Yesterday evening, Stella and I wanted to do our taxes, so I installed the 2001 version of the tax software we subscribed to. I already found it disconcerting that the installation involved several DLLs in the Windows system directory, including DAO components. It made me wonder again why software doesn't check whether those DLLs aren't currently there in a suitable version and if so, at least ask.
Anyway, after rebooting (???), I found a window open which appeared to consist only of a short titlebar which was blank. The corresponding button on the taskbar also had no text. Bizarre. Attempting to close that window didn't produce any results. Anyway, we went ahead and did our taxes; it looks as if we'll get a tidy bundle back from the government. [Side note -- the tax program attempted to register, but it appeared to send email automatically through a system that was misconfigured because I never use that way of sending emails. Why not open a socket to their server and talk to it directly or something?] After that, I read some mail and news.
Then I tried again to close the funny window -- and I got a white window telling me that my Internet connection software had a problem, with two buttons 'Close' and 'Ignore'. I clicked on close. Then my email program supposedly had a problem, but clicking Ignore didn't help; I finally clicked Close and then the same thing with my newsreader. When I attempted to shut down the system, I got the same window for 'Explorer' and the system hung. Sigh.
After a hard reset, Windows ran Scandisk for me (of course) -- and then refused to start Windows because VMM32.VXD was missing. WTF? I had a look for that file but found it nowhere on C:. A look at SCANDISK.LOG told me that there were four files in C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM with illegal characters in their filenames and that those directory entries were removed, and also that some orphaned FAT blocks were found which were converted to free space. Frustrated, I turned off the computer.
This morning I though "ah, but I've got all of the CAB files on the disk, so I'll just extract that VMM32.VXD file", which I did; then I tried to restart Windows. Only to find that about three dozen files were missing, all of them *.VXD files in the directory C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\VMM32. Arrrgh.
I'll probably end up re-installing the system. Software sucks.