Help needed with Sony Vaio running Vista Business edition

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tomdkat

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So, a friend of mine has a Sony VGN-TZ190N laptop running Windows Vista Business edition (32-bit). The machine has an Intel Core 2 U7600 processor running @ 1.2GHz, 2GB of RAM, and a 25GB HDD w/ 4GB free.

She has WinDVD 8 for Vaio installed but she uses Windows Media Player 11 for DVD playback. Commercial DVDs are able to be played but with some intermittent problems.

Sometimes, the movie playback will pause as if the pause button was pressed. After a little while, movie playback will resume but not always. This doesn't happen on all DVDs (as far as I can tell and I'm doing some testing now). I've been able to playback commercial and home burned audio CDs just fine.

I did experience a DVD playback pause while watching the last chapter of the Rush R30 concert DVD (Limelight). The DVD paused after a couple of minutes (if that) into the song. This happened with both WinDVD and WMP11.

I've got some commercial DVDs I plan on running through the machine today to see how they behave. I'm playing The Italian Job right now and I've got Ocean's Eleven, The Core, Tombstone, Metallica: S&M, and Rush R30 with me for testing.

Any ideas?

Thanks!

Peace...
 

panicrooster

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WEll, the three things that stick out is that both the WinDvd and WMP11 are both doing this, the very limited amount of disk space, and you mention audio cd's seem to work fine. If both players do this and only with video then I would lean toward the dvd codecs installed to play dvd's. WinDvd would install these codecs to play dvd's BUT Vista Business does not have the MEdia Center as does Ultimate to play dvd's and to my knowledge you can't use the dvd playing Media Center with Business version. THis is to the best of my knowledge. The codecs installed by a third party, ie WinDvd, would be the source of these codecs on that pc setup, UNLESS a separate dvd codec pack was installed (not Vista Ultimate Media Center). Overall I wouldn't recommend using the WMP to play dvd's and you may find that a program called VLC player would be much more usefull for ALL video files and has many good option and it's OWN codecs to play anything. I only use this VLC player for all video and I have WinDvd plus a long list of video converting software, which is a lil' hobby of mine. D/l VLC, Google it, and install. It's free and I recommend using. It will give a right click option to play dvd's. Technically you don't need WinDvd at all, just VLC. Also on the disk storage thing, a pc will always have problems with that small amount of free space and would require constant temp file cleaning to even function normally. Although to play a dvd you don't create temp files or any of considerable size but that system will always be strained with so little free space. I recommend they get a larger HD or removing anything not vital and clean the temp files consistantly.
 

DaveA

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"25GB HDD w/ 4GB free"
Are you sure about this, as a 25 GIG drive is way to small and having only 4 Gigs free it would be impossible to start up let alone run anything.
 

tomdkat

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Overall I wouldn't recommend using the WMP to play dvd's and you may find that a program called VLC player would be much more usefull for ALL video files and has many good option and it's OWN codecs to play anything.
Thanks. After conducting more tests today, I decided to give VLC a try. I've used it before on Windows XP and Linux and love it! I can't download it right now but I'll grab 0.9.2 tonight and will see how that behaves. Does VLC run ok on Vista?

"25GB HDD w/ 4GB free"
Are you sure about this, as a 25 GIG drive is way to small and having only 4 Gigs free it would be impossible to start up let alone run anything.
Yep. When I go to the "Computer" view, I click once on the C: drive and at the bottom of the window is shows free space of 4.91GB and total size 24.9GB.

Thanks for the replies!

Peace...
 

