Revamping A Sony Vaio TZ

sony_tzSony makes some beautiful products. Even before the recent advent of the netbook and MacBook Air, Sony has been making small, ultra-portable devices incorporating such posh features as carbon-fiber casings and WAN mobile connections. The problem is price. Sony is known to put a brand premium on all their products which turn what would otherwise be a wide-selling laptop into nothing more than a toy for the monetarily endowed. I recently got a Sony Vaio TZ at a stellar price and the following is reconfiguration work I pulled together for Internet consumption.

If you can get your hands on one of the smaller models like the TZ for a good price, you still need to apply some know-how to get things running shipshape. The hardware might be well-engineered, but Sony has taken advantage of the consumer by loading it up with all things bloatware to pad their wallets. Luckily there are some easy ways to get around this. This blog delves into the details for this which have been gathered from various sources online. On my personal laptop, which happens to be a Vaio TZ, I performed a reinstall without bloatware and even put on Ubuntu in a dual-boot configuration. If you are going that route, there a few good resources online that will help. In this posting, I am just covering bloat-ware removal and the reinstall process.

The first step is to make recovery CDs. Sony has decided that reinstalls are extraneous and instead partition off a good portion of your hard drive as a recovery partition instead.
1) Run ‘C:\Program Files\Sony\Vaio Recovery\Launcher.exe

The Sony Vaio Recovery folder will be used to get some features up and running after we make the reinstall. We need to make a copy of it, just in case.

2) Copy ‘C:\Program Files\Sony\Vaio Recovery’ folder to a USB

By booting to the recovery CDs we will reinstall windows, and in the process forego the ‘Value-Added’ software stage. If you keep track of the Recovery CDs and have a good place to store them, you can get rid of the second partition and use that space. After the standard Windows Vista installation there is a prompt for the second CD claiming that you need to install some additional software. In older TZs, you have to hit ctrl-alt-delete to avoid installing anything from the second CD. Sony has since relaxed it’s third-party fanaticism, and my had a non-threatening warning and allowed me to cancel out. You will however need to install some things from the Sony website to get all the drivers working.

3) Get Drivers for Wireless-SmartWi Connection utility, Windows Shared Library, and Sony Notebook Utilities

You can restore the Sony Recovery Folder to it’s proper location if desired.  However, if you blew away the secondary partition in the install process, then some features may not function.  That’s about everything you need to do, albeit some programs went ahead and installed anyway. Napster and the host of Sony Entertainment Center/Production Center, and the annoying Center Launcher all can be uninstalled in Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel.

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