How not to solve Sony Vaio issues

Discussion in 'Troubleshooting Help' started by von Stalhein, Oct 8, 2009.

  1. von Stalhein

    von Stalhein Member

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    This is probably more of a troubleshooting what not to do rather than a fine example of the scientific method!!! Sorry for the long post, but I'm hoping it's cathartic for me, and might help some other poor bastard.

    On Sunday night my daughter bought her Sony Vaio VGN-CS16 lappie in to interrupt my enjoyment of Horatio Hornblower. The thing runs Vista Home Premium.

    When she wanted a lappie for school etc I canvassed all manner of configurations, HDD sizes, CPU options, graphics etc but she ended up with this one because it was pink.

    Anyway, whilst surfing the interwebs and facebooking etc the thing had frozen, gone all BSOD on her and then rebooted with "No Operating System Present" message or similar. Even she picked this as a Bad Thing. When rebooting without trying to get into Safe Mode or the other options, it would BSOD with (after I turned off the "reboot on error") an error code of 0x0000024, which is (as I had suspected) a corrupted HDD.

    I tried to get into safe mode in all it's various forms but the thing wouldn't present anything after the Vaio loadup screen. My first thought was to get to a cli and do a chkdsk /f, but that wasn't an option that any of the usual methods would allow.

    I tried the F8 key bypass method on boot with no joy, and the F10 Sony option at the Vaio screen, which is supposed to launch into the Sony Recovery program. I then tried booting from one of the recovery disks I had made not long after she got the machine at Christmas. Obviously, it's one of those bloody stupid setups where all the OS etc. is on a partition on the drive, and loaded at the factory. So no OS disk comes with it - BASTARDS. Please note that is not a VV, just an observation.

    When booting from the DVD, and after a long wait (1.30 hr) it went to a screen offering to recover files, restore c:, reload the factory defaults, or go to a command prompt. Obviously I didn't want to lose any data, so I tried the cmd option first, but couldn't get into the c: drive to chkdisk. It seemed to see only the files on the DVD which it had designated as drive X: I tried to get some response for ages without luck - constantly rebooting etc.

    Only having the Sony recovery disks, I was struggling to get into a Windows RE environment, although I tried to follow some stuff I'd found when Googling that suggested that I should be able to do so with those disks. As usual, it's rare that anyone else gets exactly the same error or circumstances for every borking incident. At one stage it got to a recovery screen and offered to fix whatever OS appeared in the dialogue box, and I thought I was away. However, nothing turned up after ages of the hourglass cursor. If there was no option, it told me to then load the disk drivers. When you go down that route and delve into the offered directories, no drivers appear, and though there are plenty on the HDD, it's no good because you can't access it. I was able to replicate this numerous times without any progress.

    I went to bed.

    On Monday I consulted the IT blokes at work. These guys are A-Grade geeks, and I admire the shitter out of them, They fettle upwards of 180 machines and the n00bs that "operate" them, and the network it all runs on, so their patience is (on the whole) infinite. Most of them live the dream, in that IT is their hobby as well as their job - the poor simple bastards.

    Anyway, I was pretty keen to get a Vista disk to try and either get to a cmd line, or into a Windows RE. So they burnt me a Vista Business disk ( the only 32 bit one they could provide) and off I went. We also discussed slaving the drive to one of my home boxes to rescue the data in case it had to go to Sony - I knew they would either replace the HDD or reload the OS - either way all my girl's stuff would go west. The Vista disk got me to the RE a bit quicker, but I was still stymied.

    I have only pulled apart and reassembled one laptop (my sisters) so I was unsure of what connections etc.I needed to slave it - but in the end (as you would know dear reader) it's simplicity itself. Even though this machine is an ancient P4, all the HDD hardware is SATA and the power is transferred via molex plugs.

    Back at home that evening I tried various combinations as on the previous night, and got no closer. I took the thing to work with me as well on the Tuesday so that I could fiddle with it from time to time. I received many disparaging comments from my colleagues about the colour of the thing, but still had no success. Every option took heaps of time, as it would sit there for ages (seemingly) processing before any reaction, and then the results were all dead ends.

    Last night I decided to slave the disk to my machine and try and get all the data from it. I was resigned to it going back to the factory, so I'd nothing to lose by trying to do that.

    I run a dual boot XP/Jaunty box as my main machine, with 3 HDDs. The plugged in HDD from the Sony showed up as a 232Gb drive, and I could "see" all the files. I backed up what I thought was valuable - some 60 Gb of photos, music, docs etc.

    Some more Googling detailed examples of pros and cons using Linux programs to try and fix NTFS volumes, and it was generally all bad experiences. However, on the (here on the Ubuntu forums) I found some details of a successful recovery method using part of the NTFSFIX package, specifically fsck, to remedy disk errors.

    I unmounted the lappy drive, and followed the advice from the Ubuntu forum - fsck reported no issues.

