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No Windows 7 XP Mode For Sony Vaio Z Owners

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the for-your-own-good dept.

Sony 198

Voyager529 writes "While virtually every Core 2 Duo processor supports the hardware virtualization technology that powers the Windows 7 XP Mode, The Register UK reports that the Core 2 Duo processors in the Sony Vaio Z series laptops had the virtualization features intentionally crippled in the BIOS. Senior manager for product marketing Xavier Lauwaert stated that the QA engineers did this to make the systems more resilient against malicious code. He also stated that while they are considering enabling VT in some laptop models due to the backlash, the Z series are not among those being retrofitted."

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What? Malicious code?? (5, Funny)

jkrise (535370) | more than 5 years ago | (#29022799)

Senior manager for product marketing Xavier Lauwaert stated that the QA engineers did this to make the systems more resilient against malicious code.

If they don't like Windows XP they can say so. Calling it malicious code will piss off Microsoft no end.

Re:What? Malicious code?? (5, Funny)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023021)

Will it make your Sony laptop more resistant to Sony rootkits?

Re:What? Malicious code?? (0)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023127)

I find it interesting how Sony is being narrowed out in this when other brands (like Lenovo) started doing this as well.

Re:What? Malicious code?? (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023227)

Until corroborating links are supplied, I'll assume you're a Sony fan-boi. Not because I DON'T believe you, I just don't WANT to.

Re:What? Malicious code?? (0)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023497)

Re:What? Malicious code?? (2)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023515)

Sorry for the double post, but here's another one:
http://forums.lenovo.com/lnv/board/message?board.id=ideaPad&thread.id=11293&page=2 [lenovo.com]

Re:What? Malicious code?? (2, Insightful)

Vu1turEMaN (1270774) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023543)

Lenovo disables it on almost all of their laptops, but its a simple step to go into bios and change the setting.

Dell disables it on a few random laptops, like the 1420N and D830, but once again its in the bios....usually under POST settings.

Re:What? Malicious code?? (2, Informative)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023597)

My old-ish Vaio (has a Core Duo, not the later Core 2 Duo) has VT disabled too, no BIOS setting to re-enable it, bery annoying and very pointless.

Re:What? Malicious code?? (0)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023729)

Core Duo (vanilla) doesn't have VT at all.. it's not a fully 64-bit chip like Core 2 Duo is.

Common misconception because intel pre-marketed Core 2 Duo all over the place and quietly sold OEMS Core Duo for cheap.

Macs were the first to get Core 2 Duos and the issue has already come up because certain SL features require VT and 64 bit which the first round of Macbooks/pros didn't have because Core 2 Duo wasn't released yet.

Re:What? Malicious code?? (1)

strstr (539330) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024091)

That's incorrect. I have a Dell Inspiron E1705 with Core Duo T2500 2GHz (first generation Core Duo) and it fully supports virtualization. Dell has the option to change it in the BIOS. There are budget versions of the Core Duo Txx50 that don't have support for it, though. It's true there's no 64-bit support however.. :/

http://ark.intel.com/ProductCollection.aspx?familyId=22731 [intel.com]

Re:What? Malicious code?? (4, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024177)

But Lenovo allows you to re-enable it. sony simply has a "SUCKS TO BE YOU" sticker on it.

Re:What? Malicious code?? (3, Funny)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024267)

My experience as a Sys Admin and doing IT house calls told me to avoid Sony computers like the plague, unless i wipe the OS and start again. i found their tweaks to cause all kinds of headaches.

Re:What? Malicious code?? (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023381)

There are a few proof-of-concept rootkits that work by installing a thin hypervisor in hyperprivileged mode and letting the OS carry on in ring-0, accessing hardware directly but being completely exposed to any code running in the hypervisor. This is virtually undetectable to the OS, so it makes sense to disable VT-x in the BIOS and enable it only when the user knowingly installs a hypervisor. It doesn't make a great deal of sense to not permit the user to enable it though.

Re:What? Malicious code?? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023919)

Sony and MS working together. This cannot end well.

Throw in Steve Jobs to the mix and they'll be able to create an evil legion that will surely take over the world. Even Superman won't be able to save us.

It's Sony (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29022801)

Hey, it's Sony. What kind of customer support did you expect.
It's not like they've got a long history depicting a care for their customers, rootkits being only 1 example.

