Jump to content


 


Register a free account to unlock additional features at BleepingComputer.com
Welcome to BleepingComputer, a free community where people like yourself come together to discuss and learn how to use their computers. Using the site is easy and fun. As a guest, you can browse and view the various discussions in the forums, but can not create a new topic or reply to an existing one unless you are logged in. Other benefits of registering an account are subscribing to topics and forums, creating a blog, and having no ads shown anywhere on the site.


Click here to Register a free account now! or read our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

Photo

System Recovery Possible from External CD-ROM?


  • Please log in to reply
20 replies to this topic

#1 Holly65

Holly65

  • Members
  • 32 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:03:44 AM

Posted 19 July 2012 - 05:43 PM

Sony-VAIO, Model VGN-790-P. Windows XP, Security Pack 3, all software and anti-virus up-to-date.

Or flash drive?

While watching a video, the audio suddenly became unavailable and I got an error message along the lines of 'no mixer available...go to Control Panel and add new hardware". Had no idea what that meant, and thought that a reboot would fix the problem (it fixes most problems). In the midst of shut down, the computer froze. I waited a good five minutes, and when it was clear the system was frozen, I powered it off by holding down the on/off button.

While it was powering off, two error messages popped up, one being "igfxsrvcs has encountered an error", and the other message said something like SPM.drv (may or may not have been a 'dot' in that)had to 'close'.

After waiting a few minutes, I turned the computer back on and got an error message that Windows cannot start because a file is corrupt or missing: \windows\system32\config\system is the culprit.

What I have tried:

I tried restarting and rapidly hitting f-8 to get into safe mode, but that does not work. More specifically, I can get the 'select safe mode' menu to come up, but when I hit that and it cycles through the process, I eventually get the same message as before "windows could not start because a file is missing or corrupt...".

Besides hitting f-8 on startup, I also tried hitting f-12, because I thought that was the key I need to tap to get into the BIOS. Didn't work.

I apparently do not have a functioning CD ROM. Since I have a backup of my most important docs on a flash drive, I decided to reformat the hard drive. I inserted a 'system recovery' CD and nothing happened. I can hear whirring and grinding, but nothing happens. I am pretty sure the CD is non functional (and knew that before I tried it, but thought it was worth a go).

If I bought an external CDROM, could I reformat the hard drive using that? I do not recall what the exact settings in BIOS were, but I believe I had them set to be able to boot from an external device. I am just not sure.

I read a great thread here by someone with a similar problem (see: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic438834.html/page__p__2564393__hl__windows+could+not+start+because__fromsearch__1#entry2564393
, but they did not describe how to reboot (using that method) from a flash.

Would appreciate suggestions for 'next step' ideas for using either flash or an external CDROM to resolve this. I obviously need to check the disk and attempt a repair but do not know how to proceed since the CDROM isn't working.

Edited by Holly65, 19 July 2012 - 09:23 PM.


BC AdBot (Login to Remove)

 


#2 jhayz

jhayz

  • BC Advisor
  • 6,922 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Local time:04:44 PM

Posted 20 July 2012 - 02:22 AM

You could use a usb optical drive to reinstall your operating system and check the hard drive health status. You might need to press a different key F2 or Del to enter BIOS setup and look for the boot options available. The link you provided as reference is an excellent guide on how to run a diagnostic test on your HD.

Tekken
 


#3 AustrAlien

AustrAlien

    Inquisitor


  • BC Advisor
  • 6,772 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cowra NSW Australia
  • Local time:06:44 PM

Posted 20 July 2012 - 08:35 AM

I read a great thread here by someone with a similar problem (see: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic438834.html/page__p__2564393__hl__windows+could+not+start+because__fromsearch__1#entry2564393
, but they did not describe how to reboot (using that method) from a flash.

Use a USB drive/flashdrive to run chkdsk from ntfs4dos: Here you go.

Please try the following ...

Let's use a FreeDOS image for USB that contains a few tools (compiled & hosted by noahdfear).

The first two steps are carried out using a working computer.
:step1: Firstly, you will need a USB device, such as a flash drive, that is formatted in FAT32
  • If you are not sure how to tell or how to format it, please use the GUI version of a freeware called Fat32Formatter which makes it very easy.

