Sony Executive Weighs in on Windows 7

Sony Executive Weighs in on Windows 7

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Xavier Lauwaert here. We at Sony are excited to welcome the arrival of Windows 7 with its performance, ease of use and connectivity innovations. Indeed, pre-release reviews and engineering investigations show that Windows 7 is in line with industry needs and end user requests for an operating system that is leaner, faster, easier to use and more connected.

These last months we have been working with Microsoft to ensure that not only the operating system but also our PCs create a symbiotic effect whereby end user usage models are optimized. The end result is an improvement in day-to-day life performance as well as simply making the PC more fun to use. We live in a very PC-centric and connected world and Windows 7 addresses both these needs.

With households increasingly switching from desktops to notebooks and even having more than one PC, the concept of mobility and connectivity increases in importance. At the same time, Windows 7 is built on a solid foundation. Be it a netbook or a mainstream notebook, we expect to deliver unprecedented performance and connectivity options through Windows 7. Faster boot up times, improved battery life and the ability to stream your contents through the “Play To” feature will not only make the PC omnipresent but Windows 7 will also bring content “to life”.

Windows 7 will provide new solutions and expectations and we look forward to leveraging this release on our platforms.

Xavier Lauwaert
Senior Manager Product Marketing at Sony

25 Comments
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  • proux
    1 Posts

    I rushed to buy an expensive VAIO with WIndows 7, and I already wish I hadn't.... how on earth can you disable one of the most usefuln features???!!! My wife needs a new laptop, and it won't be a VAIO unless this is rectified....

  • chvaca
    1 Posts

    sony pls,

    As a developer and a customer i need a solutions for the VT issues.

    It is my first sony and i was so happy about my VGN-FW21E until i install Windows 7, i can't use Windows 7 VPC nor VPC2007, and this is affecting deeply my bussiness

  • I am a trainer and spent 1400 euros in a Vaio VGN FW21Z for the ONLY reason of the VT enabled processor. Once installed Windows 2008 in one partition and Windows 7 in the other, I found that Hyper-V does not work in Windows 2008 and Windows XP mode does not either in Windows 7 because Virtualization has not been enabled in BIOS. I am complaining to the support team of Vaio about this and expecting its replies. I have read all the comments and I agree that it is a shame the way Sony has sold these laptops. I NEVER wanted to buy this brand but in past December it lwas the only laptop advertised as 64 bit and BlueRay. I beg Sony to update the BIOS as soon as possible and, otherwise, encourage disappointed customers to join for a campaign against this firm. Also thanks to Igor for his patch but I really REQUIRE Sony to issue an official one

  • Nabih
    1 Posts

    I'm wondering if there will be any Virtualization Support for Sony VAIO VGN-FW495J when Windows 7 is released. It has been a pain in the *&*^ since I bought my laptop.

    I hope your reply is going to be helpful.

  • Dear Mr. Xavier Lauwaert;

    I have recently bought VGN-FW4ZTJ. I am an academic having hundreds of students in a university.

    I am really shocked when I see Sony has disabled the VT. I haven't yet used the patch Levicki's solution and want an explanation of my model from you. Are you going to publish a bios update of this?

    The reason why I bought is laptop but not mac is I thought this model fits me best and moreover, there is no explanation regarding VT disabled feature. I need this feature and first I want to have a reply from you since I haven't got any reply from customer support, they are saying only there is no virtualization support and there is no bios update. So, I am not interested in present tense but interested in future, could you tell me that sony will publish a bios update for my machine?

    And Mr. Levicki, thanks for your effort even I haven't yet applied your patch yet (I am really hesitating regarding my bios Aptio 1.23.1109 AMI (05/09/08) version, R3100Y0).

    And I think this is a real shame for Sony since I am requesting an assist from a guy, Mr. Levicki who isn't even responsible for this mess but helping others to fix this.

  • Does this mean Sony intends to get 64-bit drivers working properly with Windows 7?

    I've been fighting with Sony Customer Service for over a year.  The issues have ranged from buggy drivers for the VGP-UPR1 (no resolution over 1680x1050, forgetting display settings, both known & acknowledged bugs), to improper implementation of the Blu Ray regional support with WinDVD, to the complete lack of 64-bit support on ANY Sony OEM products.

    In fact three different Sony reps told me "Sony does not intend to ever release 64-bit drivers for your series laptop".   Really?  Why advertise it in big bold letters as a 64-bit system with 4GB of RAM?  Seems like false advertising to me.  Technically true, but functionally nothing but a lie.

    My only hope is that Sony does plan PROPER AND FULL support of 64-bit Windows 7 for both the main system drivers and recommended accessories. In the meantime I'll continue to use my crippled VGN-AR890U and kick myself every time for not getting the Macbook Pro last summer.

