Laptop wont boot up

  croydon 18:39 04 Mar 2004

I have a Sony Vaio laptop (out of warrenty) that wont boot up.
When I power it up the fan starts and the CD spins but after a few seconds only the fan can be heard. The screen is blank all the time. I have tried attaching a monitor to check if the screen is faulty but this is again blank (black) during the boot process. During this time the only lights on are power and battery. The disk light does not come on.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  Taran 18:55 04 Mar 2004

It sounds like your hard drive has failed or the power feed to it has been interrupted somehow, perhaps a loose cable connector.

Laptops are a pain to work on and they usually use ultra-fine cables, often made specifically for a certain manufacturer or model of machine.

If you have a floppy drive available you could try to boot from a Windows startup disk just to see if you can read the directory structure of the C: drive. That would at least confirm whether the drive was activating at all and if so, whether its contents may be accessed at a lower level than Windows. Booting into BIOS could also let you see whether a hard drive is detected and configured.

I can't help but suspect the worst and, if you're lucky, a new hard drive is all that you'll need.

  croydon 09:57 05 Mar 2004

Taran, thanks.
I'm not sure whether the drive is faulty as I looked at a couple of old threads on here and followed some of the advice.
For example, one suggested pressing F7 when powering up. I did that and the system booted normally. I also pressed ctrl when booting and again it started normally. This happened only once for each through.
If I press F7 now and boot, nothing happens.

  Taran 11:22 05 Mar 2004

In that case you could find that your BIOS is confused or the power supply for it is dying.

Motherboards have a small battery fitted that usually lasts several years.

If a manual boot to a seletced drive worked, even if only once, it could mean that the device drive sequence in the BIOS or device initialisation is not running properly and the most common reaon for that is a failing battery or possibly a scambled BIOS.

Have you looked online to see if there is a BIOS update for your particluar Vaio model ?

Be warned that updating your BIOS can, in a small number of cases, have very undesirable results and if the memory chip on the motherboard itself that the BIOS is stored in and written to is at fault you can run a BIOS upgrade until the cows come home to no avail.

I think you're going to have to get the machine tested. Sorry I can't offer a quick fix.

  croydon 11:35 05 Mar 2004

Taran, thanks again.
In one instance I did get into the BIOS. However, all the settings appeared normal so I just exited.
I'll try to find the battery to replace it and also check the connections.
Are laptop repairs more expensive than pcs? I must admit I'm quite happy fiddling inside a desktop pc but I feel loathe to take the back off a laptop.

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