    Replacing the HDD in the Sony, I booted it. It went straight into the recovery dialogue, and my hopes were raised. I asked it to check the c: drive and the e: drive(containing the factory loaded stuff) and went about my business.

    A trick for young players: when you plug the laptop you are trying to sort into the mains, turn the power on.

    The disk check/repair got to about 97% after a couple of hours, and everything faded to black immediately as the battery went flat. FSCK!!!!

    Turned on the power, rebooted and got back to the recovery dialogue again - thankfully the loss of power hadn't borked the HDD this time.

    The disk checking process finished, it rebooted, did it's own chkdsk, rebooted, I held my breath and it was all good again.

    I lolled.

    Therefore - if I can't get to a recovery option next time I will go straight to the slaving one without faffing about! And the kid will have an external HDD which she will learn to back up to.

    It only took from Sunday to Wednesday :wired:
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  2. iNoob

    iNoob Member

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    Congrats on fixing the problem and having patience.
    With me fixing the problem would involve destroying it. :thumbup:
     
  3. qwertylesh

    qwertylesh Member

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    yep.. Sonys are fucked.
    thanks Sony for not sharing your proprietary drivers or recovery media, fucken bastards.
     
  4. Spork!

    Spork! Member

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    well done sir.
    I think I'd have claimed it on the home and contents and told my dt'r bad luck, you should make copies of valuable files. but then, I'm a prick of a stepdad - just ask my kids. :D
     
  5. evilasdeath

    evilasdeath Member

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    Bets the daughter knocked it/dropped it and dislodged the hdd SATA or power connection out of the hdd and was too scared to tell the dad she thought she broke it.

    :)
     
  6. warhead

    warhead Member

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    I would run a memtest on the laptop just to make sure the memory is fine.

    Bad RAM causes some of the symptoms you saw while trying to diagnose the fault.
     
  7. switchy

    switchy Member

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    That would be my guess. If they haven't been connected firmly in the first place they can quite easily come loose. It's happened to me on a desktop before.
     
  8. Akh-Horus

    Akh-Horus Member

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    Think your daughter owes ya a few coffees for this effort!
     
  9. LiNERROR

    LiNERROR Member

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    something i'm not very fond of with vista...

    when you hit the power button or click shutdown it turns off the screen almost instantly, but more often then not for me, takes a moment to shutdown.

    have seen any people hut the power button, wait for the screen to go black, close the screen, and throw it in their bag and walk off... all the while that HDD is screaming for help...
     
  10. xtortion

    xtortion Member

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    My aunt is dead set on buying a Vaio as her business/work laptop. :Paranoid:

    I highly suggested a Lenovo but she said it's not pretty. :wired:
     
  11. jonkvh

    jonkvh Member

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    I did a vaio about a month ago with the same prob'. It turns out it's the Sony recovery software that causes clashes left right and centre.

    It's got nothing to do with Vista. I actually could get to the Sony recovery screen each time but it would go no further with booting even after it had said it had fixed the error's.

    I went ahead and used Spinrite Disc Recovery. Fixed after that. Transferred the data to a backup drive and reinstalled Vista from MS, no Sony bloatware.

    Turns out the owner had been using the laptop without the battery, thinking it would last longer, and accidentally pulled the AC cable out.
     
  12. fref99

    fref99 Member

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    Hi,

    I always manually repartition my PC's with 2 partitions.
    On C: I install the OS and D: is for data. Then I Ghost the boot partition.

    If things screw up I can just reload the boot partition and all the data on D:
    It takes abit longer to install a box but if things go wrong it can save alot of time.

    Regards
    FREF99
     
  13. tompee

    tompee Member

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    doesn't help when you lose the whole drive (ie both partitions) as was the case with the OP
     
  14. fref99

    fref99 Member

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    Sorry but if you split data/os then it's easy to backup the data/reload the OS rather than having to worry about having to repair the OS inplace as the data you need is mixed in with the os.

    Most of the time when windows goes "bottom up" it's just the boot files that are corrupt or the OS is infected and splitting the data off makes life easier to backup the data.

    Thats the point I wanted to make.

    Regards
    FREF99
     
  15. OP
    OP
    von Stalhein

    von Stalhein Member

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    That's a good idea, thanks, I'll do that.

    I have a Lenovo, and aside from the issue I had above, I'd probably say the Sony is at least ergonomically better. Her machine is higher specced tho, so any performance comparo is moot. The screen is better and the thing is of a more solid feel than the ex IBM. The Lenovao has plastic bits that move or creak in the case, whereas the Sony feels more "finished" but YMMV.

    Really annoys me the shitty GPU in the Lenovo - it wasn't my choice so I'm stuck with it atm. I dual boot it with Vista/Jaunty.

    I notice on the Sony web site that they recently (in the last week) have extended the warranty on the Vaios due to a "fan noise issue". As it is on the opposite side of the machine to the HDD and (I think) primarily cools the CPU and RAM I doubt o/heating influenced my problem.

    Thanks all for your comments.
     

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