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

07 Aug 2018   #1
cjay2

windows 7 pro 64
 
 
Sony VAIO laptop, S series, Windows 7 won't boot

COMPUTER/SYSTEM INFO:

Sony Vaio Laptop
Model: SVS13AA11L
Product: SVS13A1EGXB
Bought: Sept 2012
OS: Windows 7 Pro 64-bit SP1
CPU: Intel i7 3520M 2.90GHz
RAM: 8.00GB
BIOS: Insyde Corp. Version: R0142C5
HHD: 1TB Western Digital WD10JPVX

Hi folks, new member here. I discovered this problem 2 weeks ago, when I did a Restart to satisfy my AV's request for it. I experienced it again last week, when I wanted to boot from my USB Acronis key to do my annual HHD clone.

WHAT THE COMPUTER IS DOING:

From a cold boot - Press power switch: green light flashes briefly, there's a single click sound that I believe is the optical drive searching for a disc, then computer goes off. The screen is black during this process.
From within a Restart cycle - computer goes off, then brief green light from power key, then off. Screen always black.
From a cold boot, with my USB Acronis rescue/cloning key plugged in, Green light when power is pressed, then off. Screen always black.
Removed USB key.
Repeated attempts to start computer by pressing power button are the same (flash of green power light & click sound), but after many tries, HHD finally spun up and Windows launched normally.

Computer works perfectly normal: I close cover at end of day, it goes into hibernation, and opens back to its current status from hibernation normally.
The computer has no problem operating with my usual full load - 2 open pro-audio editor sessions, plus open video editor session, 5 or 6 Firefox windows, 4 or more Windows Explorer windows, several Notepad files, all open on the taskbar.
Closing the cover at end of day, it goes into hibernation, awaiting next day's work, recovering without problem.
Before 2 weeks ago, I would shut down or Restart whenever my Kaspersky AV or another program requested, with no problems ever.

WHAT I'VE DONE:

I've only allowed this to happen twice: the first time 2 weeks ago, when the AV requested a Restart, and once when I took the following actions after shutting it down:

Thinking it was a faulty HHD, I put in my last year's clone, which worked perfectly when made and tested last year (2017).
There was no change in the situation.
I put in the Vaio's original 2012 HHD which still works, with no change.
I tried booting from my USB Acronis key, with no response.
I put back the current drive, and spent 5 minutes re-pressing the power button, and it finally took hold and booted into windows, where it is currently, hibernating every night.
Kaspersky still wants a reboot, but I'm finishing up a video project, so it will have to wait.

I've joined SevenForums and tested its operation on my smartphone, so I should be able to get back here, if the computer won't come up at some point.

The last time I went into the BIOS, last year, I left the boot order as:
1st: USB
2nd: Optical drive
3rd: HHD
so I can boot from my Acronis USB cloning key, to clone the HHD every year.
This problem just began 2 weeks ago, with the recent attempt to Restart for the AV.
The computer has worked almost flawlessly for over 6 years. I did a complete recovery from my Sony 6-DVD set bought at purchase, once, about 2 years ago, to try and solve the typical Centrino Wifi-card failure problem, ending up buying a USB wifi key after giving up, like everyone else on the Internet does.

So again, once in Windows, the machine works fine and normally, with ZERO issues.

These are my ideas:

I'm thinking it's a hardware issue. Perhaps a dying CMOS battery, perhaps a faulty Bios chip.
I can't see RAM or my main battery as problems because once in W7, everythings fine. Vaio Care says my battery is in excellent state.
As stated above, I've put 2 other working HHD's in, and the problem remains.

I'd like some advice from you folks as to my next step, because once I power down to do something about this, there's no guarantee it'll come back until the problem is solved.

Thanks in advance.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
07 Aug 2018   #2
iko22

Windows 7 x64, Vista x64, 8.1 smartphone
 
 

Hi cjay2, and welcome to seven forums

What is your computer doing, sounds like you only have problem after when inserting USB Acronis key. Am I correct?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2018   #3
cjay2

windows 7 pro 64
 
 

Hi iko22,

No, the computer simply will not start up from power-off state. It won't launch into a bootable Usb key if one is there, it won't launch from power-off into the operating system. However, as stated, if I continue to press the power key over and over, after waiting for a response after each press, it has eventually started normally and gone into Windows7. The problem is that I can't just press once and expect it to act normally - go thru the boot process and into Windows. I'm finding that I have to press many times, until one time works.
As stated, it doesn't even boot into my bootable USB key.
Once it has booted and gone into Windows, the computer works fine, goes into hibernation when I'm finished using it, and awakening again when I want to use it. The entire computer is working normally until it is powered off, either by shutting it down or from attempting a Restart cycle when requested by a program.
It doesn't power on, until (at this point in time) you have pressed power many times, and then it eventually (up thru this point in time) will start normally.

