Vaio Wrestling

| |

I somehow got "voluntwisted" into fixing a coworkers Sony laptop. Well okay maybe it was my own doing. I love to recover data from presumed dead hard drives. His had been dead and powered up for so long, I presumed it was toast like so many laptop drives usually are. Much to my surprise it was mountable using an old Live Knoppix disk. So I simply plugged in my USB drive and with MC I did mass copies to it. Since it was a bad disk it did take about 8 hours to move about 2GB of data (music and pictures).

So next the coworker produced a replacement drive. One dilemma though... he didn't have his recovery CD's since he just moved here and having a tough time finding anything really. So I thought I'd try using my home Dell PC. OEM CD's tend to require you to use their own hardware to do the installs so my XP Home disk would have to be installed using my PC. Ordered a laptop to IDE converter from RadioShack online; as they don't carry them in the stores. All is well. Got that installed and next I plopped it back in the Sony. No go. CRAP! It's an AMD. I used an Intel PC not to mention possible disk parameter differences. Back to the drawing board.

Now the coworker produces the CD's! Well actually he produced them before I put the drive back in the laptop, but I already had finished the install with all the updates and transferred his data in at that point. They would be handy I'm sure.

So I booted up with the Vaio System Recovery Utility CD and get some dll sys file error. Doing a little research on the exact code I find other related pointing at the RAM. Others had simply re-socketed it but that did not fix my problem. I have an old copy of W2KPro so I stuck that on in hopes to prove the drive was ok and the CD drive was working fine. I attempted to copy the Recovery CD's to the drive and it failed to read. So the disk is bad? I put the laptop drive back in my Dell PC and boot with the Recovery CD and it read fine but soon failed with a "blue screen of death". Most likely because it wasn't Sony hardware. Back to the drawing board again.

So I have a faulty CD drive, Original Sony Recovery disks, and no way to get it going.

Next I used the Live Gparted CD and smacked it clean. I created a small 2GB FAT32 partition and the rest NTFS. Using my USB DVD drive I copied the Recovery disks to the FAT partition and set it with a boot flag. Tried to boot but it complains it can't find a bootable OS. CRAP! Something I'm missing about the way CD's are bootable I'm sure. BTW, this is new enough P4 but can't boot from USB. I have since re-partitioned and re-formatted using Gparted and re-installed W2KPro and find that it fails to boot on the first reboot after installing to the Gparted NTFS. So make a mental note of this. BTW letting the installer do the format (which takes a good hour or two!) proves the Gparted NTFS is not perfect.

So what is next? Running out of options. I found a retail version (I believe) XP Home CD but doubt it's English. I guess I need to call Sony to see what they have to offer.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Worzie's picture

The Match is Over

This afternoon I went in search of speaking to a Sony support tech. and found they have chat support. The first guy read my request and promptly forwarded it on to another. Then the java based chat seemed to wig out on me so I had to kill Firefox and try again. This time I got a third guy and I noticed the exact same canned greeting and responses. Even the reply to some questions seemed robotic. Saying "no I don't have the laptop with me" prompted a "Sorry about that" response.

My goal in talking with them was to find out if there was an alternative to using the boot CD. Hoping maybe there was a floppy alternate. Also to find out if the non working CD required the hidden Sony partition or not. Non of which I believe the techs understood. This is a bit goofy too: the hours are from 8am to 3am EST. Why not just be 24/7?

This evening I couldn't help but to try booting the OEM disk again to no avail. I guess if anything just to record the exact error messages this time. One think the tech mentioned; and pissed me off about was his suggestion to "purchase" the CD's. As if I didn't already tell him I have the CD's already. But this got me to think "maybe I'll just recreate them". Using Linux of course and 'dd if=/dev/cdrom of=vaio-cd1.iso'. Then burn the iso to CD-R. BINGO! That did the trick but not without a last jab back at me. I didn't have to create all CD's; just the first one. After finishing the installation, the reboot fails to just a black screen and a blinking cursor. No error or drive activity. Then I remember there was an option to do it custom or more advanced options method. After peeking at the partitioning using Gparted, I noticed the same scheme I previously set possibly untouched. So the second install I chose the custom method which let me choose partition size control and this time I stuck it to the mat.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.