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XP Acting Up

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Eric Johnson, Jun 17, 2007.

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  1. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    It always happens to me eventually, but I thought I'd get a little more time from my six-month-old Sony Vaio laptop before the operating system decided to cash it in.

    When I fired it up yesterday I got some message about how the system configuration had been changed and that (as I recall) the machine was running in a maintenance mode of some kind. I think it gave some direction about how to get back to "Normal." Unfortunately, I instinctively hit the "don't repeat this message again" option, so I can't be sure what it was all about.

    The operating system starts, but about half the programs stall when I try to launch them, I can't switch to remote VGA mode, all the System Restore points are gone (it told me that System Restore was turned off). Other utility programs are turned off as well, all my network connections are gone, etc. etc.

    I'm familiar with the old Safe Mode on Win 98, but I don't have much experience troubleshooting XP Home Edition.

    I'm sure there's a call to Sony Customer Care in my near future, but if anybody's got any suggestions in the meantime, I'm all ears.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The message probably said to press F8 when booting to get into the boot menu. Press F8 right after the BIOS is done loading, but before Windows starts loading.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315222

    Do you remember what you did prior to this event? Say the day before or before shutting it down? Any new programs installed?
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Thanks for the help, BG.

    No new programs. I did change the Windows automatic update option so that it asks me before installing an update. The only other thing I can think of is that I closed the case before it was finished shutting down on Friday afternoon, probably putting it into hibernation mode before the shutdown process was complete. I've done that before with no ill effects, but thinking about it, it's probably not a good idea.

    I'll try the F8 boot menu thing after the disk finishes defragmenting. That never does any good, but at least it makes you feel like you're doing something constructive.

    I should probably stick to cutting wood.....
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Correct, that's probably not a good thing to do. When the computer goes into hibernation it is trying to copy all items in memory, to disk. Interrupting this process may corrupt the hibernation file. Do you have the Win XP service pack 2 installed? (FWIW, I never run with hibernation mode on.)

    You might try turning hibernation mode off, unplug any peripherals, then restart the computer to see if it can come back to defaults.

    hibernation troubleshooting:
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/907477/en-us

    Win XP Svc. Pk 2, fixes for hibernation:
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/331958/en-us

    clean boot info (gets fairly technical):
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/316434/en-us
  5. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I'm back in business after spending 15 minutes on the phone with "Raymond" in Bangalore.

    You were right, BG--an incomplete hibernation procedure was the culprit. Per your advice, I've turned that option off and will be a lot more careful shutting down in the future.

    I also appreciate your links. I read them but didn't do anything. I've learned the hard way over the years that I have just enough knowledge to screw things up really good. My confidence in doing significant operating system tinkering ended with Windows 98. And even then, at times my confidence far exceeded my abilities.

    Anyway, thanks again for your help, BG. I'm also pretty impressed with Sony's tech support. I was nervous because I've heard some horror stories. I've also been dealing in recent months with customer support from Verizon and Cisco (linksys). The latter sucketh. Verizon's not bad, depending on the tech. Maybe that's true with all of them.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Good to hear that you're back up and running Eric. I'm glad it was relatively easy to recover with. Be sure to turn System Restore back on.

    Also good to hear that Sony has fixed Vaio support. It used to be abysmal. I had a Vaio workstation several years ago and there was zero support beyond the out-of-date website that had minimal helpful information. They treated the computer just like an appliance... wrong.
  7. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I've always been partial to desktops because they tend to be more stable, aren't as easily damaged or stolen, and they have a lot more expandability and fixability than laptops. And they last a lot longer.

    However, my changing work habits and widespread broadband availability have made a laptop more or less indispensable.

    Funny, I seem to change my work habits to fit the available technology. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?
  8. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    Hmmm this will fix it :p

    Attached Files:

  9. bmstove.com

    bmstove.com New Member

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    Permanent CURE

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  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Laptops are fine as long as they don't use proprietary hardware and drivers. I like the new Mac laptops. They run OS X and Windows with equal grace.
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