Earlier tonight I had to work on a friend’s new Sony VAIO system. The model is VGN-NS330J, but the information I found seems to apply to all Sony VAIO laptops.
Anyways, this machine was seriously messed up, and he just bought it. Since the system doesn’t ship with disks for recovering the Windows installation, I figured that there had to be a hotkey combination that brought up the appropriate menu. Interestingly, this was put into the F8 Advanced Boot Options screen that is built into Windows.
If you want to recover the system back to factory defaults, reboot the system, wait for the VAIO logo to appear, and then start pressing F8. The Advanced Boot Options screen will appear shortly. Use the arrow keys to highlight the “Repair Your Computer” option and press Enter. From here, follow the instructions to accomplish what you want.
I did this, but it seems that even the recovery partition was hosed. This meant that his system was essentially worthless at this point. Fortunately, I had some Vista installation disks that could be used to reinstall the OS with the Windows serial key found on the bottom of the laptop.
When I rebooted with the installation disk, the disk didn’t boot. Come to find out, the primary boot option was the harddrive, which, frankly, is the worst boot option to be set as the primary boot method since there’s no way to bypass the hard disk boot without modifying the BIOS. How many computer users would know how to modify the boot priorities in BIOS? A better question: How many computer users even know what the BIOS is?
Unfortunately, Sony decided that having a pretty boot splash screen was more important than providing information on how to access the BIOS. Pressing the usual suspects of Esc and Del did nothing. At least they could have the courtesy of removing the splash screen when I hit a button so that I could see the options, but no.
After much too much searching around, I found out that F2 is the magic key. As soon as you boot, start pressing F2 about once a second until the BIOS screen shows.
I hope this helps you, the random person who found this information, and I hope that system developers see this and realize the following:
- Here’s the smart boot order to set up in the BIOS defaults of new systems: optical drive, external media, internal hard drive(s). This way, any bootable media works as expected without requiring users to go through BIOS first.
- Sacrificing screens that instruct users on how to use basic functionality of the machine for aesthetics is not the right decision, it simply makes your hardware a pain to use. If you must have the pretty splash screens, have them go away when a key is pressed so that the user can see valuable information, such as keys to access BIOS and the POST information. Having a splash screen that requires a change in the BIOS to make it go away in order to see the information on how to access the BIOS is self-defeating.
- Please bring back installation media or make a way for people to easily and cheaply acquire it. It would be fantastic if OEM system manufacturers would offer the ability to download the appropriate installation media directly from the manufacturer website. You could require a registered system complete with the serial information of the system in order to authenticate the download. This way there isn’t the increased cost of disk inventory and shipping. It would also allow customers to have quick resolution of problems since the customer could go to any location with internet access to quickly and easily get the necessary disk to use for recovery.
This has the added benefit of ending the ridiculous permanent waste of space on computers in order to have a long-term storage of data that may never be used and may be corrupt by the time it is needed.
Did I help you?
Note even after changing on the BIOS booting priority to start with CD the save and exit. the pc is still booting with the C:drive.
is there is not option of deactivating the drive?
To answer your question, I don’t believe it is possible to remove the drive from the boot list.
If you’ve confirmed that your optical drive is listed as a higher priority than your hard drive, then I would suspect that the system doesn’t recognize your disk as bootable.
Looking for assistance, I have a Sony Vaio VGN-FW270J that I’m trying to save. When turning the machine on it gives me a message that says “Operating System Not Found”, I’m not sure what is causing this. I have changed the RAM, checked the seating and used a different HDD, even disconnected the CMOS battery. But it still gives me that message. Also in the BIOS settings when changing the boot order, after attempting to save, it will not save the order no matter what. any idea of what I can do. I s there any hope left for this machine?
There are a number of potential causes of this:
Thanks a lot. I was trying to reset the boot sequence on our sony laptop but failed. There is not much info around on the web. Your article helps!
I’m having a similar problem.
I’ve configured the BIOS every which way possible to make sure that it boots from the CD/DVD first. It never happens. Linux/ubuntu boots fine from my flashdrive, but I cannot for the life of me get my Windows Vista 32 DVD to boot for a reinstall/repair.
I know the DVD works because it has no issue loading on my other laptop, both from inside XP or from the boot menu in the startup beginning. I know this thread is long dead, but just hoping someone might stumble across it again and offer some advice. I’m close to just completely reformatting the drive and trying to reinstall that way, but I want to see if there’s anyway to repair it first by using my Vista DVD.
Without access to the system, I really don’t know what the problem could be. Some systems are just more temperamental than others when it comes to device boot priority.
Thanks! The “start pressing F2 about once a second” did the trick.
