Well, I sort of have a PC working again.
Saturday last week my machine was working absolutely fine. Sunday morning and the boot disk apparently failed and the machine wouldn't even boot. Great.
I'd previously tried dual-booting Windows 7 on this machine (it's Vista x64 normally) and it wasn't happy at all. Then a week or two later the whole machine broke, which says to me that either Win7 is very good at spotting an error early or that it itself caused the error.
So having lost everything (maybe, I still need to try disk recovery tricks) I try installing Windows 7 to just try and get any OS up and running - just happened to have the 7 disk closer to hand.
Anyway, that simply wouldn't go anywhere - the installer randomly crashes, or it won't allow me to pick a disk...
Gave up and stuck a Vista x64 disk in... worked first time.
In short, I now have zero confidence/trust in Win7 and I will most likely stick with Vista for the foreseeable future. Kinda seems backwards to the general consensus, but I never really had any objections to Vista so I don't much care [grin]
P.S. I'm off on holiday tomorrow. I'll rebuild my machine in July and get back to some D3D11/SlimDX dev work then...