Invalid System Disk message on bootup

March 9, 2011 at 07:02:43
Specs: Windows ME


I came across this site in my seach of an answer to my problem.

I was using a cloning software called xxClone to try and make a copy of my C drive. But on bootup I got the error message

Invalid system disk
Insert the correct disk and press any key to continue

I no longer have the system disk or the Recovery disk that came with this old palmtop, a Sony Vaio PGC-C1VMT, which was the reason for me trying to make a clone of the C drive. However the clone process only got as far as Making the Target disk self-bootable and stopped after this process completed as the Source Volume and Destination Volume were not listed in the previous step for some reason.

This is the first time I have tried using xxClone as other ghosting/backup programs in my search seems only to be compitable with systems higher than ME. So I am left with very limited choice if any

I have tried using a WinXP as well as a ME disk from a friend to try and boot up using an external CD player as this palmtop have no built-in CD-Rom drive. But no luck !! I have also ensured that the boot up sequence in BIOS is set to boot from the external CD-Drive

Any help to get this palmtop running again will be greatly appreciated and thank you so much in advanced for your help. Ob by the way. I am not very computer savvey, so please explain any instructions in easy step by step, please. Thank you in advanced for your kind help.

See More: Invalid System Disk message on bootup

Report •

March 9, 2011 at 07:48:38

I have used a bootable diskette to bootup and can get as far as selecting the option 4 - view fdisk which shows drive C:1 has FAT32 system in it. Then typing Sys C: in the A prompt, it gives the mesage:

"Cannot find the system file in the standard locations on drive C:. SYS can only be used on drive C: to attempt a repair of the already existing installation of Windows. Use Windows SETUP to make C: bootable"

What do I need to do or how should I proceed from here bearing in mind I do not have the original ME disk or the recovery disk ? I only have a copy of the disk from a friend and not even sure if it is a bootable disk or not or if the Product Key stuck under the Palmtop will work with the disk I have.

Report •

March 9, 2011 at 20:22:23
When cloning one hard drive to another I always use the software provided by the hard drive manufacturer. That would have originally come with the drive when it was new. If you don't have it you can download it from their site.

The ME copy you have should work if you can't get the drive cloned. It's probably bootable if it was created with the 'copy entire disk' option. If not you can start the process with a floppy bootdisk. Your product key should work if both ME versions are OEM.

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat?

Report •

March 10, 2011 at 01:05:29

Thanks for your comment. I was not aware that ME have a backup program built in. I'm not too famaliar with ME given that I don't use it often.

This is a very old palmtop that was still in good working condition before I use xxClone on it and messed it up. I was hoping to see how it will work with XP, but before I install XP on it, I wanted to save the existing ME so that I can revert back to ME if XP is very slow on it as I have been told it would.

But now it is not working and the immediate intention is to get it working again first and resolve the Invalid disk message. I guess the one saving grace is to know that probably the copy of the ME disk I have from my friend may not have problems taking my Product Key.

But before I use that and erase everything on the existing Hard Disk, I am trying to see if I can recover what is already on the Hard Disk. Any help on this will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Report •

Related Solutions

March 10, 2011 at 12:31:48
It's not ME that has a backup utility, it's the drive manufacturer. I just meant if you had to use the ME disk to reinstall ME then it should work OK.

If this is a palmtop/laptop/whatever, how is the second drive attached? Is there room for 2 internal drives or is the second drive an external one? If it's external that may affect how your copying utility can see the drive.

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat?

Report •

March 10, 2011 at 22:07:57
There is no internal drives. I have a USB external floppy drive and a USB external DVD drive.

The floppy drive works fine and I just find out that the external CD drive does not work because the driver needs to be installed first. When I bootup with the floppy diskette with the CD drive attached with the ME CD in the drive, I get the message for the CD drive
"Device driver not found. MSCD001".

Is there a way to install the driver or can I copy the ME CD to floppy diskettes ? If so, do I need some sort of software to do this and which is free ?

BTW, I have checked the BIOS to enusre that it boots with the following sequence: Floppy Drive, then external CD-Rom, then the Hard Disk.

Report •

March 10, 2011 at 22:14:43
Yeah, if you boot up with a floppy bootdisk you need to load dos USB support and then the cdrom driver. That's kind of an iffy thing and how you do it depends on the specific hardware. At this point the best thing to do is hope the ME disk is bootable and boot from the cdrom. When you do it that way you don't need to load any dos drivers.

When you clone one hard drive to another both have to be attached at the same time. How are you doing that?

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat?

Report •

March 10, 2011 at 22:25:18
Even if the ME CD is bootable, how will I get the USB CD drive to work ? The palmtop will still not work without the CD drive drivers installed first. I have a Freecom Classic USB CD drive and also a USB TDK slim CD drive if this helps.

When I was doing the xxClone, the palmtop was working and I was able to copy the xxClone sortware to the palmtop with a USB memory stick (pen drive) and run the program from the palmtop. The USB CD drive also works with the palmtop at that time as I had the drivers installed.

Report •

March 11, 2011 at 01:11:43
You said the external cdrom is in the boot order. You don't need drivers to boot from the external cdrom if it's in the boot order. (I assume by 'external' it means USB. If there's some other external connection for a cdrom then likely it won't boot from a USB drive.) You do need drivers for the cdrom if you boot from the floppy drive. And the working OS on the hard drive would need drivers for the cdrom but it already has them.

And I still don't understand what you were cloning to. You installed xxcopy to clone the C: drive (the hard drive) to some other drive. What was that other drive?

Well maybe that's all academic now since you're getting the invalid system disk error. I take it that's the error you get when attempting to boot up normally the way you would before you started all this stuff?

One other thing. Maybe xxcopy messed with the drive's active partition marker. A partition must be set 'active' in order to boot. That's done with the FDISK command. Boot up with the floppy bootdisk again and at the a:\> prompt type FDISK and enter. Answer Y to large disk support. The fdisk menu that shows should tell you if there's no active partition. If that's the case you can set it active using option 2.

