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My laptop restarts whenever I try to start Windows without my external HDD connected - after I log in an error message pops up (one of those 0x... errors) but it reboots before I can read what it says. I've tried changing the boot order in the BIOS but all that did was make it restart a few moments after the login screen loads. If I wait, it restarts, and if I log in, a message saying something about the Security Accounts Manager pops up and it reboots again.

Windows 7 works fine when the HDD is connected, and Crunchbang Linux (dual-boot) works fine in either situation.

The only things I did that might have messed something up was install some Windows updates and install Autodesk Inventor to the external hard drive.

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Most likely the Windows Updates are not the culprit. AutoDesk software has various anti-piracy functions built into their software. I would attach the hard drive and uninstall AutoDesk and see if the computer behaves properly. My suspicion is that AutoDesk installed some anti-piracy software on your C: drive and its trying to access the external hard drive with some low-level calls that are failing and causing the reboot.

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Uninstalling Autodesk worked, thanks! I guess I'll have to re-install it in C: even though I have a limited amount of storage. –  kykaios May 10 '13 at 6:04
    
@kykaios Did you install Autodesk to your external hard drive??? Why wasn't that in your original question ("the hard drive" is ambiguous)? Please edit the question. –  Jan Doggen May 10 '13 at 6:34
    
Well, I did mention my external hard drive in the beginning, and I guess I assumed it was obvious that I was referencing that hard drive for the rest of the post. I'll edit my question but it's already been answered, so I don't think it's that big of a deal. –  kykaios May 11 '13 at 2:29
    
Wow, now that is some really $#!^^* DRM (though of course no DRM is good DRM). –  Karan May 15 '13 at 21:55

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