I fixed my computer finally; apparently my motherboard hates Windows 7.
That’s right, I had to downgrade my OS in order to make it more stable.
I can’t tell you what a gargantuan pain in the ass this whole project has been. I had spent the good part of this week updating firmware and scouring the internet for hotfixes to the point where I wanted to re-enact that scene in Casino wih Joe Pesci playing the part of my computer, but before I dragged my computer chassis out into a cornfield I stopped, drank about half a bottle of Rumple Minze, and decided to try one last thing.
In thinking back to when all these issues started, it occurred to me that they began in earnest when I upgraded my OS from Vista to Windows 7. Since I had literally nothing to lose but time, I decided to pull out an old 250 gigabyte hard drive that I wasn’t using and install Vista on it to see if my stability problem persisted. However, this turned out to be easier said than done because apparently after I flashed my motherboard’s BIOS – because it was several years out of date and I thought that might be causing some of my compatibility problems – my ability to access the CMOS setup for my motherboard up and vanished like a fart in the wind.
What this meant was that I couldn’t get into my BIOS to change my boot order, and I couldn’t boot from my Vista installation disc because the computer kept defaulting to the old hard drive that I had re-connected – a hard drive that I had previously formatted. I actually had to sit there with my hands inside my computer while it was booting up, holding the power connector to my old hard drive until the BIOS bypassed the “boot from hard drive” command and started the “boot from CD” process. I then plugged the hard drive back in once the Vista setup process started – risky as fuck, but lo and behold it worked: I was able to install a clean copy of Vista onto my old hard drive.
Of course, it turns out that my BIOS is so fucked that I actually can’t take the Vista CD out of my disc drive when I boot my computer up, or it will try to boot from my new 2.2 terabyte hard drive – the one I have Windows 7 installed on – that I had bought to replace the old one, despite the fact that it’s completely disconnected. Instead I have to wait for the “Press any key to boot from CD” message to time out so I can trick my BIOS into booting to the drive with the Vista installation – the digital equivalent of using duct tape and zip ties to re-connect a broken wing mirror on a car door so I can drive.
Even in the face of all this tomfoolery, I have to say that booting to a copy of Vista actually solved my problems. My computer is finally rock-solid and I haven’t had even one hiccup in over 24 hours. Of course I’m living in the past with an OS that came out in 2007 and that hasn’t seen an update since 2009, but it’s a small price to pay for being able to get my work done without random lockups and freezes.
Still, I’ll be investing in a new motherboard sooner or later. I may or may not research how to reset my current mainboard to its factory settings so I can get back into my CMOS setup utility. For now, I’m just happy that I can actually use my computer without it melting into a pile of silicon and plastic all over my floor. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got that other half of a Rumple Minze bottle to finish.