Windows Vista Failed To Start

#1
Please help. I have a Sony VAIO FE Series Laptop VGN FE880E which came with Vista Home Premium already installed.

I get the error message that Windows failed to start. It tells me to insert the Windows installation disc which does not exist. It also says:

File: \Boot\BCD
Status: 0xc000014c
Info: An error occurred while attempting to read the boot configuration data.

So far I have gone into the BIOS and verified that the boot order lists the internal optical drive first. I have made the 32 bit Vista Recovery ISO disc from this site, but it doesn't work. The file is 120 MB. Does that sound right or am I missing something?

I cannot do a system restore or go into Safe Mode, because I cannot get past that error screen.

I am accessing your site with a recently purchased Mac computer, but all my important stuff is of course still on the pc.

Lesson learned- In the future do even more frequent backups no matter how much space they take up.

I saw a suggestion in another post to remove the RAM chips. I have no idea what they look like or where they are. I've never opened a laptop before and would be very uncomfortable doing so.

Why doesn't the Recovery ISO work?

If I contact Microsoft or Sony, would they send me a disc that will repair my computer instead of wiping out everything on it?

Any suggestions as to how to fix the error and get my computer up and running are greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Hi seeker, welcome to NST.
Did you follow the advice to burn the ISO file directly to CD, and did you use Imgburn to do it.
We recommend it because we know it works, and it's free.
If so, the first thing to check is that CD/DVD comes before HDD in your BIOS boot sequence.
Look at the splash screen as you first switch the system on and it should say somewhere how to enter the BIOS setup routine (possibly the "del" key or a Function key).
Once you're in there, navigate to the screen(s) for setting the boot sequence and make sure that CD comes before HDD.
Then boot again with the recovery CD in the tray, "hit enter" when prompted, and follow the instructions in the wiki.
 
#3
So far I have gone into the BIOS and verified that the boot order lists the internal optical drive first. I have made the 32 bit Vista Recovery ISO disc from this site, but it doesn't work. The file is 120 MB. Does that sound right or am I missing something?
The resulting disc says Vista_Recovery_Disc.iso and it is 120.5 MB. I have the Internal Optical Drive listed first. With the disc in the drive, I've turned the computer off and on, and hit F8 several times, but I still get the same error message.

I cannot get to Safe Mode, System Restore or anything else, just the same error message.

Thanks for any help.

Addendum:

By the way, I did try getting imgburn several times and from different mirrors, but it kept saying, This program cannot be run in DOS mode." Then below that was a whole lot of jibberish. Maybe it's because I am having to access the internet now from a MAC laptop.

But anyway, as stated in my previous note, I already have the iso on CD. It's just not working. Please help. I need my pc laptop back.

Thanks in advance.
 
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#4
Unfortunately, there is no ImgBurn version for Mac. :frowning: You will need to do the following, to ensure you burned the ISO correctly to the disk:

Download our Recovery Disk ISO from this link. Note that the download is only the torrent. You will need to download the actual .iso via a torrent client.
You can use the built-in Disk Utility to burn the ISO to a CD, using the following steps:


  1. Insert a blank disc.
  2. Start Disk Utility.
  3. From the File menu, choose Open Disk Image and select the ISO to be burned.
  4. In the list of volumes, you will now see an item representing the ISO file. Select it.
  5. Click the Burn button and follow the instructions.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#5
You won't be able to run imgburn from a mac unless they got a mac version...

Edit: Thanks cool, apples got iso burn support built in? Whens MS going to catch up? lol
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#6
You shouldn't end up with an ISO file on a CD. An ISO file is a single file image of the entire contents of a CD; all the folders, their subfolders, and all the files contained inside and outside those folders.
When you burn an ISO file with software capable of the task, you end up with a duplicate CD of the one which was turned into an ISO file in the first place.
The ISO file is just a convenient way of storing all that data in a single image.
If you don't have access to a Windows system to use Imgburn, you'll need an equivalent program for the Mac, capable of burning an ISO image. Not all burning software can do this, (Vista's native burner for example).
I can't advise what the Mac equivalent is, but someone here probably can.

Addendum:

According to Jake, the Mac can do it natively, unlike Vista.
If you end up with an ISO file on the CD, you didn't burn it correctly, but you have a handy drinks coaster, so it's not all bad.
 
