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Possible Laptop Purchase (Resolved).


Best Answer Channeal , 28 September 2016 - 09:06 AM

Hello Phill, Phew! I am exhausted!!!!  Some good news, some bad........ Dban completed okay. I eventually managed to sort out my ISO-to-flashdrive problems and got the Windows 10 dow... Go to the full post »


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#76
Channeal

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Hello Phill,

Big events in my computer life the past few days!

First of all, I finally have possession of the laptop. Have not had very much time to look at it so far, although I think there may be a few problems to sort out there.

That is all on the backburner for now though as our main XP computer has decided to go wrong. I have had suspicions about it for a few weeks as it has been extremely slow, especially when loading emails into Outlook Express. So I waited until I was given the laptop and after doing lots of scans for malware etc without finding anything, I decided to run Checkdisk.

It went through the scan okay and did not seem to have found any problems. The scan finished, the computer restarted and up came all my desktop icons - but the computer then immediately rebooted and Checkdisk started up all over again. This pattern has been repeated many times since early evening until a little while ago.

I did not want to turn the computer off in the middle of the Checkdisk scan as I think I remember reading that it is not good to do that, so I didn't know what to do! It was not until a little while ago that I finally hit on the idea of putting my Puppy Linux CD in - and once that had loaded, I was able to shut down the computer from there. Now why didn't I think of that before!

It is past 1 a.m. now (way past my usual bedtime) but am here writing this because I am not sure what I should do next. Do you think the hard drive might be failing?

Actually (just working through it in my mind now that the house is quiet) perhaps I should mention that we have got two hard drives and the second one has a clone of the OS on it (which you yourself actually helped me to create back.in 2014) so I guess I could always turn that drive on in the BIOS and try to boot from there if all else fails.

At least everything is backed up on my new external drive - although I do not think I have backed up my husband's emails (which he reads in Outlook Express) for quite a while. My bad! :(

Anyway, I am off to get some sleep at long last! :)

Bye for now,

Chris.

UPDATE. I got into the BIOS. I had problems at first identifying which drive was which, but thought I had it sussed in the end. I thought I had turned drive C off and drive D on.

When Windows tried to start, up jumped Scandisk again. I thought was scanning the other drive, but am now unsure as for the first time it found some errors: orphaned files re. Avast Safe Zone browser. (I thought I didn't have it on the second hard drive, although am not certain).

Once Checkdisk had finished, the desktop flashed up again - but this time I got a black screen saying that neither drive had been found. Will look at it again later though, as am rushing to go out though. Have had a very stressful morning (aside from the computer stuff) so will try again later when all is more peaceful here! :)

Edited by Channeal, 22 July 2016 - 05:36 AM.

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#77
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,
 
Apologies for the delay getting back to you, my time on the forums has been limited the past couple of days as I was needed elsewhere.
 
Please try restoring the factory default settings for the MB in the BIOS and then see if the computer will boot.

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#78
Channeal

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No problem at all Phill :) but hope you are okay and that you absence is not indicative of any major problem.

Last night I put in my Kapersky rescue disc and it did a very long virus scan. It only found a couple of very monor things, nothing to cause these problems. It mounted all the drives okay though.

Just re-checking as the reset thing in the BIOS warns that it may make it impossible to boot the computer and that Windows may need to be reinstalled.

I am happy today, as I managed to get my printer to work via the laptop. It has not worked since the printer had to be replaced by Dell last October. I really need to print lots of urgent stuff at the moment, so am very pleased! :)

Many thanks for your help

Chris.
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#79
phillpower2

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Work commitments which is my own fault I`m afraid as I am my own boss and should learn to say no more often  :(

 

Just re-checking as the reset thing in the BIOS warns that it may make it impossible to boot the computer and that Windows may need to be reinstalled.

 

 

Not heard of that before, all that we are looking to do is put the C: drive either first or second in the boot order and the DVD again either first or second.

