on behalf of a friend (aren’t they jut the worst!) that has somehow through pure and utter spite managed to cause me more grief that anyone could have possibly imagined. The probability of occurrences, the sheer unlikelihood that any computer system could possibly have caused this much aggravation are bordering on the infinite and are virtually tantamount to a Universal conspiracy.

I blogeth here more for my own sanity than for either being an informative read or a useful resource to humanity at large.

The laptop repair in question is a DELL Inspiron 1000 with Windows XP Home, the problem is simply that it no longer boots into Windows and for all intent and purposes just needs a F n’ R (Format and Re-install) which is very standard stuff in the PC repair trade.

There was a small problem that the internal CD drive doesn’t work.

To work around this shouldn’t be a problem as the internal network card works fine and I also have a Windows Deployment Services server running on my local network, so it should just be a case of connecting up a cable, booting from the network card and simply selecting the operating system I wish to install.

Except whichever OS I chose, the progress bar along the bottom of the screen would do it’s thing and then pop up with an error box (which was completely and totally blank) with a blank OK box, which when clicked re-bo0ted the machine. This was the same for Windows 7 and Windows Vista (I didn’t have XP on WDS, but I suspect it would be exactly the same)

I removed the hard drive and scanned for both viruses and malware – 2 items of malware were found and removed by MalwareBytes.

I tried again, but exactly the same thing (viruses shouldn’t matter anyway as the HDD was to be formatted).

Next up, I found another HDD from a previous computer. Amazingly I switched it on and it came straight up with the Windows XP logon screen. The trouble is it was asking for a password. Unfortunately no one knew what the password was and L0Pht Crack doesn’t work on external hard drives.

I booted into safe mode and could see the Administrator account – also the password was blank! Yippee! At last I felt I was getting somewhere.

However I got the message “This copy of Windows must be activated with Microsoft before you can continue. You cannot log on until you activate Windows. Because activation cannot occur in safe mode, please restart your computer in normal mode…”

Any attempt to login in normal mode as Administrator with a blank password would give the error message “Unable to log you on because of an account restriction” – To overcome this error, one would need the password of another account with admin privilege none of which are available.

The next step was to download this http://ophcrack.sourceforge.net/download.php?type=livecd which will allow me to reset all passwords on the system.

However…

The CD on the laptop doesn’t work so I can’t burn a CD for that system: I would take out the HDD and put it in my personal laptop, but mine uses a serial drive and the computer I need to repair is a parallel!

I have a Vaio¬†laptop that uses a parallel drive, but the CD drive doesn’t work on that either!

I would boot from USB but I lost my USB stick a few weeks ago and the shops are now closed, so it’s too late to go and buy another one….

I believe the Universe is conspiring against me out of pure spite to cause me as much grief as the realms of infinite improbability will allow.

Will keep you posted…

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