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#8
Good one, Terry. :grinning:
And yes, Mac supports ISO burning natively. Got the info from this link, while I was searching with Google to find out if there was a Mac version of ImgBurn, which there isn't. :wink:
 
#9
I had the exact same error message with my HP laptop after Vista did one of its automatic upgrades (I think it was for service pack 1). I was able to burn the iso successfully, but in booting from the disc it said it wasn't the right version for my computer. That was the 32 bit one. So I thought I'd try the 64 bit as I have no idea what version I have, but that also said I didn't have the right version. Any ideas or suggestions?
 
#10
What software did you use to burn the ISO? Try ImgBurn. We recommend it to everyone because it is free, and we know for sure it works.
Did you make sure your CD/DVD drive was first in the boot sequence in the BIOS when you were trying to boot the CD?
If so, what is the exact error message you get to?
 
#11
Thanks for getting back already.

I first used ImgBurn but in doing the verificiation it failed. But my burner is on its last legs, and was typically using the laptop to burn now. However, I already had Nero installed and with the right speed have been still able to burn cds so thought I'd try that and it worked fine.

The CD/DVD drive is first, and loads up fine. I get the Windows Vista, choose language screen, hit next. From there I select Repair your computer. This gives me a system recovery options window, where I have to choose my OS. The only one there to select is Vista so I hit next. And then I get a pop up saying "this version of system recovery options is not compatible with the version of windows you are trying to repair. Try using a recovery disc that is compatible with this version of windows." So that's when I thought I could try the 64 bit iso, but I got the same thing there too.

Addendum:

I should add that in the system recovery options window it does give me the option to select "Load Drivers" which allows me access to any files on my hard drive, but I wouldn't know what to look for to select something.
 
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#13
Thanks everybody!

I did end up calling Sony ($39.99). The lady went through several steps that included me turning the computer off and on multiple times and her putting me on hold several times. She was finally able to get me to the system restore screen.

As it turns out, Windows was trying to do an automatic update and it got fouled up. It always did bother me that Windows would just update without warning usually kicking me off the internet and restarting my computer. I hadn't been online when this happened so I didn't recognize it.

Anyway I restored back to the time of the update which was the last restore point the computer made and all is well again. The first thing I did was to backup all my stuff.

Again thanks to all of you guys!
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#14
I like to have Windows Update set to notify me that updates are ready, but not download or install them.
When I get the notifation Icon that updates are available, I start WUD manually (not by clicking the Icon, which again goes into anonymous mode), and I take a look at the list of available updates to assess how important and how big they are, and which of the optionals I might want/not want. Then and only then, with no other work going on which might conflict, I give it the go ahead and check for good completion. That way, if a new driver went on and the system breaks, I know instantly what was responsible, and how to fix it (roll back).
Letting critical system processes go on anonymously in background means that the above situation results in a broken system with absolutely no idea what might be the cause, and possible (incorrect) remedial action which makes things even worse.
 
#15
Try the manual recovery steps in our wiki.
Is there a way to get the cmd prompt so that I can do the manual recovery without selecting it from that system recovery options window, as that is where my problem lies. When I get to that screen I am asked to select my OS, and when I click next it says I have the wrong disc. As a result I don't even get the screen to choose a recovery tool.

Maybe I need to phone HP and go through the hassle like seeker did.
 
#16
Do you have another OS on the same computer? If so, then yes, you can access the Command Prompt from your other OS, and use it to attempt the repairs, providing of course it is another Windows OS.
 
#18
Ok, so I'm assuming your computer didn't come with a Vista reinstallation disk?
Do you have any other disks laying around the house you could maybe recover the OS (or at least your data) from? Such as an XP installation disk, or a Linux distro LiveCD?
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#19
Is there a way to get the cmd prompt so that I can do the manual recovery without selecting it from that system recovery options window, as that is where my problem lies. When I get to that screen I am asked to select my OS, and when I click next it says I have the wrong disc. As a result I don't even get the screen to choose a recovery tool.
When it asks you which OS you'd like to repair, try hitting shift+f10.
 
#20
Jake...I had no discs. Was just using the recovery disc download from this site. However, I ran to future shop to buy the HP recovery discs for this model of laptop. Went to use that, but it doesn't seem set up to give me a cmd prompt either. Just a complete restore and the option to backup. So my next step would have to be getting an external hard drive I guess to do the backup on, do the compete restore and then should be back in business. Not too thrilled about doing it like this however.

Justin...shift+f10 did nothing
 
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