Windows Vista forum

General discussion


by AAHicks / March 23, 2007 5:53 AM PDT

Hi, I just spent a load on the Sony Vaio VGN-AR370.
Since when is PRE-LOADED with and ONLY WORKS WITH the same thing.

I attempted to order a Sony with XP. However, the only one in the range I was looking at was neon green or blue, so I chose for the corporate black. This only came with the option of Vista preloaded. So I said, ok. BIG MISTAKE.

After 1 week of lost productivity as I learned more and more more of the applications I need to do business (including Sony Handicam software Picture Package) do not have Vista options available. I bit the bullet and took it in to get it "downgraded" to XP Pro.

1. I was told that having a Vista license DOES NOT make me eligible for a downgrade to XP (as was my understanding with previous licensing). So I bit the bullet again, and said, ok I'll pay the two hundred bucks to microsoft for XP.

2. Now I find out that there are NO DEVICE DRIVERS for this notebook and XP Operating System. Basically SONY is trying to tell me I can't use this notebook with XP.

My questions:

TECHNICAL: Does anyone think there is a way to get this computer to work with XP without facing many many problems? Is this typical. I consider myself pretty savvy with computers but am shocked that a few device drivers could not be written pretty easily. At least some enlightenment on why this is an issue might alleviate some of the disgust and turmoil I'm going through.

LEGAL: Is this not Microsoft taking this one step too far? racketeering comes to mind. Since when is it that one cannot downgrade? Since when is it that device drivers are sold (or not sold separately).

Anyway, if you have similar experience or some knowledge to share, I would be ever greatful.

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Downgrading from Vista...
by John.Wilkinson / March 23, 2007 6:55 AM PDT

Vista Business and Vista Ultimate OEM users are eligible for a downgrade to XP Professional. OEM copies of Vista Home Basic and Vista Home Premium, on the other hand, are granted no downgrade rights. In addition, since the OS was preinstalled Sony is responsible for any/all support and making the individual decision concerning letting you downgrade. In short, the licensing agreement Microsoft has with manufacturers such as Sony passes the responsibility to Sony and precludes Microsoft from helping you in situations such as this.

As for the drivers, that's something that the individual device manufacturers are responsible for providing. Microsoft may package drivers for convenience, but only if the manufacturer offers them to Microsoft for that purpose. In your case, I am willing to bet you could have 100% compatibility under Windows XP. The issue is that Sony only provides the drivers for the operating systems the computer was designed to run, and the computer was not designed for XP. You do, however, have two other options:

1.) Look on Sony's site for a similar model that was sold just prior to Vista's launch. Sony, like most others, reuses the same basic hardware in most of their computers, so chances are the drivers will work as expected.

2.) Use a free program such as Everest to identify the actual components of your computer (sound card, graphics card, optical drives, etc) and then visit the websites of the manufacturers of each of those components and download the appropriate drivers, which are completely compatible.

While this is, unfortunately, business as usual for most manufacturers, there are ways of getting everything to work. I wish you luck, and let us know if you need any help.


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Ran into same problem
by corezapr / April 6, 2007 8:24 AM PDT

Well, this probably isn't what you want to hear, but anyway:

I was asked to evaluate one of the Sony Vaio models for my company since a few users have requested it. I ordered a VGN-SZ440 with 2GB RAM and a 200GB hard drive as a test unit. Downgraded it to Windows XP (which as mentioned above, is completely legitimate if you have Business edition).

Big problem was with the video driver. It's a GeForce Go 7400. Unfortunately, the nVidia drivers just don't work, they will not detect the hardware correctly as a result of the proprietary shenanigans Sony has pulled with this laptop.

Called Sony tech support. With loud Hindi screaming in the background I was told that if you don't run Vista on it you're SOL. No, the guy had no idea what "corporate sales" meant. No, they do not have paid tech support where I can talk to someone who knows English. No, there is noone else in the entire Sony organization that knows more than this guy. No, this guy does not have a supervisor or any type of managerial oversight.

It's 5 o'clock and I'm not interested in cutting into my weekend to give Sony a sale of 50-100 laptops over the next couple of months, so that's it for me!

Vista is prohibited in our organization for the foreseeable future(I'm partially responsible for that policy), so I let the big boss know that Sony laptops are "not enterprise suitable" and should be put on the blacklist as far as equipment purchases. I will ship this one back Monday and go back to dealing with HP and Dell who actually know how to talk to businesses.

