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Desperate for help getting my pc desktop to boot up!

By szyandski ·
Hi. I'm not a tech guru, I'm a freelance graphic designer who's fairly new to 'working from home' without an IT dept a phone call away. I'm using a SONY VAIO desktop model VGC-RA810G which runs Windows XP Mediacenter. A few days ago the system froze up but powering it down and turning it back on worked fine. I got a message upon rebooting that the system had recovered from a critical state due to problems with the Graphics Card and/or driver. The message suggested checking into Windows upgrades which I did and upgraded everything the program suggested. The next day the system froze again. I shut down the system and it wouldn't reboot again. The power button lights up, but the monitor is black and void. An online chat with SONY's support tech produced little information. He wanted me to try a reboot that would reinstall the computer to the state in which it came from the factory - which would in turn delete much of my unbacked up data. I chose not to do that and am hoping someone can help me figure this out in a way that allows me to retrieve my data and maybe even save my computer. The graphics card in the computer is a Radeon X600 XT - SONY says that a bad graphics card could be the reason my computer won't boot. Does this sound accurate and if so, what are my options for repair? Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. It's difficult if not impossible to continue my work on my laptop in the interim. Thanks.

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Could be a couple of things

by omegafire In reply to Desperate for help gettin ...

If you have a different hard drive, try putting that into your computer. Sometimes the drivers for the graphics card gets corrupt or the hard drive is going bad.

Sony could also be right in the graphics card could be bad.

Also, try booting the computer into diagnostics mode and see if anything comes up there.

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Bad Graphics Driver vs Bad Graphics Card

by szyandski In reply to Could be a couple of thin ...

Thanks for your reply. I have tried everything to get the computer to boot including trying to boot in Safe Mode but nothing works. When you say "boot the computer into diagnostics mode" I assume you are referring to Safe Mode? If not, can you give specific directions on how to do a diagnostics mode on a computer that doesn't boot? ALSO, I re: graphics card, I'm afraid to buy a new graphics card and then find out that I wasted money because I bought one that isn't compatible, or the problem is with a driver. Is there anyone way to know definitively if my problem is a card problem or a driver problem? I know my existing card specs but since its been 4 years since I bought the computer, I wonder if there is a better graphics card that I should be buying instead of the one that came from the factory? SONY says my big consideration is to make sure the wattage is compatible. Sound right? Any advice on this? Hate the idea of spending a few hundred on a graphics card, taking it to a technician to install and hearing the words, "This isn't compatible" or "The graphics card isn't your problem".

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Almost forgot!

by omegafire In reply to Desperate for help gettin ...

To get your information off... stick your hard drive into an external enclosure to get your info off. Or another computer that has an open hard drive bay.

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A couple of things to try ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Desperate for help gettin ...

Whatever the make of your hard drive, get hold of the manufacturer's diagnostic utilities for that specific make of hard drive and run it from CD. That will give you an indication of the health status of the hard drive.

Download and burn to CD the UBC

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

This disc boots from its own self contained operating system, so will boot on a machine with a corrupt operating system. It contains a wealth of diagnostic tools for all your hardware. You should start by checking out the hard drive and the RAM.

If you have access to a second hard drive, UBCD can be used to transfer your critical data by whichever means available to you, either mounting the second hard drive on a spare internal bay, or by USB connection. This might be your only possibility of saving your files.

If you only have a Recovery Partition on the ailing hard drive, you will have to remove the hard drive from this machine and hook it up to another (working) machine as a slave drive. By using any one of several proprietary software programs you can copy the Recovery Partition off to another new hard drive, which can then be used to replace the old hard drive inside the system.

If you have Recovery CDs this part of the process would be a lot easier.

Once your Recovery Partition is safely transferred you can restore your computer to Factory Default settings, then transfer your copied data back over to your fresh, new, operating system. You cannot copy the programs however, since they won't have any Registry entries in the NEW system, so you'll have to reinstall your programs before copying the data files back.

That, however, is a long way off. First you have to diagnose whether the hard drive is recoverable or whether it is toast.


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