If you had to reset it as active then exit fdisk, remove the floppy disk and reboot the computer and see if it boots normally from the hard drive.

(It's kinda late here. Sorry if I seem to be rambling.)

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat?

Report •

March 11, 2011 at 02:19:16
Thanks for gettng back even though it's pretty late where you are.

The boot order did not says EXTERNAL CD drive. It just says CD-Drive. Sorry if what I said before was misleading. It's only because the palmtop have no built in CD drive. So I assume it meant an EXTERNAL CD drive in the boot order. But if it does not need any drivers, why the Device Driver Not Found MCSD001 message ? I have tried both my external CD drives and both came up with the same message. I am (uncomfortably) beginning to suspect it will only work with the USB external Sony CD drive that they sold when this palmtop was first released on sale. I only got the floppy drive now as I lent the CD drive to a friend who then disappeared with it :(

And my external CD drives are connected via USB cables. The palmtop only have one USB port. So I used a 4 way USB hub to connect the USB floppy drive and the CD drive so that they are both connected at the same time.

As for the cloning, my HDD had 2 partitions - a C drive and a D drive. The D drive have a bigger memory capacity and is where I store most of my files and that is where I was going to clone the C drive to. I wanted to see how big the final cloned file size is first (as it may be unknowingly compressed duing the clone process as some ghositng programs do) before I copy it to a CD disk or DVD disk depending on the file size.

And yes, you are correct. I get the invalid disk error when I boot up as I normally would before all this mess happened.

When I do fdisk, I get
Partiton C: 1 and has letter: A and it states PRI DOS (I assume the A indicates this is the diskette status I am using to boot it up ??) and under it,
Partition 2 (no drive letter) and no status stated, Type EXT DOS with Mbyte of 3559 which is Usage of 34%

When I select to display the Logical Drive, it gives Drive D with Mbyte of 3659 and System is FAT32 with Usage of 100%

Does this mean I have an active partiton or don't I ?. I would assume Parittion C is an active partiton for the C drive despite the A letter ? If this not correct, let me know and I will follow the instruction you gave to set an active partiton.

Many thanks for all your help this far.

Report •

March 11, 2011 at 19:11:20
Are you getting the 'Device Driver Not Found MCSD001' when booting from the cd? If so then the startup files are attempting to load a dos driver. That shouldn't matter and you can just go on with the boot process.

But I suspect you're getting the message because you're booting from the floppy disk (You said in # 5 that's when you got the error). The config.sys file on the floppy bootdisk attempts to load a cdrom driver. The driver can't find a cdrom because no USB drivers have been loaded. So the cdrom driver doesn't load. Then in autoexec.bat, mscdex--another file needed for cdrom support--attempts to load. But it can't load either because the driver in config.sys didn't load. The error message you're getting is coming from mscdex.

If you could boot directly from the cdrom--no floppy bootdisk--you wouldn't need any software drivers because the bios is seeing the cdrom and booting from it. You wouldn't need drivers because the cd is already booting up.

You can check to see if you can boot from a cd by just putting a known-bootable cd in the drive and starting up the palmtop. You can keep the boot order the same as it is in your # 5 above. Just make sure there's no disk in the floppy drive. If you get the 'invalid system disk' then the bios isn't seeing a cdrom and is going on to the hard drive to attempt a boot up. If it does boot from the cd you should be able to see that by what is showing on the screen.

It seems odd there'd be a 'boot from cd' option if you couldn't boot that way. Did any of those palmtops have an internal cd? Some older laptops had a swappable floppy drive and cdrom.

The 'A' on the fdisk partition info does mean the partitioin is set active so that's not it.

Boot from the floppy bootdisk. At the a:\> prompt type dir/p c: and enter. That should scroll through the contents of the c: drive one screen at a time. I suspect there's nothing there.

I don't think you can clone a booting partition to a second partition on the same drive. If the software you're using allows it you can create an image of the drive and store it on a second partition but I don't think that's what you attempted..

So check to see if you can boot from a cd. Then look at the contents of the c: drive--via the dir/p c:--and see if anything is there. If it turns out you can't boot from a cd and there's nothing on the drive then I think the best thing is to try to build a bootdisk that will support your external cd devices. It's possible but not practical to copy all the installation files via floppies to the hard drive and do the install. It would take several dozen diskettes and some of the files are too big to fit on one disk.

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat?

Report •

March 11, 2011 at 19:20:11
Another option to get the setup files on the hard drive would be to remove the drive, attach it to a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter and connect it to another computer. Then copy the files to it as you would any other files.

Or you might be able to setup a network connection. But I'm not sure if your palmtop has that capability.

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat?

Report •

March 12, 2011 at 01:21:03
No, the MSCD001 message is not there when I boot directly from the CD, without the floppy diskette, I get the "Invalid System Disk...." message if I boot directly from the CD as if the CD drive is not there. I have also used a known bootable CD (my WinXP) to see if it will boot direcly and still get the same Invalid... message.

What you suspect is correct. I got the MSCD001 message because I was booting from the floppy diskette.

Just to be sure, I have double checked what is actually stated on the BIOS boot sequence and it is as follows word for word:

Removable Devices
Hard Drive

This is the order iti is set. Compared to this, I hope what I have stated regarding the boot sequence is correct.Apologies if my assumption was not.

When I do a dir C: at A prompt I get the following:

PROGRA ~1 <DIR> 09-11-00 2:56P
WINDOWS <DIR> 09-11-00 2:48p
0 file(s) 0 bytes
2 dir(s) 6,111.26 MB free

I assume the 09-11-00 2:56p are the date and time each dir is installed (??)