Re:It's Sony (1, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023039)

To be fair, just about every manufacturer ships with this feature disabled. Sony just made it harder to enable.

Re:It's Sony (1, Flamebait)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023387)

That's funny, my 3-year old HP notebook gives me the choice to turn VT on or off, right there in the otherwise useless System Config.

Sony didn't just make it "harder" to enable, they've purposely removed the choice to do so. Enjoy your nerfed laptop, because Sony wants to protect the people buying $2500 laptops from their own rampant ignorance.

That sort of mentality is partially why so many geeks hate Sony with a passion. Sure, they make shiny products (that don't last), but the pervasive attitude is that they seem to think their customers are mind-blowingly stupid. Don't get me wrong, people are mostly dumb, but not THAT dumb.

Re:It's Sony (2, Informative)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023533)

Then start hating on Lenovo as well. They show you the option, but don't let you change it. I think you're just looking for ways to hate on Sony:
http://forums.lenovo.com/lnv/board/message?board.id=ideaPad&thread.id=11293&page=2 [lenovo.com]

I'm sure there are other manufacturers doing this as well.

Re:It's Sony (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023837)

T. Sure, they make shiny products (that don't last), but the pervasive attitude is that they seem to think their customers are mind-blowingly stupid.

THEIR customers are.
And for nschubach, if Lenovo is starting down this path, then they will soon get the same hate that Sony does. Sony catches the flack for this sort of stuff before other companies because they have done this sort of thing repeatedly over the years. This doesn't let other companies off the hook, it just means that people aren't watching them as closely.
So thank you for pointing out that Lenovo is engaging in the same sort of behavior. They will now move up my list of companies to be very cautious about doing business with. Sony long ago got to the point where if any other manufacturer is still on the list after I have gotten done with the initial price/performance sort I don't buy Sony.

Re:It's Sony (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023499)

Disabling the feature by default IS a good idea as it DOES protect the OS from undetectable root kits (blue pill styley), i suppose as the bios can be attacked from a compromised OS disabling it completely could provide further protection (that is if you ignore the fact they can simply replace the bios with a new one)

Sony FAIL (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29022819)

Sony FAIL !!! SUCK

CD rootkits (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29022837)

They probably want to protect their customers from Rootkits that some manufacturers put on their CDs: http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/10/31/2016223

flash (4, Insightful)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 5 years ago | (#29022839)

If only there was some way to replace the BIOS, with some sort of flashing... I'm sure at some point they'll be a alternative firmware for those people silly enough to think that Sony would embrace anything that wasn't one of their proprietary formats.

In other news... (5, Funny)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#29022895)

In other news, Sony has decided to disable the second core in many of its dual-core models. Senior douchebag Joe Schmo defended the decision, saying "Often the second core just allows people to run malware in the background without noticing it."

Um, no thanks, Sony. How about you let your customers decide whether they want to turn off processor features?

Re:In other news... (2, Insightful)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023327)

hey, my mother was a douche bag, you insensitive clod.

Re:In other news... (1)

Candid88 (1292486) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024327)

Um, no thanks, Sony. How about you let your customers decide whether they want to turn off processor features?

Surely, if their customers wanted it, Sony would give them the option. That's meant to be what's so good about our laissez-faire capitalist system!

The only possible conclusion is that Sony customers must not want choice.

Re:flash (1)

vintagepc (1388833) | more than 5 years ago | (#29022905)

Well... we've been sitting here waiting for coreboot (previously LinuxBIOS) to take off... and its still pretty much limited to only a handful of mobos.

Re:flash (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29023251)

There is such a possibility, at least for some models! I own an SZ6 and I successfully flashed a slightly modified BIOS to enable VT - and it works just fine. You can also enable AHCI for the SATA controller, just ask Google for something like "SZ6 VT BIOS AHCI".

Re:flash (1)

linhares (1241614) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023513)

There is such a possibility, at least for some models! I own an SZ6 and I successfully flashed a slightly modified BIOS to enable VT - and it works just fine. You can also enable AHCI for the SATA controller, just ask Google for something like "SZ6 VT BIOS AHCI".