I'm hoping that someone has seen this before and can tell me something to try that might have a chance at success. Lacking that, I'll have to take a chance and shut it down, disassemble it and replace the CMOS battery cell, in the hope that maybe that is the problem. The computer is in use since 2012, so the cell has over 7 years on it. Other than that, I have no idea of what to do.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

07 Aug 2018   #4
iko22

Windows 7 x64, Vista x64, 8.1 smartphone
 
 

Thank you, I understand better now. Repalcing the CMOS battery would be a good suggestion. However, like you say, you want to avoid that because it means powering off your computer, and powering off and on your computer brings about the launch instability.
So, before attempting to replace the CMOS battery, there are a few things you can do, for piece of mind.

Do you have created a Windows System Repair disk? If not then you can create one following this tutorial: System Repair Disk - Create - Windows 7 Help Forum. This will protect you, in case you have to power down at any time.
Secondly, run a checkdisk on the USB stick.
With Windows logged on, insert the USB stick into the computer.
Open the Computer Folder
Right mouse-click on the USB stick, and select Properties
Then select Tools, and click on the Check now button.
Have ticked the two boxes that appear, then click start.
On completion, Note the results
.
You can follow these simple tips, to provide you more information, about the health of your computer, without having to power down.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2018   #5
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

It doesn't sounds good.
" Press power switch: green light flashes briefly, there's a single click sound that I believe is the optical drive searching for a disc, then computer goes off. The screen is black during this process.

It doesn't give any message.
Sad to say but I think you have you have a damage MoBo or CPU.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2018   #6
iko22

Windows 7 x64, Vista x64, 8.1 smartphone
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Megahertz07 View Post
It doesn't sounds good.
" Press power switch: green light flashes briefly, there's a single click sound that I believe is the optical drive searching for a disc, then computer goes off. The screen is black during this process.

It doesn't give any message.
Sad to say but I think you have you have a damage MoBo or CPU.
I also tell him to create a system repair disk. If he can boot into the repair DVD first time without a black screen, then I think his motherboard is safe.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2018   #7
cjay2

windows 7 pro 64
 
 

iko22,

So you're suggesting both to try replacing the CMOS cell, as well as create a DVD repair disk to try and test to see whether or not the machine will boot into the DVD drive (which has always worked well).
I'll look at the link you provided to the repair disk.

Ok, I inserted the Acronis USB key into the computer, and ran through the check, with both boxes checked as you said. It said that the USB key is healthy and ready to use (it's a small 4GB key).

Question:
I have the entire recovery 6-DVD set that I bought with the computer. Would placing the first disk into the optical drive and pressing the power to see if it boots the DVD be sufficient to show that the MB is functional? I don't have to follow any of the instructions on the DVD if it boots. I do NOT want to reformat and reinstall windows on this HHD, because it's working fine. The entire computer works normal, outside of this cold-boot issue. I would just be exercising the pathway that boots from the optical drive, thus showing some sort of operational success.

Then, I can create the repair disk, if the pathway to booting from the drive is working, and if it gives me functions that don't already exist on the recovery disks from my Sony DVD set.

Megahertz mentioned that he felt that the MB or CPU could be bad, but the entire computer is functional, fully loaded with four heavy programs going at once, and many folders and files open, including media files being edited. I'm not able to understand how a CPU could be defective whilst still running everything normally.

It also seems that, whatever is wrong, the computer can, after several tries (I'm referring to THIS point in time here), eventually go through the entire boot-up and launching of Windows, and then operate fine, so to me, it seems that there is nothing that is catastrophically broken on the MB, but that something *is* intermittently preventing normal cold-booting (booting from power-off state).