 

If the two HDDs are identified in the BIOS, see if you are able to manually revert the change/s that you made, save the setting, exit and see if the computer will then boot.

 

Good news regarding the printer  :thumbsup:


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#80
Channeal

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Hello Phill,

Ah, we know somebody else like that! He owns a couple of businesses, one of which he is a fork-lift truck driver trainer for. He set up a local branch of a charity which helps people in need and he persuaded me to be the Secretary for it. I agreed (very reluctantly) as there was nobody else to do it, but it has been a complete and utter nightmare as he is taking on too many training jobs at the moment and he just cannot say no. So, he never answers my emails or gives me any of the information I need to complete an annual report I have to do! I just do not need this stress at the moment! :( He is a lovely guy though and does so much good work, so it is impossible to complain too strongly or to be cross with him for very long! :)

Sorry, am digressing massively here! :(

Restoring factory settings results in the warning I told you about before, but all the drives are now turned on again in the BIOS. Checkdisk is running again as I write - and finding more orphaned files (all of which seem to be Opera files).

The settings I mentioned for turning drives on/off are under 'Drives' in the BIOS. Both drives are showing up there but, although I have not changed anything in the boot sequence, I am only given one option there for a SATA drive. I seem to remember from back in 2016 that this was the case even back then though.

I am thinking that this must surely signal the end of this computer's life. It was always going to happen soon, but at least it has had a long and happy life! :) My only regret is that I have not had a chance to do anything much with the laptop yet, but at least I do have possession of it! :)

My big fear though is that the laptop will die too, before we have had the chance to buy a new computer!

Btw, I ran the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisory on the laptop (and saved the reports). It doesn't look as though there are any problems that I can see there, though I need to read it again. You said I cannot get Windows 7 now anyway, so is there another check I should run?

Off to sort out some completely different problems which have arisen here today now! We seem to be having rather a run of them just at the moment and am wondering what on earth will happen next....

Bye for now,
Chris.
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#81
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

Digressing is good  :)

 

With having two HDDs connected it is a bit more difficult to identify if the drive that you were using to boot from has issues and the system then trying to boot from the second HDD, the only way to be certain of what is actually happening with the drives would be to physically disconnect one drive at a time and the test, would you be ok with doing this.

 

You can still get Windows 7 but unless you pay over the top for it on disk you need to download it from a merchant such as the one here

 

Hope you manage to sort your problems out.


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#82
Channeal

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Hello Phill,

Thanks for your reply. Yes, I am happy to work inside the computer and disconnect one drive at a time. Though I am pretty sure that back in 2014 I managed to boot from the then Drive D by turning the C drive off.

I am confused about the Windows 7 thing! Back in message 12 (sorry, can't copy and paste text at the moment) I thought we discounted Windows 7 and that we decided it had to be Windows 8/8.1

I haven't tried yet, but my first - and quite likely biggest - problem is likely to be just getting the screws undone to gain access to the interior. I was unable to do it before. :(

Bye for now,
Chris.

 

UPDATE

 

Good news in that I managed to get the computer to boot from the cloned OS on the second hard drive by switching the leads around.

 

When booting from the clone, I still get the black screen at first with white writing saying that drives 1 and 3 are not found.

 

DSC_0009.JPG

 

Pressing F1 however then leads to the computer booting normally When looking at disk management, everything looks okay and it says there that all the drives are healthy.

 

Booting from the original drive (not the clone) still results in Checkdisk running. I am adding a picture of the latest Checkdisk.  (Once it starts running, I cannot stop it as 'Press any key' does not work.)

 

DSC_0008.JPG

 

Perhaps I should mention a strange problem which has been present for a very long time now. Since even before I created the clone way back in 2014, I have found when first booting into Windows that all the dektop icons load and soon afterwards the screen goes black for a few seconds, but then comes back. This happened before and after the clone - and in fact still happens now with the clone, although the clone recovers. It is at the point where this happens on the original drive that the computer now turns off and Checkdisk starts up. Any ideas what is going on?

