Laptop sporadically won't boot

By JackStraw2011
Mar 17, 2011
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  1. OK, so I've seen some advice in these forums after doing a Google search that have helped me start to diagnose my problem, but not so much that I could fix it.

    I own a Sony laptop (Vaio VGN-A190), specs at the end ...

    I was getting an frequent message on boot that said a boot device could not be found (wouldn't boot from either HDD or DVD drive).

    I thought it was my HDD until I followed a few threads, including this one, topic 109571

    Lo and behold, when I removed my battery and disconnected power, dispersed all power by holding down the on button for a minute or so ... I could reboot from Power Supply only and all was good.

    So, the advice was very helpful for a partial diagnosis. Problem is ... I couldn't find a thread that said how to fix it once I had found the point of failure.

    Any insight would be appreciated.

    Intel Pentium M 735 1.7 GHz
    Cache size:2 MB L2 cache
    Graphics adapter: Integrated
    ATI (Radeon) 9700

    Memory details
    RAM bus / speed:SDRAM
    144-pin SODIMM
    * RAM slots:
    2 slots (total)
    2 slots (occupied)
    * Maximum RAM:
    2 GB (system)
    1 GB (per module)

    Memory and storage (basic)

    * System RAM:
    512 MB
    * Hard drive(s):
    80 GB (total)


    * Maximum battery life:
    Up to 3.5 hours
    * Battery type:
    * Battery access:
  2. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,889

    A good place to start would be to run the manufacturers diagnostics on the hard drive. The topic link you quoted is for a keyboard error, I don't see the connection.

    Follow this guide and report back with the results.

  3. JackStraw2011

    JackStraw2011 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm unable to post a link to the thread because I don't have enough posts yet ... but in the URL it says


    In any case, I don't believe it is the HDD and when I'm having the problem, the laptop isn't recognizing either the HDD or the CD-ROM drive so I can only boot under the circumstances I described above (disperse all power then boot).

    When I do that, everything works just fine.
  4. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,889

    Have a read of this thread all about non booting Sony Vaio laptops, it is a huge thread but may have some answers (I simply do not have the time to study it). From what I read this problem is cured by replacing the motherboard.

    Personally I would never jump to the conclusion that it is a motherboard problem without attempting to diagnose the issue. With a "no boot" situation I always start with running diagnostics on the hard drive. Followed by a short disassembly of all the main removable parts, CD drive, Hard Drive, Memory modules, Wireless card, etc, and then reseating them all. Also with the memory modules a quick clean of the contacts with a pencil eraser can help on occasion. Use a can of compressed air during the process to blow out dust from every accessible area.

    Following this I would then move on to further testing.

    When you have tried to boot from the CD drive did you have it set to 1st in the boot order?

    Have you tried to boot into safe mode?
  5. JackStraw2011

    JackStraw2011 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks, I'll take a look at that thread and give a shot at running through the steps you mentioned. It's fairly frustrating because it is pretty predictable and I can honestly manage to keep it and boot it fine if I don't want to use it as a laptop and for the mobility I purchased it for.

    I get the same error with CD-ROM as number 1 boot priority with a boot disk in. It never even sees the drive it seems.

    Thanks, for the help, I'll give it a go and see what I can come up with!

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