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Note: This troubleshooting guide covers the Sony Vaio PCG-7A2L laptop, which is also known as the Sony Vaio VGN-FS640.
Laptop won't turn on
Your computer will not boot.
If your computer will not turn on when it is running on battery power, the battery may be out of charge or may need to be replaced. Try turning the computer on with the power adapter connected. If the computer boots normally then there may be a problem with your battery. Leave the power adapter connected for an hour and then try to reboot your computer without the power adapter connected. If it boots normally, it means the battery just needed to be charged and you do not need to replace the battery. If the computer will only boot when the power adapter is attached, the battery needs to be replaced.
Once you have the new battery click here to see the repair guide for replacing the battery.
Laptop Boots but Screen and CPU Fan Do Not Turn On
If your computer boots up and three lights (caps, num, and scroll lock) come on and stay on but the startup screen never comes up, and the CPU fan does not turn on, there might be a hardware problem with the computer. If this happens, try using the system restore CD if the computer comes with one or try going here to get the system restore files from SONY. If the computer boots normally after completing the system restore, then there is most likely a problem with the hard drive and it will need to be replaced using this guide. However, if it does not boot after you complete the system restore, then you will need to contact Sony eSupport.
If your computer boots up but does not show the boot up screen and the CPU fan is on, then you may have faulty RAM. You can try switching the order of the RAM or buy new RAM. New RAM can be ordered through the following links: 256 MB, 512 MB or Laptop Parts Expert. Both of these sites have RAM compatible with the Sony Vaio PCG-7A2L. A 512 MB chip is the largest size of RAM this laptop is compatible with.
Once you have the new RAM or are planning to change the order of the RAM click here to see the repair guide for replacing the old RAM.
Laptop is slow
Your computer takes too long to boot or load programs.
Your computer may be running more processes than necessary. Check the programs your computer automatically runs at start up through your computer's Control Panel. Advanced users may also attempt to close excess processes via the Task Manager. If you still experience problems, see below for more details.
If your computer takes more than 2 or 3 minutes to boot or load a program, you may need to upgrade the RAM. RAM works with the computer's processor to call information from the hard drive and run programs. The Sony Vaio PCG-7A2L comes with 512 MB of RAM but may be upgraded to contain 1024 MB (1 GB) of RAM. The more RAM you have the faster your computer will run.
To upgrade or replace the RAM in your laptop you will first need to order a new RAM chip that is larger than your current RAM. To find out how much RAM your computer currently has go to the start menu and select 'Control Panel'. Inside the Control Panel window open 'System'. The window that comes up will contain information about how much RAM your computer has.
New RAM can be ordered through the following links: 256 MB, 512 MB or Laptop Parts Expert. Both of these sites have RAM are compatible with the Sony Vaio PCG-7A2L. A 512 MB chip is the largest size of RAM this laptop is compatible with.
Once you have the new RAM click here to see the repair guide for replacing the old RAM.
Cannot save files or install programs
Your computer is out of hard drive space to store information, you cannot save or access files, or install software.
If you are not the primary user of the laptop, or are using it on a network, it may be possible that your user profile does not have access to these abilities. If this is the case, contact the user who owns the "Administrator" profile, or your network administrator to resolve this issue.
Some viruses have the ability to limit your ability to perform simple actions such as these, especially if they threaten the virus itself (i.e. installing anti-virus software). In this case, you should seek expert advice. Contact your network administrator and/or a professional virus remover. Most computer repair shops offer this service for a small fee and can provide software to prevent future unwanted incursions.
Upgrade Hard Drive
If you computer will not let you install any new programs or save any new files you may need to upgrade your hard drive. If your hard drive needs to be replaced your computer will display a message similar to "Insufficient storage capacity." The message will also have information about the drive it is referring to including the storage space the drive has left, and the size of the file you are trying to save.
To upgrade your hard drive you will first need to purchase a new hard drive that has a larger storage capacity than your current hard drive. To check your hard drive capacity, go to 'Computer' or 'My Computer' in your start menu. Right click on 'Local Disk (C:)' and click 'Properties'. The window that appears will display the information about your hard drive including its capacity.
You can purchase a new hard drive for your laptop at www.drivemylaptop.co.uk
Once you have the new hard drive click here to view the repair guides.
