I was up most of the night with a hacking cough, so called out sick. Turns out that was a good thing, as it gave me a chance to fight with my computer.
When I got up at 5, I found my computer had rebooted itself. Annoying, but not a big deal. I started opening the browser tabs I keep up, but Windows blue-screened and my computer rebooted. I let it reboot, but this time it barely got into Windows before blue-screening. I tried booting in Safe Mode, but it blue-screened again. (This time, it would boot, but blue-screened soon after.)
I called the Best Buy Geek Squad, hoping to get phone support. They told me since I couldn't connect to the Internet, they wouldn't be able to help me, but I could take the computer to a store or they could send out a tech. The earliest I could get the tech was Saturday, noon-4. I took that appointment.
About 10, it hit me I could take the computer to the store and they could check it out and maybe fix it. Well, they checked it out and told me the problem seems to be corrupted software. Windows probably tried an auto-update and it failed. They could hold onto it and fix it, but it would be 7-10 days. I said no thanks and left.
Now armed with that info, I thought maybe I could fix it. I've had to recover from corrupted files before, so I knew how to do it. So I backed up my files and reinstalled Windows. Didn't work. It booted and stayed up for a bit, then blue-screened again.
I had one last idea. Booting into Safe Mode and working as fast as I could, I copied files I didn't want to lose (mostly game saves, but a few other things) to my thumbdrive. Then I formatted my harddrive and reinstalled Windows.
I had been thinking about doing that for a while. I had so much crap on the HD, and didn't know what a lot of it was. (300 GB HD, 45 GB free space). So far, so good. Windows updated and didn't corrupt itself. I got some software installed (drivers and anti-virus), though not much. I didn't want to go to the effort of reinstalling everything, only to have Windows fail again.
When I got up this morning, it was still up and running, so I may have solved the issue. Also saved myself $300! Although I am thinking I should take that money and buy a new external HD for back-ups! (My current external HD is only 30GB, and seems to have died.)
In other news, I took advantage of my free day (once I stopped coughing) and voted. Only took about 45 minutes to get through the line. I feel much better about myself now!