Where is the hard drive for the Sony PCG-XG29

I need to access the hard drive for an existing Sony PCG-XG29 to backup the data before I can reinstall Windows (currently I get a blue screen).

Can anyone tell me where it is - I am guessing under the keyboard ?  And the best way to get to this without causing any harm to the laptop.

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Gary CaseConnect With a Mentor RetiredCommented:
When I create a Bart's disk, I always have it create an ISO instead of burning directly to a CD; and then burn the ISO to CD with Nero or Roxio => I've never had it fail this way.   I think if you had a bootable Bart's PE you could do what you want.   ... otherwise, it's probably best to simply remove the hard drive and use a laptop-desktop IDE converter to attach the drive to a desktop.
Service Manaul can be downloaded for FREE at:


Hey I donwloaded the Manual and to tell you the truth it is not clear.  My guess it is on the Right side and may or may not be accessible from the outside.  

Hopethis Helps !!!

????????     LOL
gandljAuthor Commented:
OK this is exactly why I don't recommend Sony to my clients. Is that matrix for real ?  I am going to wait a little while further to see if anyone else can comment further, but thank you and I will awards points.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
From the blow-up in the service manual it looks like the drive is externally accessible from the side of the laptop -- next to the audio connectors.   Is there a cover plate that can be removed there?  ... or screws on the underside that release it?

... Look carefully at page 2-2, where it shows the hard drive positioning;  and then on page 3-6, where it shows the hard drive being mounted in its bracket (lower right of the page -- items 80 (the hard drive), 81, 82, & 83); and again on 3-6 where is shows the location identifed as "X" (where the hard drive assembly goes).   In particular, the form of item 82, and the fact it's labeled a hard drive assembly "door", sure looks like it's an externally accessible item.

you can also download knoppix cd, and boot from it; then copy your data to an usb device
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
In re-looking at your question you did indicate all you need to do is backup the data;  so knoppix (as nobus suggested) would work fine, as would any of several other alternatives.

Personally, if you have a USB external drive, I'd just boot to either Bart's PE (so you're in the more-familiar Windows environment) and copy all the data;  or to Boot-It NG and make an image of the drive on the USB drive (you can then later access what you need with a free utility called TBIView).

Any of these (Knoppix, Bart's PE, or Boot-It NG) will let you do what you need to do without any need to disassemble the laptop.

That manual is for the GRX-670????? Here is the Sony FTP site: ftp://ftp.vaio-link.com/PUB/Manuals/Notebooks/
Scroll down to the "X" directory.

This link will show you how to get the keyboard off:
This model is not exact in the pic, but similar method for removal. You'll see the hard drive.

I always recommend Sony Vaio. I've got 6 year old units still running here with no problems in their entire running history.
gandljAuthor Commented:
Thanks, I am going to try the knoppix today.  The hard drive is definitly under the keyboard and I am hesitant to get in there and remove stuff.

Has anyone ever done an parallel install of XP and managed to rescue the old install that way. I know I have done that with server products.

Something really went wrong with Windows.  I don't have the original Windows install CD and don't know what patches were installed post upgrade from Windows 98.  I have a full retail license of XP-Pro and tried to run a repair / install but that option was not available( which I believe can happen).  I tried a few things suggeted to fix this but still option is not available.

I was hoping there was some way of installing a new copy of Windows, for instance to c:\win2 and then maybe copying many of the files over from system32 folders.  Has anyone done this before with XP with success ?
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Can you boot to safe mode?   If so, there are several things to try before you commit to a new installation of XP.   In particular you can "force" a repair install to work.

As for a parallel install, the best way to do this (IF the partition structure is undamaged) is:

(1)  Resize the partition (reduce it by a few GB).   You can use Boot-It NG to do this (the free demo version at www.bootitng.com will work just fine).

(2)  Install XP to a new partition in the space you just freed up.

Now you can boot to the new install -- and the old install will simply be another "drive" that you can easily access and do whatever you wish with.   However, you will need a valid XP key for the new installation -- the old activation will not work with the new system.
But before that, i suggest backing up your data . .
gandljAuthor Commented:
Thanks all.  Graycase, re parallel install to a 2nd partition, wouldn't the be the same as an install to a different directory on same partition ?  I know a parallel install with Server 2000 you can actually pull over drivers/files from system32 and basically rescue the install as in not having to reinstall all applications.