That's a great keylogger you got there, son

Why does it matter what the BIOS supports? (1, Interesting)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 5 years ago | (#29022855)

Since DOS died the BIOS has been little more than a glorified POST. So why can't the OS just enable any features that the BIOS doesn't? Its not like any modern OS uses the BIOS once its up and running anyway - just some information the BIOS may have provided which the OS can double check for itself anyway.

Re:Why does it matter what the BIOS supports? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29022883)

modern computers use EFI. BIOS, much like Windows, is legacy crap.

Re:Why does it matter what the BIOS supports? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29022925)

modern OS

Hahahahaha yeah...

Re:Why does it matter what the BIOS supports? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29022957)

Since DOS died the BIOS has been little more than a glorified POST. So why can't the OS just enable any features that the BIOS doesn't? Its not like any modern OS uses the BIOS once its up and running anyway - just some information the BIOS may have provided which the OS can double check for itself anyway.

IIRC the BIOS sets the CPU VT flag on powerup (ie, disabled) - once flag is set, it can't be cleared until next cold boot. However, I have an SZ series, there are tools out there to modify the bios settings to not set the flag (it works), I've successfully got linux KVM running :D (following http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=189228)

Re:Why does it matter what the BIOS supports? (2, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023183)

Yeah I was going to say, this sounds like a job for a hex editor, 10 minutes, and a guy who understands basic x86 assembly code.

Re:Why does it matter what the BIOS supports? (5, Informative)

ripnet (541583) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023011)

It matters because the way the VT tech works is that its disabled by default in the CPU, and is (usually) enabled by the BIOS. The reason you cant (usually) turn it on after the OS has booted is because the register used to turn it on (the MSR) has a lock-bit, which once set prevents any changes to the VT status until power is removed from the CPU.

BIOS's that simply ignore the VT enable stuff are less of a problem, because its possible to set the VT tech on, and lock it on (by writing 5 to register 3A) within the OS using /dev/msr (linux) or cpuinfo (windows). The Mac Pro (early 2008) behaves like this. This is obviously bad for security, as the malware can simply enable it!

BIOS's that deliberately disable VT will set the register to 1 (vt off, lock on), turning off, and locking off the VT stuff. There is no way I know of to defeat this situation (short of disassembling the BIOS and 'fixing' it).

Some BIOS's even have the code to turn it on, but it is only triggered if a CMOS register is set to a certain value and there is no UI on these BIOS's to set that CMOS register. I believe some Sony BIOSs are like this, but am unsure.

The best ones of course allow you to turn it on in the BIOS - which is why Sony are talking BS when they say its for security. They only need to ship it turned off, and allow the users to turn it on at their own risk.

I understand that it IS a genuine risk (bluepill?) in that a hypervisor can install itself UNDER the OS layer, and then filter what the OS sees, invisible to the user (otherwise the virtualization is broken).

Thats why.

ps. apple ignored a bug report I made about the way the Mac Pro works... i guess its kinda understandable because it seems all MacOS virtualization products just turn it on using the MSR as needed.

Pfft (5, Funny)

Houndofhell (1480889) | more than 5 years ago | (#29022881)

::Sony BIOS SCREEN::

Virtualization: Disabled
Complimentary Rootkits: Enabled

his won't affect geeks running Linux and VMs... (2, Insightful)

JimMarch(equalccw) (710249) | more than 5 years ago | (#29022915)

...because we already know Sony is evil as hell and we don't buy their laptops.

And anybody who went and forgot that lesson deserves whatever abuse Sony heaps on 'em.

Lenovo does the same thing (3, Informative)

Renegade88 (874837) | more than 5 years ago | (#29022917)

The virtual technology extensions of my Lenovo Thinkpass T400 has also been intentionally crippled. Sony isn't the only company making bad decisions with higher-end laptops.

Re:Lenovo does the same thing (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023245)

Were they intentionally crippled, or just disabled by default? There's a big difference.

Re:Lenovo does the same thing (1)

Renegade88 (874837) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023333)

Crippled. One can't turn on the feature, seems to be an issue with the BIOS. If VT extensions worked on the Lenovo Thinkpad T400, why would Lenovo turn this feature off by default? They wouldn't, unless they had a technical reason (e.g issue) to do so.

