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Help...crashed Sony Vaio PCG-884L/PCG-GR390 with no backup...

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I have a 8 or 9 year old Sony Vaio PCG-884L/PCG-GR390 laptop that is now a paperweight. During the powering up process, it seems as if things are moving along typically with a Windows screen showing, but then it just shuts down. No blue screen...no error messages...nothing. I am assuming that it is some kind of catastophic failure. As you can tell by now, I am not a computer guru, but I am also not afraid to take the sucker apart either. Over the years, I have replaced the keyboard, speakers and other broken parts with very good success. Now it's dead and I have no back up. I know that this might be an elementary question to most of you experts out there, but I need some basic advise to get me through the bizarre amount of information supplied by the search engines when I ask my "Help Me!" questions. Can I simply pull the hard drive and transfer the files only to another computer? Can I simply make some kind of back up now to an external drive of some kind? Some basic grass roots guidance would be greatly appreciated. In advance, I thank all that wish to help.
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You can take out the drive and attach it to a USB adapter to copy any files or scan it with a utility program to check the drive, then if you still have the hidden restore partition try to restore back to factory settings.


WARNING: There is a risk of data loss. Licensed content, such as movies acquired from the VAIO® Movie Experience CD supplied with select models, will no longer be playable if the license information is not backed up prior to a system recovery, and restored afterward .
Before performing a recovery, go to the Sony® eSupport Web site at http://esupport.sony.com and check your model-specific support page. Look for software and driver updates, or check for knowledge base solutions that may help you solve your computer's issue.
This model does not use Recovery CDs. Recovery data is included on a special partition of the hard drive.
Do not interrupt the power during the recovery process.
NOTE: A recovery can also be performed using the Recovery Media Kit .
Close all open programs.
Disconnect all network connections.
Disconnect all peripheral devices.
Turn off the computer.
Turn on the computer.
Disable USB 2.0 support in BIOS.
IMPORTANT: USB 2.0 support must be enabled again after the recovery.
When the SONY logo is displayed, press the F10 key.
In the VAIO Recovery Wizard window, click the Next button.
Under Recovery Options , click to select the C Drive Recovery option.
Click the Next button.
A C Drive Recovery will return the (C:) drive to its original, factory-installed state. All software and data on the (C:) drive will be erased. If there is a (D:) drive, it is unaffected.
Only a C Drive Recovery can be performed using the VAIO Recovery Wizard on the Recovery Drive. For a Custom Recovery with options for removing or reinstalling the Recovery Drive, use the Recovery Media Kit.
Under C Drive Recovery , click the Next button.
Under Click Finish... , click the Finish button.
NOTE: The computer will restart.
Under Recovery Progress , when the recovery is Completed , click the Next button.
Under The Recovery process is complete , click the Finish button.
After the computer restarts, the operating system setup wizard will start. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup wizard.
NOTE: After the setup wizard is completed, all bundled applications will be reinstalled. If the recovery stops during this process, click inside the window and reinsert the Recovery Disc .
Reset the BIOS to the setup defaults.
NOTE: Resetting the BIOS is necessary to restore USB 2.0 Support.

Edited by peter99, 24 March 2009 - 09:54 AM.

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