Saturday, April 11, 2009

Vaio recovery

Prashant got a sony vaio recently and one fine day it stopped booting up and started to give a blue screen. He and Mahesh tried to recover it using sony vaio recovery center but it failed with a mysterious error 320/330. The restore of C drive was happening and in between recovery fails leaving the windows o/s files in unusable state (cant boot into vista). Mahesh tried to do a XP installation as well which did not succeed.

I took the laptop and tried the same recovery and also tried to recover using windows vista recovery CD. I had to download SATA drivers and load them initially for the disks to be recognised. The recovery using recovery CD failed as the vaio recovery had left the windows o/s files in a unusable state. I tried to launch the vaio recovery process after loading the recovery CD but could not.

Then i tried to install ubuntu linux from CD. The copy kept failing then installed it from USB drive. This worked and the installation went fine. So atleast we can have linux running if nothing else runs as well.

Next option we thought of was to install XP. To have XP installed (which by default does not come with sata drivers), i got a XP home CD. Slipstreamed sata drivers and SP3 using nLite. Then tried the installation using BartPE cd with sata drivers loaded. The XP SP3 installation copied the installation files and when i booted back , it did not copy the sata drivers so the installation never began after pre-installation copied the files. So was thinking of copying the driver files and modifyig the txtsetup.sif to load sata driver on startup while installing.

Sumit also bought same laptop. So another option was to reimage prashant's laptop using sumit's laptop. The partitions occupy whole disk. If i had to copy partitions, i will have to shrink Sumit's partition first and then use g4u or gparted live cd or other tools to copy the partiiton to temporary USB drive and then copy it back to Prashant's laptop. Instead i tried to copy all files from Sumit's laptop (arond 30 GB) to USB drive and then copy it over to Prashant's laptop and try booting. I used live gparted CD and then mounted the two disks and then started to copy everything in C Drive to the USB drive. The USB drive has a fat32 filesystem where as Sumit's hard disk partition was ntfs.

I initially tried the copy with vista running. It did not copy OS files. Then i used gparted and mount and the copy failed. I tried the copy by booting into BartPE. It failed as well. Both failed due to errors while copying files from winsxs directory which holds the manifests and .NET related files. The problem was the directory in FAT 32 filesystem seems to have a limit on no of files/dirs - ~7500. This caused the copy to fail. So had to zip the winsxs directory and unzip in Prashant's hard drive after copying rest of the files.

Then after a startup recovery with the vista recovery CD to set the windows folder and boot partition , vista was up and running in Prashant's laptop. It has been a good learning exercise.

Still i do not know fully why the XP slipstreamed drivers did not install even though it worked with BartPE.

Totally three full days of work and finally we have vista running in exactly the same way it did.

Resources used: BartPE/PE2USB , GParted , Vista recovery CD , nLite


apmag said...

A Mammoth effort in all!

maya said...

maybe the drive has failed. did you do a scan for bad blocks ?

Prakash Swaminathan said...

yes. I did scan for bad blocks. It did not return anything.
But after the recovery, the drive failed again in few weeks and the laptop was sent to sony and they said that the harddisk failed and replaced it.

nadia said...

a VERY HUGE effort on that!