:step2: Download NTBR_USB.exe.
  • Save it to your hard drive.
  • With the USB device (from step 1) attached, double-click NTBR_USB.exe to run it.
  • Verify that the drive letter shown is the same as assigned by Windows.
    • Use Windows Explorer to check this. <<< Important!
  • Then click OK.
    Once the image is written to the device, you will be prompted to reboot ... but do not reboot.
  • Instead, simply remove the USB device.

:step3: Connect the bootable USB device and start the ailing computer:
  • Use the appropriate F key (often F12) to access the boot menu where you can choose to boot from USB.
    • Press <ENTER> to boot to the USB device.
    (Note: If F12 ... or any other F key ... is not an option, you may need to enter the BIOS Setup Menu and change the boot order.)
    After a warning screen there is a keyboard language options screen.
  • Press <ENTER> to leave it at EN-US.
    You should now be at the Tool options screen.
  • Type 5 and press <ENTER> to choose the command prompt.
    You will see an X:\> prompt, where X: is the ramdrive (temporary drive space in memory).
  • At the command prompt type the following bolded command:

    tools\ntfs4dos\chkdsk
  • and press <ENTER>.
    You will be prompted (in ?Dutch) to press <ENTER>.
  • Press <ENTER> to start the check disk utility.
    Check Disk will check all attached drives and attempt to correct any errors.
    Please make a note of any errors found or corrections made.
  • When it completes type menu and press <ENTER> to return to the tools menu.
  • Type 6 to select Quit, and press <ENTER>.
  • Press <Ctrl+Alt+Del> to restart, and remove the USB device.
  • Allow the computer to attempt booting normally and let me know the outcome.
Please let me know if chkdsk reports any errors or corrections made, or if it completes without incident.
***(With thanks to noahdfear for the above tool and instructions.)
AustrAlien
Google is my friend. Make Google your friend too.

Posted Image

#4 Holly65

Holly65
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 32 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:03:44 AM

Posted 20 July 2012 - 01:03 PM

Thank you both.

@AustraAlien - Thanks. This looks great, but there may be a few extra challenges to your recommended process since this older laptop (it's my only alternative to the failed laptop) has a Windows ME operating system. Yes, Windows ME. At least I can get connected to the 'net on it and it still works.

I dl'd the NTBR_USB file, then inserted an older USB (purchased in 2006 and I know it's functional because I have used it before). I followed that link to the check it for formatting using Windows GUI, but the GUI requires a more current OS -- one that recognizes unicode -- and wouldn't work. Can I assume this USB would be formatted fat32 since it's an older USB? I looked at its properties in device manager and the only thing that told me was that it is USB 20 (I think that's 2.0 but it said 20 -- no idea).

The second issue: When I double click the NTBR file, it brings up a dialog box that shows "USB" as the drive type, but the drive location (where one would select the F drive, which is the drive that that USB is using in Windows) is blank. The drop down arrow doesn't give me any options either. If I click inside the drive location box, it turns blue and won't let me type to specify the drive.

I did see the other dialog box option of showing all drives, but I also saw the warning message that using that could cause system to fail or whatever.

Needless to say, I did not proceed.

Any suggestions as to how to make this work? If there would be no harm I could give it a go assuming a) fat32 formatting and B) that the drive location, even tho not specified, is correct.

#5 Artrooks

Artrooks

  • Members
  • 1,463 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New York
  • Local time:04:44 AM

Posted 20 July 2012 - 02:11 PM

Hello Holly65,

What are the chances that a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor, may let you use their computer to fabricate the USB flash drive so that you can proceed with AustrAlien?

Regards,
Brooks



 


#6 Holly65

Holly65
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 32 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:03:44 AM

Posted 21 July 2012 - 04:22 PM

Thanks. I tried dl'ing that file onto a USB flash drive from another (public) computer today, but I think their admin settings prevented it from completing. Although it gave me a message that it would not dl the file, it then gave me a conflicting message that it had dl'd it and was done. My guess is the file did not get onto the flash because when testing it out on the laptop I was not able to get anything to happen (no bootup) per AustrAlien's instructions.

