Installing Windows XP Professional SP2 on a Sony VAIO VGN-FE31H

I recently bought a Sony VAIO VGN-FE31H. It’s a pretty nice laptop, except for all the proprietary software that it comes with. The first thing I wanted to do was reinstall Windows XP from scratch.

I hoped that I would be able to get official drivers for the hardware in the laptop, but for most of the components, only the Sony-provided drivers are readily available. They come pre-installed, and the original driver files can be found in C:\Drivers. They can also be downloaded from the VAIO support web site (under “Preinstalled Drivers”).

Actually installing Windows was a breeze – XP Pro SP2 supports the SATA controller that’s in the VGN-FE31H. On the first boot there were 7 unrecognised devices. With official drivers hard to come by I opted in the end to just use the Sony-provided drivers. The table below describes how to get all the hardware working.

Note that the last two won’t be detected until you’ve installed the High Definition Audio drivers. The “PCI Device” is actually a High Definition Audio Bus. You need to install KB888111, but Microsoft doesn’t make the drivers themselves available. I found them here (for SP2 you’ll need kb888111xpsp2.exe).

Windows name What it really is How to install drivers
Video Controller (VGA Compatible) graphics card update drivers using Drivers\Video
SM Bus Controller part of the Intel chipset run Drivers\Chipset\infinst_autol.exe
Network Controller 3945ABG wireless adapter run Drivers\WirelessLAN\iProInst.exe
Ethernet Controller wired network adapter update drivers using Drivers\Network2
Mass Storage Controller FlashMedia Controller update drivers using Drivers\FlashMedia
USB2.0 Web Camera VGP-VCC1 update drivers using Drivers\Camera\VGP-VCC1
PCI Device High Definition Audio Bus install KB888111
Audio Device on High Definition Audio Bus audio card update drivers using Drivers\Audio\WDM
Modem Device on High Definition Audio Bus modem update drivers usingDrivers\Modem

There are a few other things that will need altering:

  • update the drivers for the “PS/2 Compatible Mouse” using Drivers\Pointing. This allows you to use the scrolling functionality on the touchpad;
  • copy C:\WINDOWS\snymsico.dll from the original Windows installation to C:\WINDOWS on your new installation. This provides the icon for the “Memory Stick” drive in My Computer;
  • run Drivers\FlashMediaSetting\FMPatch_V010.exe – this fixes a bug which causes a bogus “SD / MMC” drive to appear in My Computer;
  • enable hibernation: Control Panel → Power Options → Hibernate tab → Enable hibernation;
  • make the Hibernate button appear when you choose “Turn Off Computer”: install KB893056, which I found a link to here.
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30 Responses to Installing Windows XP Professional SP2 on a Sony VAIO VGN-FE31H

  1. zero says:

    Very Helpful. Thanx a lot!

  2. Richard says:

    i needed the preinstalled driver software for Sony VAIO VGN-FE31H

  3. syrex says:

    great!

  4. michaelp says:

    cheers man! this has been really helpful!!!

  5. michaelp says:

    I noticed something you wrote about the high definition driver and the KB888111 hotfix. In the vaio-support.net site says
    It’s the KB835221 that is needed for the installation. Cheers again!

  6. richardfearn says:

    michaelp: KB835221 was the first release (1.0) of the HDA driver. KB888111 is a newer version, 1.0a, and supersedes KB835221.

  7. Kenneth Abeki says:

    This article is fantastic. Completely resolved all issues with my VGN-FE31H

  8. Ubaroo says:

    How do you install the graphics card, audio card and webcam drivers? HELP

  9. richardfearn says:

    @Ubaroo: all those drivers are in C:\Drivers, or in the zip file you can download from the Sony web site.

    For the graphics card and webcam, you just update the drivers using the locations I mentioned above.

    For the audio card, you have to install KB888111 first, and then you’ll see a new “Audio Device”. Then update the drivers for that.

