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Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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What To Do When Windows Vista Crashes

Because Microsoft's new operating system is bigger than its predecessors, it's more of a pain to reinstall. Here are some backup, repair, and monitoring methods so you won't have to,


Reviving Vista

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I've finally got a compliment of technical substance to pay to Windows Vista, beyond the kudos it has justifiably received for the glitzy, Mac-like look and feel it has brought to the PC platform.

The good news is that Vista, for all its annoyances--including slow search and intrusive security warnings--is much more robust and harder to break than any previous Microsoft operating system.

Interestingly, even the infamous "blue screen of death" has largely been thrown onto the software slag heap. (Lock-ups during the installation process are now heralded with a blank black screen!)

Unfortunately, crashes haven't been totally banished. More ominously, because Vista is packed with many more features and takes much longer to install than earlier OSes, when it does fail, you've got a time-consuming crisis on your hands.


Opening up Windows Explorer windows ad infinitum will crash Vista.



Opening up Windows Explorer windows ad infinitum will crash Vista.

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That's why it's more important than ever to implement an intelligent back-up strategy and to learn a little-known trick for righting a computer that's seemingly gone wrong. I'm going to take you through two scenarios: what to do so you're prepared in the event a worst-case disaster strikes, and how to repair the more garden-variety calamities.

Specifically, here's what we're going to discuss in this article:

  • The Mother Of All Backups

  • Vista comes with a backup tool called Complete PC Backup. This allows you to save an image, or a complete, bit-for-bit copy of everything on your hard drive. In the event your set-up becomes terminally screwed up, this is a way to restore some semblance of where you should be (i.e., it will restore your PC to the way it was at the time you copied the image. Unfortunately, that resum?? or killer sales presentation you were working on at the moment your computer bombed out will still be lost and gone forever.

    Alexander Wolfe was editor-in-chief of InformationWeek.com. In his two decades as a technology editor, he has written for Electronics Magazine, Byte.com, and TechWeb. He spent nine years at CMP's Electronic Engineering Times, where he wrote the "Wolfe's Den" column and broke ... View Full Bio
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