Can not agree with this. (actually it is stupid suggestion to boot external devices at first). Not mentioning that it is the fastest way to set first HDD in a boot order because it saves from 3 seconds (while there is no CD or USB device) up to hour for recovering messed OS if suddenly a flash drive with OS distributive will be connected. Computer will start search all files if flash drive is bootable etc.
If you need to set smth else in boot order then you are going to do smth not usual. If you are going to do smth unusual then you at least should know what to do while setting proper boot order is the simplest.
Basing on all above you HAD NO IDEA what to do and how to do.
Next time try to press F10 while booting so it will force recovery partition to boot.
P.S. Taking your words seriously would mean that sellers can’t sell folks otherwise some people would kill themselves because they have no knowledge to (stupid enough that can) eat only using spoons.
Did not want to insult anyone but had to use these words to put back someone to a realistic life.
Most of my systems do not show anything near a 3 second delay while booting with support for USB or optical drive booting in a higher priority than an internal disk.
If you frequently have drives connected to your system that will automatically install an OS on boot, then I suggest that you are an advanced user representing less than 1% of users. In this case, you should know that you have an edge-case and should change your boot priorities. However, for the 99%+ of users, an external-first boot order allows them to rely on boot drives that others may instruct them to use without having to know what the BIOS is, how to access the BIOS, what boot order is, or how to modify the boot order. Considering that my beef is that systems do not have anything close to a consistent way to access the BIOS, this makes providing instructions to people very difficult because now you also need to know how to help them get access to their BIOS.
Needing to boot an external device is not unusual. It is the primary method of recovery when your installed OS is messed up. It is difficult enough for non-technical users to figure out how to fix a damaged OS, why make it even more difficult by making them jump the boot order hurdle?
You say that I didn’t know what I was doing. If this is true, then a person with more than 8 years (at the time of writing) of professional experience in code development, server administration, system building, network management, etc had no idea what he was doing when trying to simply fix a broken Windows install. If a system is set up in such a way that it requires more experience than that to simply fix Windows, and you find such technical requirements as reasonable, then I fear for the people that have to work with you or with the solutions you produce as you clearly have an elitist attitude when it comes to designing interfaces.
“[Pressing] F10 while booting” would not have forced a recovery partition to boot. If you read my post, I indicated that the recovery partition was also damaged. So, nice try, but no.
You say that you don’t want to insult anyone but suggest that anyone that can’t figure out this problem is too stupid to eat with anything other than a spoon without killing themselves. Nicely done.
First of all install your new os into another hd as soon as u finish go to sony support and then get the updates + dll tools.
from there there is an app that lets u pick ur primary boot option (cd, Hdd or floppy) the next time u start ur computer will be looking for x option u selected remove u this installed new hdd
then put back on ur old drive and then you`ll be able to recover it hope it works x u It worked for mine.
While that may have worked for you, that seems to be way too much work for what should be a very simple process.
Dear James D,
Your grammar is atrocious, shortened words to “smth” is horrible. Next time you want to troll someone, actually have something useful to say.
I agree the boot sequence, on the sony vaio is bad. When you build a useless (mostly) bios that really has no options and uses a abstract key to access you will get upset people.
My suggestion; DO NOT BUY!
I agree with you. Working on a Sony now that would not boot after splash screen appeared. I have a XP repair utility that would have repaired XP without removing all my data files. In my case, pressing F10 did work, but that would have brought the system back to day one and removed all data files and just placed a raw load of XP back ono the laptop.
So I had to get a laptop driver external case, remove all data via USB (250gig) ….long time.
Then F10 the thing,. and then finally go out to MS Updates and I have been doing updates for almost 2 day now trying to bring XP up to Security Standards.
Being able to boot from Optical drive first would have been nice. Every othe laptop I own, Gateway and ASUS all boot from optical drive first and I have no delays in boot up. Your other poster must have had a bad day. And what he probably does not know, everyone that read the thread probably don’t think much of people with elitist attitudes. Most of us have enough bosses in our work place like that.
Keep up the good posts that help us in need of help who don’t have 8 years in the industry behing us, just enough knowledege to be smart enough to go out to the internet, find good, helpful posts like yours and use them to try and avoid a $200 repair bill at the GeekSquad.
Give first priority to the cd drive into the bios….
Yes. Thanks for completely missing the point of the post. Good work.
I have a Sony Model: SVE151G11L that came with Windows 8. The problem is the OS got corrupted and decided to install Windows 7 Pro 64-bit instead of 8 and a new SSD drive. None of the F-keys seem to do anything on boot-up and the system ultimately returns “No Operating System” without the OS DVD install disk and “Secure Boot Failed; Operating System is invalid.” with the OS DVD in the caddy. Note that I tried 3 different OS DVDs, thinking it might note like the first. The Sony is only a couple months old.
The Question is, could this Sony only like Windows 8? Seems odd they would limit it to a brand new OS.
Any thoughts or comments (unless you are an elitists 😉 would be welcome.