For security and compatibility (0)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023409)

VT can potentially cause problems on a system. It isn't likely, but it is possible. Usually it is if two VM programs try to use it at the same time. Regardless, it is something that, for now, most people don't need. Thus many manufacturers disable it by default. My Intel DP35DP board had VT disabled by default in the BIOS. However, there was nothing stopping me from enabling it. Intel, of course, is not interested in crippling their own products, they are very happy about VT and like to market it. They just figured, correctly, that you can turn it on if you want it.

So check your BIOS. If you can turn VT on, then do so if you want it.

Re:For security and compatibility (1)

Renegade88 (874837) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023529)

I tried 2-3 weeks ago when I installed Virtualbox. I couldn't get very far in the BIOS manager, all the good stuff is behind a password. I can't tell if the password is from the factory or my company's IT department.

However, I read on various forums that people had the same issue and were unable to activate via BIOS. I have a Core2Duo T9400 2.5Ghz CPU.

Between virtual technology and Windows 7, it seems to me that a lot of people are going to "need" this soon, so disabling by default (if you have a choice) doesn't seem wise.

Re:For security and compatibility (2)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024019)

I've never seen BIOS features password-protected from the factory. I have seen it FREQUENTLY done with corporate laptops (for example, the T42s I have for network testing have WLAN cards in them, but have been disabled in password-protected BIOS sections.)

Until Windows 7, 90%+ of consumers had no reason to use VT extensions, and for those, VT was only a potential security hole. Hence disabling by default made sense until very recently.

Re:Lenovo does the same thing (1)

Modorf (624031) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023429)

Which cpu do you have in your T400? Remember that Intel crippled some cpus. I have a T400 with an Intel VT active CPU and the option is available.

Re:Lenovo does the same thing (1)

Renegade88 (874837) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023483)

I have the Core2Duo T9400 2.53Ghz CPU. Do you know if that one was crippled by Intel?

Re:Lenovo does the same thing (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024059)

VT extensions work with my T60p, though it's of course disabled by default in the BIOS (that is the sane default...)

It'd be lame as hell if T400's really couldn't enable it.

Re:Lenovo does the same thing (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29023325)

The virtual technology extensions of my Lenovo Thinkpass T400 has also been intentionally crippled.

Really? As a user of an X200 with virtualization, happily using it with KVM on Linux, I am surprised they did something different on the larger T400 series.

What I found annoying was that the Intel AMT feature on my Thinkpad X200 lacks a "small business" provisioning mode in the BIOS, so it seems I cannot make use of the remote control feature unless I go through the absurd effort of setting up "enterprise" provisioning infrastructure. I've enjoyed this small business mode on some "executive" series Intel mainboards for small desktop/fileserver PCs I've thrown together, as it lets me do remote powerup/shutdown from the LAN as well as serial-over-LAN to access the bootloader and OS console. A few years from now, an aging Thinkpad with such a feature would have been a great toy for low power embedded appliance applications.

Add also Acer to the 'evil list' (1)

faragon (789704) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023425)

My Acer Aspire 2930 laptop (Intel Core2Duo CPU) has the VT extensions disabled at BIOS level. Don't buy this model, and be aware of buying other models from Acer.

For sure I will not buy anything from Acer. In addition to the VT %$%$$%-ing, the laptop VGA output it is not properly shielded because of poor design, and produces a signal with a bit of flickering (to get a digital DVI output you have in addition to spend over 125 € for a "Easyport IV" dock station).

Re:Add also Acer to the 'evil list' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29024013)

Thanks God, THERE IS a way to hack Insyde H2O BIOS which can be found in many Acer laptops (and not only)

Details are here:

http://marcansoft.com/blog/2009/06/enabling-intel-vt-on-the-aspire-8930g/

I have hacked it and VirtualBox, VMWare runs great.

Re:Lenovo does the same thing (2, Informative)

zdzichu (100333) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023921)

Are you sure? My T400 (bought year ago) have VT switch in BIOS from day one. My earlier z61t hadn't, and required over a year of email exchange to get VT toggle in new BIOS.

Re:Lenovo does the same thing (1, Flamebait)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023993)

You're full of crap. As you posted further down the chain, you don't even have the password to get into your BIOS, because it belongs to your COMPANY.

Re:Lenovo does the same thing (2, Interesting)

Renegade88 (874837) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024131)

True, but as I also posted, I searched the internet for an answer and numerous people not able to enable these features even with access to the BIOS. They had contacted Lenovo directly (in fact, it was a Lenovo support site) and were promised a solution (updated BIOS) and it didn't come.

