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One easy way to make a startup CD: In your c:\ drive, find and copy the folder named "i386" to a blank CD. That folder is in c:\windows You might wish to use a CD-RW so that you can overwrite in case you make a mistake. You'll also need to find and copy these three files: regedit.exe, expand.exe, and winnt32.exe. These are also in the c:\windows folder. Keep in mind that if you have to use the disk someday, you'll need your XP product code, and you'll have to go into the BIOS and set the computer to boot from CD/DVD. Hope this helps.
There is hidden recovery partition. Just keep pressing F10 key while VAIO starts and utility will load. YOu can restore Vaio back to factory settings using that. Make sure to backup your data first. YOu can create RDVDs if you go to start-> Vaio recovery utiliity.
There could be several things which are causing your CD burner not to act in the way it should.
I had a similar type problem after installing Windows XP, .Service Pack 3 onto my Sony VAIO model VGN-SZ330P. The standard Windows burner kept saying there was no CD in the drive but it would play both CDs and DVDs.
I went looking for an alternative and now use IMGBURN which is a free lightweight CD / DVD / HD DVD / Blu-ray burning application . You can find it at http://www.imgburn.com/.
I also installed CDBurnerXP which is another free application to burn CDs and DVDs, including Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs. It also includes the feature to burn and create ISOs, as well as a multilanguage interface. You can find it at http://cdburnerxp.se/en/home
The above does not tell you why your burner is having problems (and they could be numerous), it will certainly get the burner doing everything you need.
Turn your Vaio upside down and look for an easy access panel or release lever to remove the hard drive carriage. You will probably need a small Philip's screw driver to remove the carriage, but I don't think you need to remove the keyboard.