Given that there is a extended logical drive D, I did the same and got the follow:

O2 <DIR> 12-24-10 9.01p
SOFTWARE <DIR> 01-20-11 11:36p
SONYPC ~1 <DIR> 12-24-10 9.21p
0 file(s)
3 dir(s) 3,393,110,016 bytes free

I'm not sure what all these mean, Do let me know and how to prceed next

Your idea of building a bootable CD sounds real good. Does this mean adding a ISO image to my existing ME disk or there is more to it ?

I'd prefer not to go the removing the HDD route as removing a HDD on a Sony is not easy and the chance of damaging some connectors is always there as this has happened before when I took another one of my nephew's Sony to a repair shop.

You are correct again about not having the networking capability on this palmtop. I suspect that is why the O2 apprears in the D directory as I was trying to install (unsuccessfully) a internet connection there when the palmtop was working properly. O2 is my ISP name.

Report •

March 12, 2011 at 23:05:32
It would be a floppy bootdisk with drivers added for USB and external cdrom support, not a cd. The problem is, setting something like that up is kinda trial and error and I don't have one of those palmtops to test various configurations on. So it might take awhile.

You've got the windows and program files directories so there may be enough to get it going as it is, although you'd usually expect other files on the drive too. Boot up with the bootdisk again and at the a:\> prompt type dir c:/a:s and enter. That should show any system files, if they're there. Post back what it shows.

Then type dir c:\windows and enter. Let it scroll through all the files and directories. When it's done post back how many files and directories it says are there. There's no right number but there should be a total of a few hundred. If that's what's there then we'll assume for the time being that all the files are there.

You already tried the SYS command and it basically refused to cooperate. If it looks like all the windows files are there we can use a 98 bootdisk to make the drive bootable to 98 dos. Then we can overwrite the 98 system files with ME system files. I've never tried it that way but it should work. But first see what you've got in the windows directory.

It's also possible the D: drive is a restore partition. If you've got the palmtop manual look through it and see what it says about restoring the operating system. I'll see what I can find too. I'm hoping if there was a restore partition it wasn't damaged when you tried to clone the C: drive there.

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat?

Report •

March 12, 2011 at 23:38:06
Double check that model number. Nothing shows up for PGC-C1VMT

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat?

Report •

March 12, 2011 at 23:50:48
I have no problem to try any way we can to see if we can bring back toe palmtop back to working as it was.

I have been trying to fina the manual online for quite a while without success so far. I don't know where the printed manual is following our house move years ago. Sorry. But I'll keep looking around. However,I do remember asking Sony a long time ago how do I get into the Recovery partition and they replied back. I tried as they instructed, but it seems it's not there.I can't remember how it was done now as it was years ago. That was the time when I had some instability problems with the system and in the end the trial System Mechanics program managed to fix it.

The readings you reqested are as follows:

For dir c:/a:s

_RESTORE <DIR> 12-29-00 5:50p
0 File(s) 0 bytes
1 dir(s) 6,111.26 MB free

For dir c:\windows

31 file(s) 68,952,420 bytes
14 dir(s) 6,111.26 MB free

Hope these readings are good news

Report •

March 13, 2011 at 00:01:54
That's the correct model. There's not much about this model online anymore.

There is also an alternative model number on the base, which is PCG-142D. I always wondered why there are 2 model numbers - one on the side of the screen or near the keyboard and the other on the base for all laoptops.

I have these sites
How to perform System Recovery using the supplied VAIO Recovery CD?

Where to find the original drivers for the VAIO computer?

Are all the drivers and the programs for the default operating system downloadable from Sony's web site?

What is Sony's policy for supporting the operating system other than the pre-installed one?

Can VAIO computer be installed or upgraded to other Microsoft® Windows® operating system?

Important Notice For VAIO PCG-C1VM and PCG-C1VM/T Owners Notebook

There are more sites, but of no relevance to our need, I think. Hope these helps.

Report •

March 13, 2011 at 01:00:54
Yeah, it looks like they only used a restore cd and not a partition.

Check the other stuff and we'll go from there.

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat?

Report •

March 13, 2011 at 01:05:11
Oh, I see you already did. That doesn't look like enough files in the windows directory. I'll probably have to try to make the bootdisk.

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat?

Report •

March 13, 2011 at 01:14:15
That's disappointing - about not having enough files in the Windows directory.

So how do we proceed from here ? Await your next instruction. Thanks.

Report •

March 13, 2011 at 11:55:16

Just to give you an update.

I received this link

and followed the instructions given on using "the patch" as well as the "shebang1" by copying it to a newly made Windows ME OEM boot diskette that I downloaded and still does not work.

I can't make much head or tail on the rest of what's stated on the link which is a link from this site as I'm not well versed in this.

I thought I'd let you know in case you spend time doing the same "patch" as the link that will come up to the same result.

When the newly made diskette bootup, it states: (after rebooting lots of time to read everything that's stated as it flashes so fast before going to the next page)

Starting Windows ME emergency boot.....
Windows XMS Driver v 3.95
External Memory Specifications (XMS) Copyright xxxx ??
Error: An Extended Manager already installed
XMS Drivers not installed

(2nd page) reads:

CD-ROM Device Drive for IDE (Four Channels Supported)
(C) Copyright Oak Techniligy Inc. 1993-1996
Driver Version : V340
Device Name : BANANA
No drives fond, aborting installation

Bad command or file name

Hope this helps. I've not done anything new to the hard disk. These are just reading off the new boot diskette. I still have the original diskette untouched :)

Report •

March 14, 2011 at 00:07:56
Yeah, that disk can't locate the external cdrom either. It's probably a regular bootdisk that only supports an internal cdrom.

I'll just have to do some searching and see what success people have had creating a bootdisk that'll support an external USB cdrom. People are always inquiring here about dos support for USB devices but I haven't really paid attention to their results. If I find one I think will work I'll email you a disk image and you can create the bootdisk from it and see if it works. It might take a few days.

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat?

