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Old 04-30-2009, 11:00 AM   #1
bjh1225
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Unhappy Cannot clean hard drive


I have a Sony Vaio PCG R505ESK that was given to me. It seems to be a nifty little computer and I would like to use it to take to the library.
My problem is that the computer will not boot to an OS. We have spent a month trying and have tried every thing any forum and Sony support has suggested. I can bring up the Phoenix Bios and ocassionally I get an A: prompt. The computer has a Sony external floppy drive and cdrom drive. The computer will not recognize the cd drive. I have the original Windows ME installation disk and recovery disks. I have downloaded Win ME to a floppy but still could not install the OS. Yesterday I downloaded dban-2.0.0._buildroot.tar.bz2 to try to clean the hard drive. I kept getting the message to remove the disk. We have tried FDISK, FORMAT, installing Win 98 from a floppy, Win ME from a floppy, etc. We took it to a computer repair shop where the man charged us for looking at it and said it was to old to bother witn. I am of the impression that replacing the current hard drive with a new one will not solve the problem. My husband and I are 77. I am more familiar with using a computer than he is but he is very capable of doing repairs on any type of electrical component.

I truly will be appreciative of anyone telling me how to get this computer functional.

Thanks, bjh
 
Old 04-30-2009, 11:07 AM   #2
Dudydoo
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Is the hard drive actually seen as being present in the BIOS (A: drive is a floppy and would not be a hard disk)
 
Old 04-30-2009, 01:34 PM   #3
cmdln
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Its possible that the cdrom drive is broken. You could try an alternate cdrom drive. If you can boot from a usb device you have the option of booting from an external cdrom hooked up via usb or possibly booting from a usb key with linux installed to install on to your hard drive (if indeed your hard drive does work)
 
Old 05-01-2009, 12:47 AM   #4
bjh1225
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cd and hard drive

Thank you for the responses to my query.

I am assuming the computer does not recognize that it has a hard drive because I get a message that there is no drive. It definitely has a hard drive installed.

The cdrom unit is AOK. It is a Sony external USB unit. It works on my husband's Sony laptop.

I could try to download new drivers if I could connect the computer to my ISP but without an OS I cannot do anything with it.

Regards, bjh

Last edited by bjh1225; 05-01-2009 at 12:48 AM.
 
Old 05-01-2009, 01:15 AM   #5
Brains
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Quote:
We took it to a computer repair shop where the man charged us for looking at it and said it was to old to bother witn
I agree with him.

I understand, that at your age you are not inclined to invest in newer technology. But based on what you've mentioned so far, I suggest you tell your beneficiary(s) to dispose of it properly, because the rest of us whom will inhabit this cruel world after our father takes you back deserve to live as long as yourself, and you play a part in ensuring many of us do.

My suggestions:
Look for better friends, friends that won't 'use' you to dispose of their garbage properly.

In hopes I don't come on to harsh...because it don't recognize it's own hard drive, means there are issues that will only compound, meaning...you can spend a year or two of what precious time you have left to get it to recognize the drive(s), chances are it will not recognize the display or keyboard next.
Do you have grandchildren whom you can allocate your resources to instead of your so called 'friends' garbage.

Last edited by Brains; 05-01-2009 at 01:17 AM.
 
Old 05-01-2009, 07:08 AM   #6
H_TeXMeX_H
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If the HDD does not show up in the BIOS, then it's probably dead and you should get a new one if you can. Of course it might be the HDD controller on the motherboard that's dead, in which case you should dispose of the laptop after harvesting any components that might still be useful and work. Many times laptop HDDs are quite expensive, so it's your choice if you want to keep going with this.
 
Old 05-01-2009, 08:48 AM   #7
onebuck
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Hi,

I agree with 'H' concerning the laptop.

You should be able to get into the BIOS by pressing a hot key. The hot key will be shown on the POST screen that you get when you first turn on the laptop. The hot key can be the 'Del', 'F1' or even the 'F2' key. Usually on the POST screen this will be shown on the lower portion of the screen.

Once into the BIOS you should have a system screen and on that screen you will show the configuration. If your hard disk is recognized it will be shown, if not you sometimes will have the option to detect a device. This may be shown as a separate option on the initial screen. Sometimes you can move your cursor via the arrow keys to the hard disk option and just press the enter key to detect the device. If you cannot detect a device automatically then you might need to enter the disk geometry which would require you to look at the hard disk to get the information off the drive label.

If your hard disk is detected then it will be shown in the hard disk or device information. Once it is shown then you can save the BIOS info via the F10 key or the save key for your specific laptop. If your hard disk is not detected via the BIOS with auto or user specified information then sadly your hdd is probably in need for replacement.

As for the CD, check while in the BIOS to make sure the drive is setup. Usually you can set to auto for detection. Check the 'Boot' screen in the BIOS to select your boot order. You can have several options. Sometimes A:, CDROM, HDD1 which would check for a disk in the floppy first then the CDROM and finally the hard disk. This order can be set to suit your needs. If your laptop recognizes your external CDROM as a boot device then you should be able to boot a distribution. Be careful with newer distributions since they don't utilize the 8K blocks. If you download older versions then you won't have the 4K/8K issue.

I hope it's something as simple as the drive specifications.
 
