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.