Well, I've got a couple of AVR projects coming up (beginning with one of my own, that I was planning to start on this afternoon), so it seemed time to install the latest AVR Studio, which, alas, is Windows-only.
It was, therefore, time to fire up my last remaining physical Windows machine, that being the one in the lab that USB debug pods plug into when the software that works with 'em only runs on Windows.
Said machine had been powered off since the last-but-one power flicker.
It doesn't boot.
BIOS signs on. Then the screen goes blank, and the hard-drive light comes on.
On one attempt, I actually did (after several minutes) get the Windows logon screen... but logging on got another dose of Fail.
Booting in safe mode: no soap.
Booting the rescue CD, which I still had: it said it fixed the MBR, but then the only option it offered was to wipe the disk and do a fresh install. No thanks.
Hokay: try some of the other CDs I've got around here.
Windows XP install CD: same behavior as booting the hard drive.
Kubuntu (Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts or Jumpin' Jerboa), or whatever old version of System Rescue CD I had lying around: doesn't have chkfs.ntfs, so not all that useful for the task at hand.
So, download the latest System Rescue CD and also something called Hiren's Boot CD, or HBCD.
HBCD finishes downloading sooner, so I burn a CD of that, boot it, select "Mini XP" or whatever, summon a shell, and run CHKDSK.
Many errors, including lotsa unreadable blocks. (I'd seen some read errors when I tried dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/null on Linux, so this isn't surprising.)
So start it again, with /r, in hopes of actually repairing the darn thing. Lab's closed for the night now, so I can't check on progress without bothering Tinga. I rather suspect that the XP installation will turn out to have some crucial files missing, and that there won't be any plausible way to get the system running again short of a full re-install (which is probably called for anyway, given that the drive has developed a flurry of bad blocks and probably ought to be replaced... which means digging up a suitably old IDE drive).
Fortunately, I don't have any actual data on that machine, just a buncha software, all of which is (I think) still sitting on the server waiting to be installed again should the need arise.
Morning update: CHKDSK claimed to have repaired the filesystem, but Windows still didn't want to look at it. Booted latest System Rescue CD: still no fsck.ntfs (so maybe I need to pull the drive, plug it into a USB adapter, and connect it to a running computer). Oh, well: try mounting the filesystem, which works, and doing an ls -lR, which pauses and grinds many times, with disk errors. Foo.
So, looks like the drive is truly toast. I could mayhap recover most of the content, but since that's mostly applications, and moving applications from one Windows installation to another basically Doesn't Work, I guess it's back to swapping in an old but serviceable IDE drive and doing a fresh Windows install... and Windows Update... and Windows Update... and Windows Update... and....