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by AAHicks / April 8, 2007 4:13 AM PDT
In reply to: Ran into same problem

Thanks for the reply.

Am a small business owner, with some IT experience, but had hoped Sony would have their "act" together.

My system spent the last month with a local support person (not Sony). After escalating my calls via Sony Support I was able to speak to someone who sounded more like he was in US. He'd mentioned that randomly as of 10 days ago he'd personally received a dozen similar calls but could not speak to the fact of Sony actually doing something about this but indicated possibly.

Also of note, the store front guy I brought my system to has several other requests to DOWNGRADE from Vista to XP. He said he's having similar problems with a DELL notebook. Beware.

He needs the Intel 82801GHM SATA Raid driver or the whole thing can't work. From his research he thinks he'll be able to find it by Mid May.

In the meantime, I am using a recovery disk to get stuck back on Vista. Word of warning. Don't get an engraved notebook, Sony will not take it back (dumb of me I know but I really had no idea how ridiculous this was going to be, maybe that is why they came up with the idea of engraving). I'll post again when I find the driver for XP.

Thanks much for re-iterating the XP Pro and Vista Business license issue.

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windows xp downgrade for vaio fz18g, desperate!!!!
by Vinchic / October 7, 2007 11:13 PM PDT
In reply to: Ran into same problem

I've run into similar problems Sad I bought a viao recently on a business trip, when I got back home, the company's LAN doesn't really handle Vista well (big surprise there)and was told to downgrade to XP, however despite blowing over 2K on this laptop it only comes with vista home premium there was no downgrade. Plus every site/forum I've found has a downgrade pack for everything but my specific model. writing to sony cust. support has been many versions of you're SOL.

I've used an fz19g downgrade pack, but it seems many of the functions or drivers are missing or not working properly, and there even seems to be some random re-mapping of my keyboard going on...i.e. the cursor will randomly position itself somewhere else in the typing area.

Hopefully some kind soul with this particular model who has succesfully migrated back to xp will have read this and has answers.

fingers crossed.

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by nemo226 / January 6, 2008 8:36 AM PST

Have you guys tried Simply registered and scan. It will scan your computer and tells you what driver is bad and good and gives you a link to download the bad ones.

Hope this helps

Let me know how it goes.

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Sony has done this before.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 8, 2007 4:28 AM PDT

Sony never handled this area well. There was no support when XP rolled out for machines that were just delivered with the prior OS. It appears they never expect you to change the OS.

If the machine is not working as expected why not get a refund?


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No Refund with Engraving...
by AAHicks / April 9, 2007 5:11 AM PDT

It was a big mistake that was sooo easy to make.
An invitation to "engrave your computer" for free.
Thought it a good branding opportunity, but with the engraving you basically can't give the computer back to Sony.

At this point I am glad I have the warranty for accidental damage and drop. I want to "accidently drop" the thing off a cliff.

Am still hoping Intel steps up with these and Sony steps up and coordinates their release.

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Limited time offer.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 9, 2007 6:34 AM PDT

I wonder if we started a discussion in our XP Forum to track down driver what would happen.

Mind you we might get XP running but the tough part will be all the peripherals. Would it be ok to have no sound? Add another wifi card or such?

-> Here's an endrun around the whole thing. Go get Microsoft's Virtual PC and run XP inside the VPC.

Gads, what we'll do...


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Free Vista help with Drivers
by mekaniker / April 13, 2007 9:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Limited time offer.

Thought that I would send this in and I know from working with HP printer the first day that Vista came out, it could not install HP alinone because the OS was not recognized by HP. This site helps -RadarSync
Hope this helps

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Virtualization ?!
by MacGregory / April 15, 2007 10:41 AM PDT
In reply to: Limited time offer.

Sorry to be a Mac Fanboy, but having to virtualize XP on Vista and having to buy a "business" OS just to backtrack to run the drivers you have used for years is so absolutely assinine that it is hard to resist saying ... Just buy a Mac and use a virtual environment or Boot Camp to run XP or Vista to your hearts content ... with hardware that is high quality, loaded with good iApp software and with the #1 rated customer service in the industry. All that for a few hundred dollars more.

And I've run Mac laptops on our corporate systems without IT even knowing I was there and have never needed them to troubleshoot anything, except for some Outlook problems in scheduling meetings and the quarterly problems with my desktop Dell that the company forces me to have on my desk.

No zealotry, just sayin'.