What I can personally verify is the VT extensions are disabled. From what I saw on the Lenovo site, it's not possible to enable this without a non-existant upgraded BIOS. I can't explain why some people with T400's have VT extensions disabled. I doubt my company's IT dept. has a VT policy and decided to disable it by default, but I can surely confirm this easily.

Thanks for a classy response.

Re:Lenovo does the same thing (1)

Renegade88 (874837) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024161)

I meant:

I can't explain why some people with T400's have VT extensions enabled.

Re:Lenovo does the same thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29024183)

Bullshit, I own a T400 and it works fine. The main issue here is that you don't own a T400, your company does and IT won't tell you it's bios password.

Linux BIOS Project? (2, Interesting)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 5 years ago | (#29022921)

Can the bios be re-flashed with something more useful?

Linux BIOS Project is now Coreboot (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29023171)

Just an fyi, the LinuxBIOS project was renamed Coreboot [coreboot.org] .

Legitimate reason ? (1)

Davemania (580154) | more than 5 years ago | (#29022923)

I'd like to know if this is a purely commercial move or if there is actually technical merit to it ? I doubt this move actually will drive up sale but I think there is a case that older codes can be security problem.

Re:Legitimate reason ? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023035)

I'm sure Sony has a reason to disable hardware virtualization, but I'm not sure it has anything to do with Windows XP per se. It's quite possible that either Microsoft doesn't want HV running on the boxes because there's the possibility of loading up some form of VMware on the machine, leading to such evils as experimentation with Linux, or Apple doesn't want it there because no HV could help prevent the installation of MacOS.

On the other hand, it is quite possible that the features in hardware virtualization could be used to compromise the system more easily. I'm not sure if I buy into that argument, but it does increase the number of possible vectors for malware, I guess.

Re:Legitimate reason ? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023225)

It's quite possible that either Microsoft doesn't want HV running on the boxes because there's the possibility of loading up some form of VMware on the machine, leading to such evils as experimentation with Linux, or Apple doesn't want it there because no HV could help prevent the installation of MacOS.

Uninformed troll, much? Windows 7 has an "XP mode" which allows running programs to run which work with XP but not with windows 7. It is virtual machine based, and it REQUIRES HV.

I could almost swear most of this info was in the summary...

Re:Legitimate reason ? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024189)

My apologies if my post was unclear. I not only read the summary but the article. And I do know how "XP Mode" in Windows 7 works, your summary of it by the way is very good.

What I meant (and obviously failed at expressing) was that Windows 7's XP Mode is one of many possible uses for HV. Some of the others may be non-Windows-7-XP-Mode VMware. Such software is commonly in use, for example, to run Windows and Linux on the same machine using virtual machines.

So if Sony were to get pressure from, say, Microsoft to disable all HV capabilities on the laptop, users couldn't load VMWare and try Linux out on the box.

My point was that Sony may very well have a legitimate security reason for disabling HV. However, there are also other uses for HV that other companies might want to prevent.

Re:Legitimate reason ? (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023139)

Most likely, they are using VT support as a price discrimination tool. Disable it to make a model "Low end" enable it to make the model premium.

In particular, with recent intel setups, intel's "Vpro" remote management widgetry depends on VT(and a bunch of other intel sauce). Disabling that is an excellent way to produce a line of systems that will appeal to individuals and smaller businesses, that you can sell cheaply to capture that cost sensitive demographic, that enterprise IT won't touch with a 10 foot pole, leaving them to buy your more expensive line.

They do know a lot about rootkit dangers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29022937)

Given that they wrote their own [wikipedia.org] .

Typical corporate behavior (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29022965)

Disabling useful functionality to protect against hypothetical malware? Priceless. Especially given that one of the highest-profile rootkits was DEVELOPED and DISTRIBUTED by Sony.

If they really were worried about malware, they'd lock out installing Windows...

Let me fix that for you... (5, Insightful)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 5 years ago | (#29022967)

"Senior manager for product marketing Xavier Lauwaert stated that the QA engineers did this to make the systems more profitable by creating an artificial differentiation we can use to charge more money for basically the same thing."

