People Still Get Blue Screens, Unmountable Boot Volumes

Crashed train station display
Creative Commons License photo credit: sethschoen

One of my most popular blog posts of 2008, judging by comments and hits on the post overall, was this one – Unmountable Boot Volume (Dell, Fix) – where I outlined in October 2007 some steps that can be used to get around that boot volume blue screen error on Windows XP.

Since I published the post, I haven’t had a blue screen error. Primarily because I moved over to a Mac and started using OSX, but that’s another thing altogether.

I’m amazed at how many people still get the issue – but moreso by some of the comments. Specifically people being told by customer support and technical support agents that the hard drive must be fried, people will lose all their data and they really have no hope.

I’ve been there. I’ve worked in a call centre. I’ve read the instructions from the screen as you step through the case. But I’ve also used my initiative and given people a few “off the books” instructions that would see them right, because you’ve experienced something similar yourself.

To those of who who managed to repair your drive from the steps included in the blog post and went on to become a regular reader and commenter in other areas, I’m glad I was of some assistance to you. To those people who seek out advice from blog posts and the web and get their own second opinion online, more power to you.

Sure enough, in the long run your hard drive might kick the bucket, but at least you’ve taken the initiative to seek out a solution online. Hopefully, when you arrive on it, it works for you too.

If you’re having an unmountable boot volume issue, click here for some steps to help you through it.

Convert DOCX To DOC On A Mac (OSX)

One of the developments of Microsoft Office 2007 was the introduction of the Office Open XML file format for Word Documents (extension is .docx), presentations etc. One of my clients has apparently upgraded in recent days as the new attachments I receive are all .docx, unreadable on the Mac in Office 2004, OpenOffice, any way you look at it.

None of the online converters I tried seemed to be working (one wanted a “lifetime” fee of US$5 to access to a conversion tool). Microsoft, on the other hand, released a beta converter for OSX that will convert your unreadable .docx documents to DOC / RTF format allowing them to be opened and edited. Via Microsoft…

Microsoft Office Open XML File Format Converter for Mac 0.2.1 (Beta)

This version of the converter extends the expiration date for this beta release.

This version of the converter can convert the following Open XML file formats:

  • Word Document (*.docx)
  • Word Macro-Enabled Document (*.docm)
  • PowerPoint Presentation (*.pptx)
  • PowerPoint Show (*.ppsx)
  • PowerPoint Template (*.potx)

The converter is a Beta release, and might be unable to convert all the data in Open XML files. After you convert a file, you should review the file carefully to make sure that it contains all of the information that you expect. For a complete list of known issues, install and open the converter, and then on the Help menu, click Office Converter Help.

This Beta release expires on December 31, 2008.

As converters go, it does exactly what it says on the tin. It installs with ease into your Applications folder then works on a drag-and-drop basis i.e. drag your unreadable document onto the app window and presto, one readable and workable document. You can find it by clicking here.