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Sony is all STYLE without SUBSTANCE
by Ronald J Riley / April 13, 2007 10:31 AM PDT

My story is lengthy, so I will confine myself to conclusions.

1) Sony makes overpriced junk.

2) Sony does not understand what service is. When people pay top dollar for Sony they expect a quality product with superb service. They fail miserably on both counts.

3) Sony is condescending, with an unresponsive bureaucracy.

4) Sony is a weasel on warranties.

5) I have over $6000 worth of garbage Sony notebooks...gathering dust.

6) I will NEVER by another Sony product.

7) With my affiliations I am in a position to influence large numbers of buyers and by inclination I am prone to tell the good and the bad. In Sony's case it is mostly BAD.

Ronald J. Riley,

President - - RJR .at.
Executive Director - - RJR .at.
Senior Fellow - - RRiley .at.
Washington, DC
Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

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by msgale / April 13, 2007 1:18 PM PDT

Did you try to install XP, if not, do so now. I seriously doubt that XP drivers do not exist for your notebook. I have a new Dell Latitude D820. If I had bought in December it would have come with XP, Since I bought it in March it came with Vista. Identical configurations.

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Don't Forget To.....
by bonafide49 / April 18, 2007 12:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Downgrade

Install XP Service Pack 2 before trying to install drivers etc. Service Pack 2 has many newer drivers in it. Many times I have tried and failed to install drivers on a raw install of XP only to have them "magically" install and work after SP2 is installed. You'll probably have to have SP2 burned to a CD as frequently it's the NIC drivers that fail to install so you have no network connection.

Also worth noting. Some laptops/PC's have a driver directory on the C: drive with drivers listed all the way back to Win9X. look for that and burn it off to a CD. One other option is if the computer came with a rebuild disk, it may have the drivers there as well.

Because of these problems, I am in no hurry to get a PC with Vista. I'll wait a while until the rest of the world comes up to (drivers) speed. Remember, we all had the same problems when XP came out.

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Ditto, Ditto, Ditto, again & again.
by Dave Cal / April 14, 2007 3:02 AM PDT

I don't think I could have said this any better if I'd tried.
The Moral here, is stay well away from Sony.
Anyone that keeps up with latest tech. News should know by now that Sony is bad news.
One screw up after the other.
Years ago, people that were not exactly tech savvy would go out and buy Sony equipt. and feel really cool about it. I myself have never been a Sony fan, and have taken notice of all the little screwy thing that they have foisted on the public. They have all been well documented.
Nowadays, given the quality of the competition, and the information that is available to the consumer there is absolutely no reason to get stuck with a Sony product.
A little research before buying, goes a long way too...

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Similar experience
by sathiyaraj.s / April 13, 2007 2:19 PM PDT

Hi friend i am sathiyaraj from india. I also met a very similar problem as you faced. I bought compaq notebook one month before. It came with Vista Home Basic. Since it has only 512MB Ram, the system was too slow. Except 3D appearance Windows XP Professional is as good as Vista Home Basic. So tried to install Windows XP Professional. But as like you driver softwares were not available for my notebook for Windows XP. So I was totally frustrated.
And then i tried the driver softwares that comes with other notebooks (having Windows XP) of my friends. Some softwares i downloaded from the motherboard (intel) site. Fortunately the combonation of these two was worked out. Now my Notebook is worked perfectly as i expected.

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audio driver
by jaysingleton / April 14, 2007 2:16 AM PDT
In reply to: Similar experience

sathiyaraj what model do you have? I have my vgn-ar370 working great on xp except without audio. if you have the audio driver for xp could you post a link please?

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Can you offer any tips
by AAHicks / April 15, 2007 11:39 PM PDT
In reply to: audio driver

Greetings Jay
I've taken my computer to a technician. Very interested in how you were able to get your VGN-AR370 to run on XP. He's unable to find the drivers for the hard disk but thinks he's found drivers for others...

He's looking for Intel 82801GHM SATA RAID is this the same as yours or do you have a different HD? Any advice you can offer would be very welcome.

Let me know which audio driver you're looking for (I think mine is a Sigmatel High Definition Audio CODEC, but I could be out of my depth. I'll let you know if he finds it as part of my quest to downgrade.

Many thanks.