    Maybe I'd not be so disgusted with Sony's lack of solutions and false advertising if I'd not spent over $3,000 on their top-of-the-line laptop.   But in reality, is it too much to ask for full service when buying a product from a company, regardless of the price?   What happened to the days where customer service & commitment to clients was the mark of a great company?

  • catseye
    1 Posts

    Hi Xavierl,

    "In addition, our engineers and QA people were very concerned that enabling VT would expose our systems to malicious code that could go very deep in the Operating System structure of the PC and completely disable the latter."

    Humm that means that your engineers team hacked successfully their own VAIO laptops or any computers having VT feature right ? Can I see the proof of concept ? I'm very curious how they do what no one else can do, and also why they don't provide the fix to Intel, nor Microsoft or anyone who can fix it ...

    By the way I'm a poor owner of a Z620D laptop and I will try my best to have a refund even by suing Sony, for a misleading documentation and advertisement. I read all the documents provided everywhere on Sony websites as well as my retailer, not a single mention of that ... So I guess I know why this laptop has a lower performance than my DELL laptop under vmware workstation, something I didn't expected.

    Why are you the only manufacturer on earth to disable this feature, I can't explain ...

    I will wait to be sure that Sony won't provide a fix or a refund soon on these laptops, but after reading your comments, I could assume that nothing will be done ...

  • levicki
    2 Posts

    I am the author of VTPATCH tool that enables VT on Sony VAIO FW series of  notebooks:

    levicki.net/.../HOWTO_Enable_Intel_VT_on_Sony_VAIO_notebook_with_AMI_Aptio_EFI_BIOS.php

    I wrote the patch way back in February 2009 when I figured out that I can't enable VT on my FW 190 using normal means and when I exhausted all options with your technical support.

    I recommend you to read this thread first for some context:

    software.intel.com/.../63409

    Below is my reply to mr. Xavier Lauwaert's post:

    "Contrary to perceived opinion, we have received very little if any requests to enable VT technology up until very recently."

    If you take a look at the download section of my website:

    http://levicki.net/downloads/

    You will see that the patch for VT enabling has been downloaded 3321 times (yes, I got a lot of "thank you" notes from people who really needed VT for their work).

    If being asked 3321 times to enable VT control option in BIOS is "very little if any", then I am Santa Claus, not to mention that my website does not have very high visibility so there may be a lot of more people who are unaware of the problem until one day they try to run any modern hypervisor software like Xen, VirtualPC, VirtualBox or VMWare on their expensive Sony VAIO.

    "In addition, our engineers and QA people were very concerned that enabling VT would expose our systems to malicious code that could go very deep in the Operating System structure of the PC and completely disable the latter."

    That is why you should have shipped it with default set to OFF and leave the option for tech savvy people (especially software developers) to enable VT if they need it.

    "I can share with you that we will enable VT on select models."

    You should enable the option to enable VT on all models. Period.

    In case I wasn't clear enough, people are paying for a CPU which has VT capability in hardware and you have no right to turn off that capability permanently unless you sell the CPU (and hence the notebook) at a discounted price.

    Furthermore, you should enable advanced configuration options for power users, you should fix your ACPI tables so they work with Linux and document ACPI calls for configuring LCD backlight, special keys, battery, DVD drive, etc so that open-source developers can also utilize full hardware functionality of VAIO notebooks.

    Finally, you should provide users with downloadable 64-bit drivers for all notebook devices (my FW 190 is missing a camera driver).

  • levicki
    2 Posts

    I am the author of VTPATCH tool that enables VT on Sony VAIO FW series of  notebooks:

    levicki.net/.../HOWTO_Enable_Intel_VT_on_Sony_VAIO_notebook_with_AMI_Aptio_EFI_BIOS.php

    I wrote the patch way back in February 2009 when I figured out that I can't enable VT on my FW 190 using normal means and when I exhausted all options with your technical support.

    I recommend you to read this thread first for some context:

    software.intel.com/.../63409

    Below is my reply to mr. Xavier Lauwaert's post:

    "Contrary to perceived opinion, we have received very little if any requests to enable VT technology up until very recently."

    If you take a look at the download section of my website:

    http://levicki.net/downloads/

    You will see that the patch for VT enabling has been downloaded 3321 times (yes, I got a lot of "thank you" notes from people who really needed VT for their work).

    If being asked 3321 times to enable VT control option in BIOS is "very little if any", then I am Santa Claus, not to mention that my website does not have very high visibility so there may be a lot of more people who are unaware of the problem until one day they try to run any modern hypervisor software like Xen, VirtualPC, VirtualBox or VMWare on their expensive Sony VAIO.

