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XP will not install on clean/new HD on Sony Vaio laptop

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by davidmatzdorf, Dec 22, 2010.

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  1. davidmatzdorf

    davidmatzdorf Thread Starter

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    OK, it's a long one...

    The laptop is a Sony Vaio VGN-SZ4MN/B. It was bought in March 2007 with Vista pre-installed. I don't like Vista, but I put up with it. Over a period of a few months this year, the laptop started seizing up gradually (sloooow) and eventually ceased to function, displaying a variety of blue-screen error messages and refusing to boot up. The blue screen error messages usually referred to PFN (page frame number) errors, but the details differed from one attempt to another.

    As the warranty was long-expired, I took it to my usually-trusty local PC fix-it shop - down to earth guy, has always managed to sort out hardware problems in the past and makes up own-brand machines that do the job. He did his diagnostic routine and found defects on the hard drive. He installed a new 250MB HD. I said that I didn't particularly like Vista and I have a legit, licensed and unused copy of XP Professional, so I took it back with the HD unformatted, so I could install and configure XP myself, something I have done a number of times before on a variety of machines.

    Using the XP CD-ROM, it wouldn't complete a format of the new HD. It would go through the whole NTFS formatting routine, right through to 100%, and then announce that it was unable to format the HD. Messing about with different-sized partitions to see if there was a HD error, e.g., some bad sectors, made no difference. So I took it back to the repair shop. They were unable to install either XP or Vista on the machine, despite multiple attempts, and were also unable to find a fault on the new HD. Eventually, they gave up and returned the laptop to me without any further charge, amidst a general atmosphere of collective head-scratching.

    When I insert the XP CD-ROM, turn on the power and "press any key to boot from CD", the CD starts up the installation routine by loading scores of setup files and then announces "Starting Windows". After a brief pause, it shows this error message:
    The following value in the .SIF file used by Setup is corrupted or missing:

    Value 0 on the line in section [nls] with Key "DefaultLayout".

    Setup cannot continue. To quit Setup, press F3.
    Pressing F3 (or any other key) has no effect. Powering off has to be done by holding down the power button.

    Is there a file on the CD-ROM that has become corrupted, in which case how do I get Microsoft to replace my XP CD-ROM (bearing in mind that the shop couldn't install either Vista or XP)?

    Or is the HD defective, in which case why doesn't it show on the shop's diagnostic routine (I can't tell if the HD has been successfully formatted)?

    Or is there a problem with the laptop itself, in which case can anyone suggest what it might be and how to fix it?

    Go for it, guys...
     
  2. etaf

    etaf Moderator

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    i need to look into the error messages but first thoughts
    1) Is the Drive SATA if so then you need the drivers for those to be slipstreamed into the installation OR loaded http://www.getpcmemory.com/user-gui...-cd-setup-slipstreaming-xp-guide-using-nlite/

    2) Is the drive seen correctly in the bios

    3) you could try running UBUNTU virtual CD and see if you can see the harddrive OK and if the hardware runs

    4) Download the harddrive test diagnoses from the harddrive manufacturers website


    UBUNTU
    It may be possible to boot from another Operating System
    This will at least test the Hardware and also see if you can see the Harddrive and possibly get data off.

    If you have another PC with a cdwriter and spare CD
    goto http://www.ubuntu.com/ and download the ISO http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/download

    YOu can also run from a USB device now - if the Machine supports booting off a USB Stick
    http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/download

    full details are here (Note this is for version 9 - so the start up options are slightly different )
    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/wind...backup-files-from-your-dead-windows-computer/

    click on the image "download ubuntu"
    Select a location
    then begin download
    Save the file onto your PC – remember where you saved it – so you can find it again to create the image bootable CD.

    You do NOT copy the ISO file onto a CD - you have to use the ISO to create a bootable CD
    The CD creator software you have on the PC may have an option to create an image from an ISO
    If not - use this free program http://www.imgburn.com/

    When the UBUNTU CD boots - you will A screen - with Language on the left panel and two option images


    == > Try ubuntu
    == > Install ubuntu

    You can try Ubuntu without making any changes to your computer, directly from this CD

    Use OPTION 1 "Try ubunto without any change to your computer" ONLY this option this will run from the CD and not install onto your harddrive - be careful, if you do install onto the PC - you will wipe the data and software OFF your hard drive.., so repeat only use option 1

    Now you should see a UBUNTU desktop
    This at least proves the main parts of the PC are working

    You may see your Harddrive on the desktop - if not have in look in the places on the tool bar at the top of the screen.

    If you can see your harddrive – see if you can find the your datafiles –
    XP look in “documents and settings” under the user name you had on the PC
    Vista/Windows 7 look in “user” under the user name you had on the PC

    Now if you have a USB flash drive or external harddrive – you should be able to copy your data from the harddrive onto the USB device

    ==============================================================================
    Alternative

    Parted Magic disk partitoning tool (Bootable CD image)
    If you prefer a bootable USB key, download and run Linux Live USB Creator. Choose the Parted Magic distro, and it will download it and automatically create a bootable USB key.

