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Windows 7: Sony VAIO laptop, S series, Windows 7 won't boot

16 Aug 2018   #21
cjay2

windows 7 pro 64
 
 

iko22,

Ok, so I need to shut down, and try to boot from the repair DVD that I just made. I assume that I just place the DVD into the slot with the power shut down, then hit the power button. Then if/when I make it into the repair disc, I should then follow the prompts/make choices to get into the System Recovery Environment, (how?) then run CHKDSK, on the C: drive, from a command prompt Window in the System Recovery Environment.

I've read and photocopied the 'How to use the Windows 7 System Recovery Environment Command Prompt' article you linked me. Will this newly-made repair DVD offer me the exact path shown in this above artlicle to get over where I can choose to open a command prompt window, and proceed from there with CHKDISK on the C drive, as indicated in the above article? Or could there be some variation of dialogs before getting the choice to start the command prompt session?

Ok, at this point, before I try all of the above, I'd like to state that my opinion on this problem at this time, is that because it succeeds into booting normally from the power-off state, after a number of attempts, it appears to be a physical problem on the motherboard, perhaps as simple as a dead CMOS cell no longer supporting the Bios chip. I bought the computer in Sept 2012, so the CMOS cell has 6 years on it. Once the power stays on long enough, the machine boots as if nothing is wrong. I think we can eliminate the possibility of a problem on the current HDD, because the problem even occurs when I put in the original HHD, which has never suffered from the possibility of being a clone with a possible problem inherited from the current disk (recall that my last-year's clone is made from my current drive, not the original).

But as long as running CHKDISK on the C drive doesn't cause any problems on my current HHD, and I can still use the computer when it eventually does boot up, then hopefully we can continue to try and resolve this issue. I will note any and all details such as flashing keyboard lights, etc, while performing these tasks. In 2 weeks, I'll be moving flats here, so all with be in confusion for a while, so I really need to consider doing this activity ASAP, while I'm in a well-known environment.

I'll check in here for responses, and to inform you guys of my progress.

CJ


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
16 Aug 2018   #22
cjay2

windows 7 pro 64
 
 

Megahertz07

When the fan speed issue began 3 years ago, I did check all of the Vaio Care settings regarding fan speed and power-saving settings on the computer. I researched everything I could find on the 'fan-speed always high in Windows 7', but nothing seemed to apply in my situation. I even updated the Bios, because it was said that it might fix it.

The CPU runs at a low percentage most of the time, unless I'm rendering video or processing audio, but the problem just suddenly began one day 3 years ago, and persists to the present.

The only thing I haven't attempted to try, in order to fix this issue, is re-seating the fan assembly with new thermal pads to see if perhaps they aren't sinking enough heat. I haven't done this because there is nowhere to find the thermal pads for this Vaio, and the "service manual" has absolutely ZERO info or specs for anything in the computer. It's useless, as I've stated earlier.

My Vaio Care fan and power settings are, respectively, "balanced operation" and "50% charge on battery to extend battery life". The temperatures indicated by my CPUID Hardware program seem to be reasonably low (currently 48C/118F - CPU cores), and the fans are running at their fast speed, as they have for 3 years now.

This computer, outside of these several chronic issues (fan speed, loss of the Centrino wifi card) has operated perfectly, well over my expectations, and continues to do everything I want it to do (net-browsing, video/audio editing/repair, Photoshop, playing any and all media). Additionally it's running 7 perfectly, and everything on the laptop is well-matched to it, without issues. It's a familiar and dependable environment. I'm using Kaspersky AV Internet Security, and that's about it. As long as it continues to work well, I'm satisfied, and don't need or want Windows 10, and new hardware that may not run my sw.

I do want to fix this difficulty at power-up issue, though.

CJ
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Aug 2018   #23
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

Fan speed has a controller to keep temperatures low. If the fan is high and the temperatures are around 50ļC, it can be that the heat sink is clogged with dust.
Thermal paste or thermal pads doesn't need to be changed, unless you take the heat sink from CPU / GPU.
If you can open the laptop and remove the fan WITHOUT removing the heat sink it can be the solution.
Another thing you can try is to block the fan from spinning with a paper clip and then blow compressed air. I don't like this solution because you dont take the dust out, you move it to another place but is something you can try.
I use Open Hardware Monitor - Core temp, fan speed and voltages in a free software gadget. It doesn't need to be installed. Expand it to C:\Program Files (x86)\HardwareMonitor, run it, go to options and set to start with windows.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

17 Aug 2018   #24
iko22

Windows 7 x64, Vista x64, 8.1 smartphone
 
 

cjay2

Check your progress when you reach these screens:
> Select a keyboard input method
> Select operating system
> Choose a Recovery Tool
> Command Prompt

When you go to use the system repair DVD you want to acheive two things:

(1) That you can startup computer to boot DVD without any black screens.
(2) Run CHKDSK /r C: from the System Repair DVD command prompt (system repair DVD recovery tool).

