Sony Vaio Z 2011 Clean Install

Sony Vaio Z 2011 is an amazing notebook – certainly one of the best out there in terms of portability and performance. However, just like other Sony notebooks, it ships with quite a lot of bloatware and thus, we recommend doing a clean install on it. We recommend you to install the same version of Windows that came with your Z. For example: If it shipped with Windows 7 Professional, then you should install the same version. This is important to use the same license key that came with it. Follow this guide to know everything you need to do a fresh, clean installation of Windows 7.


1) Before you delete your original factory installation, download and install the “Activation Backup and Restore” utility from here: ABR (Activation Backup and Restore). Important: For Windows 7 by sure to go to the section that says “ABR Beta With Windows 7 Support”.

2) Run the utility. It will make a backup of your license key and your activation certificate. Save that information somewhere safe

3) Before you shutdown your computer, turn off the Fast Boot option if you have it enabled.
NOTE: Even with fast boot enabled, you can boot from external media by simply pressing F11 repeatedly while the system is booting. What I have not to determine, however, is how to re-enable normal boot once fast boot is enabled if you perform a clean install. I suspect it won’t be hard to figure out, I just have not done so yet.

4) Boot from a bootable Windows DVD or thumb drive that has the same edition of Windows that is installed on your system. NOTE: If you have an All-In-One disk or thumb drive that has all Windows 7 versions, that is okay as well. Just make sure to choose the same version that your system shipped with.

5) When you get to the point in the installation where you are shown the partitions on your drive, choose the advanced option and then delete all partitions. You will end up with one large area of free space. Choose that to install to. NOTE: You can actually partition this any way you want if you know what you are doing. I’m simply presenting the simplest and “cleanest” option.

6) When you are prompted to provide your license key, leave that field blank. On the same screen you will see a check box offing to automatically activate Windows when online. Uncheck this box as well.

7) Complete the installation by responding to any prompts.

8) Once your install is done and you are logged onto Windows, run the ABR utility again and this time restore the license key and the activation certificate. If you prefer not to install that utility on your clean installation, you can follow this manual process:

– A) Copy the Activation Certificate that ABR saved for you and place it in C:\.

– B) Open an Elevated Command Prompt (click on Start, type “CMD”, then press CTRL-Shift-Enter”. If you did it correctly the Window will have “Administrator: C:\Windows\system32\cmd.exe” in the title.

– C) Install the certificate by running "SLMGR.VBS -ilc c:\BACKUP-CERT.XRM-MS" (or whatever name you saved the certificate as). Note that this operation might take a few seconds, so wait for confirmation.

– D) Install the OEM product key by running "SLMGR.VBS -ipk XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX" and substitute in your license key that was saved by ABR. Again, this operation might take a few seconds, so wait for confirmation.

– E) Finally, run "SLMGR.VBS -dlv" or right-click "Computer" and chose "Properties" to verify your licensing status. The Licensing Status should show "Licensed".

Installing drivers

Go to Sony eSupport (link), and enter your model number. For example, I own VPCZ2190X and I entered VPCZ2190X into the text box.

Now install the drivers in the following order. Any time that you are asked to reboot, you can cancel the request to reboot unless I specify below that you should reboot. Please note that this is by no means the only order in which you can install these drivers. There are definitely some drivers and programs that require other things to be installed first so you don’t want to just install in random order, but my procedure is just one possible combination that works.

1 – Motherboard
– 1 – Intel 6 Series and C200 Series Chipset Family Driver
– 2 – Intel Mobile Express Chipset SATA RAID Controller
– 3 – Intel SATA Driver HIPM Disable Registry Patch 110801
– 4 – REBOOT

2 – Video

NOTE: It is very important that you understand this note before proceeding. The video drivers for this machine are exceptionally picky about how they are installed. First, please note that the AMD Radeon and Intel Graphics driver that is available from the US Web Site WILL NOT WORK UNLESS YOU CONNECT THE PMD FIRST. In fact, if you install it without the PMD connected, it can be a pain resolve the issues that will occur. If you do not have the PMD connected, and you need just the Intel drivers you need to be aware of some additional things. First, you will note that the Sony US site has no separate download for just the Intel graphics. To get this driver, you can either download it from Sony Europe, or you can install it by opening VAIO Care, choosing Recovery & restore, Recovery, and finally Reinstall Applications and Drivers. You could also extract it from your Recovery Backup as I will detail in the next section so that you will have a permanent copy of the driver.

