Mobo replacement breaks VAIO system recovery

By icemant37 ยท 6 replies
Oct 25, 2006
  1. Hello All

    First time poster. I'm trying to do a little forensic work on behalf of my mom, whose VAIO desktop refuses to do a system recovery.

    The backstory: She bought a VAIO RS310 several years ago from the good folks at Best Buy (cough), along with their extended warranty. Last year a power surge spiked the mobo, so Best Buy put in a new one for her (the original hard drive and its contents survived). Worked fine after that.

    Last week she asked me to help clean out her machine, just do a straight forward wipe using system recovery. But multiple attempts from the restore disks and recovery partition all failed, each with the following message: "Model number does not match recovery disks." I ran a system information report, and what did I find? The model number now says RS220.

    Well, I'm no techie, but to me it looks like Best Buy substituted a different (albeit functional) motherboard when they did the repair. If that's the case, then when I tried to run system recovery, Windows Product Activation must have looked for the original hardware hash and flagged the discrepancy. Is this a reasonable conclusion? I have to wonder what the Geek Squad did to re-authorize Windows after the mobo replacement--probably dialed the toll free number at MS--but whatever they did, it definitely wasn't a system recovery. The cynic in me thinks they just bootlegged a quick fix and bet the "little old lady" would never attempt one.

    Anyway, the computer's warranty just expired, and Sony wants $300 to service it. Heck, it's not even worth that much on eBay. Mom is pretty much screwed at this point.

    So, any of you got some thoughts about this? I'd like to take up the matter with Best Buy, but I really don't have enough knowledge about the hardware to make an effective argument. Just want to know if I'm looking in the right direction with my initial assumption, or what other factors might be causal. It's been used as-is out of the box since she bought it, so I can't think of anything.

  2. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    It looks like your assumption is spot on to me!!!!

    I have only ever heard bad things about sony vaio's!!!! The best thing you could do is get them to exchange it for a better pc, sony vaio's are really crap machines!!!!!!!!!!
  3. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    simply put, sony's computer division makes money by creating problems that only they can fix.

    sony generally makes great consumer electronics, such as DVD players, televisions, and stereos. and it is on this reputation that many people end up buying a sony vaio. but the truth of the matter is that sony vaio's are truly the worst PCs out there, and probably the worst value of anything you can buy.

    save yourself the trouble, don't try taking the matter up with sony or best buy. remember that sony deliberately makes thier recovery CDs non-functional.

    about 2 in every 3 broken down systems that need repair are sony vaio's, but sony has less than 25% of the PC market. i deal with these horrors on a daily basis, and i can honestly say that they are made with the absolute lowest quality parts, and they are assembled just as bad.

    i always have to deal with people who, probably because they own a vaio, try to argue that they are not bad computers and that sony does not try these little schemes. you would honestly be better off taking a $hit in a cardboard box and putting that on your desk instead, it wouldn't cost anything and would be more pleasant to look at.

    i reccomend you take out the harddrive, cd drives, any desireable cards, and processor. then put everything back together and do what i do:

    i take 'em out to my alley and line up my pickaxe, 10 pound sledgehammer, and wrecking bar. and let's just say that when i'm done it has to be swept up with a broom. :) ahh..such good times...chillin with friends, drinking beer, and smashing vaio's into sawdust-sized fragments.
  4. Masque

    Masque TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,058

    If Money Is An Issue......

    .....and your mom really can't afford to replace the machine, get with Best Buy and your original paperwork including the paperwork from the repair and let them know that what they did left the machine unusable (not able to reload from scratch) and that it's due to the motherboard replacement (which, thank you very much, they did). If they're Sony certified (and they should be), they should have the utility cd used to change the serial number on the motherboard to match the original. Make sure you've got the paperwork stating the original serial number. Get the manager involved if you need to.

    Oh yeah, doesn't hurt to make sure there's a number of people around. :)

    Good luck!
  5. sl33py

    sl33py TS Rookie

    Viao's are a PITA! I'd stay away from them with a 50ft pole. If you can't do that and they screwed it up - take it back to them to fix it!

    good luck!

  6. icemant37

    icemant37 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    VAIO is not that bad

    Thanks for your inputs everyone. Actually, we've owned 6 VAIO desktops (between my family and her) and have never had a problem, ever. Until now. The machine still operates normally, except I can't run Recovery.

    Yeah, I've read lots of articles about VAIO's middling performance, but we're not "power users" (no gaming or video work) and have always been happy with them.

    My beef is mostly with Best Buy, not Sony. Substitution of parts (if indeed that's what happened) is a dirty trick that, in combination with Windows' activation, renders the whole thing useless.

    Any bets on how BB would respond to this?
  7. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,975   +9

    My parents have a newer VAIO and it works perfectly actually. I think you are refering to the older versions which were crap (I had one). The only problem with it is that is uses stock cooling on a prescott core, so it runs pretty hot.
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