I'm just about ready to lose my temper with my current problem so any help anyone might be able to offer would be appreciated.
I'm running a Sony Vaio laptop, model VGN-FW21L ( Full Specs
) running Vista Home Premium; regularly updated.
I was quickly annoyed to find that all but boot device and password options were disabled in the bios, the reason I found out to be to save on tech support costs from people accidently breaking their machines, so what I'm having trouble with is really pushing my patience.
I ran the machine without much issue for a good five or so months with Ubuntu on a separate partition. One day last week it started to act up, slowing to a crawl and not loading task manager. I put this down general use (installing/uninstalling a lot of software) and maybe something malicious that might have gotten through AVG. No biggie I think, I'll just back up my stuff and restore it back to factory settings.
I had a copy of Vista Ultimate that I was no longer using (the machine I had bought it for is now running Windows 7) so I thought I'd install that instead.
Installation went find, except that when I got into Windows I found that very few of the drivers were installed. Luckily it had found something for the ethernet connection so I plugged a good ol' fashioned cable in and let Windows look for some drivers... but it couldn't find any. So then I dug into my computer draw and pulled out the documentation that came with the laptop and ripped open the stiff, cellophane wrapped booklet with the Windows OEM Serial Number on that I had taken to be the installation disk... it was a booklet with a piece of cardboard inside it.
I know what some of you are probably thinking (words like "should" and "made" and "recovery disc") but hear me out.
So I pointed my computer at the Vaio website and went to the driver download page and, as any good computer manufacturer should, a full list of all the drivers needed were there. However, I found that, three hours and two other computers later, not one of the damn things download properly. Whether they were a couple 100 K or over 100mb (graphics) they would download 100kb or so and I would be left with corrupt archive.
At this point I gave up and decided to just restore from the recovery partition. Now I found out that I should have made a recovery disc as soon as I got the laptop. In my defence, I have gone through everything that came with the laptop and the ONLY place it says this, is in the recovery guide... why would I look in the recovery guide if I don't need to recover it? Of course it's at this point I find out that my tweaking of the boot manager for Ubuntu and my installing of a different version of Vista over the old one has ruined any chance of booting into the recovery partition like it should do.
So for the past three evenings I've messed around with the laptop, making the EISA partition visible, messing with BCDedit (this is all new to me) and I've managed to get the recovery partition to show up as boot option, pointing to the etfsboot.com file that I'm fairly sure is the right file, and when I try booting into it I'm face with a Boot Manager error:
Info: An unexpected I/O error has occurred.
Does anyone have any ideas? I know that this is my own doing (though this would hardly be an issue if Sony a) were clear in their documentation or b) their support downloads worked) but everywhere on the net seems fairly certain replacement discs (which, lets be honest they should have included in the first place... how much do they really cost?) would cost around £25... which I don't think Sony have earned.
Vaio support line is closed now so I thought I'd try a forum before ringing them tomorrow. I would appreciate any advice (even if it's "Your screwed, buy the replacement disc") anyone can offer.
Sorry for the long post.