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Sony VAIO VGC-V3S in need of recovery
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sl23



Joined: 06 May 2008
Posts: 198
Location: Portsmouth, UK

PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:16 pm    Post subject: Sony VAIO VGC-V3S in need of recovery Reply with quote

HI...

I need help with a sony vaio. Basically I want to perform a system recovery. Problem is it no longer has the recovery partition and the dvd drive (DW D56A) no longer reads dvd's - that includes the recovery discs i made for it Evil or Very Mad

I paid 2000 for it from a catalogue and the catalogue refused to accept responsibility for the problems I had and said i had to contact sony direct. They have to be one of the worst companies i've dealt with.

Oh they took the PC in for repair for the power supply, they then took it back due to constant complaints about the dvd drive playing up but the problems never stopped. Now it's out of guarantee i'm stuffed. I either pay the 127 for a new drive or go do one!

Thing is it wasn't just the drive playing up, it then kept freezing and crashing and this was after performing a full system recovery Confused

So i got it reformatted and windows xp sp2 put on it, but all the reasons i bought it can't be used. It has tv connection/recorder, audio input, memory card slot, video camera input, all useless. I also want to connect my xbox 360 to it but it won't work like before.

I have the recovery dvd's. I tried to copy them to cd and external HDD but neither worked. I read on the web that if I get a PCMCIA card with USB port on and connect an external dvd drive i'll be able to use the recovery discs, is that true?

Also if that worked would it replace the recovery partition? If not can it be done using the dvds i have?

Thanks

scott
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SoftStag



Joined: 05 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not 100% sure how the Sony recovery works. There are usually 2 methods companies employ to provide recovery; either have all the recovery data on DVD, or have the data on a special partition on the hard drive and activate that via a CD/DVD that you boot from. Given that you said the partition has now gone, I assume the second method was used for your system, in which case you can't recover without the partition. However you also said that you made some recovery disks, in which case it may be possible to use these to reload the system, however I seriously doubt they will replace the recovery partition.

You could try attaching a USB DVD drive and booting the recovery disks from that, I'm not sure if this will work or not, but it's probably worth a try.

Given that the DVD drive is faulty then it would be worth while looking at getting this repaired. If you purchased the laptop on Credit Card and you are getting nowhere with the people you purchased the laptop from, then contact your credit card company as they are jointly liable with the vendor for the goods. The same applies if you purchased on finance - the finance company is jointly liable.
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sl23



Joined: 06 May 2008
Posts: 198
Location: Portsmouth, UK

PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry... I didn't quite explain properly Confused

I got this PC, which IS NOT a laptop but an all in one unit http://support.vaio.sony.co.uk/manuals/manuals.asp?site=voe_en_GB_cons&c=1&s=VGC-V&m=1879 with wireless keybrd + mouse, from a mailorder catalogue via monthly payments, so the money's gone Mad

The internal HDD has been completely formatted, thus deleting the recovery partition. Luckily I'd already made the recovery discs. Unluckily the PC no longer reads DVD's. Repair is NOT an option as sony no longer support this drive, in fact when the unit was under guarantee, they took my 6 month old drive out and replaced it with a faulty second-hand one!!! THANKS SONY Wink

So, I looked on - I think - sony's site for possible remedies and they state I can't recover using USB DVD drive unless connected to PCMCIA adapter, something to do with recovery working at a DOS level or something whereas USB works through Win OS?

I just don't want to waste money on external equipment unnecessarily. So I wondered if it could be done through other means.

I see three possible approaches:

1. Maybe I could network my acer5920 laptop to the sony vaio to use the sony recovery discs?

2. Failing that, buy a USB DVD drive, connect directly to vaio?

3. Or, buy a PCMCIA/USB adapter AND a DVD drive as sony recommend?

Ideally the first method would be cheapest! but is it possible and should a novice user attempt it? Thing I'm most bothered by is that I may start the process but, due to my inexperience, cause more problems. Such as a partial but incomplete recovery resulting in an unusable PC.

scott
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SoftStag



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think you will get Option 1 to work. You can certainly network the 2 computers, but I imagine that you will need to boot from the disks you created in order to run them. Maybe you can shed some light on this.

Personally I would go for an external DVD drive - it then means you have a functioning drive on this system also. Something like this Samsung USB DVD Writer is relatively inexpensive and will probably be of a higher specification than the original internal drive. I expect that the Sony's BIOS will allow you to boot from the USB drive, although it could be that the recovery program will not recognise it, hence Sony suggesting the PCMCIA route.

I'm sure it should be possible to get those other functions to work on a clean install of Windows. Surely you just need to install the software and drivers to make them work?
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sl23



Joined: 06 May 2008
Posts: 198
Location: Portsmouth, UK

PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I imagine that you will need to boot from the disks you created in order to run them. Maybe you can shed some light on this.


When I put the recovery disc in my acer laptop it says i need to restart to perform the recovery, when I do this however, nothing happens Confused
Maybe cause its not a VAIO?

Quote:
I expect that the Sony's BIOS will allow you to boot from the USB drive, although it could be that the recovery program will not recognise it.


I'm a bit wary of this route, because I wondered if there would be problems in the middle of the recovery process? EG - I start the recovery process but the BIOS doesn't recognise the external drive after 'wiping out' my original installation. Is that a possibility?

Quote:
I'm sure it should be possible to get those other functions to work on a clean install of Windows. Surely you just need to install the software and drivers to make them work?


I have downloaded some of the original drivers, the ones available that is, from sony's site. Yes they have indeed got certain functions working - graphics card now works correctly, mem stick works, can now hear sound, so yes it has helped. But the other connections for TV, Camcorder, audio input do not work. I need these for my xbox 360 and for recording tv progs vid's. when it was new it was a superb bit of kit and i'd like to get it back - if possible.

