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How can I get this laptop to boot up?

I have a Sony Vaio PCG-V505ECP laptop. It is a little over 2 years old. Six months after I got it I got this exact message (Operating system not found). I contact Sony support and they had me send the laptop back. When I got it back the information indicated that they had replaced the motherboard, hard drive, and the processor. The unit ran fine for about 18 months and now I've got the message again. The unit gets very light use by the General Manager here (mostly he watches DVD movies while traveling). I am a Network Administrator and work on PCs regularly. I've tried several things including a bootup disk that I use and it indicates that there is no disk in it. I took it apart and made certain everything was tightly in place, including the processor and the memory but nothing has changed. If it is the motherboard again, I priced it at $1036.00 which is more than the unit is worth so I was hoping someone there would have some ideas that I haven't tried as yet.
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awbenitez
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awbenitez
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1 Solution
 
keihatsuCommented:
Does it see the drive in the bios?  I'm guessing not.

Check the cable to the drive, and if you can get ahold of a laptop hard drive, try swapping that out.

If they changed the motherboard and hard drive last time, then the only remaining piece of hardware that's related is the actual IDE cable.
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duffman76Commented:
It sounds as if the cable is not connected fully.  I would give that another check first.  If that does not fix the issue check the bios and see what your boot order is.  Make sure that it the hard drive is listed as an option.  Make sure that it is not trying to boot to a usb key or some other drive.  Do you hear the drive spin up when you turn on the machine?  That may indicate that the drive is shot.
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awbenitezAuthor Commented:
The cable answer makes sense but I already checked it. What I noticed when I opened it up is that the connection between the motherboard and the hard drive is poorly designed. In most cases there is a cable that goes from the motherboard to the hard drive. In this unit there is a middle point and it is not a great connection. The actual cable to the hard drive is extremely short. I may try to purchase that part but I don't think it is the cable. I think it is probably the connector to the motherboard and probably why they changed out the motherboard that first time. I am going to wait for a few more answers before I take this thing apart again. By the way, the first thing I did was try another hard drive to no avail. And, you are right, it is not visible in the bios.
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GrKosteraCommented:
Verify that the hard drive itself isnt the issue. pop the hard drive into another system and verify is shows in the bios. It sounds as if the drive is bad.
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keihatsuCommented:
Is it possible that the cable just isn't staying fully seated?  I've seen that on other systems before.  In some cases, a bit of electrical tape or a piece of foam either on the connector or on the inside of the case so it will push on the connector to hold it in place is all it takes to keep it on.

Also, is this the model of VIAO that has problems with the memory not staying fully seated in slot 2?  Not that this sounds like a memory issue, but I've seen stranger things.
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captainCommented:
Hi

If yur drive is seen in BIOS boot up from XP CD and run recovery console, start chkdsk  and see if the drive comes up, run chkdsk /r if does and then fixboot.

hth
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ChiefITCommented:
I agree with everyone. Sounds like BIOS. Try upgrading BIOS by going to the Sony site and looking for BIOS updates.  
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awbenitezAuthor Commented:
All of these except Keihatsu's solution I have already tried. I have booted with an XP CD and with my own XP Utilities boot CD but the hard drive is not visible therefore fixing the boot is not an option. You just get a no disk message. I am going to try Keihatsu's solution because this is such a poor method of connection that it could be the problem.
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nobusCommented:
to make sure, you could test the disk(s) on another PC; then - if they are ok, you're sure it is the connection.
you may need one of these to connect them : http://insidecomputer.stores.yahoo.net/la2tode3hadr.html
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elissaqpCommented:
If you have another hard drive, please try with it. It could be the motherboard or the HD.
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captainCommented:
If you find that it is the hardrive then it could be the circuit board or the drive itself, if you here no sound at all on boot up then most likely the circuit board.

These are relatively inexpensive compared to the full drive, Sony will usually buy them in from a bigger make, maybe worth trying support from the HDD manufacturer to get a circuit board replacement.
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billbenitezCommented:
Sorry that I have not responded but I was looking for something that I had not thought of myself. I have already determined that it isn't the hard drive. I have decided that the only possibilities now are the mainboard or the small PWB, Flexible Print cable between the hard drive and the mainboard. Considering the excessive price of the mainboard, I have decided to risk purchasing the flexible print cable. In spite of being just about 1/2" long it cost me $87 plus shipping and tax. I received it at home of Friday afternoon and will be trying it at work on Monday morning. If that does not do the job there is no question in my mind that it is the mainboard and I have to decide if I want to make the investment. I plan to search many sources but so far the price is $1036. Too much to make it worthwhile. I left the question open in case someone had some idea that I had missed. There were some good answer so I will probably just choose the one I consider the best and accept it. It was helpful information but not really a solution to my problem. Sorry I have left it for so long.

Bill
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keihatsuCommented:
billbenitez - looks like you posted that reply from the wrong account?

I'm curious, did you try my last, somewhat unorthodox suggestion?  I'm assuming you tried and it didn't work.
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awbenitezAuthor Commented:
Keihatsu,

You are right, I incorrectly responded with an old free account instead of my paid account. Sorry about that. As to your question, I did try your suggestion because while it might be unorthodox, it made sense to me. I strongly believed that it could be in that little cable or the connection. As I indicated, I took the risk and invested in the little cable which was outrageously priced at $87 plus shipping and tax. Unfortunately, I was wrong and it made no difference at all. I am now convinced that it has to be the mainboard. I don't think it is worthwhile purchasing the mainboard at full price considering that it costs more than 80% of what I paid for the unit over 2 years ago. My final effort will be to see if I can get the seller to take some responsibility and help me to replace the mainboard. Since I spend thousands each year with this company they may be receptive to pushing Sony to give me a better deal on the mainboard. Failing that, I will probably discard the laptop and stay away from Sony laptops in the future. This thing has been a disappointment since I purchased it. It is attractive and definitely light weight but not worthwhile for a serious computer user. I will review the answers I got this week and select the one with the most potential considering the information that I initially submitted. Thanks for all your efforts.

Bill
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rindiCommented:
awbenitez,

Please follow the instructions inside my above post to either close the Q, or if you need more help here, then I suggest you open a new 20 Point "Pointer" Question with the word Pointer in it's title and a Link to this Q in it's body. This might attract some new experts to post here. Please post back what you are doing, thanks.

rindi,
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