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I have a Sony Vaio PCG-FRV26 series laptop that has just started shutting itself down and restarting after windows has been up for only a minute or two. I have taken the unit apart & cleaned everything thinking it may be just dirty and overheating. No success, BTW it was not very dirty after all but as long as I was in there I give it a good cleaning anyway. The unit will run in Safe Mode, but the CD drive will not run to start the Windows XP disk for troubleshooting and or repair from that. Have tried to restore from an earlier date but there were no earlier setpoints available as it said the c drive was "too full" and had turned off the restore function. I have also tried starting in safe mode and picking the option of "starting with last know good configuration" but again, nothing chages. Please help?

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  • rick_bmi Sep 04, 2009

    Thanks CrusierGB, I appreciate the suggestions. I have already deleted all photos & unused programs from the system. Since then, the system did create a restore point from the day I did the deleting but unfortunately nothing from a date early enough that the computer was running properly. Any other suggestions?

  • rick_bmi Sep 04, 2009

    Thanks Again for the advise. The unit has always booted and started XP in normal mode for a few minutes, both before the cleanup and after. I would have to check to see just how much free space I have right now to be sure, but I know I have deleted enough pic's, programs, etc. to get over 1 gig free. I have not done a defrag or check disk yet. Will try that tonight and see what happens. I will be a long road to get this going again as I only have interenet access during the day at work. I will try a few things more tonight and let you know what happens.
    Thanks again!!

  • rick_bmi Sep 04, 2009

    One more question, Am I going to be able to run the defrag and check disk from Safe Mode?

  • rick_bmi Sep 05, 2009

    Question on the power supply issue. Are you talking about the internal power supply or the the ac/dc converter being bad? The unit does exactly the same thing if I start with just the battery, or with the battery out and run it on the AC/DC converter. Also it will saty up while in Safe Mode continuously on either. BTW, I run chkdsk this morning... It did find some problems but I got a message that it could not repair becasue "f" was not specified. However, after this I rebboted in safe mode, run checkdsk again and it run through the whole thing without finding anything wrong. I then proceded to run defrag. WOW, I have never seen a drive fragmented so bad in all the computers I have ever had!!! I left it running defrag while I left for work this morning, should be complete when I get home at noon and see if any of this helped! Thanks for everything so far.

  • rick_bmi Sep 05, 2009

    Also, regarding the ram,,, I have 512 ram in unit, two 256's. I removed the front one, restarted, same result. Put back the front set, removed the back set, same result. Everything did the same exact thing only in slow motion this time... The fact that everything did the same thing only took much longer was an indication to me that the ram was working??? Am I correct in thinking this?

  • rick_bmi Sep 05, 2009

    Also, regarding the ram,,, I have 512 ram in unit, two 256's. I removed the front one, restarted, same result. Put back the front set, removed the back set, same result. Everything did the same exact thing only in slow motion this time... The fact that everything did the same thing only took much longer was an indication to me that the ram was working??? Am I correct in thinking this?

  • rick_bmi Sep 09, 2009

    CrusierGB,
    I have tried everything you have suggested with no luck yet. Power supply,(AC/DC adapter) voltage rock steady at 19.8 v dc. Can't see internal voltages from BIOS on this unit. One thing I find unusual is that I can't get the cd/dvd to run the Windows XP disc at all... I am thinking more and more that my XP is corrupt but, at this point I can't even run the XP disc. Do you know if it is possible to run this disk from an external cd drive, (USB)??

  • rick_bmi Sep 10, 2009

    OK, now you are losing me.... How do I find what drivers I need? Please don't think I am a total dummy here, but when it gets into some of this stuff I may need a little more precise direction. Since I can't connect this unit to the internet, I will have to find the drivers and put them on a flash drive... That is the only way I can get things in and out of this unit at present.

  • rick_bmi Sep 10, 2009

    OK, I have the drivers you suggested on a flash drive. Should be simple, but could you tell me the proper way to load them?

  • rick_bmi Sep 10, 2009

    OK, I have the drivers you suggested on a flash drive. Should be simple, but could you tell me the proper way to load them?

  • rick_bmi Sep 10, 2009

    CrusierGB, Thanks, I will try this and see what happens. Will let you know...

  • rick_bmi Sep 15, 2009

    CrusierGB, Installed updated graphics drivers. Things did change. Kind of strange things. First of all, there no longer is a prompt for a password upon booting. Still a password required for Windows XP startup though. The first boot of XP after installing updated drivers went fine. Was able to start and run XP (In normal mode) for 30 minutes or so. Long enough to get some important info from one of the programs I run to keep track of time spent in my shop. After I physically wrote down the data I needed I restarted the computer one more time. To my surprise, it went back to doing the same exact thing again. Restarted in safe mode and all is well. Restarted one more time in normal mode, same thing. Which direction do think I should go from here?

