I have many, many gigs of data (home movies, photos, software downdoads) on a physical ATA drive in my desktop PC. I don’t want to lose it. Last night while performing a routine system restore, my system booted to an error message “The application or DLL MSVCP60.DLL is not a valid system image. Please verify against your installation disk.” I clicked OK and was left with a black screen and a mouse pointer. No OS.

Troubleshooting this issue has been a nightmare. I’ve tried using the Windows recovery console to replace that file. I’ve tried several linux live CDs, which either don’t boot (Ubuntu) or can’t see my SATA boot drive (Knoppix) or refuse to burn onto a CD from Berta’s PC (Unbuntu again). I’m now at the point that I’ve tried restoring Windows - twice. It gets to a point where it asks for a driver for my motherboard right after it drops USB support, so I can’t type or use the mouse.

The only solution I see left is to get a new ATA drive, slave the old one, and install a fresh Windows there. At this point I would really just like a working computer, so I’m willing to dump that cash on a new drive. But I don’t relish the idea of cracking the case on this system..

I suppose I could also try to format my SATA drive and build Windows from scratch again. I’m just nervous about deleting such a huge drive without first being able to boot to an OS that I could look for important files and move them to the safety of the ATA drive or the external drive.

Yes, there is 800GB of storage on this system.

So I guess I’ll try that first. Otherwise, it looks like I’ll be bumping my total capacity to over 1TB (I will never buy a small drive again) just to recover some photos. There’s nothing I love more than wasting whole weekends on data recovery. And the ironic part is that the reason I’m at this juncture is due to two systems, Windows system files protection (which I never asked for and can’t seem to disable or get around now that I need to) and EAZ-Fix (software that I purposefully installed to replace and improve upon Windows’ protection features), not working properly with each other.

Next time, I’ll just do what 99% of home users do - install nothing, contract viruses, malware, and bloated unused crap programs, and then reinstall every two months. Yes, this is what I get for trying to be proactive. What a waste of time.