VAIO VGN-FE21E New Hard Drive Issue

Posted on 2011-03-18
Last Modified: 2012-06-21
My nephew gave me his 2 yearold Sony VAIO VGN-FE21E to see if I can resolve the following issue.
For a while, Vista was acting slow, with long lags and sometimes freezing altogether.
He determined the issue was a bad hdd, and so purchased a replacement 320Gb WD BEKT drive.
When we try to install this to replace the existing 320Gb hdd, the BIOS does not recognise the drive size, it says 0Gb. If we put the old one back, it sees 320Gb. removing drive altogether shows No HDD.
So it seems to see it, but not get the size. I dont have the BIOS version to hand, but a quick look at Sony site seems to indicate that there is an update available, which I downloaded but I cant run it, using the old HDD, it says Not A Valid 32 bit application for the exe.

Since the BIOS is not detecting this drive, I cant install Windows 7 or reinstall Vista.

I have tried installing Win 7 on the old drive, but it freezes up again. I can hear clicks from the old drive.

It could be 2 faults, both HDD, but I'm thinking that newer drives even if same size, may need a BIOS update, but as I say, how can I do this? Sony seem to have locked out a lot of BIOS options, and we have spoke to their support, who want us to return it and they will charge 70 pounds just to look at it.

Windows in safe mode does not sem to have the lags incidentally.

Any ideas appreciated.

Question by:Croftkey
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 35164191
Check the BIOS if the option of auto detect the Hard disk is set correctly.
It should be set to auto detect.

It could be also that the new hard disk has an issue.
Test the new hard disk on another machine if it can be detected and used.

Author Comment

ID: 35164369
I dont really have access to another machine to test the drive, but I'll see if a colleague can help, or even if I can get a cheap usb to SATA type cable/device to test.

I cant remember seeing an Auto Detect option on the BIOS. As I say, it seems a very Basic type of BIOS, theres no advanced options that I can see. Someone in another forum suggested trying to reset settigns to default, I can try that I guess.

The fact that its seeing 0Gb indicates to me it can see the drive, but not determine its size, etc. I know flashing firmware on some machines allows newer drives to be recognised.
But I cant see an option either to upgrade the BIOS.
I have the exe, but it says not a valid 32bit application. Does this mean it can be run from Windows, or do I have to boot off some other way?
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 35164729
<<The fact that its seeing 0Gb indicates to me it can see the drive>>
Is the name of the new drive also indicated?
If yes it means the hard disk is being detected.

If its just 0G, there could be an issue with the new hard drive.
It would be good to test the hard disk on another machine and confirm
that the hard disk is working ok.

If your machine is about 2  years old it should have the auto detect option.
Only in the very old machines one needed to set the details of the hard disk in the bios.

<<I have the exe, but it says not a valid 32bit application>>
How did you run this application,  if windows is not working?
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 35164743
One other thing which you could check is that the new hard disk is properly fixed.

Author Comment

ID: 35165104
Just checking with my nephew to see when he got the drive, it could be under warranty.
Could it be possible that it may show as 0Gb but still the drive itself is fine? From other forums and similar issues there, people have found 0gb usually means drive is faulty. I dont see any jumper settings on the HDD to adjust.

Its fitted okay, it uses the same caddy and seems to fit fine. I can hear it clicking which indicates power is getting to it.
As mentioned before too, the BIOS does say 0Gb, if i put in no drive, it does say No drive in the BIOS.

I downloaded an exe from Sony site (BIOS upgrade), which is something like Exxxxxxx.exe, I saved this exe locally and tried to run it on the old drive. The old drive has W7 on it, but it freezes up eventually, but enough time for me to attempt to run the executable, which is when I get the error.


Author Comment

ID: 35172985
Okay took drive to pc repair shop and it looks like the drive is cooked.
Anyway checked WD site, and the HDD is under warranty till 2015, so arranging replacement.

This drive has never been installed in a machine or had an OS applied. Its been in bubble wrapped protection since delivery so, I guess just unlucky in thta it was bought to replace a faulty drive and the replacement itself is broke.


Author Comment

ID: 35286677
New replacement drive arrived, works fine.old one sent to wd under warranty.

Author Comment

ID: 35286689
LVL 12

Accepted Solution

asidu earned 500 total points
ID: 35287070
I also mentioned that there could be an issue with the new hard disk #35164191

Author Comment

ID: 35287144
I concur asidu I will accept yours a solution

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35287161
Asidu suggestion that HDd was faulty was right.

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