Sony Vaio Z2 (2011) Advanced Menu BIOS Hack

Discussion in 'VAIO / Sony' started by pyr0, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. pyr0

    pyr0 100% laptop dynamite

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    Sony VAIO VPC-Z2 (2011) BIOS hack available


    Update (03-27): New pre-hacked BIOS version available as regular BIOS update (serial numbers etc. will be retained with this patched BIOS update)

    ____________________________________________________


    After all the hacking I did to my Z1, I finally looked for a new challenge. I decided to have a deeper look at the Z2's BIOS. I disassembled the BIOS ROM with the help of the TianoCore UEFI devkit and I thought, why not unlock the advanced options we already have on our Z1's?

    Well you can imagine what happened. Now it looks like this:

    [​IMG]


    Some very interesting options are available to you now. I hope you'll like it. I am also open to any new hack of other BIOSes or platforms. Just drop me a line.

    Before I forget it: The disclaimer
    This project is 100% spare time driven. There is no warranty or support at all. Don't use this if you are unexperienced with computers. All you do with this BIOS is on your own risk! Flashing is a dangerous process. Make backups of your data. Your warranty may void with flashing this hack. Don't fiddle around with settings you don't understand - you may brick your laptop. All settings in BIOS get stored in the flash rom. Disconnecting the RTC battery will NOT reset the BIOS settings since they are non-volatile. If you fail, there is no return since BIOS recovery is unavailable to the Z2.

    You have been warned, now let's have some fun!

    Some brief background info for the tech people:
    The BIOS is a InsydeH2O BIOS with tianocore module compression. There is a big setup utility (multiple languages) stored at 0x111068 in the BIOS file (length) 0x9705C. If you disassemble it you will notice that BIOS does not check a VSS variable in the advanced options suppress-if condition (like on the VPC-Z1, variable 0x258), it refers to opcode 0x27 instead. This opcode returns true so the advanced options get suppressed completely. I changed this instruction to the opcode 0x28 that returns false so the full options get revealed. In the BIOS ROM, nothing more than one byte was changed (0x27->0x28 in the suppress instruction). 25% of the BIOS ROM appears to be changed, this is a result of the tianocore compression of the 600kib setup module.
    Not ALL options are unlocked, some still depend on VSS variables but did not seem important to me. Have a look in the detailed Z2 BIOS options table here.

    __________________________________

    Prerequisites:

    Create a backup of your stock BIOS - you might need it later for warranty reasons etc.:

    - Download this BIOS Backup tool
    - Extract it and run the contained file dump_BIOS.bat. Read the note and confirm. Then you will find the Backup Image as DUMP.ROM in the same directory.

    [​IMG]



    ____________________________

    Flashing process:


    Close all running applications. Charge your battery and leave your AC adaptor plugged in until you are finished.
    Download the attached file and extract it to your local disk drive. Navigate to the directory with the unpacked BIOS package and run WBFLASH.exe as Administrator.

    Press Start and follow the screen instructions. After the flash completed, reboot your laptop, enter BIOS setup and load defaults. Chose your individual settings and have fun!

    ____________________________________

    Acknowledgements:

    cherrybombaz - volunteer tester - thanks mate!
    psyq321 - Z1 BIOS hacker
    northox - provided me with his Z2 BIOS dump that led me to the breakthrough
    lovelaptops - kept me motivated to do the hack and to search for new adventures - thanks buddy!
    TTAV134@mydigitallife - author of background info that helped me hacking the Z2 BIOS
    davidxxw@mydigitallife - author of universal bios backup tool
    Sony - thanks for the BIOS maze, that was really fun!
    NBR - thanks for hosting this community!
     

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  2. jeremyshaw

    jeremyshaw Big time Idiot

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    Thank you for the info detail! I've been digging around the Vaio SA UEFI with some heavily inadequate tools (my google/bing-fu is really bad, now :(). :)
     
  3. pyr0

    pyr0 100% laptop dynamite

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    This smells like we may have freed another nice laptop from its bad driver support!


    [​IMG]
     
  4. beaups

    beaups New Jack Hustler

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    Nice work. The question is, do you have the guts to start messing around with those graphics settings? ;)
     
  5. awharton

    awharton Notebook Consultant

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    Great work - all working perfectly here...
     
  6. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops MY FRIENDS CALL ME JEFF!

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    "lovelaptops - kept me motivated to do the hack and to search for new adventures - thanks buddy!"

    You are way too kind, my friend, but I can only say this:

    Those who can do, do. Those who can't - and can't teach - are left to inspire the greatness that surrounds. Anonymous

    Nice work - and without even having your own Z2 to test it on! Thou rock!
     
  7. Butters149

    Butters149 Notebook Consultant

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    will this allow you to always have the backlit keys on?
     
  8. Louche

    Louche Purveyor of Utopias

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    That is really cool.

    Thank you very much.
     
  9. pyr0

    pyr0 100% laptop dynamite

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    I can't test, but there ARE options to control the EC (Embedded Controller) and the LEDs - Polling interval, LED switches etc. As there is NO software way to keep keyboard backlight on (hardcoded timeouts in the EC), perhaps these options bring the solution to this.

    @ZoinksS2K, try that if you like, perhaps finally you get your request resolved.
     
  10. cherrybombaz

    cherrybombaz Notebook Consultant

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