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Install an Operating System via Recovery CDs from a REMOTE machine..

I have a Laptop here (Sony VAIO PCG-R600MX), which has a major hard drive failure. (Nothing possible to recover)

The laptop has no floopy drive, no CD-Rom that is built in, and I don't have a docking station for it.
I want to install the correct OS on it (the OS that came on the recovery CDs), which happens to be WIN XP Home Edition (not SP2)
My previous attempts to use a converter (2.5 -> 3.5) and install the CD's like that failed (because the CD's are machine specific and protected against installing on other machines)

Next up my attempt to install WIN XP using the same method (failed as I only have the upgrade disk)

Next: attempted to install WIN 98 (Kinda Worked, the OS installed, but hardly anything worked, No USB, Active area of the monitor was reduced to using a small square half the size of the monitor itself, leaving the mouse thinking it had the full use of the screen, nearly impossible to use the mouse)

Next attempt: Installing Linux (Again..... kinda worked, but this time I failed, as I have almost zero understanding of Linux and coudn't do much with it), also screen had similar resolution trouble.

Next attempt: Boot Via Network
*this is where I am up to now*
At this point I thought I had finally done it.... the DHCP found both an IP address and some form of client install system.... Only problem was, it was installing the Server 2003 OS from the server it was connected to.

I now have a Laptop that is working (screen resolution now fixed), but with Win 2003 OS installed on it, and that means most of the laptop specific utilities aren't installed..... I have searched the Recovery CDs and found the utilities, of which some install, and some don't........ The power management systems don't install, neither does the hotkey utility and some other stuff (means if I close the lid of the laptop, Win 2003 server shuts down (instead of going into hibernate).... and that is annoying)



Does anyone know of anything that I haven't tried that would allow me to install the recovery CDs for the laptop via the network?
The reason I can't install the CD's Directly from it's current OS is that the CDs are .IMG format......... which is as much use to me as a paper fish tank.
I have already been using trial versions of "EmBoot Network Boot Tools" Ver 1.2, "Symantec Ghost 8.2", but unless I have missed something from these application I am assuming that they don't allow me to do what I want to......

(This isn't urgent, but I think it's dammed difficult.......) 400pts





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Flying_Wizard
Asked:
Flying_Wizard
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1 Solution
 
rindiCommented:
Check the sony site for drivers for your laptop. Once you have those drivers installed, thingd should work ok. You probably won't find any win2k3 drivers, so try the XP drivers, or if there are any, win2k drivers.

You might be able to install your original CD if you first creat an extra partition on your disk and copy your .img files to this partition (create a primary partition to which your OS will be installed, make the rest an extended partition which you will use for the installation and where you will copy those files to. Then get a copy of ghost (or look on the CD, it should be there), and once your laptop has started start ghsot and then you should also be able ti install those image files.

You could of course get an external USB CD Drive, as long as your PC supports booting from USB. These drives aren't that expensive, and I suggest you get one which can also write, you can use that on other systems as well.
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Flying_WizardAuthor Commented:
Laptop doesn't support booting from USB (as I have a USB CD-ROM)

Getting Drivers from the website is a nightmare (luckily they are also on the recovery CDs), I have already attempted to install the drivers on the laptop using Win 2003 server, they either;
refuse to install after detecting incompatible OS or install then fail to work, some of them appear to install and work (audio drivers)

There is a RESTORER.EXE file in the \sony subdirectory that I believe would install the CDs but I don't understand the syntax that it is asking for
Below is a cut and paste job from command line window

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Partition Restorer Version 2.62 BLITTER Software Component
Copyright 1998,1999,2000,2001 Sony Corp.
Usage: RESTORER <drive:index> <image path(s)> -<option(s)> @<batch>
  <drive:index> source drive number (1,2,3) and partition index (1,2,3)
  <image path(s)>   image file(s), default extension: .IMG
  options:
    -v - verbose mode
    -f - reset "Improper Shutdown" flag"
    -t<file name> - display given text file at the end of the restoring
    -l<file name> - save a restoring result in the specified file
    -d=<d> - change DriveNumber field in the target partition's BPB to "d".
             "d" should be a hexadecimal number (80, 81,...)
    -a=<alignNum> - Aligns system sectors for NTFS-friendly FAT.
       If you don't specify this option, -a=8 will be set. -a=0 is no alignment.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't understand what syntax I am supposed to use (or even if I will be able to use this)...
I only have 1 partition on the laptop at the moment, if this fails I will try your other suggestion of creating another partition and copying the CDs to it then ghosting from that....
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rindiCommented:
if your image file is on drive d; in the root directory, the syntax would probably be:

restorer 1:1 d:\imagefile.img -v

This would probably restore the system to drive1 partition1, the option v would output info to you while the job is processed.
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sciwriterCommented:
You have tried 4 OSs here, and nothing has worked.  Would you like to resummarize what exactly you want to do?  It sounds like the laptop has serious hardware problems if none of those OSes will go in.
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Flying_WizardAuthor Commented:
Rindi: thanks for that tip I tried it and it partially worked.... instead of throwing syntax messages at me, I  get an error saying "
*** 0 partitions found"

