Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Saved By Factory Reset

Every once in a while I get hold of a project that pushes my technitude (I just invented that word) to the highest level.  This is one of those projects.  I got in my hands a super old and heavily abused Sony notebook.

It doesn't look anywhere near this nice.
Apparently the poor thing has suffered from an onslaught of malware and viruses. So much so that in regular Windows XP mode it crawls slower than a baby with a leash on it (fun visual right?).  I had to patch it up best I could in Safe Mode but even though that improved it slightly, it was still crazy slow.  For a machine rocking half a gig of memory, something had to be wrong.  My Windows 7 lappy only has a gigabyte and it can run circles around the VIAO.

That brings me today.  Today I resolve to wipe the hard drive clean and reinstall Windows XP.  So the first thing I do is get ready to do the backup.  I booted the machine into Safe Mode and got started.  Then I waited.  For almost 6 hours!  The backup took THAT long!  But finally it finished.

Then a new problem: how to reinstall without a cd-rom drive.  Oh this machine HAS a cd-rom drive but it's busted (won't open).  So I'm thinking we'll have to go the USB boot method.  Nope.  Sorry.  The laptop is so old it doesn't support boot from USB.  You guys don't want to see how many tricks I employed to get this to work.  I even used my external cables to use a cd-rom externally (obviously didn't work).  I started messing around the BIOS to see what options were available.  All I had was Floppy (pfft, yeah right) and Network (pfft, yeah right). 

All hope seemed lost.  I was monkeying with the F keys trying to get back into the boot menu when by pure chance I held down the F10 key on start up.  Would you believe this activated the Factory Reset application?  I had no idea this option existed but I went with it anyway.  So I activate it and let it do its thing.  The damn laptop restarted like 5 times.  I thought something had went awry before it finally did get to a point where it showed me a cursor...and an error.  Oy!  Clicked out the error and watched the cursor and the black screen for a second and nothing was happening.  I could move the cursor though.  Anyhoo, hard reset!  Safe Mode, same error.  So I run the damn recovery AGAIN.

*gasp*Step 3!  I didn't get here last time!  It's working!  It's working!  Ok, calm down.  I really shouldn't celebrate until it gets to Step 4.

Wow, this software is taking a while to install.  *waiting*

*still waiting* At least it's past the halfway mark now...

Is this thing really installing AOL software?  WTF!

Alright! Now I gotta uninstall half this crap the factory reset installed.  Thanks Sony.

Naturally thing thing demands a restart after all that.  Guess what pops up on restart:  The File System Checker!  What's this?  Unreadable segments?

Great after the part 4 setup and after all that the system is unreadable.  So here we go with the recovery for a third time.

Ok, think that did it.  Ah, that's familiar.  The standard XP setup page.  Good times!  Ah, what a difference a reinstall makes.  Moving like buttah right now.  Ok, all I'm doing is uninstalling all the crap software.  The rest will have to wait for tomorrow.

I don't know how this started as a recap and turned into a live blog.  Sometimes troubleshooting is just funny that way.  I thought I was done when I started this and it turned out I had a lot more work to go.

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