  • rick_bmi Sep 16, 2009

    CrusierGB,
    Intitially I did have a password in the bios for startup... That is the one that is no longer coming up... No Big deal as far as that goes... I can not get the unit to start via XP disc even when setting the bios to do so. I was told by a so called "expert" aquaintance of mine that I could set the computer to boot from an external cd drive plugged into a usb port but I can't seem to figure out how to acomplish that... Can't find any settings that allow to boot from any external drives.
    I have tried to run a full system scan with my Norton Anti Virus but it will not complete the scan in Safe Mode... Had I known the system would not start after a re-boot I could have tried to run the scan while ti was up and running. As I said, I was able to get the critical info off of the unit while it was up and running. I am willing to re format, reload the operating system, what ever it takes if that is what is necessary. Just would like to know what is going on I guess before I do it.
    Been reading much about different viruses that have this type of symptom. Almost every search eventually leads me back to a virus called "MS Blaster Worm"... Do you know anything about this??? I have a removal tool downloaded on a flash but did not want to do anything opn my own without your advise.... Hate to screw up anything you have already told me to do... Would sooner take my time and follow someone's advise who is obviously more up on these types of problems than I am.
    You mentioned getting a copy of a "virus protection boot recovery disk"??? Not sure what you are asking, besides I can't get the internal disk drive to run... at least not the XP disk... Have not tried to get it to run anythig else... Will try it with some other program disk or something and see if the drive is working at all... This thing is becoming a real pain in the behind!!!!! I am a very stubborn person though,,, I am going to keep after it until I figure it out....

  • rick_bmi Sep 16, 2009

    CrusierGB,
    Intitially I did have a password in the bios for startup... That is the one that is no longer coming up... No Big deal as far as that goes... I can not get the unit to start via XP disc even when setting the bios to do so. I was told by a so called "expert" aquaintance of mine that I could set the computer to boot from an external cd drive plugged into a usb port but I can't seem to figure out how to acomplish that... Can't find any settings that allow to boot from any external drives.
    I have tried to run a full system scan with my Norton Anti Virus but it will not complete the scan in Safe Mode... Had I known the system would not start after a re-boot I could have tried to run the scan while ti was up and running. As I said, I was able to get the critical info off of the unit while it was up and running. I am willing to re format, reload the operating system, what ever it takes if that is what is necessary. Just would like to know what is going on I guess before I do it.
    Been reading much about different viruses that have this type of symptom. Almost every search eventually leads me back to a virus called "MS Blaster Worm"... Do you know anything about this??? I have a removal tool downloaded on a flash but did not want to do anything opn my own without your advise.... Hate to screw up anything you have already told me to do... Would sooner take my time and follow someone's advise who is obviously more up on these types of problems than I am.
    You mentioned getting a copy of a "virus protection boot recovery disk"??? Not sure what you are asking, besides I can't get the internal disk drive to run... at least not the XP disk... Have not tried to get it to run anythig else... Will try it with some other program disk or something and see if the drive is working at all... This thing is becoming a real pain in the behind!!!!! I am a very stubborn person though,,, I am going to keep after it until I figure it out....

  • rick_bmi Sep 17, 2009

    Thanks CrusierGB,
    I will stand by... I guess what I would really like to know about the virus possibility is how to determine if I have one, then how to determine which one it is... Like I said earlier, of all the virus's out there, every time I start a search describing my symptoms, it leads me back to this "MS Blaster Worm"...

  • rick_bmi Sep 17, 2009

    BTW, I checked and you are correct, the unit does not give me an option to boot from a usb port... What I was thinking though, is that the unit does allow use of the usb porst for the flash drives. I do have an external cd/dvd drive. Should I be able to run my windows XP disk from there? If I can, I have been told there are repair options on the XP disk. I don't really know as I have never run the disk before.. All my other units run an OS either older or newer than XP....

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The main drive (C) being too full is an indicator that's your problem. Windows reserves space on your drive called a 'swap' file. It effectively takes hard drive space and uses it in lieu of RAM if you don't have enough available RAM to run programs.

If the computer doesn't have enough hard drive space to create the swap file then it won't boot up, as it will interpret the lack of available space as a failure to install the file and then try to reboot.

Luckily it doesn't install one when you're in safe mode. Try going into safe mode and restoring some of your hard driver space, as well as performing a cleanup and defragmentation of your hard drive, and chances are it will boot up.

As an alternative you might think about getting an external hard drive and using that for any new programs/music/videos/etc.

