How to enable hardware virtualization for a Sony Vaio VGN-AR41S?

I’ve written this post for those of you, who like Me, own a Sony Vaio VGN-AR41S, and want run Windows XP Mode in Windows 7, or want to enable the Hyper-V profile in Windows 2008 Server.

The problem:

Sony (who at this stage you might want to throttle) sell Sony Vaio Notebooks that have only the most basic of BIOS options. In the BIOS user interface there is NOTHING about hardware virtualization, and  when you buy the notebook its turned off. Although the hardware you’ve bought does support hardware assisted virtualization, Sony decided they would turn it off for you, and not give you an easy way to turn back on.

The good news:

You can manually edit the BIOS yourself to fix this issue. I did this today, after hours of crawling the web, I decided to write this post to save you the time.

The not so good news:

I’ll tell you exactly what to do step by step, but you’re going to need a bit of a strong stomach to pull this off. If you aren’t 100% sure on what to do, ask a friend who is more tech savvy than you to assist in this process.

So without further delay here you go:

STEP 1 – The plan

Here is a basic outline of the plan.

  1. Create a bootable Windows 98 USB stick
  2. Boot from this disk
  3. Run a program to extract the BIOS settings into a TXT file (with .sav extension)
  4. change 1 value in this text file ( I’ll tell you which)
  5. Run a program to save values in TXT file back to BIOS
  6. Reboot

Disclaimer: I will not be held liable for your actions should you decide to update your system using this method. I did my research, and eventually found a way that works. I present this info to you, and I suggest you read everything carefully before starting the process. Be aware that you stand a chance of not having a bootable computer should anything go wrong.

Step 2 – The boot disk (USB Stick)

This is perhaps the most difficult part of the whole process, but don’t worry here is a step by step guide. You will need a USB Stick (Flash)

  1. Click this link http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=197 and download and install HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool
  2. Get the Windows 98 system boot here http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=196
  3. Extract the Windows 98 System files to a local folder of your choice  [c language=":win98sysfiles"][/c][/c]
  4. Start the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool and follow these instructions here: http://www.bay-wolf.com/usbmemstick.htm
  5. Once that’s done congrats, now we’re going to download this app : ftp://ftp.supermicro.com/utility/Phoenix_bios_utility/SYMCMOS.EXE
  6. Copy it to the USB Stick
  7. You need to also know your BIOS version, you can get this in the BIOS on the main page (just hit f2 when the system is booting). Either your BIOS version will be 1 of these : R0030J8 or R0032J8 depending on if you installed this update here from Sony.
  8. Reboot into Windows 98. If you need to, you might have to go into the BIOS using F2, and check if your boot sequence is correct, make sure you’re booting from the USB stick.
  9. Run this command: symcmos -v2 -lcmos.sav (You’ll see some quick writing on the screen)
  10. Unplug the USB Device and reboot back into Windows.
  11. In Windows – open up the file in notepad called CMOS.sav – it is located on the removable drive.
  12. Modify the register from 0000 to 0001 on the following place (dependent of the BIOS version)

R0030J8 =  register 027F
R0032J8 =  register 0282

13. Save the CMOS.sav file

14. Reboot back into Windows 98

15 execute this command:  symcmos -v2 -ucmos.sav

16.Cold Reboot the systeem and virtualization should be on.

More info can be found here: http://blog.steelooper.com/2009/07/enabling-virtualization-on-sony-vaio.html

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8 thoughts on “How to enable hardware virtualization for a Sony Vaio VGN-AR41S?

  1. Highly impressed, found your blog on Ask.Happy I finally tried it out. Not sure if its my Safari browser,but sometimes when I visit your site, the fonts are really small? However, love your blog and will be back.See Ya

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