    "In addition, our engineers and QA people were very concerned that enabling VT would expose our systems to malicious code that could go very deep in the Operating System structure of the PC and completely disable the latter."

    That is why you should have shipped it with default set to OFF and leave the option for tech savvy people (especially software developers) to enable VT if they need it.

    "I can share with you that we will enable VT on select models."

    You should enable the option to enable VT on all models. Period.

    In case I wasn't clear enough, people are paying for a CPU which has VT capability in hardware and you have no right to turn off that capability permanently unless you sell the CPU (and hence the notebook) at a discounted price.

    Furthermore, you should enable advanced configuration options for power users, you should fix your ACPI tables so they work with Linux and document ACPI calls for configuring LCD backlight, special keys, battery, DVD drive, etc so that open-source developers can also utilize full hardware functionality of VAIO notebooks.

    Finally, you should provide users with downloadable 64-bit drivers for all notebook devices (my FW 190 is missing a camera driver).

  • @Xavier

    I believe this clearly shows why Sony VAIO has a way of doing things that detracts power users.

    Yes, it may appeal to the professional that wants a good machine to work with but has no ability to maintain or tweak it to their ability.

    the power user who wants and knows how to configure and set his machine will soon start realizing that the company support for this is lacking and that community engagement is also poor.

    It is very obvious to me that the right approach here would be to make this feature disabled by default in a BIOS setting (most likely possible), and make this present in the documentation.

    The average user will never go and change their BIOS settings so it will keep your "security" argument still valid, and at the same time power users will have the chance to configure their machine as they like.

    Imposing your decisions by making them irreversible and closing down your hardware to your software and standards is the first step to make knowledgeable users go away.

    Usually IT departments, if competent, like this ability to tweak their hardware. Its what they are paid for, for configure machines to the users needs. They have to know the consequences of doing so, weight in the pros and cons, and make decisions.

    If you impose your decisions and configurations, that is the first step to make your hardware not a valid option.

    I was once a Sony VAIO faithful owner, and when I had to service my machine...the support was very expensive and poor. I was talking to someone who knew nothing about hardware and would not give any answers, just the usual formatted replys that every customer must get.

    I left my broken VAIO gather dust on a box and choose to invest on something else.

    I loved that laptop, but like so many brands nowadays...Sony VAIO seems to quickly forget about their customers once they bought their machine and accessories.

    And this situation kind of makes that evident: Locking down features and not giving away updates to enable them on older models, not a go thing.

  • @Xavier

    I believe this clearly shows why Sony VAIO has a way of doing things that detracts power users.

    Yes, it may appeal to the professional that wants a good machine to work with but has no ability to maintain or tweak it to their ability.

    the power user who wants and knows how to configure and set his machine will soon start realizing that the company support for this is lacking and that community engagement is also poor.

    It is very obvious to me that the right approach here would be to make this feature disabled by default in a BIOS setting (most likely possible), and make this present in the documentation.

    The average user will never go and change their BIOS settings so it will keep your "security" argument still valid, and at the same time power users will have the chance to configure their machine as they like.

    Imposing your decisions by making them irreversible and closing down your hardware to your software and standards is the first step to make knowledgeable users go away.

    Usually IT departments, if competent, like this ability to tweak their hardware. Its what they are paid for, for configure machines to the users needs. They have to know the consequences of doing so, weight in the pros and cons, and make decisions.

    If you impose your decisions and configurations, that is the first step to make your hardware not a valid option.

    I was once a Sony VAIO faithful owner, and when I had to service my machine...the support was very expensive and poor. I was talking to someone who knew nothing about hardware and would not give any answers, just the usual formatted replys that every customer must get.

    I left my broken VAIO gather dust on a box and choose to invest on something else.

    I loved that laptop, but like so many brands nowadays...Sony VAIO seems to quickly forget about their customers once they bought their machine and accessories.

    And this situation kind of makes that evident: Locking down features and not giving away updates to enable them on older models, not a go thing.

  • Xavierl
    5 Posts

    @ JRK et al.,

    Sorry, i should have been clearer in my original answer. When i stated that the Z series would not be supported i was referring to the original Z11 comment from Howard.

    As you may have seen from my later postings, i cannot comment on non-US models, like the Z11 and/or the UK model you have.

    With that said, we thank you for purchasing our flagship portable model and we will deploy our best efforts to meet your expectations.

  • JRK
    1 Posts

    Xavierl,

    Firstly thanks for engaging with the community on this - too many executives ignore customer feedback on sites like this!

