Sony Vaio laptop with Windows 7 Home will not load Windows; automatically goes into startup repair then fails. Unfortunately, there are no restore points and the owner did not create the recovery disks when they purchased the laptop. I have tried the typical things to repair without success; F8 startup options fail (no recovery option available), startup repair fails, repair CD made from a good system fails, booted to another Windows 7 disk fails because its not the same version, CHKDSK, SFC scan, etc.

From a command prompt I can see the recovery partition and it appears to be intact. Is there a way to create the system recovery disks from the recovery partition when Windows will not load?

This unit was purchased at Walmart. The model number is PCG-61611L. Sony's site requires an additional model number to access info. This number is not located on the outside of laptop. Sony indicates there is a text file within Windows which contains this number. Thus far, have not been able to find the file.

F10 and F11 during boot did not work. It appeared F10 tried but all that happened was a row of multi colored pixels across the screen and it froze there.

Saw another post about using gParted to access the drive and change the recovery partition to /boot. Did that and it went farther than before. If successful I will post all the details in case someone else runs into this.

Edit: Found the recovery partition needs to be hidden in order for F10 to work. All that happens when F10 is pressed at startup is it comes to a DOS style boot configuration screen. There are no options for recovery. F11 does nothing. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion the recovery partition may look intact when in actuality it is not functional. The owner will have to purchase recovery disk(s) from Sony since they did not make the recovery disks when prompted.

  • A text file within Windows to access the support info? I'm not sure I understand why they did something like that. Frankly it sounds rather stupid. – music2myear Oct 7 '11 at 15:11
  • That was my first reaction. I had to read it twice to make sure that was what they meant. Won't do any good if it gets deleted or the HDD crashes. – CharlieRB Oct 7 '11 at 15:26
  • You could remove the HDD from the laptop and connect it to an external/USB adapter and access the file that way, but yea, that's just asking for user frustration. – music2myear Oct 7 '11 at 15:27

You should be able to initiate a boot to the repair partition without creating the recovery disks. Normally, you must have access to the OS to actually create these disks.

Sony's usually use the F10 key to access this recovery partition. Pressing F10 while the system is loading (just like F8 for the Windows boot options menu) should open whatever recovery system Sony installed on the laptop.

If F10 doesn't work, post the full model number of the laptop so we can look up the specific instructions for that model.

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  • Thank you. I will try F10 and let you know. Additional information added to the question regarding the model. I didn't have much luck at Sony's site. – CharlieRB Oct 7 '11 at 15:01
  • F11 is also commonly used. Sometimes you can hit ESC when you see the first display screen, and it will display a message that tells you what keys do what. – David Schwartz Oct 7 '11 at 16:42
  • updated above; F10 did not work. It seemed to try to do something but then froze. – CharlieRB Oct 9 '11 at 1:06
  • It sounds as though the HDD itself is damaged or faulty. As a last resort you can normally order Recovery disks from Sony. Doing this would probably be cheaper than ordering a new HDD from Sony. Get your disks there and then buy a compatible drive from the local electronics store. – music2myear Oct 9 '11 at 18:26

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