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Constant crashing, unable to reinstall Windows Sony Vaio

By marchettik84 ยท 8 replies
Aug 27, 2010
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  1. I'm trying to fix a Sony Vaio Desktop (VGC-RB60G) for a friend. This is the first Sony PC I've ever dealt with and I'm realizing that they make it very difficult to do a complete windows reinstallation. So far I've learned that they do NOT offer a plain reinstallation cd but rather a set of Recovery discs which will only restore the system to "factory" condition (with all the junk on it). Anyways, the original problem with the PC was that it often had the BSOD error, 'Page_Fault_in_Nonpaged_Area'. So without any recovery discs available I used the F10 option at bootup to get to the Sony Recovery Partition to restore the C: Drive to factory condition. However, after completing this process, steps 1-4, the BSOD error stopped but instead Windows would repeatedly crash and give the "Windows has recovered from a serious error" message when it restarted with 2 files being the culprit which were located in C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local settings\Temp\WER9507\Mini082710.dmp and also the sysdata.xml file which is located in the same directory. Instead of deleting those folders I tried using the Recovery Partition to once again restore the C:\ drive thinking the original restore did not work properly but I couldn't even get through the second restore process because of the constant crashing which has gotten even worse. Now, I can't even get into Windows because the Restore process did not complete and I'm actually in a worse position than when I started. Is this a hard drive failure? If I obtain a set of recovery disks from Sony can I expect to be able to reinstall Windows without the crashing? Should I delete the mini-dump and sysdata folders and if so can I do it without booting up to Windows? Any help will obviously be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
  2. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    Hello marchettik84.
    Please, do not delete your mini-dump directory. This is important diagnostic information.
    It appears that you are not able to boot normally; Can you boot to safe mode?
    To enter safe-more, use f8 as soon as you power-on; keep pressing until you get a screen offering you boot options.
    The options will include...
    safe-mode with networking

    Choose Safe-mode.

    Once you have booted to safe mode, make a copy (preferrably zip up to 5) of the most recent files from the Windows\minidump directory.
    And post them here from another machine.
    We can analyze your dumps and try to help you solve the problem.
    Without more information, we cannot tell if you have
    a hardware issue, or
    an application issue, or
    a driver issue, or
    a corrupted windows installation.

    Hopefully, the minidumps will help to pinpoint the problem.
  3. marchettik84

    marchettik84 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I was away for work for a few days but I began working on this pc again yeterday..I had already tried redoing the C:\ Drive Restore Process (before Bookwyrm replied) thinking it was a bad restore the first time. Well this time it crashed before it even finished the restore process so I was left with a partial Restore which pulled up the SysPrep tool every time Windows loaded. There were three options: Factory, Audit or Reseal. The constant crashing continued followed by Windows being unable to load properly. At this point I tried installing a brand new 1gb stick of ram to see if it would stop the crashes and I got 3 long beeps when I power on the pc and nothing happened on the monitor. I put the original ram back in and its still beeping and doing nothing. I'm very worried now and do not know what to do next. I reseated the ram a bunch of times to no avail. I believe it has Award BIOS but I' not positive, how can I tell which BIOS without powering on? Any ideas on the beeping? Is it ruined? Please and thank you for any help..
  4. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    Re: Your Bios... and beep codes - Three ways of checking
    1. Looking at the main board, they used to be rectangular chips but now most (all?) are square. It usually will have printed on the chip "Award", or "AMI", or "Phoenix", etc.
    At this site you can see some typical examples... http://www.biosman.com/id_bios.html
    From your description of the code, I suspect AMI, but this should be verified.
    If it is AMI, or several others, the code you are getting reflects a memory problem.
    On some motherboards, (Like IBM) it may indicate the chip that interprets your keyboard.
    2. To get the BIOS ID or BIOS vendor shut down your computer. Plug off your keyboard or hold down one of the keys on the keyboard. This will result in a BIOS error message on next power-on. On the lower left side of your screen a long string of numbers will be shown. This is the BIOS ID of your mainboard.
    3. During boot, enter the bios configuration. See below.

    Obviously you were suspecting memory already.
    What pointed you in this direction? 'Page_Fault_in_Nonpaged_Area'.?
    For More on this message, see here http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc957625.aspx
    In short, several kinds of problems can generate this error message.

    RE: Factory, Audit or Reseal (From MS - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/302577)

    -factory - Restarts in a network-enabled state without displaying Windows Welcome or mini-Setup. This parameter is useful for updating drivers, running Plug and Play enumeration, installing programs, testing, configuring the computer with customer data, or making other configuration changes in your factory environment. For companies that use disk imaging (or cloning) software, Factory mode can reduce the number of images that are required.

    When all the tasks in Factory mode are complete, run the Sysprep.exe file by using the -reseal parameter to prepare the computer for end-user delivery.

    -audit - Restarts the computer in Factory mode without having to generate new security IDs (SIDs) or process any items in the [OEMRunOnce] section of the Winbom.ini file. Use this command-line parameter only if the computer is already in Factory mode.

