The Second Version


An Adventure in Computer Archeology

Alternate title: BSODed on a warm summer day.

Windows 98 is a system not exactly known for its rock-solid stability; when you run it on a machine built with parts scavenged from different computers, and even recovered from the scrap pile in the university storage room, trouble is due to increase in a non-linear fashion.

Still, the episodes of BSOD I suffered today are even more bizarre than usual. I connected my laptop (a year 2000-vintage machine running Win2k Pro that I brought back to life using some unorthodox procedures that I'll maybe narrate in another episode) to the other box using a standard LAN crossed cable, and I noticed a surprising behaviour: if I either tried to access the laptop's shared drivers from the desktop, or the desktop's drivers from the laptop, the desktop machine crashed.

Failure modes varied from time to time: sometimes the system simply hung and become unresponsive; other times I got the mighty BSOD (errors in NetBEUI or VxD) and in a couple of cases even a sudden system reboot. The mess was so bad that Windows even hung up during startup - a rare occurrence excluding the case of hard disk damage. But somehow in the end I managed to make the machine work again, except for network functionality.

However, that ethernet connection arrangement worked satisfactorily in the past, so I suppose something changed for the worse when I moved the ethernet adapter from a PCI slot to another while trying to install a 56k modem (another case of Plug & Pray gone wrong). I should uninstall and then reinstall the device driver, and that might work.

But the real solution is to let the oldest machine die in a blaze of glory and get a box at least slightly more up to date.

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