Sony VAIO AW125J/H, Longing for Vista x64 Ultimate

I was looking for a machine to use to process my digital photos that had more working space (pixels), more hard drive space and good color rendition and spent a couple of hours playing with this amazing laptop in (of all places) a Best Buy store.

And I took it home. I like the machine alot, but it isn’t perfect because as shipped, with Home Premium, it doesn’t include two things I need, RDP Host and full image based backup. (It’s stupid that MS does not include full image backup in the Home SKU. Probably the single most helpful software when disaster strikes. Ultimate Extras are a joke and don’t matter to me at all.  You can read about the specs at http://reviews.cnet.com/laptops/sony-vaio-aw125j-h/4505-3121_7-33309981.html but this post is more about my continuing adventure in transforming the machine into an x64 Ultimate (instead of Home Premium).

This is the first VAIO I have owned. I’ll write about it when it is running the OS I prefer.

Windows Anytime Upgrade from inside the GUI displayed a browser string and would not lead me to the correct web page. I contacted MS support who told me I needed to get this upgrade from Sony. I know how to get to the anytime upgrade site, but I was concerned.

Well, I’ve been having adventures now for a couple of weeks. Bottom line is that using a regular x64 Ultimate DVD and performing and in place upgrade installs a new copy of Vista. And many of the Sony supplied utilities don’t work and definitely the WinDVD Blue Ray software does not work. A format and clean install of x64 Ultimate, and then an attempt to reinstall Sony drivers is only partially successful. And forget trying to reinstall the apps I really wanted. No can do.

I made some noise and got hooked up with a very senior support VP office. Exchanged email. Had a phone call.  Some MS folks were conferenced in as well. This happened on 11/12 and afterwards I responded by email:

Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me. I’m thrilled that you are going to provide me with an x64 Ultimate install DVD and all Applications for this machine.

While I didn’t get the DVD and drivers to fix me up overnight as initially promised, a week later (11/20) I got another phone call. This time Sony asked to conference some more Microsoft folks in and I agreed. So a bunch of people were looking at my issue. Sony acknowledged the problem scenarios and said that the WAU should work, but I’d need to uninstall and reinstall some apps and they were working with MS on the issue with WinDVD. I thought I was promised that a WAU upgrade would be sent on that first con call (11/12) but maybe I misunderstood.

So last night I was told it would take 7-10 days to ship me a WAU DVD x64 SP1 Ultimate WAU disk. (And I don’t know how they would ship it.) That threw me, as I don’t quite understand why the MS folks that promised to send me the DVD can’t grab one and stick it in a FEDEX envelope. So I expressed some displeasure and they said they would expedite and ship it “express” (whatever that means). Update: that meant express mail and it just arrived 11/22. And Sony was supposed to email me instructions and a KB fix link as they had successfully performed the upgrade and other than these “work arounds”, I should now be able to perform the upgrade.

I suspect I will see the DVD WAU media around XMAS and I’m not sure when Sony will be emailing me the instructions and KB fix info.

I asked what they were doing for the user community, and they said that they would get the information up on their esupport site.

All in all, I am happy that the Sony and MSFT folks are going to fix me up with what I need to get the OS I want on this machine. But the waiting is horrendously painful. Sony should ship these with x64 Ultimate to begin with.

Stay tuned..

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