    In response to your comment:

    "Though, i fear t say that the Z series will not be part of our VT-enabling effort.

    Indeed, we will focus on more recent models."

    I have recently only purchased only Sony Vaios for my business, including spending £2,500 each on several top-line Z series models. Given I bought all of these 6-9 months ago, I'm surprised and disappointed to hear that these are consider too old for the upgrade - these were marketed and purchased as top of the range business laptops so I would have thought these were top of list for the upgraded BIOS. Also, you are still selling the Z model on your website (Z3, vs our Z2s) so surely they are pretty recent?

    I do not know whether we, as a company, will particularly need to use the virtualisation technology or not, but it puts a big dent in my confidence about Sony supporting the laptops we purchase beyond the day they're purchased, and this is not the only example - e.g. the Sony-specific Nvidia graphics drivers are way behind the standard versions Nvidia themselves publish. Our IT advisors tell us to go for Dell as a more solid foundation for business IT - please help restore my confidence in Sony Vaio!

  • wrc13
    1 Posts

    @Xavier

    On which specific models does Sony plan to enable virtualization?

  • Xavierl
    5 Posts

    @pangwy

    Sorry, i can only comment on US models. apologies for that.

  • pangwy
    4 Posts

    VGN-NW15 is a new modal sell at Hong Kong.

  • Xavierl
    5 Posts

    @ Howard Durdle

    Sorry to disappoint you but that is indeed what our engineers have maintained as a reason for not activating VT  (in addition to the low business impact reason). Do you have any argumentation to contest their claim? We would welcome your experienced opinion.

    As regards the claim about about cheaper components, this is completely unfounded and we weclome the opportunity for the author of said article to prove his/her claim.

  • @Xavier

    The "we were protecting people from malicious code" story is nice spin, but seems a bit far fetched!

    Please can you comment on the reporting I've seen that says Sony actually disabled VT because it was able to get cheaper components from Intel if it did so?

    See: www.designisphilosophy.com/.../sony-confirms-no-hardware-virtualization-on-vaio-computers-past-present-or-future-20090622

  • Xavierl
    5 Posts

    @pangwy

    Do you mean VGN-NW125?

    In any case, the NW series as a whole qualifies for a Windows 7 upgrade path from Sony. this upgrade path will include the OS, the applications but also the utilities and drivers.

    For more information on the upgrade path and the options please go to: sony.com/windows7

  • Xavierl
    5 Posts

    @ Howard Durdle

    Contrary to perceived opinion, we have received very little if any requests to enable VT technology up until very recently.

    In addition, our engineers and QA people were very concerned that enabling VT would expose our systems to malicious code that could go very deep in the Operating System structure of the PC and completely disable the latter.

    For these two reasons we have decided, until recently, not to enable VT.

    However, with the advent of XP Virtualization, there is impetus for us to relook at the situation and I can share with you that we will enable VT on select models.

    Though, i fear t say that the Z series will not be part of our VT-enabling effort.

    Indeed, we will focus on more recent models.

    In the hope this clarifies the background of our decision as well as our plan moving forward.

  • pangwy
    4 Posts

    Sorry, I make a typo mistake. The Model number is VGN-NW15.

  • pangwy
    4 Posts

    Do those pre-installed softwares in Sony VAIO VGN0NW15 compatible to Window 7? I want to buy one.

  • It's great that Sony are "looking forward to leveraging [Windows 7] on their platforms."  However some of their recent laptops are unable to leverage all the features of Windows 7.

    Sony's decision to disable Virtualization Technology on the Intel chips on their high-end notebooks makes little sense when you consider that these machines are targeted at business consumers.   It was also annoying to find this out _after_ I had bought the machine, since none of the pre-sales literature mentioned it.

    Even more so when you realise that Windows 7 will include a virtual Windows XP installation to provide backwards compatibility. This will run with impaired performance on any Sony laptop where VT has been disabled. I would be interested to know what the Windows 7 team think about Sony crippling their customer’s ability to use their carefully constructed backwards compatibility feature?

    My Vaio Z11 is in all other respects a fantastic bit of kit, but when I upgrade to Windows 7 - which I intend to do - I will be missing out on one of the most important features.

    I urge Sony to release a BIOS upgrade for the Z11 - and any other so affected machines - to enable the VT features of the processor!

  • Looked at the Sony VAIO NW at Fry's yesterday.  Nice machine.  Next time I buy a personal machine I will look more closely at your line of products.  I'm not sure about the glossy screen though.

    Anyway, it looks like a great machine to run Windows 7.

  • dovella
    303 Posts

    Sony pls .

    Add DVD OEM Clean in your notebook .

    Thanks.