Another Vista problem.
This time, the system would occasionally stop while booting.
The windows “starting” bar at the bottom would just keep cycling continuously.
So one of the first things I notice is that the hard drive has a few errors, but not enough to trigger SMART to say the drive needs replacing… but enough to be a concern.
So I replace the drive, and that seems to fix the error, but eventually, it re-surfaces.
So I try replacing the power supply, the RAM, even the motherboard, but the error keeps coming back.
Since this problem only happens 1 in 10 restarts, its frustrating to diagnose.
Eventually, I manage to trace it to a faulty SATA DVDRW drive.
There were no other indications that the drive was faulty, and it would cause boot problems even if there was no disk in the drive.
Looks like another item to add to the “learnt by experience” list…