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Thread: How to Enable Intel VT and AHCI on a Napa/Santa Rosa platform Phoenix BIOS Vaio laptop

  1. #1
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    Default How to Enable Intel VT and AHCI on a Napa/Santa Rosa platform Phoenix BIOS Vaio laptop

    Disclaimer: Although this is a fairly simple task, I take no responsibility should anything go wrong, so try this at your own risk.

    This method only applies to VAIOs with a Phoenix BIOS and CPUs that support VT-x, not the newer Montevina-based VAIO FW, Z, SR, BZ, TT, AW, CS or other models with the AMI Aptio/InsydeH2O UEFI framework.

    As most of you already know, Sony has decided to disable VT by default on select VAIO models with the Napa/Santa Rosa platform. Here's how to enable Intel Virtualization Technology (Guide) and AHCI on a VAIO SZ and several other models including the AR, C, CR, FE, TZ, FZ, G, N and some desktop models.

    Before you attempt this modification, make sure that the BIOS on your SZ is updated to these versions: R0112N0 for Napa SZs or R0122S5 for Santa Rosa SZs. If you encounter any error messages relating to using the wrong OS or model after agreeing to the license agreement, you can try unpacking the BIOS download with Universal Extrator and run the executable located in the TEMPEXEFOLDER folder. Also, if you happen to receive an error while attempting to update the BIOS on Windows XP or Vista, make sure that all the proper Sony drivers and utilities are installed first so that the updater can recognize your notebook model. Driver and utility information can be found in many of the VAIO Windows clean installation threads in this forum.

    The only item you'll need is a bootable DOS media. Click one of these links for instruction for creating a bootable floppy disk (with USB floppy drive) or usb stick.USB flash1 or USB flash2 or CDR (add modified table file to image before writing).
    Instructions:
    1. Download symcmos and copy it to your bootable DOS media. This utility is used to modify your Phoenix BIOS settings. Also, download a DOS text editor and copy it to the media if you feel comfortable editing a file in DOS.
    2. Go to the BIOS by pressing F2 during start-up, or when the VAIO logo appears, and reset the settings to factory default. Save and reboot.
    3. Go back to the BIOS and enable the boot from external devices option. Save and reboot.
    4. Press ESC when the VAIO logo appears to bring up the boot selection menu and select the bootable DOS media. At the prompt, type "symcmos -v2 -lDefault.txt", without quotes, and note that there's no space in between the flag and filename. This will create a literal symbol table from the NVRAM named Default.txt which contains all the current BIOS settings. Reboot by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del. If that doesn't work, hold the power button until the notebook turns off.
    5. Use the DOS text editor (or boot to another OS and use a text editor there) to edit the generated Default.txt file. Change the following lines and save the modified file to something else (e.g. modified.txt):

      For Napa SZs - R0112N0

      AHCI: (015C) [0000] ---> (015C) [0001]

      VT-x: (0354) [0000] ---> (0354) [0001]


      For Santa Rosa SZs - R0122S5

      AHCI: (0189) [0000] ---> (0189) [0001]

      VT-x: (02F1) [0000] ---> (02F1) [0001]

      This is Gary's master list that contains the code for other models with a Phoenix BIOS
      How to Enable Intel VT and AHCI on a Napa/Santa Rosa platform Phoenix BIOS Vaio laptop

    6. Boot to DOS and type "symcmos -v2 -uNameOfModifiedFile", without quotes and reboot. This will write the modified settings to the NVRAM. You must add the u and then the name of your new file.
    7. Done.



    Notes:

    Using AHCI with the VAIO HDD Protection utility may increase the loading time in Windows XP and Vista. So far this has been confirmed to happen with Napa SZs and discussion about it can be read here.

    To test if AHCI is enabled, you should receive a BSOD or blue screen error when XP/Vista boots, because the AHCI drivers aren't installed on the OS. You will need to install the AHCI drivers to your existing installation. Use Google for XP instructions and read this for Vista.

    To test VT-x, you can download vt.iso and burn it with IMGBurn. Boot off the CD and it will tell you whether VT-x is enabled or not. Alternatively, you can use SecurAble in Windows.

    The default Napa R0112N0 file is attached below and provided for sample purposes only. Don't use this on a BIOS version other than R0112N0.

    To revert back to the original settings, you have three options:

    1. Go in the BIOS and reset everything to default.
    2. Use symcmos with the -u flag to write the default settings, which you have saved as Default.txt, to the NVRAM.
    3. Worst case scenario if the notebook won't pass POST: open the notebook and remove and reattach the CMOS battery.




    Much of the credit goes to "bfroemel" for posting this method on the VMware forum; I am just summarizing it here and specializing it for the SZ.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by bogart; 4th April 2010 at 01:03 PM.

