I talked to the IT department at my college and they said that my CPU doesn't actually have two physical cores. Instead it uses hyperthreading to create an additional "virtual" core that can speed up some things. Apparently the update broke that.
Has anyone else experienced this? Is it possible to fix this myself? If not, what distro should I switch to?
Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology (Intel® HT Technology) delivers two processing threads per physical core. Highly threaded applications can get more work done in parallel, completing tasks sooner.
I tried to switch to Mint 13 Xfce 32-bit but I had problems with the installation (it tells me that my hard drive is broken, which is odd because I reinstalled LMDE and I had no such issues - Gnome Disk Utility tells me that my hard drive is healthy). I'd rather stick with Debian. Could the problem be that I used unetbootin to create the boot flash drives?
Used the Device Driver Manager to install the driver mentioned in this thread. Waiting for it to finish before I reboot and give it a try.
Yep, that worked!
If anyone reads this in the future, you need to install linux-headers-3.2.0-4-686-pae (version 3.2.32-1) using the Device Driver Manager (or the installer of your choice). This will enable multi-core support for 32-bit systems.