I have a plan B for getting access to someone else's computer later today to try to dl the file again (there should be no admin problems on that computer--hopefully).

In the meantime, can someone let me know if the BIOS settings are correct for this process? I figured out it's F-2 for this model to get into the BIOS.

Under the "advanced" tab in BIOS, I ENABLED "boot from an external drive".
Under the "boot" tab, here are the boot up priorities:

1. Internal Optical Drive
2. Floppy Disc
3. Hard Disc
4. Network

I don't see any option for booting from a USB.

Or will the advanced tab setting (boot from external drive) override the boot tab priorities?

#7 Holly65

Holly65
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 32 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:03:44 AM

Posted 21 July 2012 - 06:50 PM

I got access to a friend's computer and just finished fat32 formatting the USB flash drive(using the link to the GUI provided) and then DL'd the NTBR file to it (per the instructions, which I followed to the letter).

I can't get the system to boot. In BIOS, on the 'boot' tab, I highlighted 'internal optical drive' (the first option in the boot priority list) and hit enter and nothing happened. I turned the computer off and restarted it and went back in to BIOS and didn't select anything in the boot priority list this time and just waited and nothing happened. I checked to ensure that 'boot from an external drive' was enabled in the 'advanced' tab, and it still was. I have no idea if the flash drive is an 'internal optical drive' but it seemed the best selection from the list. I do not understand why I do not see a 'boot from a usb drive' in the boot tab options.

I am pretty sure the dl'd file got on to the flash drive properly as I did get a message from Windows stating that it had completely successfully.

I have used that USB before (fairly recently) and know it is a functioning flash drive. It has (I think ) about a 2G capacity. I removed the few notepad documents I had on there (deleted them) before I started this process so it would be completely empty. As I said, I also formatted it using that GUI link provided in the instructions, just to be sure it had fat32 formatting.

Any suggestions?

Edited by Holly65, 21 July 2012 - 06:55 PM.


#8 AustrAlien

AustrAlien

    Inquisitor


  • BC Advisor
  • 6,772 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cowra NSW Australia
  • Local time:06:44 PM

Posted 21 July 2012 - 07:11 PM

... just finished fat32 formatting the USB flash drive ... and then DL'd the NTBR file to it (per the instructions, which I followed to the letter).

Not quite: There's your problem!

Have/Leave the NTBR application sitting on the Desktop of your Windows system: Do not attempt to actually run it from the flashdrive!

Run it from the Desktop, and it will load the necessary "stuff" onto the flashdrive then. See step :step2:

Edited to add: 'boot from an external drive' should do the trick.
  • It is not an optical drive: That is the CD/DVD drive.
  • A USB flashdrive may be referred to variously as a KEY, USB HDD, external drive ... or other?

Edited by AustrAlien, 21 July 2012 - 07:30 PM.

AustrAlien
Google is my friend. Make Google your friend too.

Posted Image

#9 Holly65

Holly65
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 32 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:03:44 AM

Posted 21 July 2012 - 09:15 PM

Maybe I wasn't clear. I dl'd the application to the desktop. Then, as instructed, I doubleclicked on it and it asked me to verify the drive location of the USB. Then it put the files or tools or whatever on to the flash and notifed me when done. Then it asked me if I wanted to reboot, and, as instructed, I said 'no' and then removed the USB drive.

I then inserted the USB drive into the ailing computer and powered it up (after already setting the BIOS to boot from an external drive). Nothing happens.

Does this mean my computer is toast? There is no place in BIOS where I can hit 'enter' to tell it to boot from the flash drive. The 'boot from an external drive' is found in the Advanced tab, and it it an either/or choice -- enable or disable, not something you can select and hit 'enter' to trigger the USB to boot. And the 'boot' tab does not list booting from USB as an option.

I thought it I enabled 'boot from an external drive' and fired up the computer with the loaded USB inserted, that the computer would recognize it and boot up automatically. That's not happening.

The only thing I can think of is that there is maybe something wrong with the USB drive.

If you can think of anything else to try, please let me know. Otherwise, I will have to admit this is not solveable (at least by me). Tx.

