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This guide has been available on my Bulgarian blog for quite some time, but as I am cleaning it up of all English posts, the guide has been moved over here. Enjoy!
As you might already know, the oldest Vaios from the Z series are not supported by the Sony’s Windows 7 upgrade programme. AS a consequence, those of us who have bought Vaio VGN-Z11 series laptops cannot benefit from any technical support or updated drivers for the new operating system. However, due to the identical hardware that is being used in the Vaio VGN-Z21 models and with the contributions of some really cool guys at Notebook Review’s Sony forums, we are now able to take advantage of the newest Microsoft operating system on our old Vaio VGN-Z11 laptops. Here’s how:
To Install Windows 7 on your Vaio you’ll need the following:
- Sony Vaio VGN-Z1 model (this procedure might work for other models as well, but I have tested it only on my VGN-Z11WN/B Vaio and cannot be responsible for any direct or indirect damage caused by performing it on the same or another model)
- VERY IMPORTANT: Updated Bios to version (M3 – R2170M3) all older versions are not good for Windows 7 and especially for using with the new video driver by NVIDIA
- Windows 7 X86 DVD
Let’s presume that you already have all of these things and let’s begin:
First, you need to download some drivers from Sony’s website for your Windows 7:
Go to www.sony.co.uk and click on products, then on Vaio, then choose Support and drivers and then Download Drivers. From the model selection page, choose Vaio Z series and then Vaio VGN-Z21XX where XX should be substituted with the designation E.G. 21WN/B or 21XN/B, etc depending on your 11X model. Note that this is not your model, but there is no other way to download the drivers you need because if you choose your original model, you’ll have drivers only for Windows Vista and XP available to download. Then click on Windows 7 and download everything from the page that opens. Here comes a trickier part, however, because you’ll need some additional drivers that are not available at the Sony’s support page, so it’s a good idea to go back and this time select your original model and from your Windows Vista drivers page, compare the drivers that you have already downloaded Vs. The drivers listed for Vista. If you don’t have something that is listed on the vista’s page, download it as well. In particular, try to find Sony ISB Utility and an older version of Vaio Power Management. It seems that the latest one available for Z21 causes problems. When you have found all drivers for your model, open the M3 – R2170M3 Bios and install it. This is crucial for your success. If you have not upgraded your BIOS, you’ll not be able to update your video driver; otherwise you’ll end up having an unusable system that needs to be preinstalled once again.
After you update your BIOS to M3 – R2170M3, make a clean install of Windows 7.
When the installation is complete and you are on your desktop, extract all downloaded drivers in a new folder or just open the folder where you have saved your drivers and go to Device manager. Go through all unrecognized devices (these are devices that are marked in Yellow) and click on “Update Driver”, and then choose the folder where you have saved your drivers and hopefully Windows will find the matching driver for your device and install it for you. When you have installed all drivers for your hardware using this method, proceed to the next step.
Using the order below, install the following Sony applications, restarting your laptop after every installation just in case:
- Sony Shared Library
- Sony Setting Utility
- Sony VAIO Event Service
- VAIO Control Centre (Controls S1, S2)
- VAIO Power Management (Controls Battery Care and Battery Optimization functions, use an older version than the version for Z21X because currently it has problems)
- Sony ISB Utility (Controls FN Keys and the Eject Button)
- WWAN Driver
- Sony HDD Protection Filter Driver
- WWAN Connection Manager
- Vaio Presentation Support
- Audio Driver (You can use the automatically preinstalled one, but if you wish to use some cool features such as automatic volume decreasing by Windows when you call somebody on Skype, you need to install the newest driver)
- NVIDIA Graphics Driver (use the latest one from the Vaio VGN-Z21 page
- Protector Suite QL
- TPM Professional Package Infineon
- Vaio Update 5
After you have installed all of these drivers and utilities, your Vaio should be working as expected. Your brightness FN keys should work in Speed as well as Stamina Mode and your Eject key and Speed switch should work as well.
This was my own experience in installing Windows 7 on a Sony Vaio VGn-Z11 laptop and I cannot be held accountable for any losses incurred before, during or after the performed procedure. Do this on your own risk and know that by updating to an unofficially supported baios for your Vaio model, in case of hardware damage you probably void your guarantee because Sony doesn’t officially support Windows 7 on Vaio VGN-Z11 models or the M3 – R2170M3 Sony bios on this particular model.
If you need more information, drop me a line below or read the following topic from the NoteBookReview forums: http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?s=ed8ec441f88400f83baf97a543acecae&t=428185