Old 05-01-2009, 01:12 PM   #8
bjh1225
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Thanks

I thank each of you for the response to my query. I will not waste any more of your time or that of this board.

I view getting the computer operational as a 'challenge' therefore I will pursue it. Yes, I can afford a new hard drive. My husband is going to take out the one that is in the computer so that I will be able to know which replacement to buy.

The computer is OLD like me and doesn't want to be thrown away. Ha

We have other laptops and computers. All with Windows XP Professional or Media Center versions.

Regards, bjh
 
Old 05-01-2009, 07:41 PM   #9
j1alu
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hello:
Quote:
I will not waste any more of your time or that of this board.
mine you didn`t waste.
Quote:
I view getting the computer operational as a 'challenge' therefore I will pursue it.
thats the way i see it too, got a second one as a present once, one might call it garbage: some <200MB; some 230MH, looks like ten years old and sounds terrible.
when i got it first running it was a great success for me (took me about 20 different distros :-).
and yes: that one post by brains was rude, stupid and completely useless. i read lots of nonsense,
but that was the worst ever. shame on you.

greetings and good luck with your project
 
Old 05-02-2009, 05:05 AM   #10
H_TeXMeX_H
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If I were you, here's exactly what I would do:

Take it to a serious computer shop / store and have them look at it, and tell you what's wrong with it, if he tells you not to bother, ask him to do his job and tell you what's wrong with it. If he won't, don't pay him and go to another shop.

If I had a spare laptop I'd try the HDD in that one and see if it sees it, if not then it's probably dead. You didn't post what the BIOS told you, that would have helped.

If the motherboard was damaged then I would throw it away, but if other replaceable components were damaged, then replace them if they're not too expensive.

It's hard to diagnose these things, especially in a laptop, and especially without a CD/DVD drive so you can boot say:
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/
and run some tests.
 
Old 05-02-2009, 11:07 AM   #11
bjh1225
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Smile Last Post for Me

to: j1alu and H Tex Mex H

Thank you for the positive response. I did view Brains response as that of being a put down. I intend to pursue the challenge of making that computer operational. I have to wait for my husband to take out the existing hard drive. He is busy getting components ready to go to the Saudia Arabian Air Force so I have to 'wait in line'.

for Brains: I have a 17" Sony laptop with all the bells and whistles. My husband has a 15" HP laptop. I also have a Sony 10" laptop and 2 of the Sony 12" laptops. We each have our own desktops. Everything we have is paid for and that includes 4 residential properties. I can afford to 'buy new'. No one took advantage of me by tossing their garbage at me.

Regards, bjh
 
Old 05-02-2009, 12:02 PM   #12
onebuck
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Hi,

No one implied you were being taken advantage of. Plus that's why we participate to provide assistance when someone has issues with something. Your not wasting anyone's time here on LQ.

Hopefully you can find a new hdd. You could remove the hdd yourself. Just remove the AC power and battery for the laptop. The battery can be removed for most laptops with a simple slide release that will allow you to either slide or lift the battery out once the lever is maneuvered.

The hdd will have a icon to illustrate/indicate the cover. Generally there are 1-2 screws to remove to open the panel cover. Once the cover is removed, you will just need to slide the drive away from the connector. You should use good handling techniques, don't drop it or store in poor conditions. If you wish to transport just the drive and don't have a anti static envelop then just wrap in a large piece of aluminum foil and place in a ziplock bag.

Once you have the hdd out you will find a label that has the drive specifications. You can use the information to purchase the same or equivalent hdd.

It will take most people longer to find the tool than to remove the hdd.

Good luck!
 
Old 05-02-2009, 04:37 PM   #13
Brains
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I also had three laptops people have given to me. The thing is, I do a lot of computer repair and can always get a desktop running again even if it means using parts from many others, many of which I just pick up at the local recycle depot for free.
But laptops are different, I have never got one of these freebies to work again, mostly because when they are that old it is almost impossible to find value priced parts, and laptop parts are not as interchangeable as desktop parts. Windows ME is ten plus years old, in computer life terms, that's graveyard material.
Below are some quotes which helped me be as harsh as I may have come across:
Quote:
I can bring up the Phoenix Bios and ocassionally I get an A: prompt
.
Quote:
The computer will not recognize the cd drive
Quote:
I am of the impression that replacing the current hard drive with a new one will not solve the problem
The first quote tells me the mother board is quirky.
The second quote tells me the mother board is quirky.
The third quote... let me offer some advice.... trust your conscience.

I've been there and done that and all my properties and 15+ computers are paid for also. In the end, I was always frustrated with myself for wasting so much time attempting to get old laptops working again. And I was the one paying for the trip to the recycle depot to get rid of them properly instead of the original owner whom bestowed these burdens upon me. I thrive on knowledge and have extremely high IQ and never even learned anything as a result of the precious time wasted on something that is not even compatible with todays technologies in the first place.

Save yourself!
 
Old 05-04-2009, 12:18 AM   #14
bjh1225
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I appreciate each of you for taking the time to response to my query. I am putting the 'subject to bed' so this is my final post.

Thank you ever so much, bjh
 
Old 05-04-2009, 12:47 AM   #15
nigelc
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If you could try puppylinux on it, then it will not need a hard disk drive.
It has a drive mounting icon which can be used to troubleshoot it.
 
  


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