This afternoon, it started giving us a lovely error message on restart saying that it could not boot the operating system.
The procedure that screen gave (boot operating system disk, use System Recovery to fix things) did not work. However, doing a “chkdsk /f c:” from the recovery disk did work, thankfully.
This is just not the sort of error diagnostic you want to see:
... Startup repair diagnosis and repair log ---- Number of repair attemts: 1 ---- Root cause found: -------------------- No OS files found on disk. Repair action: Partition table repair result: Failed. Error code= 0x490 Time taken = 3136 ms
This is the first computer running Vista we’ve had in the house. So far, I’m not terribly impressed.