BIOS / BOOT Help!

#1
When I start my laptop I get the following message:

Windows Failed to Start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause. To fix the problem:
1. Insert your windows installation disc and restart your computer.
2. Choose your language settings, and then click "Next."
3. Click "Repair your computer."
If you do not have this disc, contact your system administrator or computer manufacturer for assistance.
File: \Boot\BCD
Status: 0xc000000f
Info: An error occured while attempting to read the boot configuration data.

So, I have looked on this site for help and have tried the following:
I downloaded the windows vista recovery disc as per the instructions on the following address: http://neosmart.net/blog/2008/windows-vista-recovery-disc-download/

I used ImgBurn and it verified that the disc was written properly. However, when I put it in the disc drive, I get a flashing cursor for a minute or so and then I get the sam message again (Windows failed to start.....).

I then restarted the computer and pressed F2 so I could change the BIOS settings. However, there is no CD ROM or DVD Drive in my list for Boot prority order. How can I get it to boot from the CD if there isn't a drive on this list?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Poyntz<
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Hi Poyntz, welcome to NST.
Does your PC have an ASUS mobo ?
The Bios boot sequence for mine is spread over several pages.
Top level says the kind of device, and the subsequent level after choosing the device type, orders the devices within that category.
If you're only in the HDD second level, you'll need to back up to the top level and set mountable devices before HDD in that.
If there's really no option in the BIOS, then there must be a facility in your extended boot options (F8 ?) to boot from CD, otherwise the PC would be unusable and incapable of installing an OS.
 
#3
Hi Terry, I'm not really sure what an "ASUS mobo" is?

I'm using a sony vaio and when I press F2, I get in to the "Phoenix TrustedCore (tm) Setup Utility". There are a few pages in here but I don't see any options for moving up or down a level.
I don't know why the CD Rom or DVD is not on my list! It's so wierd!
If it helps, my main page says "BIOS Version: R1050J8, Machine Name: VGN-AR51J"

Anything else you can think of?

Poyntz<
 
#4
Hi Terry, I'm not really sure what an "ASUS mobo" is?
"Mobo" is short for "motherboard", so what he's basically asking you is, do you have a ASUS motherboard.
 
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#6
It should say in the documentation that came with your computer, such as your computer manual hard copy. It will probably be under something like "Hardware".
 
#7
Ok, I've had a good look and can't find anything that says "ASUS" so I don't think so. I don't know much about mobos though so I'm not entirely sure.

The Hardware is listed as:
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T7250, Supports Enhanced Intel Speedstep Technology, 2.00GHz.
Memory: 2GB/Go DDR2 SDRAM (2x1024MB/Mo) (667 MHz)
HDD: 250 GB/Go
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GT GPU.
OS: Windows Vista Home Premium.

Does that mean anything to you?

I really have had a good look for anything about the motherboard or ASUS but very little came with my Laptop in terms of documents or support. I have also searched the web under "sony vaio motherboards vgn-ar51j" but couldn't find any confirmation.

Is there anything else you'd recommend?
 
#8
Is there anything else you'd recommend?
Yes, find the CD rom drive entry in the BIOS, and set it to boot first, so you can boot the recovery disk and attempt repairs.
Every BIOS has it. You need to try searching for it again, and check (very thoroughly) your BIOS for it. At the first splash screen you get to when starting your computer, it should show (if only briefly) what key you need to press to enter your BIOS. It might be the Del key, or it could be some other key. Just make sure to press that key (whatever it is) to enter your BIOS.
 
#9
In the BIOS, the list of Boot priority order is:
1: USB Optical Drive (*)
2: Internal Optical Drive
3: Floppy Disk Drive (*)
4: USB Flash (*)
5: USB Hard Disk Drive (*)
6: Internal Hard Disk Drive
7: Network
(* This Drive is available when External Boot is Enabled.)

I looked in the BIOS on another computer (which did have a CD Drive in the list) so I'm pretty sure I'm looking in the right place. I think number 2 (Internal Optical Drive) is the one to use.

When I tried it, I got a different response at start up compared with the others: Rather than going straight to the error message, it thinks about it and it sounds like it is trying to read the disc. This is when I get the flashing cursor for a minute or so and then it goes to the error message again.

I guess this means that there is either a fault with my disc drive, or I'm using a wrong/faulty disc. I have now tried both the 32 bit and 64 bit and neither have worked. I have only tried them on writable CDs though. Do you think it would work if I bought some writable DVDs or BDs?

I guess the other option would be to source an external CD drive and try to boot from that, selecting option 1 from my BIOS.

Thanks, Poyntz<
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#10
Yes 2 is the correct option to boot from, and CD is fine (it's not big enough to need a DVD).
Take the burned CD(s) to another PC and check whether they boot OK.
It sounds as if you haven't burned them properly, but if they do work on another PC then you should try booting a known good bootable CD (an old Windows perhaps) on your broken PC to see if that works.
If it doesn't the fault must be with your internal optical drive and you should check it out or replace it.
 
#11
Hi Terry, thanks for the quick response.
I have tried the cd on another PC and it worked: It gave me the option to "Press any key to boot from a CD / DVD" so we know the cd is ok and as you suggested, it must be a problem with the internal optical drive.
Replacing it sounds complicated and expensive. Can you suggest another, cheaper work around? I'm pretty sure my brother has an external CD ROM drive so is it worth me heading across town and giving it a go (ie selecting option 1 from my BIOS and enabling external boot)?
Thanks, Poyntz<

Addendum:

Update!! Problem solved! Thank you Terry60 and Coolname007 for all your help.

I'm going to write a little here about what I did so anyone else who has a similar problem can take a look:
see above....+ Before Terry60 had advised that a cd would be fine, I had already gone out and bought some writable DVDs so I thought I'd give it a go anyway. I followed the same process as I did with the CD, using ImgBurn. When I tried the DVD in my broken Vaio, it worked!
I don't know why the CD didn't work. I had tested it on another PC and it seemed fine. Someone smarter than me might be able to work it out but my hunch is that this particular model of Vaio does not like to boot from CDs but will boot from DVDs because of the fancy Optical Drive it has. It's possible that the cd I was using was just poor quality but as I say, it worked on another PC.

When I was looking under the hardware listing in the manual, it didn't mention anything about CD's. Instead, it said:
Optical: Blu-Ray Disc Combo Drive BD ROM/DVD_+RW/_+R DL/RAM Drive.
So, if anyone else finds themselves in my position, try a DVD instead and it might just work. I'm not sure why it made a difference but thought I'd share anyway.

Thanks again,

Poyntz<
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#12
Thanks for the update. You're the 1st person I've come across with this problem, but I suppose it might be more common increasingly as people move to HD.
You're right that there could be a problem, even on an older optical drive, with reading/writing one format and not another, because they use different laser frequencies, so that's something to bear in mind when offering advice in future. (In fact there's another thread open with a similar problem at the moment, I must find and point him here).
In your case, if CD isn't even supported as a format, the solution should have been obvious all along.
I'll know in future not to assume that all permutations of CD/DVD/+R/-R/+RW/-RW/RAM are necessarily available to every user, as I've done up till now.