That's how I read it too (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023259)

Sounds like, if you want to use VT, they will sell you a "different" laptop model, for probably 25-50% higher price, which is the exact same laptop with a BIOS that doesn't disable this feature.

Re:That's how I read it too (1)

alanshot (541117) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023949)

Exactly. Back in the day, I was agonizing over my first computer to buy... the Packard Bell 486/33DX or the 486/33SX which was considerably cheaper.

After I got home, being the good inquisitive geek, I was looking through the manual, and I stumbled upon a reference to a jumper setting: SX=pins 1-2/DX=pins 2-3.

On a whim I moved the jumper to the DX position, and sure enough it posted as the more expensive PC.

TA DAAA!

Re:That's how I read it too (1)

braeldiil (1349569) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024249)

I'm suprised this worked (or maybe you just didn't attribute any problems you saw to switching the jumper). See, the 486sx was a 486 processor that failed the FPU tests (or got binned out due to demand). The 486dx was the version that passed all the tests. So by setting that jumper, you just enabled the (probably faulty) FPU. So not only did you probably not get any usable speed improvements (floating point coprocessors were still optional and not widely used at this point), but you ran the risk of unnoticed errors any time you did use it. Bravo.

go to hell Sony (4, Insightful)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023045)

This is exactly why I don't buy Sony products, whether it's a computer, camera, music, etc. Consumers have been burned by them enough times with their retarded proprietary formats, lawsuits, rootkits, and just an overall blatent disrespect for consumers that I'm surprised anyone buys their crap anymore.

Re:go to hell Sony (1)

vintagepc (1388833) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023749)

... that I'm surprised anyone buys their crap anymore.

And the PS1/2/3 Fanboys? The sheeple that don't know any better? What about blu-ray? Sony is the main backing behind it...

Re:go to hell Sony (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024335)

And the PS1/2/3 Fanboys? The sheeple that don't know any better? What about blu-ray? Sony is the main backing behind it...

I could give a fuck less about console systems that aren't upgradeable that go obsolete after a year or 2. As far as Blu-Ray...I'll never own one, especially when near-identical rips are available via the x264 codec and the awesome MKV container. I stopped fumbling with physical media once I discovered XBMC.

Re:go to hell Sony (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024143)

Well, I've got a Sony camera (P200, point and shoot) which stores images as JPG and videos as MPG and can transfer these to any platform without the need for drivers or software. Ok, so haven't had to ask for any customer seupport but still... I've also got a sony-ericsson phone which lets me copy any music files I want (i use mp3, not sure what other file types are supported) on to it and listen to them (via the admitedly annoying proprietary headphone adapter), use them as my ring tone etc... Also I can take photos on it without restriction and copy them to and from my computer without the need for drivers or software. I'm not a Sony fanboy, they're not perfect but in my experience they're a lot more open than other companies. Just my 2c. YMMV.

Re:go to hell Sony (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024277)

Well, I've got a Sony camera (P200, point and shoot) which stores images as JPG and videos as MPG and can transfer these to any platform without the need for drivers or software.

And what kind of memory card does this use? Nuff said..

I've also got a sony-ericsson phone which lets me copy any music files I want (i use mp3, not sure what other file types are supported) on to it and listen to them (via the admitedly annoying proprietary headphone adapter)

My point exactly..

Although Sony may use open formats for some of their software, what's exponentially more annoying is their use of proprietary hardware.

One question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29023061)

Why not just have an on off option for VT extensions in the bios?

My thoughts: because sony will call VT extensions on newer laptops a feature not included in previous laptops.

True for older models too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29023125)

They have done this in many other older models too. I had to boot my laptop with a dos boot disk (yes, you heard that right) and set a certain value.

The best thing is that which value to set depends on the model and needless to say is not documented anywhere... It took me a whole day to find the right one by trial and error, rebooting and testing after changing every record...

Nice job, Sony!

When was the last time? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023137)

When was the last time that a hardware fault contributed to malware on a typical PC that there are many thousands of varieties (as in, not a mobile device, and not a Mac, because there are only a few models of those). In 99.999% of malware cases they are flaws in the OS, user or programs. Not a flaw in the CPU, motherboard, RAM or monitor. And really Sony, why disable a feature that a lot of people might have bought a high-end laptop to have that in it? Not that I know why anyone would even think about buying an overpriced Vaio, but really, don't disable features and make it impossible or hard to re-enable.

