Usually on a consumer grade laptop that would be a failing hard drive. The drive needs to be replaced and the os reloaded. May need to contact Sony for disks. I am a creditable nerd, and I am currently standing in a server room to boot.
Yup, sounds like the HD, hopefully she didn't have anything on there she needed.
...one thing you can try is getting into the BIOS (F1 or Del) on startup and see if the hard drive is detected. I'm not sure what the Sony bios looks like, but it should be fairly straightforward to find the hardware detected. If the hard drive is not there then you can be pretty certain you have a HD issue.
Last edited by Psi-Man; 03-13-2013 at 04:15 PM.
Reason: added info
If there is actual info on the drive that you are trying to save, your best bet would be to take it apart and slave the drive into a desktop system, then use that system's OS to navigate to the injured drive and pull data off it (hopefully).
Even with a corrupted OS, the likelihood that the WHOLE drive platter is unreadable is kinda low....or at least it's demise is not certain...
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