Sony Vaio SR - no recovery disks - can I get back to Vista from XP?

By academy · 22 replies
Aug 7, 2010
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  1. HI,
    This is my situation.
    Laptop came with Vista and all the Sony software.
    I wanted to change to Windows 7 so installed and realised that somethings weren't working properly.
    So I thought I would put the XP disk in and go back, get all the Sony programs to allow a better upgrade. Now I have XP on and realise that almost nothing works on it and can't even work out how to get online wiht it.
    Anyway, my problem is this. I didn't make recovery disks for Vista so:
    a/ Does the SR model come with a hidden partition[/B] which i can access and somehow restore Vista OR
    b/ The Optical drive does always read the Windows 7 disk (64bit student upgrade version). Can I get it to read it and upgrade from it? OR
    c/ Where can I get recovery disks from and if I knew someone with Vista could i recover or reinstall from that? HELP
  2. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Its a common mistake most people make. If it doesn't come with recovery disks, people really should make it the first thing they sort out because of cases like this.

    You should have a recovery partition, but whether or not its still there is another question. It's most likely it was deleted during previous Windows installations.

    You can install Windows 7 from the disk. Just insert it, and select your DVD drive on startup. Once the install has finished you'll need to find the drivers that are needed - this should be possible by entering your model number in the support pages of Sony's website.

    You could possibly order the disks from Sony for your original OS. You'd be better installing W7 though, and then making your own driver DVD up for future use if needed.
  3. academy

    academy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    For some reason I cant get it to install windows 7. Firstly the drive almost never reads the disk and yet my other computer does. And secondly when it did read it it wouldnt allow me to click set up and run it. Every time I reboot it it just wont read it. I went into bios and it seems to be reading from disk as first priortity is that right? I havent changed it it was like that when I finally managed to get in there and see. It's weird i put the disk in and restart and it does spin it kind of goes and stops and goes and stops (very briefly goes that is) and then eventually loads xp as nothing has happened
  4. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    The DVD drive needs to be set to boot before the hard disk. I'm not sure which disk your refering to you in your post above.

    Is this a genuine Windows 7 disk, and its not damaged or badly scratched is it?

    You should be able to over-ride the boot sequence by pressing a boot menu shortcut as BIOS is loading.
  5. academy

    academy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The optical drive is priority 1 hardrive is number 2? Is that what you are referring to?
    The disk is fine in my other computer but for some reason in the laptop it wont read it. It is a genuine disk, a student edition windows 7 ultimate
  6. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Yes, that is what I meant.

    Thats really, really strange. Has your optical drive had issues reading disks before?
  7. academy

    academy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    No only with this disk. It read the xp disk no probs. Its bloody annoying as we say here in kiwiland
  8. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    I'm not sure, unless its something to do with plug & play OS settings in BIOS.
  9. academy

    academy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Is there anyway to know if there is a hidden partition and if so using it to create receovery disks?
  10. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Any partitions, whether or not they're visable in Windows will appear in installations. So you'd have seen them before during XP installs. So I'm guessing they're long gone.
  11. academy

    academy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Here's the latest. I have copied my windows 7 dvd to another disk and it reads it. BUT it won't allow set up to run saying it is incompatible. This is from within XP. When you restart, even when bios is set to optical drive first, it just loads xp and ignores the dvd. If I put an XP dvd in it reads it fine and acts on it. When clicking on set up file it says this is incompatible with win32 applications (or similar). What do I do???????????
  12. academy

    academy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    One last thing. I went to MS site and went through instruction to load win 7 64 bit onto xp 32 bit and it said that it might be a fat32 file system. It is not.
  13. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    I'm wondering if your disk has to be installed through the current Windows installation. I'm not sure though, so we'll need to wait for someone to confirm this if possible please.
  14. LukeyJB