 

I hope that your work just involves being the boss and not doing anything too strenuous.... it is too hot  to do anything too exerting here at the moment! :)

 

Chris.


Edited by Channeal, 26 July 2016 - 09:08 AM.

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#83
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

Going off topic here so hopefully this will be a quick one to resolve;

 

Good news in that I managed to get the computer to boot from the cloned OS on the second hard drive by switching the leads around.

 

 

Well at least that went as we hoped it would, well done   :thumbsup:

 

When booting from the clone, I still get the black screen at first with white writing saying that drives 1 and 3 are not found.

 

 

That is normal behaviour for Dell BIOS.

 

Booting from the original drive (not the clone) still results in Checkdisk running. 

 

 

Please connect only the HDD that has the original OS on it, restart the computer while tapping the F8 key to see if you can get into Safe Mode, post back with an update for us please.

 

I am confused about the Windows 7 thing! Back in message 12 (sorry, can't copy and paste text at the moment) I thought we discounted Windows 7 and that we decided it had to be Windows 8/8.1

 

 

Reply #12 below;

 

Just spent what seemed like an eternity trying to find a full retail version of Windows 7 that would allow the licence key to be re used on another computer should the Sony notebook suddenly expire, sorry to say they simply are not widely available anymore   OEM versions you can find but I would not recommend such a purchase in this instance, much better to go the retail DVD route with Windows 8/8.1 and always have the disk and product key to hand should you need to do a fresh install, this was what I did on the Vaio that I have which was also originally running Vista but is now running Windows 10 Pro.

 

 

Crossed wires perhaps, Windows 7 full retail version was discounted due to the extreme prices being charged, example here you could alternatively go the digital download route and once Windows was installed and updated etc download a Windows 7 ISO from Microsoft, you would need a retail (full version) product key for this option, see info here which includes links to where you can purchase retail product keys, hope this clears things up  :)


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#84
Channeal

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Hello Phill,
 
Many thanks for the reply.
 
 
 

 
Please connect only the HDD that has the original OS on it, restart the computer while tapping the F8 key to see if you can get into Safe Mode, post back with an update for us please.

 
Bad news here I am afraid; I have tried this and unfortunately it did not work! :(
 
 
 

 
Crossed wires perhaps, Windows 7 full retail version was discounted due to the extreme prices being charged, example here you could alternatively go the digital download route and once Windows was installed and updated etc download a Windows 7 ISO from Microsoft, you would need a retail (full version) product key for this option, see info here which includes links to where you can purchase retail product keys, hope this clears things up 

 
 
So I could obtain a digital download of Windows 7, along with a product key.  Would having the product key mean that I could then do a fresh install if necessary?
 
Also, what about your suggestion that it would be better to buy a DVD of Windows 8/8.1? I think I asked you in Message 13 whether it would be possible to use this OS on the laptop. Is there a download advisory I could run for it, just as there is for Windows 7?
 
I was looking at some instructions for cleaning etc. inside the laptop. Looks really quite daunting! :(
 
Many thanks,
 
Chris.

Edited by Channeal, 27 July 2016 - 02:27 PM.

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#85
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

What if anything happened when you tried tapping F8 and are you using a USB or PS/2 (wired) type keyboard, not all USB ports on Dell computers are enabled by default but USB port 1 on the rear of the case sometimes is so if using a USB type keyboard make sure that it is in USB port 1, it is normally the first USB port on the left.

 

The sort of Windows 7 disk you can use here technically you have a refurbished computer as not purchased as new, please take the time to read some of the amazon reviews.

 

HP have a cleaning guide for notebooks which is pretty much the same for other brands, see here


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#86
Channeal

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Hello Phill,
 
Nothing at all seems to happen when I try tapping F8 to get into safe mode. It very quickly moves onto the black screen telling me that 3 drives have not been found.
 