DaveA

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Sony website says that you should at least a 100 GIG drive.
Right click the drive and select properties.
Now tell us what you drive is?
 

panicrooster

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VLC runs very well on Vista. I prefer the slightly older version of VLC but partly due to the controls are different and also I'm use to. Here is a link to what I think is a better version which is 0.8.6's.. either version will work well for playing the dvd's and any other media.

http://www.oldapps.com/VLC_Player.php
 

tomdkat

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Sony website says that you should at least a 100 GIG drive.
Right click the drive and select properties.
Now tell us what you drive is?
Ok, the capacity is: 26,843,541,504 bytes (24.9GB). The Disk Management utility in Computer Management shows the HDD is actually a 30GB drive. There is a 5.5GB partition labeled as an EISA Configuration parition and there is no file system listed. The second partition is a 25.5GB NTFS partition with the operating system, boot, page file, and so on listed as being on it.

VLC runs very well on Vista. I prefer the slightly older version of VLC but partly due to the controls are different and also I'm use to. Here is a link to what I think is a better version which is 0.8.6's.. either version will work well for playing the dvd's and any other media.
Thanks! I've got a VLC 0.8.6i installer downloaded already and I'll still give 0.9.2 a try. Thanks again for the info on running VLC on Vista! (y)

Peace...
 

calvin-c

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Does the machine have another drive that isn't a DVD/CD? Maybe the HD's partitioned? Vista itself should run OK, even in 'only' 25GB-but that's with nothing else installed and 'data' stored elsewhere. Is WinDVD & WMP the only additional software that's installed? (I don't have Vista Business so can't be sure, but Vista Home Premium only takes a little over 10GB.)

You might check the hibernation settings as that will take at least as much disk space as the installed memory (2GB) if it's turned on, which it normally is in a laptop. IMO 4GB free should be sufficient (not ample, but sufficient) but I've never run Vista with that little free space so it could be a problem.

What video card & how much video memory does this have?
 

panicrooster

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No prob. You shouldn't have any probs with VLC and be happy with the results. I like the v0.8.6 better because I can right click on the movie and hit "equalizer" and change the sound very quick and the newer v.0.9 doesn't. If it helps it sounds best on "headphones".

Edit: (deleted)
 

tomdkat

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Does the machine have another drive that isn't a DVD/CD? Maybe the HD's partitioned?
No other HDDs or partitions are present. There are D: and E: drives and they are both memory card readers. The DVD drive is drive F:.

Vista itself should run OK, even in 'only' 25GB-but that's with nothing else installed and 'data' stored elsewhere. Is WinDVD & WMP the only additional software that's installed? (I don't have Vista Business so can't be sure, but Vista Home Premium only takes a little over 10GB.)
SuperAntiSpyware, Spybot S&D, AntiVir, and MS Office are also installed on the laptop. I'm not sure what other apps are but I'm sure there are several more installed.

You might check the hibernation settings as that will take at least as much disk space as the installed memory (2GB) if it's turned on, which it normally is in a laptop. IMO 4GB free should be sufficient (not ample, but sufficient) but I've never run Vista with that little free space so it could be a problem.
Thanks. I'll be sure to check the hibernation settings.

What video card & how much video memory does this have?
It's got an Intel Mobile 945GM Express chipset. Where do I find out how much video memory the card has?

Peace...
 

tomdkat

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Ok, I've got an update. I've installed VLC 0.8.6i and 0.9.2 and both versions paused in the exact same place as WinDVD and WMP11 on the Rush R30 DVD I'm using for testing. I noticed there was an update to the video driver waiting as part of Windows Update so I'm updating that now.

I'll post another update soon.

Peace...
 

tomdkat

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Ok, I've got another update. First, with regard to the 30GB HDD, it looks like this model of Sony laptop has a solid state 32GB HDD in it.

Getting back to VLC, I enabled debug logging in VLC and when the video paused, no messages were logged by VLC. I'm starting to wonder if the DVD drive has some hardware-level error correction code in the firmware that is having an issue and causing intermittent playback problems. So, I'm going to look into replacing the DVD drive, if that's even possible. It looks like Sony didn't make this unit "consumer friendly" in terms of replacing parts other than RAM so we'll see if I have any success with replacing the drive.

Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Peace...
 
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