If it is important that the information on your old hard drive be transferred to your new hard drive, contact a computer specialist to help you perform the file transfer before installing the new hard drive.
Cannot play CDs or DVDs
Your computer does not read CDs or DVDs when they are inserted into the optical drive.
Bad CD or DVD
It is possible that the CD or DVD you are attempting to read is faulty or scratched beyond reading. Check the underside of the disc for any noticeable scratches or faults. If the disk is scratched, try using a commercially available disk repair kit, available at most major retail stores. However, if the disk seems fine and your drive remains unable to read it, try reading other disks. If they work, then the original disk may be faulty and you should contact its manufacturer. Otherwise, there may be a problem with the drive itself. See below for more help if this is the case.
Old or Missing Driver
In some cases, this problem can be caused by old drivers that may not be compatible with your system if it has recently been updated. Additionally, if you recently replaced your CD/DVD drive, you may need to install a new driver for the hardware. In both cases, drivers can be found on the website of the drive's manufacturer. Sony provides drivers for its own parts; they can be found here.
Broken CD/DVD-ROM Drive
If your computer is unable to read CDs or DVDs you may need to replace the CD/DVD drive. CD/DVD drives for laptops are typically standardized, meaning they are all the same size and require the same type of connection. However, newer CD/DVD drives may not be compatible with the older motherboard that your computer contains. Here is a list of sites that sell CD/DVD drives compatible with your laptop: Laptop Parts Expert.
Once you have the new CD/DVD drive click here to view the repair guides.
Screen is black, cracked, or images are distorted
Your laptop display is not functioning properly
Old or Missing Driver
If the picture your screen displays is distorted or does not fill up the entire screen, the problem may caused by an old or missing driver. Drivers are the programs that help your computer's hardware talk to the software you are running. Manufacturers are constantly releasing updates for display drivers and Sony allows its users to download new drivers themselves through their Product Support page.
If installing the latest display driver does not solve the problem, or your computer tells you the driver is already up to date, your screen may be broken.
Disconnected Display Cables
If LCD screen stopped displaying images after you dropped your laptop, the problem may be a result of parts being dislodged inside your laptop. The cables that transfer information and power to the LCD screen may have come loose from their connections which would cause the screen to stop working completely. To check to see if the cables are connected properly, follow the LCD screen guide to the point where the keyboard is removed and you can visually inspect the power and display cables. If your cables are disconnected, skip the steps that involve removing the display completely and just follow the instructions that describe how to reconnect the cables.
If your screen is still malfunctioning after the cables are reconnected, the LCD screen is probably broken and needs to be replaced.
Note: If your laptop will not turn on at all, look through the section of this troubleshooting guide labelled "Laptop won't turn on" because you probably have a more serious hardware problem than a broken LCD screen.
Broken LCD Screen
If your computer doesn't show any images when it is turned on, the color looks skewed, or the screen is cracked, the screen may need to be replaced. Before deciding to replace the LCD screen completely, ensure the power and display cables for the screen are properly connected and the display drivers are up to date. If your screen is still not functioning properly then you most likely have a hardware problem and the screen will need to be replaced completely.
To replace the screen on the computer, you will need to purchase a replacement screen that fits your computer perfectly. Not all screens are made the same, and the dimensions/hardware might be different, so be sure you have the exact screen needed for your laptop. A replacement screen can be found here.
Once a new screen has been obtained, click here to view the repair guides.
Keyboard keys are sticking, missing, or unresponsive
Your keyboard is no longer suitable for everyday use
Old or Missing Driver
If your keyboard is not functioning properly but appears to be in perfect condition there may be a problem with the drivers. To check the keyboard drivers, open up the Control Panel. Click on the Device Manager, and double click on the Keyboards tab. A small icon should pop up relating to the keyboard. Double click on the keyboard to open up its properties, and click the tab that says "Driver". Click on the "Update Driver..." button so the computer can locate the newest version of the keyboard driver. If this doesn't work, your keyboard is most likely broken.
Sometimes, the keys may become sticky, and can't be used. This can be solved by getting some canned air and cleaning out the keyboard of any excess dust built up inside of it.
If many keys from the keyboard have come off, and you can't put them back in, you will most likely need to purchase a replacement keyboard tailored to your model computer. Also, if keys go missing, a replacement is necessary. A replacement keyboard can be found here.
When you have obtained a replacement keyboard, click here to view the repair guides.