So last night I was hacking Windows system files. Using Resource Hacker, I began modifying authui.dll, which is, to the extent of my knowledge, the UI file for the login screen and alt-ctrl-delete screen. Before I get into my error, let me make this known: I know the risks of altering important system files. This is not the first time that I've made such a mistake, and it won't be the last. I learn through my errors: that is to say, I don't take precautions, I just charge in, head-first. My philosophy is that if you use precautions, you understand a broad range of things that you can or cannot do. Without precautions, and by making errors, you know EXACTLY what can and cannot be done, and with those errors, comes much more knowledge.
Anyways, my goal in resource hacker was to remove the Windows branding from the UI, because it's ugly and distracting. All was going well, except I accidentally deleted a backspace in authui. Instead of replacing it as I should have, I figured "Hm... I wonder what happens without this backspace...". Would you like to know what happens? Well, I'll tell you anyways. The dll file becomes unreadable, and the operating system crashes. alt-ctrl-delete, in this situation, happens to be a very bad idea, and only made it worse.
Enter Linux Mint 8.
I've been a Linux enthusiast for quite some time now. Going on five years, in fact. As such, I have a few dozen different Linux distributions burned to discs. Linux Mint being my favorite, so far. Using my wonderful powers of logic, I thought to myself, "Hey, if I just boot a LiveCD, download authui.dll from the internet, and replace the corrupted file, it's allllll good.". Tried, and failed. As I rebooted and hoped for the best, my hopes were quickly crushed by a message telling me that my bootmanager was corrupted. Always one to take the hard way out, I refuse to repair Windows.
Ah, as a side note, although I typically dual boot, a few months ago I decided to let Windows 7 take up my entire hard drive. I discovered that it is non-resizable for whatever reason, I possess no external HD or flash drive, and there is no room on my HD to install Linux and transfer the files between partitions to back them up.
HOWEVER! Thanks to my undying love for Linux, and trying new distributions, I purchased a 50-pack of DVD+R discs a while back, of which there are about 20+ remaining. My only worry previously was that I wouldn't be able to back up all of my files, but my love for Linux appears to have saved me.