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    Default Re: How to Enable Intel VT and AHCI on a VAIO SZ

    Thank you for letting us know it is possible!

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    Default Re: How to Enable Intel VT and AHCI on a VAIO SZ

    Hi,

    I've tested this howto with a DOS disk on a CD-Rom and a USB memory device. Everything worked. Now I have a SZ330PB with VT enabled.

    I also translated the howto to portuguese. Brazilian, portuguese and other people can read it here:

    http://viniciuscanto.blogspot.com/20...s-vaio-da.html

    Vinicius
    http://viniciuscanto.blogspot.com

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    Default Re: How to Enable Intel VT and AHCI on a VAIO SZ

    What are the benefits of VT?

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    Default Re: How to Enable Intel VT and AHCI on a VAIO SZ

    It lets you run software like VMWare, letting you run another operating system in your operating system, like running Linux in a window in XP at the same time without dual-booting. Can this be done with the TZ or other Vaio models?

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    Default Re: How to Enable Intel VT and AHCI on a VAIO SZ

    Quote Originally Posted by rahulnirmal View Post
    It lets you run software like VMWare, letting you run another operating system in your operating system, like running Linux in a window in XP at the same time without dual-booting. Can this be done with the TZ or other Vaio models?
    Yes, VT-x can be enabled on the TZ and any other VAIO that uses a CPU with VT as one of its features, such as the Core (2) Duo processors. The trouble is finding the right register, though. I don't know of any other method except by trial and error or by reading disassembled code, which some have done, so unfortunately there's no quicker, one-shot solution at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by stevierg
    What are the benefits of VT?
    Here are some links to read:

    General overview
    VT Primer
    VT FAQ
    VT Knowledgebase Wiki
    Foreword in Intel journal about VT (entire 96-page PDF journal)
    One of the main articles in the journal

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    Default Re: How to Enable Intel VT and AHCI on a VAIO SZ

    You can run virtualization without VT with Vmware, VirtualBox etc. Infact if you look at some of the forum discussions at Vmware forums its not clear cut that enabling VT in bios will 'definitely' give you any performance benefits. There is debate of the benefits of enabling VT vs using the normal virtualization and the performance benefits if any, you will notice the performance benefits even if realized are not that great. Of course maybe in advanced virtualization scenarios VT could help.

    But on my windows box with VirtualBox I have tried both VT and without and the difference is really not noticeable on X86 yet.

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    Default Re: How to Enable Intel VT and AHCI on a VAIO SZ

    Hi. this question is directly for bogart

    I'm interested how did you found your registry values for vt and ahci exactly.
    can you please tell me. Was it with some debugger, or how.

    I've just bought sony vaio FZ 21E with santa rosa and bios version R1120J7, i know that the registry entries are not the same with SZ models.
    I have extracted my bios settings with syscmos and attched to this post.

    If it's not a problem for you, and if you have time, can you please look the attachment and help me find the right registries.
    And, do i have to put some newer bios by the way, which again, I couldn't find anywhere. I will be very greatfull.

    If anybody else has found the right registries for enabling vt and ahci in vaio models, please post it for the sake of people that haven't done it yet.

    Greetings
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Default Re: How to Enable Intel VT and AHCI on a VAIO SZ

    Quote Originally Posted by apollo4400 View Post
    I'm interested how did you found your registry values for vt and ahci exactly.
    can you please tell me. Was it with some debugger, or how.
    I found the Napa SZ registers by a long process of trial and error. First I made seven files, each having a [0000] -> [0001] value change in one of the seven sections (0000-00FF,0100-01FF, ... , 0600-06FF) and sequentially wrote them to the NVRAM and noted the changes. If a significant change had occured in one of the seven sections, such as a BSOD, indicating that AHCI was enabled, or a change in the VT.iso results, I continued to use a divide and conquer type approach in that section until I had narrowed it down to the right locations. Since the SZ registers are around the 0100-03FF range, you may want to try searching in that area first.

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    Default Re: How to Enable Intel VT and AHCI on a VAIO SZ

    Thanks, ill try. The question is, how big can be the risk of doing this. Is there any chance by changing the registries to block the bios for good without any chance of restoring it back? Is there a guarantee that anytime when bios will freeze it can be restored normaly with battery removal?
    Are there types of registry entries that musn't be changed?
    Should I try only with registries in which the value is [0000]?
    Is it always [0001] the replacement value that I should experiment with?

    I'm trying to deal this through some bios dumpers and debuggers. I've found Phoenix BIOS Edior 2.2, WinPhlash an DMIScope. What I couldn't find is some good bios dumper that dumps bios in .rom or .wph extension, so i can read it with phoenix bios editor? any suggestions ? Can some software debugger explicitly tell me by analysing the bios which registers are for what?
    Last edited by apollo4400; 25th November 2007 at 06:41 PM.

 

 
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