I wasn’t best pleased this morning to find that I couldn’t log on to my laptop. I’d get as far as the logon prompt at which point any key press would cause everything to freeze. The only other noticeable effect was that the backdrop was missing. Safe mode made no difference but I could boot happily off a Linux Live CD. Needless to say a call to IBM’s European Service Center (which most certainly isn’t in Europe) was suitably frustrating. Why, given my serial number, they can’t work out where I am and what my machine, is I’ll never know. I guess I should just be grateful that at least there was an option not to have any music whilst on hold!
Thankfully, once passed on the local desk-side support team they were quick to respond and even quicker to realise what the problem was. I’d put an old hard disk in the ultra-bay the previous evening in order to copy off some files and Windows, for some reason, had decided that it should now be trying to boot off that hard disk. A quick “fdisk /mbr” from a DOS floppy soon had everything up and running again. The suggestion was that in future, rather than booting with the second drive in, I should swap it in whilst the machine is suspended. That doesn’t work too well as extracting the DVD drive is sufficient to wake the machine! Making the change whilst the machine was hibernated seems to work well though.
Lastly, a thanks to David George who responded to my tweet on the subject as he’d had the problem previously.