Sad day, dead 360 & tanked Windows

I went to reboot WinXP last night and got a boot error message that HAL.DLL was missing. I was very suspicious but booted to a recovery console, restored the missing file, and then booted up. I then noticed that a number of the computer management plugins (Admin Tools / Computer Management) where also missing, not to mention that I had to reinstall most of the drivers and re-activate Windows. Very strange. I am not sure what caused this. A virus seems like the most likely culprit, but I did a scan and didn’t come up with anything (a few files that were suspicious, but nothing that seems would cause this problem). Very odd. I haven’t reinstalled yet, but I probably will. I did take the time to try the latest Vista beta (on a different hard drive). It seems to mostly work for me except for my Audigy 2 NX (USB, external sound card). Not sure if I will stick with Vista or just re-install WinXP (Media Center Edition).

Also, on a sad note, my Xbox 360 (7 months old) has been acting up for the last few days. Starting earlier this week it was freezing during gameplay on occasion. As the week progressed the freezing got more and more frequent. I talked to M$ support and they were something less than helpful (and really hard to hear and understand to boot). Yesterday it started sometimes having the “3 Red LEDs of Death”. It would start up sometimes, but not usually. Tonight it doesn’t come up at ALL. I called M$ support again and discovered the 360 only has a 90 day warranty, so it will cost me $140 plus shipping to McAllen, TX to get it fixed. After that I can get a 1 or a 2 year extended warranty which I will probably do (so it doesn’t break again in 7 more months). Dang. Doing some reading suggests 360s are breaking left and right. On the plus side, it seems the hard drive is fine 🙂 Luckily I just finished Splinter Cell Double Agent and haven’t gotten TOO far into GRAW — I guess I will take a week or so off from GRAW and Lumines.
I saw Saw III today. It was fun, pretty well done. It has been a pretty good series, although the first one was clearly the best. If you haven’t seen the others you should skip it. If you enjoyed the others you will enjoy this one too, probably.

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