September 10, 2009

The Blue Screen of Death comes to us all in time

 But sometimes we win. I feel like my little Vaio has cheated death.

So my battery detached from my wonderful Sony VAIO laptop for 2 seconds and it died. DIED. And when I turned her back on, I got the dreaded BSOD (Blue Screen of Death). Except I couldn't see the son of a bitch. It flashed and reloaded.

I could tell from initial googling that the problem required a Windows XP boot disk. Problem 1: Where TF is the boot disk? The laptop didn't come with one, and although I'm sure I made one, I can't find it. And conveniently, MicroHELL only has a FLOPPY DISK download for XP recovery.

But I got one, courtesy of google. Here:

Just save the .ZIP file and extract the .ISO file to a CD. VOILA! Boot CD! (make sure you have plenty of blank CDs, I had to make about 4 copies since my laptop wouldn't recognize a CD again once I had popped it out to try to restart)

Ok, so once the boot CD is in the drive, start 'er up. Press any key to boot from CD. I didn't have a BIOS problem booting from CD, but it's possible others might. After the Recovery CD is running, then I loaded the Recovery Console.

I never realized just how much DOS I've forgotten in 15 years. The recovery console is a modified DOS shell.

Anyway, I tried a bunch of things and realized I wasn't loaded into the shell correctly. Crap. Must freeze BSOD. So I looked it up. To freeze the BSOD so you can read it and copy down the error codes, I had to open up the startup options menu (held down F8 at the VAIO logo) and select "Disable Automatic Restart on System Failure".

That was the easiest thing I had to do. Now that I had BSOD stopped, I could read it.

UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_ DEVICE STOP: 0x000000ED (0x8A789030, 0xC0000006, 0x00000000, 0x00000000)

And back to google, which took me to three useful places.

First, here:, where the computer in question had an identical error,

and MicroHell:;en-us;297185

and finally:

The last is written for non-geeks. Probably the most useful link.

Based on all of the sites I visited between 9:30 when it fried and 2:30 when it got fixed, I decided to try a solution that was a hybrid of all three suggestions.

First, I ran chkdsk /r on the root directory (c:). After that finished, I basically followed the steps in #3 above.

However, this left me with 3 possible boot choices. Annoying and a mess waiting to happen. So I edited the new and improved boot.ini through Windows once everything else was working.

See here for instructions:

And finally, 5 hours later it seems to be working again, no losses. Tomorrow, ASAP, I will be doing a backup session to prevent the heart attack that was imminent for about 3 of those 5 hours.

Posted by caltechgirl at September 10, 2009 02:17 AM | TrackBack

I would have had that heart attack.

Posted by: Theresa at September 10, 2009 05:08 AM

So it's not the news for me,personally, but some years ago it was so and there was noone to help me with that problem.
Great tips for a novice!

Posted by: Markus from Poland at October 10, 2009 10:03 AM
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