Question:
If booting from the optical is possible, could that indicate a corrupted/intermittent Bios chip?
I don't know of anything else that stands in the boot procedure besides the power switch, the bios, and finally a working bootable device. I don't know how the boot process works in this computer, so I can't diagnose and troubleshoot this by myself, without outside help.

So, to finish up, the USB key is in good health, and the next step according to you would be to try and boot from the optical drive, using a disk that can demonstrate that the optical booting path is functional.

I find myself wondering why it won't directly boot from the healthy USB key, that I've used in the past, twice, to clone my backup C-drive HHD's.

Ok, back to you...
cj
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2018   #8
iko22

Windows 7 x64, Vista x64, 8.1 smartphone
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cjay2 View Post
iko22,

So you're suggesting both to try replacing the CMOS cell, as well as create a DVD repair disk ...
No, not exactly. You said you wanted to defer replacing the CMOS, so I made some alternative suggestions that might work.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cjay2 View Post
Question:
I have the entire recovery 6-DVD set that I bought with the computer. Would placing the first disk into the optical drive and pressing the power to see if it boots the DVD be sufficient to show that the MB is functional?
Are those Disks boot-able? Or are they a clone of your system? The two are not of the same meaning.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cjay2 View Post
Megahertz mentioned that he felt that the MB or CPU could be bad, but the entire computer is functional, fully loaded with four heavy programs going at once, and many folders and files open, including media files being edited. I'm not able to understand how a CPU could be defective whilst still running everything normally.
Yes, he is still correct. Even if the system stabilises eventually, the power transients across the motherboard are different at start up.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cjay2 View Post
It also seems that, whatever is wrong, the computer can, after several tries (I'm referring to THIS point in time here), eventually go through the entire boot-up and launching of Windows, and then operate fine, so to me, it seems that there is nothing that is catastrophically broken on the MB, but that something *is* intermittently preventing normal cold-booting (booting from power-off state).
Will have to wait and see.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cjay2 View Post
Question:
If booting from the optical is possible, could that indicate a corrupted/intermittent Bios chip?
I don't know of anything else that stands in the boot procedure besides the power switch, the bios, and finally a working bootable device. I don't know how the boot process works in this computer, so I can't diagnose and troubleshoot this by myself, without outside help.
If I were you, I would replace the CMOS battery. When you are more confident to do so.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cjay2 View Post
So, to finish up, the USB key is in good health, and the next step according to you would be to try and boot from the optical drive, using a disk that can demonstrate that the optical booting path is functional.
That is exactly what I was thinking.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Aug 2018   #9
cjay2

windows 7 pro 64
 
 

iko22,

The process of replacing the Cmos cell requires accessing the side of the motherboard where the CPU lives. Unfortunately on this model, that requires completely removing the MB from the unit, a process that I did about 1 and a half years ago, to clean the fan assembly. It took me 3 hours and involved keeping track of over 20 screws and many connectors, plugs, and fine details of wire-routing, etc. I'm trying to put off having to do it again, but at some point, eventually, that CMOS cell will need attention. The worst part is unsnapping and resnapping the case-halves together - there's always this fear of breaking the plastic tabs.
Thus my desire to avoid it for a while, if possible, as some of these CMOS cells can last a decade or more.

Yes, the set of 6 DVDs that the Sony store made me, are full recovery DVD's, and they completely contain everything that was on the computer when I bought it. The first DVD in the set is bootable - the others are asked for as you proceed through the recovery process. They are NOT a clone of the system, to be clear. I used them once to do a full system recovery/restart about 2 years ago. They work.

I'm wondering if there is a way to find the complete booting sequence for this computer, in order to help diagnose this problem better.

So, therefore, your opinion at this point, is that I should replace the CMOS cell, and see if that clears the problem.
Then, if not, try to boot from my first recovery DVD, or should I specifically create the repair disk that you linked to?

Thanks again!
cj
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Aug 2018   #10
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

Do you have a Legacy-MBR or a UEFI-GPT disk?

For what you described on post#1, I don't think it's a disk boot failure or a dead CMos battery.
- Disk boot failure or any other boot failure you see something going on. You described a computer that couldn't even turn on and start POST.
- On laptops with main battery on, the CMos battery should last forever. My question is: Does your laptop has the main battery and is it good?
- The fist thing we notice with a dead battery is that the clock is wrong every time we boot. Did you noticed wrong clock after boot?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Sony VAIO laptop, S series, Windows 7 won't boot




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