Report •

March 14, 2011 at 01:24:38
ok, thanks. But I think you should take a quick look at this page

as the intorduction there says it is to enable USB CDROM or Hard disk, etc to work from DOS and gave some sort of programing to be added to AUTOEXE and CONFIG file etc.

I don't know what you are meant to do with what was given to be added, or how to use one of the 5 methods given, but maybe you can make some sense and is useful to your search.

Other than that, I'll wait to hear from you.

BTW, I found the handbook and nothing there about Recovery Partition. Only about using the Recovery Disk supplied.

Report •

March 15, 2011 at 23:17:58
OK, I put together a basic ME bootdisk and added usbaspi.sys and usbcd.sys which hopefully will allow the cdrom to be recognized. Send me a private message with your email address and I'll send it.

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat?

Report •

March 16, 2011 at 02:49:15
Thanks and I really appreciate your time in doing this.

I've just sent you a private message with my emaill address and can't wait to see if it'll work. Here's keeping my fingers crossed.

Will it be safe to repartiton my hard drives first before using your bootdisk, not that I can remember how to that that now ? I think the 3 partitons there are useless at the moment and taking up memory space ?

Hope to receive your disk image soon. Thanks

Report •

March 16, 2011 at 22:23:58
OK it should be there. Let me know how it works out.

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat?

Report •

March 17, 2011 at 03:26:04
Thanks. I got it. I surely will let you know later today if I get the opportunity to try it. Otherwise this weekend for sure. Many thanks

Report •

March 17, 2011 at 07:55:20

Thank you, thank you, thank you so much !!

Your boot disk worked and I am at the moment in the process of installing my Windows ME.

If you are ever in this part of the world (London, UK - if you are not living here already or from here), do drop me a line and I'll show you around and have a few drinks.

Once again, thank you so very much. Words can't express how much I appreciate your time and help. You also make a little girl very happy !!

Report •

March 17, 2011 at 17:26:46
You're welcome. I never had to set up a bootdisk with USB drive support so I'm really glad it worked out. Post back if you have any additional problems.

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat?

Report •

March 17, 2011 at 18:48:05
You did a great job in writing a setup bootdisk program with USB drive support.

The Windows ME os was installed without any problem. But unfortunately, many of the Sony devices that came with the palmtop does not work (sound, DV Gate, to name a few and most especially the built in Motion eyes which is the most attractive bit of the palmtop) due to missing drivers and Sony does not provide these on their site as they no longer support this model !!

In searching my archives of backup CDs through the years and the unpacked boxes from the house move some years back, I came across what may be the Recovery Disk (after all the effort in the past few weeks), but I can't get it to run when I pop it into the USB CD drive and boot up after following this link

It came up with the usual boot sequence option that is from the BIOS and having selected any of the 3 options (Extenal device, CD-ROM, Hard Disk) it boot into the installed Windows ME. It does not give the options described on the link.

Is there a way I can get this to run ? I was thinking of doing the same procedure as when I installed the ME - ie, boot from the ME diskette you gave, then at the A prompt, instead of typing D:\WIN9X\SETUP, what should I type - D:\WIN9X\RESTORE or... ?

Let me know what you think.

I can alway get back to where I am now if this restore try does not work as expected.

Report •

March 17, 2011 at 19:51:41
The link you give doesn't go through. Looks like it's not complete. Can you repost it?

Yeah it would probably run after booting from the bootdisk. We'd just have to figure out the command to get it started.

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat?

Report •

March 17, 2011 at 20:09:19
Sorry about the link being incomplete.Sorry. Don't know why most of it disappeared after submitting.

Here it is again. Hope this time it shows the complete line.But I can't get the illustrations in it to show. Hope you have better luck

Yes, that's my problem. Trying to know what command to use to get it going.

Report •

March 17, 2011 at 20:12:02
The full link address is not showing again. But clicking on it works - at least for me. Hope it work for you also. Let me know. Thanks and have a good day. Mine is done as it's pretty late here now.

Report •

March 17, 2011 at 22:21:31
The instructions there assume you have an internal bootable cdrom so, as you've fouind out, you can't boot up that way using your hardware.

Likely that's an old page. The pictures are probably called from a different location that has been deleted so they don't show up.

Boot up with the ME floppy disk, change to the D: drive and type DIR/P and enter to scroll through the directory listings on the (possible) restore disk. If there's not too many, post back the file and directory names. Maybe the command will have an obvious name.

Also see if there's a file named 'autorun'. If it's 'autorun.exe' then that's the file you need to run. If it's 'autorun.inf' then type type autorun.inf and enter and post back what it says.

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat?

Report •

March 18, 2011 at 02:17:53
There are 2 Recovery disks, 1 and 2 and there are only 3 files in each,
First Disk have:
08/30/2000 11:41 AM <DIR> SONY
09/12/2000 10:00 AM 660,607,645, SONY.IMG
05/09/2000 01:09 PM 1,667 SONYD.IMG
2 File(s) 660,609,312 bytes
1 Dir(s) 0 byte free

2nd Disk have:
date and time as above <DIR> SONY
date and time and some figures SONY.101
date and time <DIR> VAIO
1 File(s) 147,816,295 bytes
2 Dir(s) 0 byte free

These are all there is to the 2 Recovery disks.

On the SONY <DIR> in the first disk, being the first disk to use, there are various unreadable folders with names such as 10GB.PRT, 10GB.SIZ, ALL.PRT, etc, but amonst them, I think these folders are the ones that may possibly mean something, The folders are:

If these doesn't help, then we're on our own.

As a off side, I would have attached the screen page here, but I can't find where the attach button is or how to do it on here, if this facility is available on this forum.

Report •

March 18, 2011 at 20:09:38
On the first disk, on the root directory--before changing to one of the listed directories--do a dir/a:h and enter. Write down any files and directories that show. Then do a dir/a:s and enter and write those down. That will show any hidden and system files and directories (some may be both). Maybe something will look relevent.