With regard to the keyboard, it is connected by USB. There are 2 USB ports on the front and 5 on the back (2 on 1st row, 3 below). The manual at http://downloads.del...anual_en-us.pdf says they are all 2.0

(please see edit below)
 




~~~~~~~~

 
I am afraid that I am still confused about which OS I should buy for the laptop.
 
Please can you answer my questions about Windows 8/8.1?  Have you discounted using that now?
 
Retail DVDs for Windows 7 are - as you so rightly say - expensive.  I am worried about buying the download versions though, especially when people who have purchased one say that using them resulted in messages saying that Windows is not Genuine.  Dont want that to happen! And anyway, I quite liked the idea of learning to use a more recent OS. Windows 7 has only been around for 2 years less than Vista, I believe.
 
Sorry if I am being very stupid and annoying.....  I know you are very busy at the moment and probably dont want to have to keep explaining to someone who is taking ages to understand! :no:
 




~~~~~~~~

 
The link you gave me regarding cleaning the laptop says you do not actually need to remove the cover to clean. Is that correct? I would have thought that with a fairly old laptop, you would need to clean inside especially as this one seems quite hot to me.
 
Can you look at these readings for the laptop please: -
 
speedfan.jpg
 
I had already seen an instruction video on how to remove the fan for cleaning at https://www.youtube....h?v=ICrEOcjFOOM ..... however,  I imagine that even just cleaning around inside (without physically removing the fan) helps, so is it necessary to actually lift it out?
 
It was the instructions on opening a Sony Vaio at http://www.instructa...ny-Vaio-Laptop/  that really made me feel discouraged though! :(
 
I will, of course, need to get inside the laptop anyway (regarless of the cleaning method) if I replace the hard drive. I also found a couple of videos for doing that at https://www.youtube....h?v=rg_GvaMunas and https://www.youtube....h?v=3leEMSImVGc  That does not actually look too difficult, once all the screws have been removed. Seems a good idea to me to replace the hard drive, if I am installing a new OS. What d'ya think?
 
 Thank you so much for all your help.
Chris.

EDIT I sussed out why my computer was not even attempting to get into Safe Mode. I needed to turn the other drives off in the BIOS first! Unfortunately though, once I had realised that and attempted it again, it froze on the black screen listing all the drivers that had loaded. I have only tried once so far - Checkdisk is running again at the moment, as I didn't manage to stop it this time! :(

Btw, the black screen saying that drives are missing no longer comes up when I boot up from either drive. What seems to have happened is that I mistakenly turned on drives 1 and 3 (which maybe don't actually exist) in the BIOS when all this first happened. I have turned them off now - and the black screen no longer appears.
 

Edited by Channeal, 29 July 2016 - 10:44 AM.

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#87
phillpower2

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Hello Chris,

 

Attachment below regarding the USB ports, please note that if the problem persists it would be best to start a new thread so as to avoid confusion.

 

Please can you answer my questions about Windows 8/8.1?  Have you discounted using that now?

 

 

Certainly for the first part but not for the second, the choice of OS depends on your decision and compatibility with Windows 8/8.1, I never ran Windows 7 on my Vaio and went the Windows 8 - 8.1 and then 10 upgrade path from Vista, you can check compatibility using the Windows 8 upgrade assistant, tutorial courtesy of Brink here the one thing that I did do though was purchase the full retail version of Windows 8 Pro on disk/s, that way I received both the 32 and 64-bit versions on separate DVDs + the hard copy of the product key.

 

Sorry if I am being very stupid and annoying.....  I know you are very busy at the moment and probably dont want to have to keep explaining to someone who is taking ages to understand! 

 

 

Not at all, it is much better to have your approach and if you don`t mind a delay in response time on occasion then no problem  :thumbsup:

 

The CPU temps and usage are both high for a computer that is not under any load, both will most likely drop a fair bit after a clean install of Windows as there will not be so many unused programs running in the background, I will mention here that before a clean install of any version of Windows is done you make sure that you have the latest versions of all drivers that the computer needs stored on a USB thumb drive.