Error: Unknown partition requested 1:1 thrown in ..\bootinfo.cpp : 336
"
I'm assuming that I will need a blank partition rather than the partition that has the current OS on it... ?


Sciwriter: To recap what I want to do:

I have a laptop with the incorrect OS on it, I have the recovery CDs for the laptop with the correct OS on it..... I want the recovery CDs to be used to install the correct OS and all laptop specific drivers (power management, Toucpad etc) to the laptop..... BUT... I can't do it via USB on the laptop as that isn't supported at BIOS level, and I can't do it from the OS thats currently installed as the recover files on the CDs are .IMG files.... and I can't execute them.
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sciwriterCommented:
Well, if yu just had a floppy, you can run a floppy boot to detect and load USB drivers, and you would be set.  But Sony/Dell and others, in their infinite "density" did away with your easiest means of recovery.

This is a doomed laptop scenario -- without a floppy. CD or both, it becomes a throw away piece of stuff -- when the OS dies, throw the laptop away?  How ridiculous.  THere is no way to reinstall the OS.  are you SURE they did not put a copy of the OS under windows?  Look for an I386 directory, if you find it, run winnt.exe.  That will reload windows XP.  Otherwise, installl some add on devices, or "rip" the HDD out of the laptop and put it as slave on another system.

In the future, consider a laptop purchase carefully.  WIthout a CD and/or floppy (moreseo CDs these days) you are dead in the water, my friend.
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Flying_WizardAuthor Commented:
SCIWRITER: I am not prepared to throw this thing away..... if need be I can continue to use the Laptop running WIN2003 server on it, but as you can imagine..... running a server OS on a 800MHz Laptop with 128Mb Ram is going to severely drain the resources....

As for saying there is no fix for this problem..... I am not accepting that...

I have managed to get an OS onto this laptop (even if it is the wrong one) and install some of the drivers for it... This is far from being a "Throw Away Piece of Stuff"

What do you mean  "are you SURE they did not put a copy of the OS under windows?" ........ Windows IS the OS....

also
Quote " Look for an I386 directory, if you find it, run winnt.exe.  That will reload windows XP."

I fail to see how that will reinstall XP...... according to multiple sources on the internet it is related to Internet Explorer...
http://www.liutilities.com/products/wintaskspro/processlibrary/winnet/

and ripping the HDD out of the laptop and using it as a slave in another system is un productive, I have a partially working laptop, and i'm sure most of the experts aggree that I will need a Hard Drive in order for a laptop to be of any real use.
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sciwriterCommented:
Well, you misunderstood what I was saying.  taking the HDD out was ONLY to get the basic OS files on it, NOT to leave it as slave on another system.  If you want to install XP from CD, you will have to get a removable CD onto the system, use a dos boot disk to load the CD drivers and then yes, you can install XP.  If you can't get a CD or a floppy, how are you going to install XP unless the i386 directory is on the hard drive???  Moreover, I never suggested you throw the laptop away, but with 800-128, it will run win98 fine, everything else newer far too slow.  I was merely trying to point out there is no magic here, to get an OS installed you will either have to get a floppy, a remote CD, or take the HDD out to get the install files on it, then put it back.  If you went with 98, you could do a parallel port uplink too, but not with XP.
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Flying_WizardAuthor Commented:
I already have an OS on the laptop (Win 2003 Server)

by installing the laptops drive as a slave and installing XP onto it whilst the slave of the other system I encountered problems.... mainly due to the fact that during the installation process the installer starts picking up what hardware is installed..... interupting the process before the hardware detection point and replacing the laptops drive back in the laptop makes it go mental (list of problems too long to list), leaving it in the other system as a slave until the installer has finished gives me major hardware problems when putting it back into the laptop.
(things fail to uninstall correctly, hardware on the laptop attempts to install while old hardware from the slave setup attempts to uninstall...... things get pretty nasty...).... I know because this was one of my first attempts to fix this...