You are getting the “secure boot failed” message because all Windows 8 certified machines now have a UEFI BIOS feature called Secure Boot. Secure Boot prevents any boot code from running that is not signed with a recognized signature. Since this is new in Windows 8, Window 7 boot media will not have a signed boot image, causing the Secure Boot to fail.
To get around this and install Windows 7, you will need to disable the Secure Boot feature in your BIOS settings. While I don’t think that the instructions are specific to your system, I found these instructions which gives information on how to disable Secure Boot in the last bullet point. Hopefully the instructions are able to help you disable this on your system.
Thanks for your input Chris Jean. I couldn’t get into the BIOS of a new Sony Vaio machine to boot from CD. Ends up F2 is no good to go into the BIOS anymore, you have to hold the “assist” key. Completely stupid if you ask me! Disabling the Secure Boot feature enabled me to boot from my Win7 CD…
Your advise saved my day.
Had spent a full day searching for solutions on how to access bios on my sony VAIO using windows 10, since it could not boot.
Tried all the function keys and failed, only later to see your solution on holding the “assist” key.
It worked like medicine
Be working on Sony laptop for 2week nw ur last comment really work 4 me
It may please you to know that Sony has changed the boot order on at least some of its laptops to optical, hard, removable drives now. It’s still random buttons to access the bios though.
I have to agree with the troll on one comment also…having removable drives boot before the internal drive might be a bad idea for that other 99%. There is at least one usb virus that looks bootable, so when an infected external drive is attached during startup some serious blue screens of death occur. Ended up having to change the boot order on a bunch of computers at work because I couldn’t get people to keep their removable drives clean and unplugged.
Now on the point of infections, I can agree about the boot ordering. I couldn’t agree on the basis of accidentally leaving in media that automatically install OS’s or because it slows down the boot process. It’s possible that Sony engineers considered this when setting the default boot order. However, that doesn’t excuse the terrible UX in terms of communicating to the user 1) that the BIOS settings exist and 2) how to access them.
I’m a firm believer that well-designed software can instruct users on how to use an interface with it without having to be annoying about it or detracting from aestetics.
The link http://esupport.sony.com/docs/pc/SVE14A2_series/EN/contents/07/02/08/08.html is essential for this problem to go away! You can Only get into bios via Vaios Own button near shutdownbutton “ASSIST” Mared with red text. Just push on it and change Vaios default security settings and you will Success!
Sorry for my English!
Thanks for putting up Link helped me to access sony vaio laptop for repair.
Thank you very much you saved me
I’m glad that it helped.
EffUUUUU! Why F2 for BIOS access? Any idea how much web searching it took me to find this article? All I need is a simple little dev machine and happened to have this near-antique VAIO lying around. XP was the default OS on it; since Microsoft will no longer support it, I’ve been trying to install Linux without trashing my XP files. F8 didn’t work F12 didn’t work. It’s almost as through you wanted to retain ownership of the device after you sold it…
A FORMER customer.
Many thanks for posting this article! Incredibly helpful. (LOVED the bit about function over form, by the way.)
Solution for SVE151J13M model…
Only press “Assist” button once. Don’t press power button.
Thank you. After trying several different methods (Pressing F2 once included) your article enabled me to enter my BIOS on my 7 y/o laptop running Windows Vista. I was able to set up my boot sequence. Unfortunately it was unable to recognize my USB DOS boot stick. In any case your article was extremely helpful.
Glad to hear that it was helpful. Good luck with reviving the machine.
Model SVE15123CDW SONY VAIO LAPTOP
Looks like this issue is not entirely dead yet, and i do agree with Chris on his comments on BIOS setup, and find it interesting there is always a troll on sites such as this that try to sound elite but cannot spell and are transparently stupid to those actually working in the field.
To save time and searching i have found the solution and is as follows.
WITH THE COMPUTER POWERED OFF PRESS THE BUTTON ( ASSIST ) it is in red lettering, once in that screen you can choose where you want to go and to access the bios it is F2.
One thing that is missing in the bios however is the option to disable the pretty flash screen at boot in favour of POST messages.
Many newer PC with this god awful boot system have posted a bios flash enabling you to use legacy BIOS modes, and this is the first thing i look for, but not sony.
Thanks for the info Kevin.
u r the man bro. THANKS!
Hello Sir, i have Sony VAIO SVE1511AEN Laptop (2nd Gen i 3/ 2 GB/ 320 GB/ Win 7 ). and Insyde R0240E6 bios.
after setting up BIOS Password i have forgeted.
n tried many thing, but failed. (there is no jumper’s in motherboard)
Sir kindly tell me step by step all process to safely reset my bios. sir if you have any suggestion than please help
Sorry, I don’t know what I can do to help you as I’m not familiar with that model. Best of luck to you.