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Computer won't start after SP1 update to Toshiba laptop

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Having arrived at Vista directly from Win98SE, I realize I was probably very naive--I actually thought that since Microsoft advised doing the SP1 update (which only recently was made available for my Italian version), I ought to go ahead and do it. If only I had researched first.

My laptop came preinstalled with Vista Home Premium. It is a Toshiba Satellite A100, with Core 2 Duo and 2 GB Ram.

I ran a Vista data backup (that is using the data backup program in the control panel) onto an external hard disk before doing the SP1 update. I also updated the BIOS from the Toshiba site.

Since the update, the computer will not boot. I get the Toshiba splash screen, and then a screen informing me of an error (hardware or software) and giving two choices, System Recovery (I think: the Italian is 'Ripristino di sistema') or regular startup. Either leads to a message saying that the computer can't run the program and giving me only the option of turning the computer off. If I start while pressing F8, all the options lead to the same point: failiure to start and turn the computer off.

I could just use the Restore disk that Toshiba provided, to wipe the entire hard disk and start all over, but I am rather worried that the backup I did (using the backup program in the Vista Control Panel) won't save all my email. I was using Eudora, ancient, I know, but I love it. I have hundreds of filters and was thus putting off starting all over with a new email program.

So my question is, is there any reason to fear that I won't be able to recover all my data from a Vista data backup, especially the Eudora mail files? In which case, is my only option to go to a shop (or Toshiba center?) and have them remove the disc and recover all the data?

Is the startup disk on this page legitimate? http://neosmart.net/...-disc-download/
Would it be any use to me for backing up my email files (straight copy this time) from my HD?

Is there any way I can access my Eudora email files from the backup I did (again, using the Vista data backup program) from another machine...that is my Win98SE desktop machine. In other words, is the backup only accessible from Vista or not?

Why didn't I just do a straight copy the files I was most worried about? Why did I trust this update?
(Okay, you can skip answering those last questions.)

Any advice appreciated.


Joe not-so-geeky
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