  10. Ubaroo says:

    Yes, but I dont know how to install the drivers without an .exe file. (I dont know hwo to update the drivers), Thanks a mill 😉

  11. richardfearn says:

    @Ubaroo: open the Device Manager and you’ll see each the devices listed by the names given in the left hand column of the table. For each device, right-click and choose “Update Driver…”, then go to the location I mention in the right hand column.

    There’s more information about managing devices here:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/283658

  12. Anant says:

    its really gr8 info,, thanks a lot.

    I need to fix my s1 & s2 buttons on my VGN-FE31H , please can any one suggest me what to do.

    I have my sony control center installed but I cant access my S buttons

    please Help

    Thanks

    Anant

  13. neil manley says:

    great article resolved all driver issues easily thanks a lot. still having one problem though, cannot access my built in web cam via desktop or programs can anyone help.

  14. Ubaroo says:

    Thank you Richard!

  15. Monksy says:

    Top man!!! Bin havin a rite nightmare til i found this

  16. Sasa says:

    I have a problem wen iinstal a camera drivers. Winxp sp2 wont turn off. It`s say “WINDOWS IS SHUTING DOWN” and stops there. Do you know how to resolve this problem? Thanks.

  17. João Pedro says:

    My problem, I don´t if you still can help me, is that at certain point of drivers installation when a I have to reboot my vaio they can´t shutdown by it’s own, crashes. Did happen to somebody?

  18. richardfearn says:

    @Sasa: I had this problem too. Try installing KB909667:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/909667

  19. richardfearn says:

    @João: same problem as Sasa – try installing KB909667.

  20. syrex says:

    The problem with a sound in SP2 dares installation SP3 it is not necessary to establish kb888111xpsp2 at all 😉

  21. Gavin says:

    Hi Rich, Did you ever try connecting this laptop to the Sony docking station, having a mare, just can’t get them to physically connect, can’t find any articles, Cheers.

  22. richardfearn says:

    @Gavin: no, sorry, I don’t have a docking station.

  23. Robedex says:

    nice article.. i just newly formatted the pc to xp professional sp2…

    im having a hard time with the wireless lan… done with drivers, utilities, and i have read all of those forums, still cant get it…

    it just cant find any networks near me.. “no networks were found in range”
    and although i switch the wlan to “ON”… no changes…

    do you have any idea bout this? thanx 🙂

    • Richard says:

      @Robedex: No, sorry, I’ve never had any problems with the wireless on Windows XP. Have you tried clicking “Refresh network list” a few times? The 3945ABG wireless adapter only supports 802.11a/b/g, which I’m sure your router supports. Sorry, not sure what to suggest!

  24. arturito says:

    I reinstalled old laptop of my friend VAIO VGN-FE28H. I have everything working except webcam which is VGP VCC1. The problem is that it doesn’t show up as USB device. Driver usbvm321 that comes in the zip file downloaded from Sony VAIO site doesn’t help.
    I’m a software developer and installing drivers in windows is not a rocket science to me,
    but this is ridiculous! There should be an installer for each driver as US versions of VAIO have.
    Anyone had similar problem?

    • Richard says:

      @arturito: Not sure what to suggest if it doesn’t show up as a device at all. If it does appear, perhaps the driver in the FE31H drivers download would work, as the FE31H also has a VGP-VCC1.

  25. Danny W says:

    Thank You!!

  26. Adelin says:

    A really helpful tutorial. Thanks a lot, man!

  27. Craig says:

    Ive re installed windows xp on my sony vaio VGN-FE31H and got all the driers from the sony website although my wireless isnt workng and i can’t seem to find the wireless network driver, apart from that everything seems to be working fine

  28. Craig says:

    Ive re installed windows xp on my sony vaio VGN-FE31H and got all the drivers from the sony website although my wireless isnt workng and i can’t seem to find the wireless network driver, apart from that everything seems to be working fine

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