Sunday, February 22, 2009

Windows Vista crcdisk.sys crash

So, I decided that the laptop I've had for the last year or so with Linux installed on it needed to be dual boot with Windows. The laptop in question is a Dell XPS M1330, 4GB RAM, 200GB 7200RPM HDD, Intel graphics. These are basically the specifications that Dell in certain areas of the world sell supported with Ubuntu Linux. However, in Australia you must buy it with Windows, you can't order it without. I'm sure plenty of other people have whinged about this, so I won't - I'll just say that given the choice, I would have ordered it without Windows.

Anyway, I've found that about once every two months I was booting my copy of Windows I was forced to purchase with the laptop in Sun xVM VirtualBox. Unfortunately, the version of Windows that was enforced on me was Vista, so that's quite slow in a VM. So, for the first time in its life, I installed Windows on the laptop.

After installing Windows, installing all the drivers, several reboots, then running Windows Update, the machine gets itself into a reboot loop. When booting in safe mode, it gets to "crcdisk.sys", then flashes a blue screen of death, and automatically reboots itself, and does this in an endless loop.

Now for the solution - rip out 2GB RAM. Apparently one of the updates Microsoft shipped stuffs something up such that if you have more than 2GB RAM, Vista won't boot. Wow, well done guys. Anyway, here's how to take memory out of a Dell XPS laptop. Now my laptop boots again - after all the updates have applied, I'll put the memory back in and hope it works.

I never thought I'd see the day when a mainstream hardware vendor ships a laptop that works better with Linux than Windows. But it just has - the vendor is Dell, and the laptop is the XPS M1330.