Very important: If you install the Intel video driver, then BEFORE YOU CONNECT THE PMD, go to device manager and uninstall the Intel display driver, reboot, connect the PMD, then install the combined AMD Radeon HD 6650M and Mobile Intel Graphics Software 8.830.7.0.

– 1 – AMD Radeon HD 6650M and Mobile Intel Graphics Software 8.830.7.0
– or
– 1 – Intel Graphics Driver
– 2 – Reboot

3 – RAID
– 1 – Generic Marvell 61xx RAID Controller for Docking Station

4 – Audio

NOTE: After installing the audio drivers every time that you boot the system a screen related to settings for the Noise Cancelling Headphones will be displayed. To stop this, run MSCONFIG, go to the Startup tab, and locate "Noise Canceling Program". Uncheck the box next to this, and then click on "OK".

Note that noise cancellation will still work and that the tool for configuring it will still run in the task bar. This simply stops the annoying screen that comes up every time you boot.

– 1 – Realtek High Definition Audio Driver
– 2 – Realtek Audio Driver Registry Patch 110519
– 3 – Realtek ATI HDMI Audio Driver

5 – Device Driver
– 1 – Renesas Electronics USB 3.0 Host Controller

6 – Wireless LAN

NOTE: On the Sony US Web Site you will find 2 drivers for the Wireless LAN. There is the original driver and an updated driver. There is no need to install the original driver. You can skip right to the updated driver

– 1 – Update – Intel Centrino Advanced N 6230 Driver Update

7 – Bluetooth Wireless

NOTE: There are 3 Bluetooth Drivers on the Sony Web Site. The original and 2 updates. You can skip the original driver but you will need to install BOTH updates in the order shown below.

– 1 – Update – Intel Centrino Wireless Bluetooth 3.0 + High Speed Adapter
– 2 – Update 2 – Version

8 – Wireless
– 1 – Intel Wireless Display Software

9 – WWAN

NOTE: In the US, the WWAN drivers are not available on the Sony Web Site. Us the procedure that I provide in the next section to obtain these.

– 1 – Gobi 3000 Firmware
– 2 – Gobi 3000 Driver
– 3 – AT&T Connection Manager (Optional, install if you plan to use AT&T)

10 – Camera
– 1 – WebCam Companion 4 Software

11 – Memory Card Reader Writer
– 1 – Realtek PCIE Card Reader Driver 6.1.7600.80
– 2 – REBOOT

12 – System Components
– 1 – Sony Shared Library
– 2 – Sony Firmware Extension Parser Device Driver
– 3 – Intel Management Engine Interface
– 4 – REBOOT

13 – Notebook Control and Utilities
– 1 – Sony Notebook Utilities 1.0
– 2 – REBOOT

14 – Sony Applications

NOTE: The Sony Web Site lists the VAIO Care Software and an update for this software. They are actually both the same version. Install either one.

– 1 – VAIO Location Utility
– 2 – REBOOT
– 3 – VAIO Hardware Diagnostics Software
– 4 – VAIO CPU Fan Diagnostics Software
– 5 – REBOOT
– 6 – VAIO Care Software
– 7 – VAIO Care Software Update
– 8 – Update – VAIO Gate Software Update

15 – Network
– 1 – Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller
– 2 – VAIO Smart Network Software
– 3 – Update – VAIO Smart Network Software

16 – Remote Software
– 1 – Remote Keyboard Software

17 – Touchpad
– 1 – Synaptics PS2 Port TouchPad

18 – VAIO Update
– 1 – VAIO Update Software

19 – Security
– 1 – AuthenTec AES1660 Fingerprint Sensor
– 2 – REBOOT
– 3 – AuthenTec TrueSuite Software
– 4 – Infineon TPM Professional Package 3.70.2281.0

20 – System Software
– 1 – Splashtop OS – Quick Web Access Software
– 2 – REBOOT

21 – Extras – This includes Sony Picture Motion Browser, WinDVD and so on. You can extract it by using the method I describe below.

Make an empty text file and type in these commands in it.

@echo off
robocopy c:\windows\temp\sony\extracted c:\captured /e /w:1 /ndl /ns /nc /np /njh /njs > nul
goto start

Call it hello.bat. Save it under C:\. What does it do? When you run VAIO Care and then chose Recovery & restore, Recovery, Reinstall Applications and Drivers, the driver or application will be extracted to a directory under c:\windows\temp\sony\extracted. Once all the files are extracted, it is installed from here and then deleted after the installation is done. If you run this batch file while installing applications and drivers then the extracted files and directories will be copied to c:\captured before they are deleted.

That is it. You have successfully performed a clean install of Windows 7.