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chip set link
by jaysingleton / April 16, 2007 2:21 PM PDT
In reply to: Can you offer any tips

i will find the other driver links. looks like we have the same. i know i got the raid to work but dont know if the like above is the raid. give me a day or two and i will post if for you.

i do have the same HD. mine is 80x2 but same raid. i will look into it but i think that you can download the raid from sony and it runs and installs to the floppy for installation during of xp.

if you have that audio driver i would appreciate a link to it. also my function buttons dont work. the ones for the brightness/volume/eject. overall the laptop runs way better with xp
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Thank you
by AAHicks / April 16, 2007 11:45 PM PDT
In reply to: chip set link

Many thanks for this. I will pass it to my technical person and let you know how it goes. Will let you know if he gets to sound. Is it that you aren't sure which drivers are missing or just aren't sure where to find them? If you know which audio drivers/function button drivers you're looking for let me know. And again thanks, I look forward to more feedback from your endeavors.

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by jaysingleton / April 17, 2007 4:02 AM PDT
In reply to: Thank you

this is the raid driver

i know what i need but the driver i found wont work for audio.
Video Adapter GeForce Go 7600 GT (256 MB)
Video Adapter NVIDIA GeForce Go 7600 GT (256 MB)
Monitor Plug and Play Monitor [NoDB]

Audio Adapter Intel 82801GBM ICH7-M - High Definition Audio Controller

IDE Controller Intel(R) 82801G (ICH7 Family) Ultra ATA Storage Controllers - 27DF
IDE Controller Texas Instruments PCIxx12 Integrated FlashMedia Controller
SCSI/RAID Controller Intel(R) 82801GHM SATA RAID Controller
Disk Drive Volume 0 (149 GB, IDE)
Optical Drive MATSHITA DVD-RAM UJ-850S
SMART Hard Disks Status Unknown
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Asking for help (w.r.t nvidia geforce go 7600 GT driver)
by sea123 / April 23, 2007 5:45 AM PDT
In reply to: raid

Hello, Jay:

Thank you very much for the great suggestions/posts on I was facing exactly the same problem with my new sony Vaio VGN-AR370. With your post/suggestions, I was able to load the windows XP on this new laptop machine. However, I could not find the right Nvidia graphic driver for the Geforce go 7600 GT for XP. Would you mind providing any link/update you have? Many thanks.


Message was edited by: admin to remove e-mail address

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by jaysingleton / April 23, 2007 9:47 AM PDT

Hai, your are welcome. i have read over the other posts and it looks like you got your video to work. any luck with the audio? i still have no sound.
thanks jay

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by Tig3rj / April 23, 2007 9:58 AM PDT
In reply to: audio?

No luck on the Audio...I can get the SigmaTel driver to install. But it fails to startup. Also if your computers have the Modem you will need to get the drivers for those also once the Audio is set.

I been trying everything. Dell drivers, HP drivers. Packs from and no luck yet.

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brightness buttons / util
by jaysingleton / April 23, 2007 11:12 AM PDT
In reply to: Nope

thanks, if you find any thing please post for me. did you get you brightness buttons to work? do you have a download link?

thanks jay

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Got audio working for my sony vaio VGN-AR370 with Windows XP
by sea123 / September 19, 2007 8:54 AM PDT
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UK Drivers
by cmaceachen / September 19, 2007 9:14 AM PDT
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XP Drivers
by Tig3rj / April 23, 2007 7:07 AM PDT
In reply to: raid

I have goten everything my self to work on this laptop that I can see. The only things I need that I see in the Device Manager are...

Mass Storage Controler
PCI Device (Sound)

I have no clue what UGX is. I am guessing it is Blue Tooth and no idea what drivers for the Mass Storage could be even though I have the Intel Matrix Drivers.

For the Video I took the latest Beta Drivers from Guru3D. I then took the inf driver from and replaced it since the drivers aren't there yet. When you do the install it will ask for a dll file that isn't included. If you have a PC with an Nvidia Card, it should be there and you can copy it to the folder and it will work.

If anyone has any ideas for the UGX and Mass Controller Driver that would be great. This user purchase this laptop and the University I work at won't support Vista on the network yet and we need to convert this $3,000 laptop to XP.


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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 23, 2007 7:19 AM PDT
In reply to: XP Drivers
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by Tig3rj / April 23, 2007 7:29 AM PDT
In reply to: Well...

Where is this discussing in the XP forums? I did a search and didn't find anything.

I have done the search on the UGX, but I sw nothing that solves the problem and there were many terms on it. Where are you looking that talks about what to do with the Blue Tooth? I am not seeing it in the search.

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As to the UGX, first hit.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 23, 2007 7:32 AM PDT
In reply to: Drivers..
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