In writing about my trials and tribulations with Windows Vista on my production PC over the summer, I summarized my situation in a blog entitled “Time for a new motherboard?” on September 20. By the beginning of October things with the system had quieted down enough, thanks to switching to a single-vendor security solution (PC Tools Spyware Doctor with Antivirus, plus the PC Tools Firewall, and their ThreatFire behavioral malware blocker) and making some other software and configurations changes, that I thought I had the hiccups behing me. I was down to random problems once a week, and went three whole weeks without a single BSOD.
Then, alas, during the last week of October, my system started wonking out on me again. From 10/24 through 11/6, I had Windows failures on 6 out of 14 days. I also experienced application failures on 8 of those 14 days, along with a couple of miscellaneous failures, including a total of 4 BSODs during that time frame. Once again, forensic examination suggested RAM as a possible culprint, where the followup information on the Windows Stop Errors that presented name bad memory as a potential cause (though I”ve run the Vista Memory Diagnostics overnight several times, I”ve never been able to catch any memory errors there, however).
On 11/6, after my latest BSOD, I decided to bite the bullet and replaced the 2 2GB DDR3-1066 modules I purchased from SuperTalent this summer with another set of identical modules. Today is 11/10 and I haven”t experienced a single Windows failure or BSOD since I made that switch. It”s too early to tell if I”m just beating the odds of a problem that”s going to reappear sooner or later, or if this represents a real fix. But so far, so good.
I”m still thinking about buying a new motherboard, but money is tight enough right now that it’s on the list of possible purchases I might make after I pay my contractors, my bills, and my savings from the money I”ve had to raid lately to keep up with cash flow needs. Who said the life of a freelance writer is a bowl of cherries anyway? Lately it”s been more like a bowl of something else entirely…
Nevertheless I keep trying to make the best of my Vista system and my learning experiences along that sometimes tortured pathway. Right now, I”m trying to learn how to kill files in an old system drive that”s not functioning as such any more. Vista won”t let me delete files from the Windows or Windows/System32 directories, and the Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) v0.9.0.5 detects some of these old files–which I”m not updating any more since I don”t actually use them for anything any more as potential security exposures. I’ve found a way to block this detection, but I still haven”t been able to find a tool or technique that will let me delete those files I”m no longer using. I”ve tried various software tools (KillBox, Remove on Reboot), using the Vista Repair facility on the install media, and so far nothing does the trick. I”m starting to think I”m going to need to boot a Linux OS with drivers to read my NTFS volumes, then delete that stuff from inside a different OS (take that, Windoze!).
Follow-up on 11/18: It”s been another 8 days now since the memory swap occurred and I”ve had no problems on my system that haven”t been self-inflicted in the mean time. Although experience teaches me to knock on wood, and be skeptical about saying, “it”s fixed”–by gosh I really am starting to think that this might have fixed my stability issues. If anything else goes wonky, though, I’ll be sure to report on same.