I'm almost embarrassed to write this, and I'm sure there are people who are tired of reading it. But I said that I would keep this blog up to date with my Vista/XP adventures, and I want others who may run into this situation to know they are not alone, and they are probably not at fault.
It has been exactly a week since I put the Vista Business disk back into my main laptops, a Fujitsu Lifebook S6510. This morning when I turned the system on, it said "unable to start Windows"... and went into the Vista startup recovery procedure. After a good 30 minutes of thrashing around, it finally told me that it couldn't fix the problem. It suggested that if I had recently connected any new hardware, I might try removing that and see if it solved the problem. Of course, I have not added, or removed, anything. There were no other suggestions as to what to do, or how to recover; I am left with the impression that the only option is to reload Vista from scratch.
Fortunately, I had the disk drive loaded with XP Pro for this laptop with me. So I swapped the disks, turned it on, and it came up just fine. It took about an hour to copy over all the things that had been changed in the past week - primarily email, and some application data - and now everything is back to "normal".
I don't have the vaguest idea in the world what caused this, or what could be done to fix it (or avoid it). I suppose what I will do is wait for Vista SP1 to come out, and then reload the Vista disk from scratch, install SP1, and then reload all my applications and utilities. Maybe. But perhaps I will just forget about Vista, because I am very irritated right now...