You can look through the sony directory and maybe try running files with an .exe or maybe .com extension.

There's another possibility too. I recall an older thread where you could boot from a cdrom or maybe an external drive even if the bios wouldn't allow it. You basically boot from a floppy bootdisk and load the necessary files to recognize the drive you want to boot from. Then it kind of reboots but the files you load remain intact so you are able to then boot from the drive that previously wasn't bootable.

I'll try to hunt that down tomorrow and see if I can make the bootdisk to do that.

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat?

Report •

March 20, 2011 at 03:53:37
I assume when you said ....before changing to one of the listed directories... you meant not doing any dir on any of those listed on the CD and just input what you said from whatever prompt it appears.

So this is how I idd it and I hope it is equivalent to booting up the palmtop to do it because I just pop the first disk into the CD bay (E: drive) of the laptop I am using, then went into the (DOS) command prompt, did a E:, then dir which shows what's on the CD as posted on my previous message and when E: prompt reappears, I input those 2 commands you stated. On both command, it returned with the following:

Volume of drive E: is RECOVERYCD
Volume serail number: xxxxxxx(some numbers)

Directory of E: \

Files not found

I got this same message for both input you mentioned.

Let me know if I have done this wrong or I need to do this on the actual palmtop we are trying to rescue. Thanks

I did tried to run INSTALL4 and restorer.exe (the only to possible executable files on the first disk) last night when I hooked up the palmtop, CD drive, etc, but all came back without any success. Can't remember the exact messages that came up. But it didn't work. the message was something like it can't detect an CDROM dirve on Q drive. I was wondering if Q drive was where they had the original Recovery program installed on the Hard Drive ?? If you want to know the exact message, let me know and I will redo the run again.

I also did went about running all the application files in the SONY folder on the 2nd disk and even though, they were installing them (some were able to be installed and some not) there don't seem to be any major changes. They don't seem to affect any of the functions on the palmtop except now, when I boot up, I get something like it can't read the battery status ! :(

Hope you have better luck.

BTW, sorry I didn't mark any text in bold type. I highlighted the text I wanted to appear in bold and it changed to , but when I submitted the post, these just disappeared.I was successful in my last, but only after several attempts, It is not happening now. Did I missed something out ? But this is just a minor aside from the issue at hand. Just thought you might like to know that at least I tried to make my post more readable.

REEDIT: Oops. looks like the last bit somehow suddenly appeard bold when I didn't marked them to be so ???? Oh well...I'll figure it out as I go along, I guess !!

Report •

March 20, 2011 at 23:07:10
To turn on bold it's just <b> and to turn it off it's </b>.

I guess there's no accessible hidden files on the cd.

The site I was talking about was:

It looks like it creates a boot manager on the hard drive that also has a boot drive menu. So you install the boot manager from a floppy disk and reboot from the hard drive. The boot manager loads and gives you a 'boot from USB' option which should allow you to boot from the restore cd.

When installing from a floppy disk it has an uninstall option but it's something you might want to keep. However, the restore disk may overwrite it. We'll just have to wait and see how it works.

I'm going to send you the files. Unzip them and copy them to a floppy disk (they may fit on the ME bootdisk). Then bootup with the bootdisk and put the disk with the bootmanager files in the floppy drive (or just keep the ME bootdisk in if they're on that) and at the a:\> prompt type PLPINST and enter.

I haven't tried it but I assume you just follow whatever prompts it has to do the install and then take the disk out and reboot.

Give it a try and see what happens.

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat? Sigh. It's ivy. Little lambs eat ivy.

Report •

March 21, 2011 at 02:54:20
Thanks on the tip about making bold type. Pity it dos not just bold it when you highlight the text and select the B at the top of the text panel you are writing.

Thanks also for sending me the ME bootmanager file and the link about it.

I've unzipped and copied it to a floppy. After copying it to the palmtop HDD and reboot, it came back with the following menu as shown on the link you gave:


I selected USB and enter and it freezes (both with and without the RECOVERY DISK in the CD drive) after the following steps:

The text ECH1 and UJC1 is not clear as they are difficult to make out. But I think they are what I've written if they makes any sense.

I had to power off and on before I can do anthing.

When I select the CDROM, it says

although my CD ROM is plugged in. I tried this both with and wthout the RECOVERY DISK in the cd drive.

It appears that the first ME bootdiskette works seperately from this Boot Mgr diskette after the bootmgr is copied to the HDD as it still can't recognise the CD drive or I must have done it incorrectly :(

What I did:
1) Power up palmtop
2) Boot up first with the ME boot diskette with CD ROM drive recognization (1st file you gave me some days ago)
3) whe A prompt appears, insert the boot manager diskette and
4) type PLPINST at A prompt after insertting the boot manager diskette

It copies the fiiles onto the HDD.

Reboot and the menu appear as on the first list I made above.

One question I am confused wihich is the function between the first diskette and the current diskette:
Now that I have installed the Boot Manager onto the HDD, if that is working, does this mean that I can dispense using the first diskette (the boot disk that recognise the USB CDROM disk program you wrote) in future - eg if I were to reinstall ME from my ME CD disk, do I just pop it into the CD drive and boot up or I still need to use the boot diskette made from your first program ?

Report •

March 21, 2011 at 18:54:32
The cdrom option in the boot menu is for an internal cdrom. That's why it's saying "no cdrom found".

Possibly this USB boot process is only looking for flash drives and not cdroms. That problem is discussed here:

Way down on response 29 one person reported he fixed it by not having the USB drive connected (he had a pen drive) when he selected the 'boot from USB' option. It reported 'no USB found'. Then he plugged it in and apparently it was 'fouind' then.

Oh, and as far as having to continue using the bootdisk, as long as the bootmanager can't find the USB cdrom you can't boot from it so, for example, if you were to reinstall ME using the CD you'd need to boot from the bootdisk.

