Well, turns out my Windows XP SP3 problem wasn’t really a Windows XP SP3 problem at all, other than it happens to Windows XP Service Pack 3 when installed on Hewlett Packard AMD-based computers that were factory installed with an Intel-based image of Windows XP. A key Intel power management DLL isn’t present, but it is referenced by the system configuration, and when Windows XP Service Pack 3 installs, it sees that the file should be there (according to the system config) but isn’t (according to what it can see on the hard drive) so it installs it. And on the next boot … boom, Windows gets stuck in an endless cycle of reboots every time it tries loading the Intel driver on an AMD processor.
The simple solution? Boot in safe mode and delete the offending file. There are other solutions, which I found at this blog by a Microsoft expert, which I found via this eWeek article, which I found via a Google search for [ windows xp sp3 problems ]. Now, I had tried Google searches the previous night at umptynothing in the morning, but when I sat down with my I-wuv-my-Mac laptop in front of the dead computer, logged on to the home wireless network, and banged out that new query fresh, it worked, first link, first time.
So it’s true: Google Knows Everything.
P.S. The previous article is my own personal opinion and does not reflect the opinions of my employers at the Search Engine That Starts With a G. Or, hell, maybe it does, but I was using that phrase even back when I worked for the Search Engine Company That Started With an E.