Invalid System Disk - Laptop does not boot!!

Hello, thanks for helping this is my problem.

PROBLEM:
My laptop does not boot to windows.  The screen reads:
----------------------------
Invalid System Disk
Replace the disk and press any key
----------------------------

And that's it.  Anything I do repeats this.

SYSTEM CONFIGURATIONS:
What stinks about my system is that its a Sony PCG-R505TE.  Which is one of those ultra slim notebooks with NO floppy or CD-ROM drive.

WHAT I TRIED:
I got out my USB CD-ROM drive.  I went to the BIOS and played around with the boot sequences.  I made sure either CD-ROM or REMOVEABLE devices are before Hard drive.  I tried putting in the official Sony System Restore CD that came with the notebook, and a homemade Windows ME Bootable CD-ROM into the USB CD-ROM but both did not work.  It seems that the notebook reads the CD-ROM but the "Invalid system disk" still appears on the screen.

Is it possible that I am doing something wrong, or MAYBE the laptop hard drive is broken?

Thank you.

adenosineAsked:
Who is Participating?
 
VaioManConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Dear adenosine,
My opinion -the hard drive is fine -some boot files got corrupted
There is no way to boot from USB external hard drive.
There is easy fix for your problem -you need Sony bootable external pc card drive CDROM PCGA-CD51(cd5) or
DVDROM PCGA-dvd51.
You have recovery CDs so you could restore original OS.
You can find those drives on Ebay for $75-$200
SlimDock Docking station PCGA-DSM5 would also help you -$200-$250

 
Good luck!
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HippyWarlockCommented:
Sounds like your Hard drive has screwed up. You say the machine comes with no floppy?

1. Ensure the BIOS hasn't somehow switched to attempting to startup from floppy (sounds like you already did that)

What actions prior to this event did you do? download/install/add/remove/delete etc

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HippyWarlockCommented:
If your computer does not start from the Recovery CD

1 Press the power button and hold it for more than four seconds to turn off the
computer.
2 Turn on the computer. When the Sony logo is displayed, press the F2 key.
The BIOS setup menu screen appears.
3 Press the arrow keys to select the Exit menu.
4 Press the arrow keys to select “Get Default Values” and then press the Enter
key. The message “Load default configuration now?” appears.
5 Check that “Yes” is selected, then press the Enter key.
6 Press the arrow keys to select “Exit” (Save Changes) and then press the Enter
key. The message “Save configuration changes and exit now?” appears.
7 Check that “Yes” is selected, then press the Enter key. The computer restarts
from the Recovery CD.
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adenosineAuthor Commented:
Yep, Ultra-slim notebook with no CD-ROM or Floppy drive.  I have to use an external USB CD-ROM.  I tried default configuration as mentioned by HippyWarlock and manual configration to make sure CD-ROM and External Devices are booted before  Hard drive.  I just want to make sure that the laptop can access the external CD-ROM drive so that I can at least get to DOS and run some system checks.

SCENERIO:
My sister came back today with the laptop claiming that it "suddenly" didn't work.  She had notice that in the past few days that it was getting slow and had a lot of pop-up ads.  I believe it was spyware/virus and quite possibly something was triggered on April 1.

Is there anything I can do to solve this problem?  If a broken hard drive is the culpret is it possible I could fix it myself?

Thank you
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CallandorCommented:
If you can open the laptop and remove the drive, you could attach it to a desktop with an adapter (http://www.compuplus.com/insidepage.php3?id=1000197) and fix it there.
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adenosineAuthor Commented:
Also, if I disable the Hard Drive in the boot sequence (BIOS puts a "!" in front of Hard Drive," after reboot the screen reads

----------------------
operating system not found
---------------------

Not sure if that helps at all.  The laptop sees the hard drive as Fixed 0 which is correct I think.
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HippyWarlockCommented:
! occurs in the BIOS POST screen or in Windows My Computer > Properties?

Assuming it's the BIOS which is odd?  iI'd percieve that to be a BIOS / Drive problem - check the IDE leads are in securely (at drives and mobo) and the drives jumpers are all in and set correctly.

Can you jumper the hard drive and 'force it to master'?
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adenosineAuthor Commented:
HippyWarlock- This is a laptop.
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HippyWarlockCommented:
Laptops can have jumpers (spesh if they're cold)

Ok so the drives mobo lacks jumpers :-)
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HippyWarlockCommented:
Has Nero® Burning ROM has been installed ?

If so look here:
http://ciscdb.sel.sony.com/perl/news-display.pl?news_id=28

Quote:
   "ERROR: Operating system not found or missing operating system is displayed when attempting to start the notebook computer ..." look here:
http://www.iq.sony.com/srvs/conversation/externalredirect.asp?src=swupd&modelnum=PCGR505TE&prodid=10082&q=jumper%20setting


Actually, this may be interesting (for me) has the mobo got an FCC ID number printed on it?
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