But you currently have ME installed? If so, is it seeing the cdrom?

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat? Sigh. It's ivy. Little lambs eat ivy.

Report •

March 22, 2011 at 02:15:41
Possibly this USB boot process is only looking for flash drives and not person reported he fixed it by not having the USB drive connected (he had a pen drive) when he selected the 'boot from USB' option

Does this mean if I copy the Recovery Disk to a USB pen drive, it could work ? Do I need to include a new boot iso to it and what iso image do I need ? I asume Nero can burn to USB pen drive ?

Oh, and as far as having to continue using the bootdisk, as long as the bootmanager can't find the USB cdrom you can't boot from it so, for example, if you were to reinstall ME using the CD you'd need to boot from the bootdisk.

But on the assumption that the bootmanager can find the USB cdrom...than there is no longer a need to use the bootdisk ?

Yes, at the moment, I have ME installed and it can read the USB cdrom, I tried to run the Recovery Disk from it, but it won't install. However, I did managed to get some of the Sony functions on the palmtop to work by going to Device Manager from Control Panel and double clicking on those marked with a ?? and "install driver" when this pops up and it automatically installed the right driver from the Recovery Disk in the cdrom. But not all were successful.

In any case, the aim is still to get the Recovery Disk to boot up as it was a very long process going through each individual devices and when it does not detect the driver/application from the Recovery Disk, to try various possible drivers/application options(sometimes it comes up with a list of alternative devices to choose from) But this does not necessary work everytime.

Another alternative from copying the Recovery Disk to a USB pen drive idea is perhaps to burn another set of the Recovery Disk to CD or DVD using another computer and add a new iso boot image ? Will this work and what boot iso image would this be ?

Let me know what you think.

Report •

March 22, 2011 at 20:01:28
The pen drive would have to be bootable and start the restore the same way the cd would. I don't know if that is possible. You can't really clone a cd to a pendrive. You can store an image of the cd on a pendrive but the only way to get the image to work would be to burn it back to a cd.

If the bootmanager could find the cdrom you wouldn't need the bootdisk as long as you had that same hard drive installed since the bootmanager is on the hard drive.

I'm not sure what you mean by burning a set of recovery disks using a different image. The recovery disk is already bootable it's just that the bootmanager isn't working with the USB cdrom. The problem isn't with the disk, it's the bootmanager.

Well, just to make sure you might want to try it with other bootable cd's--like the ME disk.

Did you try leaving the cdrom disconnected and then connecting it after the bootmanager loaded (what worked for that one person)?

Another thing, there may be an option in cmos/bios setup for dos or legacy USB support. It it's there make sure it's enabled.

We'll probably have to try to find the drivers online. If they're not on the sony site we may be able to find them on a non-sony vaio support site or someplace like driverguide.

If a doe and a mare eat oats what does a lamb eat? Sigh. It's ivy. Little lambs eat ivy.

Report •

March 23, 2011 at 02:34:16
So the pendrive idea is out then !! :(

What I meant about burning a set of recovery disk using a different iso image is because I was under the impression that a new boot image is needed as you can't just copy that boot image from the existing CD disk to another CD disk ?? Isn't this the reason why a new iso boot image is needed when doing slipstreaming in XP ? Perhaps I am wong in my thinking this is how it work regarding the need of a new boot iso image ? Besides, maybe the boot image on the existing CD is damaged ? Apologies if I got this all wrong as my computing knowledge is likely to be half baked as I pick up what I know along the way over the years.

I have tried using a known bootable XP cd on the bootmanager with the same result. And yes, I did tried it with the cdrom drive disconnected until after the bootmanager booted up as well as booting it up with the cdrom drive connected. Both gave the same result - ending on Searching on Host and freezing at Host 1.I've tried taking out the cd and then inserting it again when it freezes at Host 1. No luck !!

Which drive are we suppose to be finding ?

I have written to Sony about the command line - if any - to use at the A prompt to work the Recovery CD, but they referred me to their website that I have already gone throught before on using the Recovery CD - sadly, nothing about the command line I asked about. But they did sent me by attachment the driver for the built in camera/motion eye that I asked as it is not on their website. So perhaps they could supply the driver we are looking for, But I am not sure which driver. Is it another driver similar to the bootmanager ?

Report •

March 23, 2011 at 12:37:09
If it is possible to use a pendrive I wouldn't know how to set it up. I don't think we could transfer the cd's boot files to the pendrive. We could probably set up a bootable pendrive but we'd still need to know what command would start the restore process and if we knew that we could just use the bootdisk to start it.

At this point there's no reason to believe the recovery disks are bad in any way. If a person wanted to make a copy they'd just need to use the 'copy entire disk' with Nero or similar burning software. Slipstreaming with XP is adding drivers to an XP installation disk that are needed for installation with newer hardware. Usually that involves SATA drivers. Most of the time you can add the drivers after the installaiton but XP didn't support SATA drives and if the hard drive is SATA then those drivers are needed in order to do the install.

The drivers we'd need would be for hardware that's not setup properly in device manager. You might want to post back items that show there with a yellow ? or ! so I could get an idea of what's needed. Drivers for things like audio and video might be found on the site of the manufacturer of the chips that Sony used for the vaio.

But if you're having some success in dealing with Sony it'd be a good idea to continue that. If they don't have the drivers themselves maybe they could you more hardware details so we'd know where to look.

Obama's a 2012'er. That explains EVERYTHING..

Report •

March 24, 2011 at 05:48:48
I see your point when you said
......but we'd still need to know what command would start the restore process and if we knew that we could just use the bootdisk to start it.

Regarding the drivers needed, I've been slowly working through the list in the device manger. It has been a slow process and sometimes deleting the ysellow ?? item when the install does not work, reboot and reinstall it again works. Will get there in the end. But would be such a quick thing if we can get the Recovery CD to work.