    -reseal - Clears the Event Viewer logs and prepares the computer for delivery to the customer. Windows Welcome or Mini-Setup is set to start the next time that the computer restarts. If you run the sysprep -factory command, you must seal the installation as the last step in your preinstallation process. To do this, run the sysprep -reseal command or click the Reseal button in the Sysprep dialog box.

    Uncertain at this point. You could run drive diagnostics.
    Some which run under windows will not help you at this point. You need one that will run outside of windows.

    As with the hard drive, there are diagnostics available that run outside of windows.
    Since memtest will run (from cd) without needing to boot windows, your hard drive (if defective) will not interfere with this test.
    We often recommend Memtest, and it is completely safe.

    If you can get the system to boot from CD, then Memtest (which you will prepare on another system) and Hard drive diagnostics are what I would recommend next.
    I assume you can boot from cd, since you were attempting a reinstallation / restore of the system.

    See here for Memtest Instructions.
    Please follow this guide... https://www.techspot.com/vb/topic62524.html

    Please note that (unless you start getting errors reported) you will need to let this run a long time.
    A good way of doing this is to let it run over night. In each 'pass" there are a series of eight memory tests that are run, each more complicated than the previous. You need to let it run a minimum of 7 passes, unless you start getting errors. If you have errors reported, you may want to re-run the test with only one stick of ram installed, checked each stick until you isolate those that are faulty. That way you can limit your replacement to those that actually need it.

    You obviously have had the case open. What is the maker of the hard drive?
    Go to their site and download their hard-drive diagnostic tool.
    If you have trouble with this, let me know, and I will offer an alternative.
    (My preference is to use the manufacturers tool first.)

    If you now cannot boot from cd,
    How were you doing your system restore?

    You may be able to run memtest without the following step. If you cannot run memtest, then we need to know if you can even get into your bios to adjust setup.
    For now, your system should be configured to boot from CD first, before looking at the hard-drive.
    To enter your bios configuration, during boot you should press F2 or F3
    (I have found information that indicates VIAO may use either one or the other of these keys - your system will not use both. Only one will work).
    There you will find screens that allow you to adjust many settings.
    To adjust your memory settings, you will need to know exact information about your memory chips.

    Always, always, always
    Whenever you are inside the case, and especially handling sensitive components, like memory, or hard drives, or circuit boards, take precautions to prevent static discharge. Even a small static discharge can destroy what was a good component.

    Considering that this is an older system, (4 years? +/-) you may have a bad cmos battery, and you are losing your configurations.
    (??? However, every boot should then automatically enter this process to reconfigure the system. So I do not think this likely.)

    As I noted above... make sure you are set to boot from CD first.
    See if all settings in cmos are correct.
    Is your drive being properly detected?
    Is your memory being automatically detected and configured?
    You will probably find an option to restore factory defaults. Do not do this _yet_.
  5. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +95

    In continuation of BW's valuable advice, just a small bit of addition i.e. three longish beeps usually means the RAM is faulty, now the fact that your older RAM isn't working anymore (that is what I get from reading your post) it may have to do with static as described eloquently by BW. However, you can try one small trick which may work if this is a case of simply 'some carbon being gathered on the contact edges', i.e. use the good old plain eraser to clean them, and reseat the RAM in the system and try to boot again. Regards
  6. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    Thanks Archean...
    My post was so long :eek: that my comment to that effect probably got lost in the fog.
    Unless he can get past the beep code issue, none of the rest of what I offered matters.
    I appreciate you highlighting it again! Along with the contact cleaning hint.

    Do not use a spray product like those made by CRC! Such products may leave a residue that will hurt your system.
    Also, take precautions about letting eraser debris fall into your case!

    Another thought... if the ram chip was handled roughly (dropped, or forced incorrectly into the socket) there may be other damage to the chip ... or to the socket, ... that could prevent the system from being able to POST successfully.
  7. marchettik84

    marchettik84 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    After re-seating the ram a few times I was able to get the pc to boot using just 1 of the 2 original sticks of ram, so I am going to try running the C:\ Drive Restore process again to see if it will work without the faulty stick of ram installed. However, I was wondering what program you might recommend for me to prepare on a disc to boot to on the sony pc in order to run hardware diagnostics. This way I can find out if there is something wrong with the HDD. Thanks for the help.
  8. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    Who made the hard drive?
    If you cannot physically see the drive, to inspect it right now, then
    -->My Computer (RIGHT Click)
    -----> Hardware Tab
    -------> Device Manager Button
    Let me know what is listed under "disk drives".
    I'll see if I can locate your manufacturer's hard drive utility.
  9. marchettik84

    marchettik84 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    B00kwyrm, I should have gotten back to you sooner, I looked up the disk drive and manufacturer myself so as to not trouble you since it was easy enough. However, it turned out to be that one of the two original 512mb ram modules was no good as well as the new 1gb ram module i had bought. So after returning that module and buying another set of ram it worked and the BSOD errors ceased and have not returned. Thank you very much for all the help!

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