Posted on Sep 04, 2009

  • 6 more comments 
  • CruiserGB Sep 04, 2009

    Okay, as a follow-up:



    A. If you managed to get the system to do a normal boot when it stored the save point (which it can only do once that option's been turned on and there's ample space for the restoration files) then you're heading in the right direction. How much drive space do you actually have available now?



    or



    B. If not and you only managed to get it to boot up via standard Safe Mode, then deleted the files to allow ample space for the swap file AND did a hard drive clean-up/defragmentation, then you may need to run a chkdsk via the command prompt.



    Here's a link to Microsoft's explanation on how to run Chkdsk on XP (I am assuming you're using XP and haven't upgraded to Vista): http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315265



    Once the system has run through the checks and confirms everything looks okay, try rebooting with full Windows.



    Oh, and chances are in order to get your PC to boot from your Windows install disk you'll need to go into your BIOS settings and change the boot sequence/devices settings to reflect your CD/DVD-ROM the first device to boot from.



    Hope this helps!

  • CruiserGB Sep 04, 2009

    Yes, you should be able to run both from Safe Mode. Also, in re-reading your original post, if you CAN get Windows to do a full boot and then it shuts itself down after a few minutes, you're likely looking at bad RAM or a faulty power supply.



    If you run the BIOS and check the power settings, you'll most likely be able to view the DC supply voltages. If any of them vary wildly while you view them chances are your power supply isn't handling the load from your PC parts and needs to be replaced.



    If the power supply seems stable then it could be a RAM chip.



    Again, hope this helps and good luck!



  • CruiserGB Sep 04, 2009

    Sorry, it's been a long day. I meant your AC/DC converter and laptop battery vs PC power supply.

  • CruiserGB Sep 10, 2009

    Okay it's not the battery, doesn't appear to be the RAM (unless they're both bad, and that I don't believe is the case), and your indications are that the internal power supply is fine (as is the AC/DC converter).



    This leads me to believe it's the graphics board (unless it's integrated graphics on this unit). The fact that it runs stable in Safe Mode means that the laptop isn't really being tasked.



    Try updating your graphical drivers for the video, then rebooting. It may well be that you'll have to run a cleaning utility for the old drivers, as a lot of these leave older, embedded files around that do not become over-written when you install the newer files. Check the driver provider's website for a utility to help clean up all remaining older files/registry entries before you install the new drivers.



    If that doesn't help, we'll go from there.

  • CruiserGB Sep 10, 2009

    Not a problem. Here's a link to Sony's webpage for your laptop's drivers (all of them): http://esupport.sony.com/US/perl/swu-lis...



    Unless you're familiar with how to update your BIOS I wouldn't suggest it. I've seen quite a few BIOS flash updates fail because people didn't follow the right steps ver batim or the update became interrupted and the end result is a nightmare.



    You'll note under the Video section they have two available downloads: one for the original drivers for this laptop, and the other an updated version of the graphical drivers. Go ahead and run the updated drivers and see if they make any difference in the laptop's stability.

  • CruiserGB Sep 10, 2009

    The detailed instructions are at the bottom of the file download page. They outline how to download and install the files, as well as some of the install messages and alerts you may see during the installation process.

  • CruiserGB Sep 16, 2009

    To be honest I'm kind curious about a security login at boot-up. Most systems run a login when Windows first loads past the initial start-up screen and that's about it. Did you have some sort of security setup in your BIOS for the boot sequence? If it stopped asking for a login, you may want to go into your BIOS settings and set that feature back up again - that is if that's your preference.



    As for the rest of the problem, if you were able to do an installation of your graphics drivers and the laptop ran fine after the install, then it points to either a virus that's corrupting your video files or you've got a Windows OS that's gone bad. It would explain why you initially could run the laptop fine, but then the re-boot restored your problems.



    If you have the means to get a current copy of a virus protection boot recovery disk, get it and boot up from it to check your hard drive boot sectors and your system RAM.



    After that you should run a full virus check on your hard drive via Safe Mode. If everything comes up clean and the problem persists, you may want to back up all of your critical files and format your hard drive, then re-install your Windows OS.



    I remember you stating you couldn't boot from your Windows disc. Did you try to go into the BIOS settings and change the boot sequence to the CD/DVD-ROM as the primary drive? This will allow your system to boot from the Windows disc and do a fresh install. If your drive can read discs at all it should be able to boot from your Windows install disc.

  • CruiserGB Sep 16, 2009

    The fact that Norton won't finish a scan in Safe Mode pretty much points to a problem with a virus, especially if you can otherwise keep the laptop running in Safe Mode.



    As for booting from an external drive, I don't believe your laptop can do this. If it can it will show an option to boot from USB in the boot sequence options in your BIOS. However, you'll need a hard drive already formatted with Windows installed in order for it to boot from the external drive.



    I'm going to read up on viruses that could be causing your problems. I've seen ones attack the boot sector of hard drives and some are a real pain to remove. I'll update once I've done the research.

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