Suffered another set-back with my PC last night – but not topping the smoking incident.

On a friend’s advice, I decided to give ZoneAlarm a try. This is a reputable software firewall, which, along with many third-party tools, beats the firewall that came with Windows XP Service Pack 2 any day in my opinion. However, that was when disaster struck.

Firstly the PC would no longer boot into Windows XP. Checking the hard disk using the Recovery Console from the installation CD also did not help. In pure desperation – since I had many photos with no back-up and some personal records on the boot hard disk – I took the boot disk to work and tried chkdsk again. Fortunately, after the first repair, I was able to read most of the data and thereby copy to a safer place. However, subsequent chkdsk’s sometimes made the same disk unreadable.

What can all this mean?

Now, while a number of plausible explanations are possible – from the alpha BIOS which I installed a few days ago, to a dodgy hard disk that was ready to fall over with a light push – it still does not change the basic facts: I have a hard disk whose integrity is in doubt.

A drastic solution is required here. I basically need to get a new hard disk – a perfect excuse for getting a new spanking 200GB SATA disk, since it is about $1/GB! But, given that I will be travelling soon, I think it will be a while before I can bring my system back to full strength. 🙁