You may want to read the specification for the laptop (PCG-R600MX) ... it doesn't have a parallel port (if you were suggesting linking up like that on the laptop)
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rindiCommented:
Before you replace the the disk to the original PC, try removing / disabling any hardware using device manager. Otherwise you would probably have to do a repair install, and for that you generally need the OS CD and not the recovery CD. I've also just noticed you are using 128 MB Ram. For XP to run reasonably you need at least 256 MB, better 512 MB, so think of adding ram once you have the system up again.

If the img files are ghosted images (it is likely) You could get a copy of ghost, boot your PC with ghost (maybe you have to temporarily install windows 98 or similar, and the image itself would have to be accesible, either via anothe HD partition or on the LAN, and then use ghost to restore the image. You can also install Ghost on another PC and then use ghost explorer to inspect the contents of the image file. look for i386 directories, in which you'll probably find the windows XP source files and which you could also use for installing the system. Your drivers should also be somewhere in a directory.

Do you know the specs of your vaio? Can you post them here?

Thanx.
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Flying_WizardAuthor Commented:
Specifications can be found here.

http://www.vaio-link.com/specifications/specifications.asp?l=en&m=536

Oddly enough the laptop is shipped with XP home as a factory installed OS, and the recovery CDs are Win XP Home aswell.... bit cheeky really, when you think about it..... shipping a laptop running an OS with under the recommended memory


**
Am in the process of installing 98 on the laptop drive (using another machine), will then install XP upgrade (thats all I have), then put the laptop drive back in the laptop and see how the repair function handles things..... Hopefully I will then be able to install more of the drivers on the recovery CD.
wish me luck all....
**
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rindiCommented:
It will run with 128MB Ram only that isn't optimal. Also, with all the windows updates, SP1 and SP2, the resource hunger of XP has increased, and you will probably also want to use applications, not just the OS.

According to suny the procedure below should be followed to use the recovery CDs. Have you tried it that way or are you sure it doesn't boot from your USB CD (I'm not sure if the original drive must is a USB or PCCard device, but if the PC is reasonably new it should be able to boot from USB devices)?

http://www.vaio-link.com/tutorials/recovery/recovery.asp?l=en&m=536
 
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Flying_WizardAuthor Commented:
I tried that as one of the first things I did, but it doesn't recognise the USB CD-ROM at BIOS level, which is really irritating... I think that the people who wrote that guide (following your link) assumed incorrectly that it had a built in CD-ROM, or that I would have bought one of their own external CD-ROMS that goes via the i-Link interface..

I think that it would support a PCMCIA card if a CD-ROM was attached to that as it's close to the firewire architecture, which is supported at BIOS level, although Sony refer to it as "i-Link"

I don't have a CD-ROM that goes via "i-Link" or a PC Card.... (also I tried looking for a CD-ROM that was able to use the firewire interface... they aint easy to find... although that was last year, the market may have changed now)
.... am still attempting to install Win 98 on the laptops drive....
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rindiCommented:
Firewire probably won't work, but PCCard will...
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Flying_WizardAuthor Commented:
FINALLY!!! This thing is solved....... (more or less)

Method:
take laptops HDD out and install into another system.
Install Win 98 onto the laptopns drive while in other system.
Copy XP installation cd Directly to the laptops hard drive while still in the other computer.
Return the laptops HDD to the laptop, and be prepared to suffer majot headache while windows 'discovers' a massive list of new hardware and attempts to install drivers for them....
Accept any drivers that you might need (anything to do with the HDD)

Once all done activate the Win XP setup from the files located on the HDD of the laptop (because you did copy them all earlier..... INCLUDING system files)

setup win XP as a NEW installation (not upgrade)

away you go.....

Now just install as many of the drivers from the recovery CDs (also includes about 10 system restarts).... if some drivers fail to install (power management is one of them that springs to mind) install some of the "Apps" like sony Notebook setup, also find as many of the system shared apps as possible (I think IU Library is another APP)...
Install the Apps, then try again with the remaining drivers.... some of the drivers are dependant on files from the application install programs (instead of applications dependant on drivers)

................. a total nightmare that took the best part of a day (including SP2)...

Some applications still don't run properly, and there seems to be a bit of an issue with the wireless connection (configuration utility... 3rd party program)... as it seems to dislike the USB systems.... (solved by deleting the utility and doing things manually)




THANK YOU VERY MUCH EVERYONE THAT HAS POSTED SUGGESTIONS...
While the question wasn't directly answered (install from recovery CDs)... this is close enough, points still awarded, cos suggestions were good and they worked...
Many thanks Rindi.
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Flying_WizardAuthor Commented:
Rindi... can you copy and paste the method above so that It can easily be found.... (accepted answer)

Cheers mate.
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