#10 AustrAlien

AustrAlien

    Inquisitor


  • BC Advisor
  • 6,772 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cowra NSW Australia
  • Local time:06:44 PM

Posted 21 July 2012 - 09:57 PM

Now I get it ... sounds like you have done everything correctly and that any normal (modern) computer should be able to boot from that flashdrive.

Note: Older computers were/are not able to boot from a USB device.
  • I have to wonder if perhaps your computer fits into this category?
    I did think that 'boot from an external drive' would have done the trick though.
It seems as though you may have to go back to an earlier suggestion you made ... "If I bought an external CDROM ..."?
  • If you did have an external CDROM drive, you would then be able to boot from a CD.
    Sounds as though it is worth you considering under the circumstances, and then you would be able to choose how you want to move forward from here.

AustrAlien
Google is my friend. Make Google your friend too.

Posted Image

#11 Holly65

Holly65
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 32 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:03:44 AM

Posted 21 July 2012 - 10:32 PM

I bought the laptop in 2006, so I don't know whether it falls into that category. Looks like I will have to get an external CDROM drive. Thanks for all the info -- I learned a lot (even if it didn't work) that may come in useful in future!

#12 jhayz

jhayz

  • BC Advisor
  • 6,922 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Local time:04:44 PM

Posted 22 July 2012 - 06:04 AM

The complete guide and information regarding your Sony Vaio laptop are found here. Your Manual if needed and should have done hopefully the set of recovery discs when using an external drive.

Tekken
 


#13 Holly65

Holly65
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 32 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:03:44 AM

Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:46 AM

Okay, this is the first time I have had to look at this issue again -- still not solved. Thanks, but that first link took me to a different model of Vaio laptop. This model number is VGN-FE790P (not A790).

I have the original Recovery discs (there are two) that came with the laptop. I am first going to try booting from an external CDROM before going the route of using the recovery discs, as it's my understanding that using those discs will cause the loss of all of " my docs". I do have a backup of 'my docs' on flash, but I will lose several weeks worth of work that I had not backed up prior to failure, so I still want to try a reboot.

I found an external CDROM today, but before buying, had a quick question. It's got a USB connection, and supports media types CD-R and CD-RW, so I can burn one of those reboot/repair files on to it (mentioned in that other thread I referenced above).

MY CONCERN IS THIS (and does anyone know?): While my other laptop is out of commission, I am working off a really old laptop with Windows ME. Because the OS is so old, a lot of stuff doesn't work with it (as I am finding out). Like my printer (HP doesn't make any software or drivers compatible with ME. But whatever).

What I am worried about is that I will go to all this effort -- buy this external CDROM, find some free image burner/tools (is that the term?), download that, then try to burn that repair/reboot file to a CD-R or CD-RW -- and, then, after all that, I will get some message that something isn't compatible!!

I talked to someone at Best Buy today and asked him if what they were selling would work with ME and he said none of their external CDROMS specify which OS's they work with, but he thought they worked with all OS's. I am not sure he knew. He was doing his best to be helpful.

The complete guide and information regarding your Sony Vaio laptop are found here. Your Manual if needed and should have done hopefully the set of recovery discs when using an external drive.


Edited by Holly65, 25 July 2012 - 12:48 AM.


#14 AustrAlien

AustrAlien

    Inquisitor


  • BC Advisor
  • 6,772 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cowra NSW Australia
  • Local time:06:44 PM

Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:52 AM

Give me some time to check out the Windows ME aspect ... and I will get back to you.
AustrAlien
Google is my friend. Make Google your friend too.

Posted Image

#15 Holly65

Holly65
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 32 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:03:44 AM

Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:56 AM

This is the process I planned to follow (using a laptop with Windows ME and an external CDROM that supports CD-R and CD-RW).


Download NTBR_CD.exe and create a bootable CD:
* Save the file to your Desktop and double-click it. This will create a folder named NTBR_CD.
* Open the folder and locate BurnItCD: Launch it by double-clicking it.
* When BurnCDCC opens, click Start: The CD tray will open.
* Insert a blank CD and click OK.
The tray will close, burn the image and then eject the disc

Edited by Holly65, 25 July 2012 - 01:04 AM.





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users