    LukeyJB TS Rookie Posts: 27

    I recently had a similar problem, my HDD corrupted and I didn't make any backup discs. Luckily, my laptop was still under warranty (just) so I got it fixed for free, manufacturers usually prompt you to make backup discs. It's around £50 to buy a brand new one from your manufacturer if it's not under warranty, and even if it is they still could charge
  15. academy

    academy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    When I remove the option to boot from hard drive completely it still doesnt read from the dvd and comes up with "No operating system available"
  16. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    @leeky, FWIW... Just a thought but, I have a cd rom that sometimes will not read certain disc but will read others. I can take the cd that the first rom will not read and put it into my other rom and it will read it fine. The OP may want to consider making a copy of the disc on the cd rom that always reads it then try again. Of course the issue is with the rom but making a new disc sometimes solves the issue for me. The OP may want to consider buying a rom cleaner and cleaning the optical lens.
  17. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Like ruready, i've seen cases of flaky disc / player combinations and didn't seem to ever figure out why. I also think is worth trying a disc and a lens cleaner.

    <snip> sentence removed by author

    Are you seeing any Function key options on the Sony boot screen? Indicate a function key for Recovery? You can also check Sony support site and search on Recovery and should tell you the function key to try it. (tho if it's all wiped out the Func key won't do any good :( )

    You might also try contacting Sony for recovery disks.

    Lastly, there;s a chance, we might be able to find the missing drivers for your Sony with XP (BUT also i've seen some cases where the newer hardware intended for Vista just wouldn't support XP drivers). First, tell us the exact model number of your Vaio. Then
    • Click Start->Run, enter: msinfo32. Click the + sign next to Components to expand it
    • Click Problem Devices. Anything appear?
    • If yes, click on it, Ctrl-A to select all, Ctrl-C to copy it, Ctrl-V to paste into next post
  18. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

  19. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Oooops. :blackeye:

    Thanks to Sharam for a PM to correct an err among my technical "Stream of consciousness" thoughts in my post above in the thread

    1. The formatting option during XP install will only affect the selected partition (not the entire HD) and

    2. fyi. To clarify,. when I refered to "Full" format.. I was thinking of XP's alternate to "Quick" format.. more correctly called Normal format

    Thx Sharam :)
  20. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    @ruready2, sharam, lookinAround
    Thanks guys. :)

    I did wonder if maybe it was just a bad disk, but then ruled that out due to it working in another drive.

    I also considered whether it was a bad burn (or bad .img) but again, it worked in another drive so considered it something to do with the Sony optical drive.

    If you got it via digital river you can re-download it. It might be worth doing that on the other computer, and using the drive that you know to be working to make another copy as ruready2 suggests.

    I would also suggest following LookinAround's advice if you wish to run XP.
  21. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    Ok let me see if I can break this down.

    Not all systems are compatible with windows 7. Even if your system overall is compatible this does not mean all components will be. For example, when I installed win 7 my sound card was not compatible although it works fine with Xp. Run the compatibility test on the link below. Honestly, however, your case sounds more like you have downloaded and burned the 64bit version.

    It appears you are saying you can read from the disc if you open it's contents from within Xp but, the computer will not boot from it. I would highly suspect this is a problem with image on the disc.

    Since you seem to have access to two different dvd/cd rom devices simply take the one you have no problem booting from the disc with and install it on the computer you are attempting to put win 7 on. This is, of course, after you have 1) ran the compatibility test and 2) made certain you have downloaded and burned the 32bit version. If this does not solve the issue then it would be a situation for me to need hands on.

    Unfortunately the ability for another rom to read the disc is not completely conclusive. As I explained in my situation, I have a rom that sometimes will not read certain disc although my other rom will. I have solved this issue in the past simply by making a new disc.
  22. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Thanks for the comments.

    I must admit I assumed if one drive read it, then another should. I now know that might not always be the case. :)

    Thanks mate. :D
  23. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    Very true, I have collections of Optical Drives here and an external one, I have lost count how many times I have used them just to install OS on the systems that the drive refused to boot from and/ or read the media, then after OS install, worked with any disk I threw at it.

    Sometimes the drive needs a Firmware update, sometimes the drive and/ or disk needs cleaning, bad or bent cables at times, poor +5.0V rail with usable voltage... so many scenarios and some with no apparent reason or solutions.

    For example, I know some LG burners don't like the DVD+R but work well with DVD-R, I also seen BIOS updates fix optical drive boot and/ or read issues I can go on but you get the point.

    Hope the OP sheds some light on where he got the media from, then you guys can help him out.

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