 

In addition to the above, the reason that notebook repairs and upgrades are normally expensive is because they can be time consuming and tricky, an incorrectly placed screw on reassembly can short out and ruin the MB and that is one good reason that the task should only be undertaken by a suitably trained/competent person who will be obliged to put things right should they make a mistake, with this in mind I would suggest the following;

 

Decide on and purchase your OS on DVD (Sony info for Windows 8.1 here)

Purchase some canned air.

Save all required drivers to a USB thumb drive.

Remove the main power brick + the RAM and any other covers on the base of the notebook, use the canned air as shown in the example video to clean out the dust.

Reassemble, restart to access the BIOS, change the boot sequence to DVD drive first and HDD second, place the DVD in the disk drive, restart and follow the on screen instructions (for best results install Windows on its own 120GB or more partition).

Install the Sony drivers from your USB thumb drive as explained at the Sony link above.

Test and check your CPU temps and usage.

 

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • Dell USB port 1.jpg

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#88
Channeal

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Thanks very much for all the info, Phill. I will run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant. Though you have put me off a bit now by saying that notebook repairs and updates should only be done by a suitably trained/competent person - which I definitely am not!!!!

As I have said elsewhere in an 'Off-Topic' discussion I started, I would dearly love to learn to do all this stuff, but do not know even one person who has an interest in computers, let alone anyone who could help me out! :(

I will have to think it all over! At the moment, I am feeling extremely discouraged..... :(

I am going to have to leave it altogether for now. I am going away in 3 weeks and will be away for a whole month. At the moment, we are beset by multiple other problems so I think I will have to leave this one until I get back. :(

With regard to the main computer, I will open a new topic. (I thought of doing it before, but was not sure if I could have 2 topics open at once!).

Just to say that I think you totally missed the edit to my post regarding starting up in safe mode. I always find it hard to know what to do regarding having something to add to a post afterwards. I think I have read that it is not good to add another post before the last one has been answered as the first one can be overlooked. Surely it is even easier to overlook an edit though?

Anyway, never mind.... will copy and paste it into the new topic once I have created it.

Many thanks for all your help,

Chris.

 

NEW TOPIC is at http://www.geekstogo...ing-windows-xp/


Edited by Channeal, 30 July 2016 - 04:50 AM.

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#89
terry1966

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Though you have put me off a bit now by saying that notebook repairs and updates should only be done by a suitably trained/competent person - which I definitely am not!!!!

depends really on what your wanting to do and laptop design. some things can be easy like hard drive and memory upgrades, other things can be a lot more difficult.

unlike desktop pc's there are a lot more things that are very easy to break like little plastic catches or ribbon connections but as long as your careful, and do your research first then i think you'd be able to handle it.

 

i hate working on laptops just because there are so many screws. :rofl:

 

one thing i would mention about your os update, windows 10 is now no longer available for a free upgrade from a windows 7 or 8 os, so if your going to buy a new os then if the laptop is good enough i'd go straight to win 10.

 

:popcorn:


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#90
phillpower2

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Sorry Chris, it was not my intention to put you off only make you aware of the possible pitfalls of dismantling notebook type computers + offer an explanation as to why I would suggest not initially dismantling the notebook to clean it out, the cleaning method that I suggested may suffice and thus remove the need to partially dismantle the chassis and avoid possible mishaps.

 

Just to say that I think you totally missed the edit to my post regarding starting up in safe mode.

 

 

I did see your edit and the Safe Mode suggestion was to see if you could get into Safe Mode before chkdsk began to run, I see that RKinner is already helping you with this at your other thread.

 

was not sure if I could have 2 topics open at once!).

 

 

Never a problem, different computers require separate attention.

 

Valid point made by terry regarding the end of the free upgrade to 10 from 7 and 8.1, the notebook passed the Windows 7 upgrade test and so should do the same with the 8.1 upgrade advisor, the Windows 10 upgrade app is not compatible with Vista I`m afraid.

 

FWIW, least expensive Windows 10 on disk that I could find is here


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