If you encounter problem with (1), then using (2) might not be much use to you. If you are successful doing 1) with no error, then carry on to use 2).

Hope that helps.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Sep 2018   #25
cjay2

windows 7 pro 64
 
 

Iko22:

I shut the computer down last night and have tried all of the following actions, with the following results.

1) I tried pressing the power button in order to initiate a normal turn on sequence.
Result: In the moment you press the button, the three leds (WiFi, battery, and HD-access) light up. Also the white keyboard backlighting comes on (and fades out after about fifteen seconds). After a couple of seconds the HD-access led goes out, and the fan starts in low speed mode. The power light remains on, and after 35 seconds, the fan switches to high speed mode and remains there until you hold the power button down for four seconds, then the computer turns completely off. The screen remains black throughout this period.

Other things you can see and hear in this period:

When you press power button on, you can hear a light click from the hard drive (right front side of computer), as if it is trying to place the heads in position to begin reading. Itís a light click, not a heavy clunk. Then a couple of seconds after that, you hear an attempt by the optical drive (left rear side of computer) to find a disc (in this trial there is no disc in the drive). Then the cooling fan comes on (rear center of computer) in low speed mode.
After 35 seconds, the fan shifts to high speed mode, and computer sits there doing nothing, fan on high, power light on, WiFi light on, until you hold the power button down for four seconds, at which point the computer shuts down. When the computer shuts down there is s tiny click or two from the hard drive and then silence as all shuts down.

2) Computer is off and repair disc is inserted most of the way into optical drive slot.
Press power button: DVD is pulled into optical drive which then sounds like itís reading the disc for about fifteen seconds - there are NO repetitive sounds as if it were trying to reread a track. It sounds like it has found data and sounds like itís reading it off the disc. It makes seven or eight seeking and reading sounds for about fifteen seconds, then it stops. Power light is on, nothing appears on the screen, fan goes into high speed after 35 seconds from power-on. Pressing the Eject button ejects the DVD, and holding the power down for four seconds shuts down the computer.

3) other things done:
- I replaced HD with my cloned drive, made last year (which worked normally then).
No change at all.
- I put in the original still-working HD:
no change at all.
- Replaced current drive back in,
No change.
- tried starting using my Sony Vaio recovery disc.
No change at all. There were a similar set of seeks, reads (apparently) and then stops.
- tried booting from my Acronis rescue/cloning USB stick,
Wouldnít boot, nothing on screen.

My thoughts:

It wonít do a normal turn-on and booting into the system with any of my working hard drives or using my bootable USB stick. The immediate response to a power on press is initially normal for the first moment, then nothing happens further, though the fan does speed up as it has for the last several years now, after 35 seconds.

Trying to start from a DVD, it appears to seek and possibly read data, then after fifteen seconds or so, that stops. You can eject the disc using the eject button, with the power on.

In all of this there appears nothing on the screen, and in the booting attempts using just the hard drive or usb stick, you can hear light sounds from the hard drive near the beginning and then right when the power goes off.

Back to you guys. Thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Sep 2018   #26
iko22

Windows 7 x64, Vista x64, 8.1 smartphone
 
 

That is an excellent account of your computer's operation, and very detailed cjay2. I fully respect your efforts in exploring your own question here. I will do my best to answer your comments, and see if it is possible to diagnose the fault with your laptop while on this forum.
quote
Quote:
In the moment you press the button, the three leds (WiFi, battery, and HD-access) light up
Instead of using battery power, had you tried powering on via the AC mains power supply cable?
quote
Quote:
the screen remains black throughout
at any time during the boot sequence can you see a BIOS splash screen or a sony logo screen? In other words, can you still access the BIOS menu during the boot up?
can your laptop support an external monitor connection?
Note: the monitor power LED light should start coloured amber/yellow. During the power on sequence, the monitor power light should change from amber to another colour, either blue or green. A healthy monitor will change the LED light colour when the keyboard\mouse lights turn on, just before the splash screen/logo screen.
quote
Quote:
Computer is off and repair disc is inserted most of the way into optical drive slot.
Press power button: DVD is pulled into optical drive which then sounds like itís reading the disc for about fifteen seconds - there are NO repetitive sounds as if it were trying to reread a track.
Note: A CD/DVD transport door that has been left open (ejected), will automatically close during boot. If there is a disc placed on the tray, then the tray will spin up once the transport door has completely closed - this action occurs even if the DVD drive is not the selected boot drive.
quote
Quote:
other things done:
- I replaced HD with my cloned drive, made last year (which worked normally then).
No change at all.
- I put in the original still-working HD:
no change at all.
- Replaced current drive back in,
No change.
- tried starting using my Sony Vaio recovery disc.
No change at all. There were a similar set of seeks, reads (apparently) and then stops.
- tried booting from my Acronis rescue/cloning USB stick,
Wouldnít boot, nothing on screen.
Note: you report the same issue occurs during the power on self-test, when the boot device is either the rescue disk, laptop recovery disc, rescue USB, current HDD, or cloned HDD.
Quote
Quote:
The immediate response to a power on press is initially normal for the first moment, then nothing happens further, though the fan does speed up as it has for the last several years now, after 35 seconds.
Note: it is normal for the fans to speed up during power on, and then quieten down only after finding a healthy system boot partition. The significant fact here, as you have reported, is that the fans never quieten down, until you press and hold the power button down for 4 seconds. The boot loader is stored on the boot device. It is right to suspect a corrupt boot loader, but as you have said, you have tried power on with the boot device changed (either HDD, USB or DVD). Of course, an unhealthy boot loader could have been cloned, but you say also that your cloned HDD was working correctly last year.
My thoughts
I am wondering if there is stable supply of power from the battery power rails during an initial power on sequence? You can connect your laptop to the AC mains supply, and repeat the tests to determine if the laptop is receiving adequate power. However, battery/mains selection is only a small sub-circuit that ultimately connects to the motherboard VRMs. And battery failures is usually characterized by increasingly shorter re-charge intervals, rather than unstable supply-demand. Yet it is a change that might still be worth exploring.
Aside from testing the laptop with AC mains supply, it is increasingly looking like the issue is caused by a motherboard failure, just unless, the other possibility is a faulure of the video driver/monitor. Usually a personal computer will emit a beep or a sequence of beeps if the video adapter is missing - and you have not reported on any unusual beeps, so that discounts that sort of error. So, then you have to return to the real possibility that there is a problem with the motherboard during the startup self tests.
The other diagnosis that springs to mind, is that the BIOS settings have been tampered with, supplying the wrong CPU voltage. But, as you reported earlier, you are able to power on the laptop and start Windows after several restart attempts. This leads me to think that the BIOS settings are fine, for your machine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Sep 2018   #27
cjay2