I've not heard back from Sony yet since their first reply with the camera driver I requested.. We've yet to see if they can come back with the command to boot the Recovery CD.

In the meantime, does this mean we won't explore further how to get the Recovery CD to work as it should ?

Report •

March 24, 2011 at 17:45:38
I'll see if I can find another practical way to boot from USB when the bios doesn't allow it but this is unfamiliar territory for me as I've never had to do it and don't have a way to test it.

Obama's a 2012'er. That explains EVERYTHING..

Report •

March 25, 2011 at 06:14:38
ok, I understand. I hope you find it as interesting as I do, polling into use everything that you know (for me not in the computing area, sadly,) and trying to come up with something new - especially if it works ?

I will also hunt around for other alternatives and if I do find it, I'll post back here. But I hope this thread will not go into the black hole from here.

Sony have not come back yet. I will post an update if they come back and what they suggests get the Recovery CD working as it should.

I appreciate greatly your help and time in this. Many thanks and have a good weekend.

Report •

March 27, 2011 at 01:35:54
I haven't had a chance to check into other ways to 'boot from cd' yet but will try later today. I don't hold out too much hope on that though.

Since the bios has a 'boot from cd' option is there a drive bay in which an internal cdrom can be installed? I know you're not looking to put more money into it but if you could find one cheap maybe that would be the way to go.

Obama's a 2012'er. That explains EVERYTHING..

Report •

March 27, 2011 at 05:07:44
Ok, understand. You've done much already and was able to get the palmtop up and working. So if you don't wish to go further on this, I understand and greatly appreciate all your time and help on this this far.

I did thought about getting the external CDROM drive for this. But they are not going cheap, considering the unusual external connection that is on it. It'll be difficult to get this CDROM drive to work with other laptops, etc.

I've upgraded it to XP on a "temporary basis" where Sony have more drivers. But the problem then is that I don't have a XP Home product key that can be used to get it to work in the long term. Thus it's only on a "temporary basis". Besides, it is running really slow as the memory in the palmtop is just about able to cope with the XP demand on the memory.

In any case, if worse comes to the worse, it'll just have to spend the time to install the device drivers individually from the recovery disk. Just hope that this is not needed too often or I can find a free cloning program that can be installed on ME and is easy to work with.

Anyway, let's see what you can come up with as a last shot. Thanks

Report •

March 27, 2011 at 20:19:11
Oh, it's bootable from a PCMCIA cdrom. Here's another one:

But I don't know what your shipping would be.

Maybe any PCMCIA cdrom will work. If so, here's one that's cheaper:

Will keep checking on booting from USB cdrom.

Obama's a 2012'er. That explains EVERYTHING..

Report •

March 28, 2011 at 04:31:20
Thanks for the link.

Looks like overall, it's pretty expensvie just to get an old palmtop working and we are not even sure if any PCMCIA drive will work. Besides, I already have 2 external CDROM drive. Best to scratch this route :(

I was wondering :-
if after installing WindowsME and if I were to do a upgrade to XP from there, I'd just pop the XP CD into the external CDROM drive (which works after ME is installed.) and a menu will show up, including the option to Install XP. If I click on this, it will then automatically run the CP disk.

Based on this, can't we somehow incorporate this function from the XP into the Recovery CD disk which will make the Recovery CD auto run ? Won't this work ?

At the moment, when I put in the Recovery CD in the CDROM drive, it runs and shows me the files in it and does not automatically install the programs.

A easier and workable possibility or is this the same as trying to get it to boot up ?

Report •

March 28, 2011 at 23:28:34
The bootfiles a bootable cd uses and the autorun files that start when you insert the cd during a windows session are two different things. Apparently your restore cd doesn't have an autorun feature and is only meant to be booted from.

We could probably create a cd with an autorun function and include the files on the restore cd but again, we don't know what command to 'autorun' to start the restore process. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a way to view the bootfiles on a cd like you can with a hard drive or floppy bootdisk. If there were we could take a look at it and see what to do to start the restore process.

It's frustrating because it would have been so easy for them to have the restore cd start the process from either a floppy bootdisk or the cd itself.

I was able to confirm the bootmanager method we tried above doesn't work for USB cdroms or USB floppy drives. And I wasn't able to find another method that did work with USB cdroms.

So at this point it looks like we'll either have to find the drivers online or you can keep trying to extract them from the restore cd. Or maybe if you continue with Sony they might link you to some.

If you post back the items that show in device manager as lacking drivers I might be able to find at least some of them.

Obama's a 2012'er. That explains EVERYTHING..

Report •

March 29, 2011 at 05:05:19
Yes, it is a pity that it is not possible MS and or Sony did not do it so that the restore cd can start the process from either a floppy bootdisk or the cd itself.

I've more or less completed installing all the drivers. So this bit is ok. But thanks for your offer to help look for them. So far, they are all from the Recovery disc despite having to repeat install and restarting the palmtop after each install for some drivers. My only concern is if it crashed and have to repeat the tideous process all over again !! I supposed the best course to counter this, short of spending more time to find and try a clone program to work in ME, is to update to XP, install a clone program and clone it, then uninstall XP to use ME. Then when needed, to recover from the cloned file and uninstall XP from it again to get to ME.

Running an updated XP seems to give some instabilities and unresponsive functions and is a pain in the neck to use !! I think MS should not have market a Upgrade program in the first place.Anyway.....

Oh, nearly forget to say.....Sony came back yesterday asking what external CDROM drive I was using. But they did said that there is no connamd line to to use for installing the Recovery cd and it is only meant to bootup when powering on the palmtop. They also asked if the CDs can be read from another computer.

If they managed to get the cds to bootup, I'll post back here to let you know. In the meantime, all I can say is a very BIG THANK YOU for all your time, patience and help in this. They are very greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much once again.

