Oh my God. She’s alive! I’m typing this from my new computer. I’m so excited!
This was the problem: After the BIOS screen, I got a screen stating “Windows did not start successfully” and “A recent hardware or software change might have caused this”. Then I tried to start in Safe Mode, but more often than not, it would just go back to restart or it would crash. If I managed to start Windows, and install another driver or something that required a restart, it would get stuck in that cycle again.
After ruling out many possible problems, my friend told me to look in — I forgot what it’s called, but it’s that place where you can see if there are System or Application Errors. I IMed to him some of the error messages and he figured that something was interferring with the IDE drivers. I talked to one of my other friends (on Messenger as well), and he said there was something to do with NVIDIA IDE that messes with the the ability to copy DVDs. Anyway, I poked about on the net (on the other computer) and I found out that the continual restart problem was a result of installing the NVIDIA IDE SW driver:
Now about that NVIDIA IDE SW driver thing. It’s pretty weird that it would prompt for something like that in the middle of the install, but whatever. I did first try responding “Yes” to have it included in the install. But after the install was complete and the computer restarted, it would get stuck continually restarting. Shortly after the BIOS screen, I would get this screen stating “Windows did not start successfully” and that “A recent hardware or software change might have caused this”.
Well thank goodness for GoBack. I just restored the hard drive to the point before installing the drivers. I got this same error on two different versions of driver, v3.13 and v5.10. Then I read the NVIDIA IDE SW informatory window box carefully and noticed it says things like “The NVIDIA IDE SW driver replaces the ATA drivers (that come with windows) with drivers that are optimized for nForce2-based desktop computers”, “The NVIDIA IDE SW driver is not a requirement for your operating system to work”, “The NVIDIA IDE SW driver is provided as-is to the end user”, and “The NVIDIA IDE SW driver may contain design defects or errors….”. Hmm, this isn’t sounding so great. What happens, I wonder, if I do the install without including the NVIDIA IDE SW driver. Oh, it all works. I guess that part about the “…defects and errors…” is right on the money.
Uninstalling the NVIDIA IDE SW driver caused the reboot problem to go away.
I installed the wireless card with a few little hitches, and finally connected to my network, so here I am!
I transferred all my files, though sadly not through the network, because I somehow fucked up the network connection on my laptop. It won’t connect anymore, but I’ll figure out what’s wrong with it later. My brother doesn’t get back from out-of-town until August. So to transfer the files, I just burned them to CD-ROMs. I didn’t have that much data to transfer, just 2 CDs worth. I deleted everything on the laptop that my brother doesn’t need, because he gets to have it now.
Most of the programs I need have been installed. The problem is that I lack the original installation CD for a particular program on my laptop, so I might have to install an older version of it, because that’s the version I do have a CD of.
The only remaining major (-ish) problem with the new computer is sound — the lack therof. The audio drivers have been installed and the computer says everything is working fine, so I’ll have to check the hardware… But that can wait until tomorrow. I’m just so relieved and happy that the most important parts are working now!
Thanks, Corvus and Josh, for your offers of help. :-D Luckily we were able to get it sorted! I’m crossing my fingers for continued stability. :-P