Sony Disables VT in Z Series Notebooks

Posted: August 12, 2009 in Computers and Internet

Aww, Sony, say it isn’t so! MALWARE was the reason? Come on. The people who get p0wned via virtualization malware will likely get p0wned in many other ways as well. So why spend all that time disabling something consumers need to get what they want? For shame.

Now, this should serve as a warning to those buying Windows 7 notebooks, hoping to use the Virtual Windows XP feature. A few things you should know:

  • You must have a version of Windows 7 that supports XP Mode. This would include Professional and Ultimate.
  • You must have a PC with virtualization capabilities. Certain Intel processors have this capability, and all dual-core and greater 64-bit AMD processors already do.
  • You will not need a separate Windows XP license key for XP Mode, at least as far as I can tell based on using the Beta and RC versions of the feature.

ZDNet – Hardware 2.0 – Adrian Kingsley-Hughes – August 11th, 2009

Sony kills virtualization on Vaio notebooks

If you are one of those people who spent close to $2,000 on a shiny Sony Vaio notebook, you should know that your ability to run XP Mode in Windows 7 has been deliberately disabled – by Sony.

While the Intel Core 2 Duo mobile processor that Sony uses inside the Vaio supports VT virtualization, Sony decided that because of the risk of malware, combined with little interest from customers, to disable this feature in the BIOS. To make matters worse, there’s no way for the average user to re-enable VT!

According to Sony senior manager for product marketing Xavier Lauwaert, VT hadn’t been enabled because they had received “very little if any requests until recently” and that engineers 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”.

What made matters worse for Sony is that this issue exploded in the comment sections of a blog post on the Windows Team blog site in which Sony was talking up Windows 7.

According to Lauwaert, Sony will “will enable VT on select models” but it seems that Z-series Vaio owners will miss out.

I’ve stopped recommending Sony PCs several years ago. The company seems to focused on consumer electronics and music to product a decent professional-grade computer. This disabling of VT support just reinforces my lack of faith in the company.

Bought a Z-series Vaio and desperately need VT enabled? There is an unofficial patch available. I’ve not tried this, there are warranties and it could cause all sorts of mayhem, but if you¹re stuck, it’s worth a try!

Adrian Kingsley-HughesAdrian is a technology journalist and author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology. He also runs a popular blog called The PC Doctor.

What Sony *should* have done was disable it, but make the option to enable it available in the BIOS.

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