I have a rather new Sony VAIO Laptop that runs Vista

Yesterday i had put my VAIO to sleep while i was out by flipping down the screen. When I later returned and 'woke' it up the desktop showed up again and the mouse was working but it had frozen. Like Explorer had crashed or something. Instead of sanely waiting for a response or trying out some key combinations I was stupid enough to just switch it off by holding the power button (it was 4am just so you know).

When i switched it on today it wouldn't boot properly. The VAIO boot image pops up, after that one can just see the progress bar of the Windows boot screen. After a while this disappears and then all that is on the screen is the mouse pointer. The mouse works both with touchpad and my wireless mouse which does require some software for it to run.
I've been unable to shut the computer down using alt + f4 in this state. The only way it'd go off is holding the power button down.

When starting the computer it gives me the option to run windows start-up diagnostics tool but that doesnt help at all. Same response.

The screen hasnt taken any damage though a semi-heavy smoke grenade did fall on the laptop next to the touchpad last night. It didn't look like it had any immediate impact on the preformance though.

It is to be noted that I havnt had internet access over the laptop since 2 days due to the Univercity internet breaking down and the problem only started this morning/last night, meaning the possibilty of a virus would be unlikely. I also didnt run any new programms or installers last night.

When the laptop does work, I run virus and adware scans every couple of days and defragment once a week.

The Laptop specs are:

2.0 Ghz Intel 2 Duo Core
2 gig. Ram
NVidia 8400

Is this a commen problem that is easily solved or will I have to find a computer technichian.
Thanks for taking time to ponder my problem.

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Have you tried pressing f8 on startup to get into safe mode? there should be a couple boot options to try out.

try that and we'll keep troubleshooting.

UPDATE: Trying to run safe mode yields the same result as trying to run normally. I've dsicovered that a blue screen flashes up for a fraction of a second before the laptop restarts.

I havnt tried out all options from the menu but uptill now its always the same result...

so are you able to get into the bios? if so, you will be able to reinstall windows if you want; if there is data you need to keep, try BartPE, or Knoppix or something, (these usually boot reguardless of the condition of your current install) if you don't want to take it that far, open up your laptop and check your memory.

Check the hard drive and even use an ultimate boot cd, or something from the manufacturers website to run a test (assuming you can still boot from a cd).

how do i access BIOS while the laptop is starting up? I'm afraid this is my first laptop + vista and i have very little idea of which commands do... As to BartPE and Knoppx, do i download them and save them to a CD?
With openening up my laptop, you think i should just take out the memory and put it back in? I also have to add that i left my Vista CD in New York so i don't have an install disc if i have to reformat...

Yeah, you're right about the memory, just take it out and put it back in; I'm thinking that's not the problem though.

most computers use the f2 or delete key (delete, not backspace) to get into the BIOS, but there's not really much you can do in there anyway. BartPE can be downloaded here http://www.snapfiles.com/download/dlbartpe.html
I believe this builder will allow you to make a bootable CD.

I've never used it.

In the end, there really isn't any shame in bringing it to a technician, but if you've nothing to lose on that hard drive I'd still recommend a reinstall (get your vista disk!)

oh, and don't forget the ultimate boot cd

burn this to a cd and boot from it and use some of the storage tests to see if your hard drive is ok.

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