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I have almost the same laptop with you. I have a sony vaio fe-21m. It's the first time i bought laptop and i am very pleased with this one.
About OS now, i have only linux (i don't like windows). I use Ubuntu, which is one of the best distributions. It's very easy, stable and beautiful!!!. As for the installation, it didn't need anything special. It found everything automatically, except of the motion-eye camera, but i think the 21b series doesn't have one .
Try ubuntu and you will not regret it. Good luck !!
I bought the Vaio VGN FE11M Laptop for my studies and because weŽll work a lot with Linux I tried to install firstly Fedora 5, it didnŽt work out..secondly Suse 10, this didnŽt work out as well.
My intention was a beautiful black boot menu which would ask me to start either with Windows or with Linux.
I tried to do it with using Partition Magic 8 to create a new hd space, this worked (too well if you ask) and to install a new Linux OS.
The last thing that partition magic said to me (after creating the space and before confirming changes) was that if the boot cd does not work, I am going to have problems to boot anything. "Hmm" I thought optimistically, there will be no problems.
Well, somehow I managed to be unable to boot anything.
Now my poor Laptop canŽt boot
the Vaio Recovery System CD
a version of XP Pro
Suse 10 CD1
The output is always: Error loading Operating System
First of all congratulations for your new laptop, it's very good. Don't worry for some problems everything will be fine.
Now let's try to fix them.
Firstly I have to ask you if you have set your pc to start from CD-DVD. (The output : Error loading Operating System , sounds like the pc to start from the hard disk, where the partitions have some problem.) If you don't know how to do that then power on your laptop, put inside the vaio recovery cd and when the screen with the vaio logo appears press Esc and the F5 or F8 (i do't remember which of them ). A menu will appear and it will ask you what to read first. Press to start with CD-DVD and you will be able to recover windows. (my pc is fe-21m and it has phoenix bios i believe yours is phoenix too, so it will be the same). When you receive your system everything will be like the first time you start your pc.
If you have any files you need to save then you have to download a linux live cd (knoppix, ubuntu..) and do the same thing so that you will start from the cd. Then you can write your in a cd or send them in your network or internet.
thank you for your fast reply. Everything you wrote was and still is right.
Ok, I know it is not good to take away the suspense at the beginning, but I could manage to fix my problem (i am not sure right now if it was a software or my own psycho-problem...) today. Well it was not me, it was a Linux-Admin at my UNI I have asked to help and maybe to solve...
He did. Whoa man - and how he did! I have to shrive that I made some mistakes with the Linux boot cd. So that brave man put a fancy Suse (with print on top) cd in my NB and everything went on, he discovered that partition magic did set my windows partition - never heard of that - "hidden NFTS".... 0x17... There was another guy sitting in his office, the windows guy, like this: huh 17? never heard of this...It should be on 07!
IF IT EVER BECOMES RELEVANT: HE JUST DELETED THE "HIDDEN" AND CHANGED THE 17 TO 07 MANUALLY IN SUSE BOOT MENU. HE ALSO INSTALLED SUSIE IN FAILSAFE MODE BECAUSE HIS ELDER VERSION DID NOT SUPPORT THE GRAPHICS AND CRASHED...
I saw the shine in his eyes, his competition with my notebook, to be predominant to the computer and so on...i dont want to go en detail, because i am afraid that you might throw me out because of spamming. He did not even want me to buy him something, a coffee or sthg like that.
Now i have suse and XP media on my NB and it is working quite well, except the nvidia driver and my mouse. Maybe the WLAN. Maybe there is more what i did not try out yet. Man, it happend so fast, i am still not over it :-) Tomorrow IŽll go to the - as we say in Germany - Psychotherapeut.
You can see that the power of open source software is the community and the people who are ready to help you, as your admin did.
Suse is one of the most popular distros (i think the project is german , before novell bought it). I also had suse for some time. I started with madrake (now it's madriva) and then i had suse 9.3 and then suse 10.0. You must have 10.1. In suse you will find YaST very useful. It's a program that helps you configure everything in your pc. You can also download programs, drivers and more.
Try download the nvidia driver and maybe it will run.
(I think it's about 10 Mb, if you have DSL it's not a problem. Here in Greece we are a bit slower in internet speeds. When i had suse i had a 56 kbps connection and i couldn't download a lot. Now I have 512 kbps dsl, for about 3 months, and i feel like i can download anything i want.)
Then give in terminal the command : glxgears -printfps
It's a test of 3D graphics. My pc gives about 5000-8000 fps. If driver works fine you should have about the same fps.
What problem do you have with the mouse? Maybe someone can help you if you search internet a little bit.