If other drivers or software could help, preferably free, then i'd give that a go.

Thanks
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SoftStag



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sl23 wrote:
Quote:
I imagine that you will need to boot from the disks you created in order to run them. Maybe you can shed some light on this.


When I put the recovery disc in my acer laptop it says i need to restart to perform the recovery, when I do this however, nothing happens Confused
Maybe cause its not a VAIO?

You probably need to set the system to boot from CD in the BIOS.

Quote:
Quote:
I expect that the Sony's BIOS will allow you to boot from the USB drive, although it could be that the recovery program will not recognise it.


I'm a bit wary of this route, because I wondered if there would be problems in the middle of the recovery process? EG - I start the recovery process but the BIOS doesn't recognise the external drive after 'wiping out' my original installation. Is that a possibility?

It is a possibility, although I think it is more likely to not even get that far. Sony Support should be able to advise on this.

Quote:
Quote:
I'm sure it should be possible to get those other functions to work on a clean install of Windows. Surely you just need to install the software and drivers to make them work?


I have downloaded some of the original drivers, the ones available that is, from sony's site. Yes they have indeed got certain functions working - graphics card now works correctly, mem stick works, can now hear sound, so yes it has helped. But the other connections for TV, Camcorder, audio input do not work. I need these for my xbox 360 and for recording tv progs vid's. when it was new it was a superb bit of kit and i'd like to get it back - if possible.

If other drivers or software could help, preferably free, then i'd give that a go.

It's difficult to know what you need, however we could start with looking Device Manager and seeing what problems there are in there. If you can give me a full list of devices in each section and whether they are showing a problem or not, I can take a look to see if there is anything I can recommend.
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sl23



Joined: 06 May 2008
Posts: 198
Location: Portsmouth, UK

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It's difficult to know what you need, however we could start with looking Device Manager and seeing what problems there are in there


I've looked in there but no problems are shown???

I've asked Sony and they're reply is this:

Quote:
As long as the external DVD drive is recognized on the BIOS you can perform the recovery using the recovery discs.

Please make sure that on the boot sequence on the BIOS the external device comes before that the hard drive.

To enter the BIOS, please turn on the unit and keep tapping F2 before you see the Vaio logo screen to enter the BIOS.


Well, how do I know if the drive is recognised by the BIOS so I can perform recvry via DVD's? If recognised, will it automatically go through recvry process?

Sony haven't got back to me for a while?!

Thanks Softie

Scott
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SoftStag



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Scott

OK, this is sounding promising Smile

In order to see if we can get an external USB drive to work, try going in to the BIOS as Sony mention in their email. This will give some menus that you should be able to navigate round with your cursor keys. There are many different variations of BIOS Setup screens, so I'm not quite sure exactly where you need to go. You are looking to be able to change the boot order. Sometimes they list 1st boot device, 2nd boot device, etc... or it may give a list where you can move the order. You need to see if it is possible to get USB Optical Drive, or USB CD Drive to be the first boot device. If you can, then you should have no problem booting from an external USB DVD writer! Set the order so the 1st is the external drive, then the C: drive (might be IDE1 or something), basically keep the order the same as it is, but insert the USB drive as 1st, then save the settings. Now you can buy the USB DVD drive of your choice, connect it up and insert the recovery disk. Rebooting the computer should boot from the disk and allow you to restore the computer.
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sl23



Joined: 06 May 2008
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Location: Portsmouth, UK

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're a living marvel, thanks for your help. I'll give it a go and get back to you.

Thanks again
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SoftStag



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sl23 wrote:
You're a living marvel, thanks for your help. I'll give it a go and get back to you.

Thanks again

Save the praise until after it works. There is no guarantee that it will, but I'm fairly confident.

Also, make sure you backup all your data before running the restore as any data will be deleted!
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"Microsoft programs are generally bug-free. If you visit the Microsoft hotline, you'll literally have to wait weeks if not months until someone calls in with a bug in one of our programs. 99.99% of calls turn out to be user mistakes. I know not a single less irrelevant reason for an update than bugfixes. The reasons for updates are to present more new features."
-- Bill Gates, on code stability, from Focus Magazine
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sl23



Joined: 06 May 2008
Posts: 198
Location: Portsmouth, UK

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW!

You made a quick reply!

Um... slight problem, I just checked my case with sony and there was a reply - not a good one either Crying or Very sad

Quote:
Sony's reply: It is not possible to boot a USB drive on this model so the Vaio will need to be collected for repair. Please confirm your telephone number if you like me to arrange the repair centre to contact you with a quote. We look forward to your response.


Do you think it's worth trying a USB drive? If this doesn't work what are the chances of it working through a PCMCIA card?

Scott
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SoftStag



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check the BIOS as I said to see if it will boot from USB Optical drive. If it says it can, then there is a good chance it will work. To be honest I can't remember that last time I saw a PC that couldn't do this.

I would get a quote from Sony, find out how much it costs to repair. You then need to weigh up how much you are prepared to spend risking trying to get it to work.

Not sure about the PCMCIA option, if it can't boot from USB then I think your best option is a Sony repair.
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"Microsoft programs are generally bug-free. If you visit the Microsoft hotline, you'll literally have to wait weeks if not months until someone calls in with a bug in one of our programs. 99.99% of calls turn out to be user mistakes. I know not a single less irrelevant reason for an update than bugfixes. The reasons for updates are to present more new features."
-- Bill Gates, on code stability, from Focus Magazine
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