Re:When was the last time? (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023373)

You don't understand. They aren't protecting against a fault in the hardware; they're protecting against a feature in it. And this feature is not something that would only exist on a few machines. It exists on all modern Intel CPUs. The security community is concerned about this feature because it would allow rootkits/botnets to install in such a way that their detection is impossible via software. PoC code for such malware has been published, but we've yet to see it widely-used in the wild. That's only a matter of time, however. Sony is thinking ahead, and they would be wise to disable it by default. Disabling it completely, however, is probably overkill.

Re:When was the last time? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024127)

So, instead of a malware loading up to use VT-x at boot (it has to get into memory somehow), it can load up and use SMM at boot. People with these concerns are the same people that would urge you to close and lock your windows at night, knowing full well you leave your front door unlocked and wide open, yet being too stupid to realize nobody's going to use the windows in the first place when the door's way easier!

Hack to re-enable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29023213)

If you are willing to risk potentially bricking your laptop, somebody came up with a way to re-enable VT on some laptops with an InsydeH20 bios.

Check it out:
http://feature-enable.blogspot.com/

The real reason (0)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023235)

I think the real reason is so Virtual Box and the like will not run, making the Sony Microsoft only. Once M$ figures out how to allow XP virtulazation without letting "malicious software" such as Linux run, everything will be fine.

Re:The real reason (2, Insightful)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023595)

Virtual Box will still run without VT, it just won't be optimal. I've got an old Athlon 64 that doesn't support VT or its AMD equivalent, but I can still run a Windows XP Virtual Box instance on it ;)

Re:The real reason (0, Flamebait)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024305)

Bullshit! Everyone can use a LiveCD. What the hell makes you think that this is to block Linux? Sony supports Linux and commited code to the Linux kernel that is upstream.

6 out of 11 is not "virtually every" (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29023287)

Only 6 out of 11 of the 45nm Core2 duo chips support VT according to info on intel.com. That's not "virtually every".

Not nitpicking for the sake of it, just don't want people to assume that the Core2 they're intending to buy supports VT. Best to check.

Sony has ALWAYS Gimped laptops... (5, Interesting)

nweaver (113078) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023315)

Back in 2000, when Win2K was out and happy but the proles were stuck with Win98/ME, I decided I wanted a laptop.

There was a cheap Sony laptop with Win98/ME on it that looked good to me and was on sale. I checked, there was a version of the same laptop with Win2K available, but it was a few hundred dollars more if you could FIND it, and the UC CS dept had a site liscence/arrangement for Win2K.

So I figured, why not? Buy it at fry's, reinstall with a remotely tolerable Windows OS, be happy.

Get the laptop, blow away the Win98/ME crap, put on Win2K, only to find out that Sony locks all the drivers with BIOS strings and the like so the drivers from the Win2K version won't install on any other notebook, even when the chipsets and everything are identical!

Fortunately, Fry's had a good return policy. So rather than going hunting for manufacturer sites for drivers, I said, screw it, popped in the reimage disk, and restored it and returned it.

A few weeks later, I bought an IBM notebook off a friend with PowerBook envy, much prefering the IBM site wher you put in the model # on the bottom and you get every driver for every OS variant, including Linux, in a nice neat grid...

But even nearly a decade ago, Sony was gimping their laptops badly. Glad to see they are keeping THAT tradition alive...

Re:Sony has ALWAYS Gimped laptops... (3, Informative)

vintagepc (1388833) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023797)

They do this with desktop VAIOs too... We have one here at the office that the owner could not get to dual-boot Linux and Windows... in fact, the manual even states that if you dual boot, your machine's features will be crippled... So we made the smart choice, did a linux-only install.
I think I speak for many of us when I say,
"F*ck you, Sony!".

Re:Sony has ALWAYS Gimped laptops... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024173)

I would like to understand this in much, much more detail. How does it know you're dual booting?

Ever notice all bad decisions (1)

papasui (567265) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023411)

Come from the marketing teams? Senior manager for product marketing Xavier Lauwaert http://www.b2blog.com/2006/dt040319.gif [b2blog.com]

Many Core2Duo CPU's do not support VT (1)

m93 (684512) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023521)

"While virtually every Core 2 Duo processor supports the hardware virtualization technology that powers the Windows 7 XP Mode"

That is virtually wrong. In the mobile computing market, most Core2Duo machines that support Intel VT live in the higher end of the price spectrum, such as the P8600. A great many mid-range machines use the T6400,T6500 CPU's, which do not give you VT support.