windows 7 pro 64
 
 

Iko22:

In all of the tests I am using the AC power supply. And just to remind you, this is a Sony Vaio laptop.

The screen never shows anything. Ever.

There is no monitor power light. Thereís just three front-edge leds which show:
WiFi on/off (green/off)
AC power/battery charging (off/red)
Hard-drive activity (off/yellow-on)
To the right rear of the keyboard, there is the power button, which has a green light when the unit is powered up.

From the little I know about the initial booting sequence, it appears to not be passing the POST (power-on self-test), because it literally gets nowhere, past a brief attempt to access the hard drive. Recall that the last time I was able to boot the computer, it did the exact same thing, but, after three or four represses of the power button, it booted up normally, with all the usual indications, all the way to the windows login, which also worked when I entered my password. The computer then worked fine for additional five weeks, going into hibernation when I shut the cover for the night, then continuing normally the next day, when I opened the cover.

The computer worked completely normally once in the operating system, and before that day when I had to retry booting it three or four times, I never had any problems powering down to do required restarts or, on the rare occasion, switching out my hard drive to clone it once a year.

At this point in time, the computer will not start up, thereís no indication on the screen ever, and it does respond to the disc eject button (when thereís a disc inside) and the four-second power-down on the power button.

Iím not sure if it even gets to the POST level but you can hear at least one attempt to operate the hard drive each time you power up.
Please recall that the fan speed going into high mode after 35 seconds has been going on for three years, ever since one day when it first began doing that. Before then it only went into high speed mode when rendering video or occasionally on hot summer days. I tried all known things to try to diagnose why it was going into high speed mode, including finally disassembling the computer to clean the heat sink fins and fan. They werenít even very dusty when I did that, but I shot compressed air into the assembly and across the cooling fins just clean it all. Recall that I did not disassemble the heat pipes from the cpu and gpu chips, because I had no source for replacement Heat pads.
Finally, the working temperatures, using CPU-ID Hardware program showed 40 - 60 C range, depending on what the computer was doing, in the summer. The CPU temp usually sat at 40C when the computer was just idling, so it doesnít appear that there is a heat-conduction problem from the cpu or gpu chips.

Thatís about all Iíve got at this end,
Cal.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Sep 2018   #28
Snick

Win 10 x64, Linux Lite, Win 7 x64, BlackArch, Kali, VMWare Workstation Player, OpenVPN
 
 

Perusing your thread, it sounds like your Motherboard is done!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Sep 2018   #29
cjay2

windows 7 pro 64
 
 

Snick,

Iíve suspected from the beginning that itís a motherboard hardware issue, but weíre going through all other possible diagnostics here before I get serious with the motherboard. If it appears that the board needs diagnostic and repair, then I want to find someone able to fix it at component level, and return this machine to service, as everything works perfectly once in the system. It would most likely be a simple part failure, and I do not want to deal with windows 10 at all.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Sep 2018   #30
cjay2

windows 7 pro 64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Snick View Post
... back up ... because it’s not a matter of IF...
Exactly. I keep all my data, as well as important AppData settings, on two identical 1T drives, backed up at all times, as well as a cloned backup C drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Sony VAIO laptop, S series, Windows 7 won't boot




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