Report •

March 29, 2011 at 13:36:42
There may be a way to create restore disks using your existing setup. We'd just have to make sure that any disk created that way could start after booting from a bootdisk I'm pretty sure that can be done with XP, I'm not sure about ME. Let me check on that.

Obama's a 2012'er. That explains EVERYTHING..

Report •

March 29, 2011 at 22:07:35
There's no native backup imaging program with ME like there is with XP. I guess the most popular third-party program is ghost by norton/symantec. You might be able to download old versions for free. Some others are listed here:

and here:

Some are just cloning software--I think acronis from western digital is as it's intended to be used to clone an old drive to a new WD drive.

You want one that'll work with ME and can burn the image to a cd and can be restored from that cd after booting with a floppy bootdisk. I don't have any recommendations as I've never used a drive imaging program. Maybe you have a preference or you could solicit other opinions.

Obama's a 2012'er. That explains EVERYTHING..

Report •

March 30, 2011 at 02:02:46
There may be a way to create restore disks using your existing setup. We'd just have to make sure that any disk created that way could start after booting from a bootdisk I'm pretty sure that can be done with XP, I'm not sure about ME. Let me check on that.

I hope you find something on this.

Thanks also for the links to imaging and cloning software. I am trying out Macrium and Easus Todo. Both will create a bootale image on the copied CD. The only problem wiht Macrium is that it does not allow saving the files that span over several disks if the image or cloned file is bigger than a CD disk. Let's hope that with the XP installed, it won't be bigger than a CD capacity.

At the moment, I am experiencing some instabilities with the system in that some devices are not working anymore :( So I need to get this sorted first before cloning them. :( I suspect it is conflicting with other essential 3rd party programs such as the modem for using internet connection. Will know soon. Anyway...this is another story for another thread if I can't figure it out by myself, including as you suggested, a new thead on searching for a antivirus and a cloning/imaging program that works with ME and it's free.

Have a good day

Report •

May 5, 2011 at 03:06:33

I trust you are well. It's been quite awhile.

I was just wondering if the boot disk that you made for me can also be used to boot other laptops so that it detects a USB external CD-ROM drive for me to reinstall XP or it is only for ME ?

I have a old laptop running XP, but the buit-in CD-ROM drive is busted. If it should crashed, I was wondering how I can use the XP installation disk to reinstall it and wondered if the boot disk will work in this case.

BTW, just a quick update on the ME. Sony went quiet since the last conversation with them as mentioned here previously. So I have to be contented with individually installing the drivers when needed.

Report •

May 5, 2011 at 18:50:39
The bootmanager method I put on the floppy won't work with USB cdroms or USB floppy drives, only with flash drives (and maybe external hard drives. I'm not sure if I checked that.) If it weren't for that it'd probably work OK since I don't think the OS matters.

You'd need to check if the other laptop has a 'boot from USB' option in its cmos/bios setup.

Ding dong the witch is dead. . . .

Report •

May 6, 2011 at 04:35:38
Your answer confused me :). I was using it on a USB Floppy disk drive to boot up and then using a USB CD-ROM to run the ME installation CD as the boot disk you wrote for me was specially for my C1VMT palmtop that does not have built in floppy or CD-ROM drive.

I was just wondering if it will work using the same method but for my Z1VA laptop that has a busted built-in CD-ROM drive. I was not sure if that was specially written to boot for installing WinME only or can also be used to boot for installing XP - if there is such thing. My Z1VA laptop have option to boot from USB floppy drive.

Report •

May 6, 2011 at 18:07:23
Like in # 42 above and some previous postings you never got it to boot from the USB cdrom.

I had checked on a more detailed description of that process and it stated (as I mentioned in # 51) that the bootmanager methode didn't work for USB floppy drives or USB cdroms. If you somehow got it to work then that's great but I didn't think you'd ever gotten it to boot from the recovery cd.

The bootmanager isn't OS-specific so assuming you can get it work with an external cdrom then it should work OK when booting with an XP cd.

Ding dong the witch is dead. . . .

Report •

May 6, 2011 at 18:20:35
I think I see now. It was already booting from the USB floppy. You didn't need the bootmanager for that. Then I sent you a floppy bootdisk image that had drivers for a USB cdrom. That's how you installed ME. You never booted from the ME cd in order to install it. You booted from the floppy bootdisk

The bootmanager was solely to try to get you to BOOT from the USB cdrom. It wasn't able to do that.

Edit The bootdisk I sent is only for ME and maybe 98. You can't use it to start an XP installation. You can download a set of XP bootdisks from which you may be able to start an installation of XP but I've never tried it. One place you can get those is at

Ding dong the witch is dead. . . .

Report •

May 7, 2011 at 09:49:24
I think I see now. It was already booting from the USB floppy. You didn't need the bootmanager for that. Then I sent you a floppy bootdisk image that had drivers for a USB cdrom. That's how you installed ME. You never booted from the ME cd in order to install it. You booted from the floppy bootdisk

Thanks.Yes, that is correct. Apologies I did not make myself too clear in my last post. I should have asked if the image disk you made for me to detect a USB CD-ROM drive can be use on a laptop that need Win XP instlaled. Sorry.for the confusion.

Edit The bootdisk I sent is only for ME and maybe 98. You can't use it to start an XP installation

Thanks for confirming this. That's disappointing as the built in CD-ROM on the laptop running XP is not working and I was hoping the floppy image you made for me to detect a USB CD-ROM drive would work so that I can use the XP CD installaiton disk to install XP from a USB CD-ROM drive., :( But I understand.

Is there a quick way where I can change what is written in the boot image so that it work for a XP installation ?

Report •

May 7, 2011 at 15:02:52
No, there's nothing you can do with the ME bootdisk to make it an XP installation disk. The 'official' XP bootdisk is actually a 6 disk set. There's an explanation and download links here:

Ding dong the witch is dead. . . .

Report •

May 8, 2011 at 09:17:32
ok, thanks.

All the best.

Report •

Ask Question