    This CD (or key) contains many useful tools. You can partition, recover files, recover lost partitions, make disk images (by several different methods), transfer files between media, scan for viruses (It can serve as an Alternative Trusted Platform for search and elimination of rootkits and bootkits), examine and benchmark hardware, access the internet, and much more.
     
  3. Saga Lout

    Saga Lout

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    It could be worth flashing the BIOS. Hard to believe but usually the olly system that will go in an OEM machine is the OEM versions it began life with - especially a Vaio. Even the new hard disk wouldn't fool it into believing it's a new system so long as that BIOS remains in place.

    Did you ever make a DVD set to recover the old Vista instalaltion?
     
  4. davidmatzdorf

    davidmatzdorf Thread Starter

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    Many thanks, etaf:

    I don't know. It was installed by the shop and I have no details on it. Is it possible for me to find this out, given that the machine doesn't boot up?


    The phrase "slipstreamed into the installation" is outside my technical knowledge, which is at "experienced but untrained amateur" level.

    I don't know, because I can't work out how to get into the BIOS. There's no "press F8" kind of option presented when starting the machine, just "operating system cannot be found" or "press any key to boot from CD", depending on whether or not there's a CD in the drive.

    Thanks, I'm going to look into UBUNTU - I do have another PC (this one) where I could download it and burn a CD.

    I don't know the manufacturer's name and I don't propose to crack open the laptop to find out, as I wouldn't trust myself inside the cramped confines of a laptop. It's possible that the repair shop might have a record of it, but it's not shown on the invoice.

    There won't be any datafiles - it's a new HD that has never had anything written on it, because we can't get an OS installed.

    I expect that I'll be back with more questions when I've had a look at UBUNTU. Thanks again.
     
  5. davidmatzdorf

    davidmatzdorf Thread Starter

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    That means updating the BIOS, yes? At present, I can't figure out how to get into the BIOS, nor how to connect to the internet to update anything, as there's no OS installed on the machine and I can't see any way that I can interact with the machine upon boot-up to get access to the BIOS.

    Some kind of internal "lock" to prevent installing any other OS is something that I discussed briefly with the repair shop, but they looked and were not able to identify any such protection - not that this means it isn't there...

    Now there's an idea. Thanks for that, I had completely forgotten about them until you mentioned this. I have three DVDs labelled "full backup 19/3/07", which I obviously created immediately after I bought the laptop. I'm not clear about how to use them, but all I can do is to put DVD no. 1 in the drive and see what happens...

    Thanks again - back when I've tried out the backup DVDs.
     
  6. etaf

    etaf Moderator

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  7. etaf

    etaf Moderator

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    crossed post

    yep
    put the 1st DVD into the PC and then when you get as mentioned
    press any key
     
  8. davidmatzdorf

    davidmatzdorf Thread Starter

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    Unfortunately, there's nothing bootable on any of the three DVDs. I just get the "Sony Vaio" flash, then a lengthy pause, then "Error loading operating system". From there, it's unresponsive and I have to hold down the power button to power off.
     
  9. etaf

    etaf Moderator

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    see if the UBUNTU disk boots - did it ask to boot from CD and you press any Key ?

    have you tried tapping F1, F2 or F3 to enter the bios as the pc starts
     
  10. davidmatzdorf

    davidmatzdorf Thread Starter

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    Thanks: F2 gets into the BIOS. However, having got there, I am at a loss regarding how to flash the BIOS on a PC with no OS and no internet access.

    All the BIOS has to say on the subject is "Hard Disk Drive: 250GB". No details of the manufacturer. Then it adds "Optical Disk Drive: Available".

    Other information from the BIOS:

    If there's a way to deal with this via the BIOS, that would be great, but I'm not seeing how to do this so far.

    Thanks.
     
  11. davidmatzdorf

    davidmatzdorf Thread Starter

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    I don't have UBUNTU yet. I'll get to that when I've finished banging my head against the BIOS. ;-)

    When I inserted the backup DVDs, I didn't get "press any key to boot from CD", which I did get with the XP CD-ROM inserted.
     
  12. etaf

    etaf Moderator

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    i would not update the bios any errors there and you will nolonger have a PC

    I would expect to see the Boot from CD message
    And at least the boot order - boots from CD first so thats good

    also good that the harddrive is seen and correct
    anything there about an IDE controller or SATA
     
  13. davidmatzdorf

    davidmatzdorf Thread Starter

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    I think I'll follow your advice on this. I've been reading up on it and it sounds way too risky.

    The only CD that provokes this message so far is the XP CD-ROM. I'm presently downloading the UBUNTU ISO. I didn't realise that UBUNTU is a whole alternative open source OS.

    Indeed. So I thought too.

    Nothing. I've basically copied everything from every page of the BIOS into the post above, except for Exit and Save menu options and the Security page for machine and user passwords, which are both "clear".
     
  14. davidmatzdorf

    davidmatzdorf Thread Starter

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    OK, I've downloaded the ISO file for UBUNTU successfully, but Windows won't recognise or open it and I can't get it to open in Nero either.

    How do I use this file to create an UBUNTU CD? I can see that it's a disc image file, but I can't do anything with it

    Thanks.
     
  15. etaf

    etaf Moderator

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