XP mode unavail to many Intel owners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29023541)

"While virtually every Core 2 Duo processor supports the hardware virtualization technology that powers the Windows 7 XP Mode"

This is not my understanding. I believe there are a number of Core 2 Duo CPUs which do not support Intel VT:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Intel_Core_2_microprocessors#Core_2_Duo

Plus, many other Intel non Core 2 Duo CPUs are excluded. The media seems to leave out the detail that many users will not be able to use XP Mode.

Not virtually all C2D's (3, Informative)

GreenEnvy22 (1046790) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023549)

The first line of this summary is quite wrong. Intel has LOTS of Core2Duo's that do not support Intel VT. A quick look through their processor matrix will confirm this. Still, it's common practise for laptop manufacturers to disable things like VT on their consumer models. My Toshiba satellite has it disabled (not changeable in BIOS), but the pro version of it (same mainboard and cpu) has the option. I'm sure there is some way to get it working via a hex editor or something, but then we're into voiding warranties (if the bios gets fubared).

People actually buy VAIOs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29023707)

They're more expensive than MacBooks and not nearly as trendy!

AMD vs. Intel (2, Informative)

Britz (170620) | more than 5 years ago | (#29023901)

Lots of cheap Intel processors don't even have Intel VT, while most of the AMD processors in the same price range have it enabled. While I like the fact that some of the new Pentium processors run really cool, I would never consider buying a new processor without virtualization support. Yet most of the current cheap machines (laptops and boxen) that come with Intel use processors without virtualization. Kinda limits your choices. But then again I always liked AMD better.

Probably a DRM thing (0, Offtopic)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024081)

.. because if you can install a hypervisor, you can use it to virtualise devices, which means you can use it to produce digital copies of media.

sony made right decision (0, Troll)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024093)

VT is a HUGE security risk that malware writers exploit and can write rootkits for. Its disabled on my desktops for good reason. HP also disables it.

Most I.T. departments request VT to be disabled and I was not aware that Windows7 used the hypervisor to run XP (makes sense). I will add its possible to reflash the bios to support using it but I would not recommend it. In this day and age and I am shocked at the amount of malware out there and how easy it is to get infected. Its like the wild west and most users do not know about security and will click on things that look like Windows pop ups or read email from trusted sources that have links for browse by infections. These are Sony's customers not to mention after the bad press with the rootkit fiasco Sony probably overeacted by making there laptops they way they are.

  With VT you can not remove the malware without a complete wipe as its undetectable by any anti virus package and its as scary as the lojack bug that runs at the bios level and can't be disabled.

There is no real use of VT anyway since cores are now dual.

sony made wrong decision (3, Funny)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024363)

Virtual machines are a security feature. A VM establishes a security barrier around the OS> If you're infected, you just roll back the VM to the last snapshot and you're clean.

Security is like sex, once you're penetrated you're ****ed. Blocking useful security tools because they make it very slightly easier to hide after a successful penetration is asinine. And complaining about the cleanup cost? I normally reformat and reinstall after a virus is detected... and I've had to do that ONCE on any computer I've owned since 1986.

If people took some responsibility for their computers instead of depending on hacks like AV software to detect and clean up after they screw up, there wouldn't BE a virus problem.

As for your last line, "There is no real use of VT anyway since cores are now dual."... I have no idea what you mean by that, so here's a bunny with a pancake on its head [wordpress.com] .

Not Just Sony... Intel Marketing to blame (0, Troll)

sunfly (1248694) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024095)

Intel charges more for chips with VT enabled, they use it as an up sell. Many laptop manufacturers are choosing not to pay the extra, especially on low end laptops with razor thin margins. This isn't just a Sony problem. As any Apple fanboy can tell you, Apple pays for the good stuff.

Toshiba too (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 5 years ago | (#29024101)

Toshiba does this on some of their laptops, too, including mine, as I discovered recently. It's there as a bios option, but no way to change it from "disabled".

I hope Toshiba decides to provide an update to re-enable the VT, but so far they haven't made a statement about it at all, AFAIK.

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