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Once upon a time I wanted to put Windows 7 on my laptop, mostly because I hate answering my wife’s questions about Vista when she uses it. I want her to skip Vista entirely. Putting Windows 7 on and getting the laptop fully functional isn’t an easy task, because Sony makes a tightly integrated piece of equipment. All of the little buttons and gizmos are based on 32-bit Vista drivers. But, with a weekend’s worth of time to kill, I googled and experimented a bunch and got it working. Many thanks to the people who wrote the tutorials and tools this article is based on (see Sources links at the bottom). These instructions are specific to the VGN-CR231E, but it should be similar for other CRs and maybe even other VAIO laptop series that run Vista.

  1. Use VAIO Recovery Center in Vista to create VAIO Recovery DVDs if you don’t already have them.
  2. Boot from your Windows 7 RC x86 DVD (32-bit version) and install Windows 7 on your laptop, leaving the recovery partition alone (click the “Drive options” button when the installer asks you where to install to see all partition options).
  3. Once Windows 7 is up and running, use Windows Update to get all important updates, and any optional updates for drivers (most likely for Display and Wireless Network devices).
  4. Download and install Uniextract.
  5. Download these Sony drivers from the Sony support website (or the most recent drivers, if any):
    • Audio:
      1. Realtek High Definition Audio Driver (REDAUD-12959400-US.EXE)
    • Camera:
      1. Sony Visual Communication Camera VGP-VCC6 Driver (RIDCAM-13052600-US.EXE)
    • Memory Card Reader/Writer:
      1. Texas Instruments PCIxx12 Integrated FlashMedia Controller (TIDMSC-13254300-US.EXE)
    • Motherboard:
      1. Intel Chipset Device Software (INDOTH-13563700-US.EXE)
    • Notebook Control and Utilities:
      1. Sony Notebook Utilities (SOAOTH-41700000-US.EXE)
    • System Components:
      1. Sony Shared Library (SOASSL-13410200-US.EXE)
      2. Sony Firmware Extension Parser (SODSNC-10416100-US.EXE)
    • Touchpad:
      1. Synaptics PS/2 Port TouchPad (SPDOTH-12804200-US.EXE)
  6. Use Uniextract to get the setup files from each Sony download (Right click on the files and choose “Uniextract files”).
  7. Install in this order from the folders Uniextract created, rebooting if prompted:
    • Sony Shared Library:
      1. Run [Sony Shared Library]\TEMPEXEFOLDER\setup.exe
    • Setting Utility Series:
      1. Run [Sony Notebook Utilities]\TEMPEXEFOLDER\SUS\setup.exe
    • VAIO Control Center:
      1. Run [Sony Notebook Utilities]\TEMPEXEFOLDER\VCC\setup.exe
    • Intel Chipset Device Software:
      1. Set Compatiblity Mode to Vista for [Intel Chipset Device Software]\TEMPEXEFOLDER\Setup.exe
      2. Run setup.exe
    • Realtek High Definition Audio Driver:
      1. Set Compatiblity Mode to Vista for [Realtek High Definition Audio Driver]\TEMPEXEFOLDER\Setup.exe
      2. Run Setup.exe
    • Synaptics PS/2 Port TouchPad:
      1. Find PS/2 Touchpad in Device Manager
      2. Update driver using [Synaptics PS2 Port TouchPad]\TEMPEXEFOLDER\
    • Texas Instruments PCIxx12 Integrated FlashMedia Controller:
      1. Find Mass Storage Controller in Device Manager
      2. Update driver using [Texas Instruments PCIxx12 Integrated FlashMedia Controller]\TEMPEXEFOLDER\
    • Sony Visual Communication Camera VGP-VCC6 Driver:
      1. Find USB Video Device in Device Manager
      2. Update driver using [Sony Visual Communication Camera VGP-VCC6 Driver]\TEMPEXEFOLDER\
    • VAIO Event Service:
      1. Run [Sony Notebook Utilities]\TEMPEXEFOLDER\VES\setup.exe
    • Sony Firmware Extension Parser:
      1. Find Unknown Device in Device Manager
      2. Update driver using [Sony Firmware Extension Parser]\TEMPEXEFOLDER\
    • VAIO Power Management:
      1. Run [Sony Notebook Utilities]\TEMPEXEFOLDER\VPM\setup.exe
  8. Download and install mod2wim.zip (read Mod2Wim.txt inside the zip file for installation and usage instructions).
  9. Download and install 7-Zip.
  10. Use Mod2Wim.bat to extract WIM files from the VAIO Recovery DVDs (NOTE: be careful not to reboot while a VAIO Recovery DVD is in your drive; it can make your hard drive unbootable and cause you to have to do a repair from the Window 7 DVD to fix the problem.)
  11. Use 7-Zip to extract setup files from WIM files.
  12. Install from the extracted WIM/setup files:
    • InstantON:
      1. Run [InstantON]\1\MOD-InstantON 2.0.exe
    • VAIO Camera Capture Utility:
      1. Use Uniextract on [VAIO Camera Capture Utility]\1\MOD-VAIO_Camera_Capture_Utility.exe
      2. Set Compatiblity Mode to Vista for [VAIO Camera Capture Utility]\1\MOD-VAIO_Camera_Capture_Utility\VCCU\setup.exe
      3. Run setup.exe
      4. Run VAIO Camera Capture Utility update from Sony website
    • (optional) Roxio Easy Media Creator:
      1. Run [Roxio Easy Media Creator]\1\JP_20070611000000000000000000038\setup.exe
    • (optional) WinDVD:
      1. Use Uniextract on [WinDVD]\1\MOD-WinDVD.exe
      2. Set Compatiblity Mode to Vista for [WinDVD]\1\MOD-WinDVD\WDVD\setup.exe
      3. Run setup.exe
      4. Run WinDVD update from Sony website

Hopefully that does the trick.

Sources: VAIO FW Clean Windows 7 Install Guide, Clean Vista install using Extracted Recovery Image ( On a Vaio CS or Others)

UPDATE: These instructions also work for the RTM version of Windows 7.

UPDATE: Windows Update now has the Windows 7 driver for the Sony Firmware Extension Parser, so that step is unnecessary.