I am trying to avoid reinstalling all applications once Windows has been installed.

No I can't boot to safe mode.  Tried all of that prior to this post, including trying to repair via Repair console.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Functionally it's the same - but safer.   Once you have the 2nd partition and a clean install of XP, you can easily image it to the original partition as long as you have 1 - 2 GB of free space.   Then you can copy the appropriate registry keys and program file entries for any applications that you aren't easily able to reinstall -- and have the "safety net" of being able to simply restore the image if you mess up the new install.   You can safely try ANYTHING from the old install (drivers, files, etc.) and always have the ability to restore from the image.   As you get more things "right", just update the image.

This can be a bit tedious -- but it works fine as a way to recover a system that you simply don't have all of the installation media for.   Whenever I need to use this approach, I'll periodically resize the two partitions -- reducing the size of the old one and increasing the size of the new one -- to be sure there's enough space in the new partition.

... if, however, you have all of the installation media, the best approach is to recover all of the data that you need (you could store it on a 2nd partition); and then do a clean install of both XP and the applications.   This avoids any guesswork about which files, drivers, etc. need to be copied, and which don't.
gandljAuthor Commented:
garycase you are fab.  I am not going to do the parallel install on this Sony but will try it on another laptop as a test.

I am going to try the knoppix.  I want to create a bootable CD not DVD.  I think I downloaded the correct file:Knoppix_v4.0.2CD-2005-09-23-EN

I am not sure what I do with this.  I believe the instructions are to burn this as an image to a CD ?  Has anyone else created a bootable CD with this ?  Thanks - I hope I am almost there with this project.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
The Knoppix download is an ISO image -- you just burn it to a CD (NOT as a data file -- as a disc image).    Then you'll have a bootable CD.
gandljAuthor Commented:
OK hopefully this is the last question.  I thank you for your ongoing support of this issue and hopefully a lesson is learned as in keeping software and backing up files...

I booted with the created image CD.  I book into a shell of Linux and can navigate around.  I attached my Maxtor external drive and can see this as well as access it.

However, I cannot create a folder on this drive nor can I copy a file from the Hard drive 1 to the maxtor drive.  I get an error either a Konqueror error that I cannot create a new folder on the drive or unable to copy a file over.

any thought so that I can get this done and out.

Thanks so much
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Not sure why it won't allow that.   I'd try this with a Bart's PE CD -- working within an XP environment is probably more familiar to you anyway.

See http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/

Very easy to build the CD, and then you're running a live XP system directly from CD :-)
gandljAuthor Commented:
OK this favor for a friend (while I am at home recovering from an illness no less) is becoming too much.

I downloaded Barts PE, I put my full XP-Pro SP2 install disk on my new laptop C:\data\software\xp-sp2
Note this is OEM software from Dell

I ran Barts EXE and everything went as it should, setup \ English,
to c:\Pebuilder3110a
I agree to PEbuilderlicense
Search for windows installation files - yes
source location found: c:\data\software\xp-sr2
Number of source locations found: 1
PE Builder 3.1.10a
I change the option to burn to CD\DVD

Builder source: c:\data\software\xp-sr2
Custom (blank)
Output: BartPE
Media output - Burn to CD/DVD

If I select Build and say I agree to license
Shows build progress.
there were 8 errors
Nothing from that point.

Any thoughts or is this just not going to work and there is no way to backup this laptop unless I get in under the keyboard, take out the drive and do it that way ?  There is no room on the drive at this point to create another partition or another install of XP.


found the install files and I got the screen to select burn to CD/DVD.  But when I select
Knoppix is originaly set to not allow writing to HD's. You can overecome this by first mounting the device (by clicking on it like you have already done), then right click on the icon again, and you should see the option to change from read only mode to read-write mode. This will allow you ti write data to a fat32 device, but not to ntfs. If you also need ntfs writing support, get the newest knoppix version which has just been released (5.01). You probably still have the older, 4.02 version.
gandljAuthor Commented:
Sorry I was not able to complete this by assigning points, I was unable to access my computer for a while.

Thank you everyone for your comments.  In the end, the hard drive itself was taken out and replaced by Sony.

I am trying the suggestions made by Garycase on a test machine as I would like to have that option in the future.

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