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Sony Vaio System & Hard Drive Total Failure

By Lara Croft
Jan 30, 2014
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  1. Firstly, Hi Everyone and I'm new to this having just started a new PC build & repair service and I have a relatively good sound knowledge of computing but this particular issue I have with trying to fix a friends pc is starting to make my hair fall out !!!!

    Ok, to begin... The make & model is a Sony VAIO PCG-282M which coincidentally is not listed on sony uk support site, the other code I have is on the quick start reference guide which shows VGC-LM1* which shows up on sony uk support as one of a potential 4 / 5 variants, the * being replaced with a letter...

    Sorry, I'm babbling........

    PC OS is Win Vista Home Premiun OEMAct with Product Key Label on reverse side ( I hate Vista !!!! - XP was far more stable!! ) and was infected with an encryption virus that encrypted all outgoing emails and data therefore being unreadable by recipient pc's.

    Used avast pro which cleared and removed certain files and then the pc became slow and in some cases totally unresponsive.

    Created recovery discs which took 3 attempts and crashed between disc 1 and 2 stages but finally managed it.

    Tried all recovery options including total system recovery but gets to 26% and then creates 3 error messages and shuts down.

    Finally used the wipe and erase feature and now have "no operating system found" on boot up.

    1st Attempt :
    Removed original HDD and used my Master PC to look at the HDD using "MiniTool Partition Wizard Pro Edition".....All data is missing and is showing one single NTFS partion with no label name. Re-installed original HDD and booted using recovery disc 1 and it boots but there is no OS found and asks to load drivers but I don't know which drivers it refers to when I browse the RD1, so I'm now stuck.

    When I entered the BIOS settings I notice that there are 2 HDD listed, No name or model serial number, simply...

    HDD 0 : 320GB
    HDD 1 : 0GB

    Funny ????? My partion software sees it as a 290 GB HDD ??????????????

    Attempt 2 :
    Naively I admit, but I then thought, OK I will reboot using a Windows XP Install disc that I have and it progresses thru loading drivers and then asks for option to install or repair, I chose install and then it says that I have no hard drive on the system ?????????
    BIOS says it's there as HDD 0 so WTF !!!!!!

    If anyone is still awake at this point and can make any sense of everything I have detailed above, u can pass Go and collect £200 and help yourself to a get out of jail free card cos I'm baffled !!

    Thanks in advance

    LC
  2. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,435   +218

    I don't have all the answers but let me start with Windows XP. I'm guessing you have never installed Windows XP on an SATA hard drive before. If you are starting a business, you should get up to speed on this. First, before you "downgrade" from Vista to XP you should make sure the laptop has XP compatible drivers available otherwise you will not be able to get all the hardware features to work. If this laptop doesn't appear in Sony's website, you will have trouble finding the appropriate drivers if they even exist and there is a possibility they don't. Check Sony's other national websites. If the drivers don't exist, don't bother to try to install XP.

    Windows XP will not recognize most SATA hard drives unless you install SATA drivers at the F6 prompt near the beginning of the Windows installation process. Unfortunately, this requires the use of a now obsolete floppy drive that modern laptops do not come with. Another method is to create a slipstream disk that combines your XP installation CD with the SATA/RAID drivers and install XP from that. Do a web search for instructions on how to do so. Another possibility is to change the hard drive controller mode from AHCI to IDE mode if your BIOS has that option. It might not.

    That said, if you are trying to install XP merely for testing purposes, I understand but if not, you should reinstall Vista or move up to Windows 7. Once again, you will need Windows Vista or Windows 7 compatible drivers respectively so you will need to locate a Sony website that has Windows 7 compatible drivers. I'm talking about motherboard/chipset drivers, sound drivers, video drivers, LAN drivers, etc.

    Regarding the differences in hard drive sizes between what the manufacturer's list it as and what Windows sees it as, that has been well documented over the years and I won't go into the details. Someone else might explain it but you can also search the site or the web for dozens of existing explanations.

    The two hard drives you see, HDD 0 and HDD 1 are partitions of the same physical hard drive. One may be a recovery partition and the other is probably the OS partition. You may be able to use the recovery partition to reinstall Vista if it is still intact. That's what you should try first but if I read correctly, you already tried this.
  3. Lara Croft

    Lara Croft TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi, thanks, the unit in question is a desktop all in one computer, I found the model name in the bios, it's a VGC-LM1M so I need to find that on a sony website somewhere. The computer was bought here in the UK so I'm gobsmacked that I'm having such difficulty with it. You are right, it did have a recovery partition but the whole HDD has been merged into 1 partition via 3rd party software. When I use the recovery discs, it goes through the process but gets stuck at about 26% and shows errors, and then stops all together, either that or it asks me for drivers to load due to no OS being present, but I'm stuck for where the drivers are (are they on the recovery disc) I'm using my xp install disc cos I don't have a vista one, I have a vista oem sticker with product code so can I download an iso image of win vista 32bit to use as a boot up install. I am also aware that Sony make it extremely difficult to sort probs as they code EPROM chips and have specific hardware/OS configurations etc, basically they want your money for everything all of the time and I've also heard that their tech help is virtually non-existant nor helpful for the very same reason :-(
    I did overlook the XP / SATA issue and thanks for bringing that to my attention, I've been researching and battling with this for 14hrs a day for the last 4 days (only cos its for a friend) and I'm getting very over sick of it now and no-one seems to be able to come up with a solution and I've even registered with SONY UK and SONY USA and even they're ignoring me ???????
    Thanks for your time and I'm keeping my fingers crossed someone on here can help me sort it :)
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
  4. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,435   +218

    I would go with Vista and simplify your task.

    BTW, since the computer is not a laptop after all, I'm moving this yet again to an appropriate forum.
  5. Lara Croft

    Lara Croft TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, you are more qualified to ensure I get the right help, do you know where I can get an iso image from to re-install and use my existing product key with, do microsoft do this facility ?
    Thanks So Much:)
  6. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,435   +218

    I'm not that qualified. I've never had to use an ISO to reinstall an operating system. I've always had an original version Windows CD/DVD to use so I can't recommend a good source. Perhaps someone else might know of one. Just be sure to use the same Vista version and service pack level that the product code is for.

    I know you can go to Microsoft if you have Windows 8 but I don't know about Vista.
  7. Lara Croft

    Lara Croft TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, will have a go, thanks :):):)
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,978   +1,487

    As an ex-moderator on a Windows 7 forum, we kept up with download locations for Windows 7. Unfortunately within the last few days the thread of which we were keeping links available has been locked. The thread was locked, due to what appears as Microsoft taking down their Windows 7 ISO locations. At this current time, I am unaware of any legitimate download locations for XP, Vista, or Win7. Other than matching ISO hash strings on torrent downloads, I have no ideas where to download.


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