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Sony promises clarity on virtualization-free Vaio PCs

Windows 7 minus XP Mode

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Sony has promised to be more upfront with Vaio customers after blocking their ability to work with hardware virtualization from Intel.

Senior manager for product marketing Xavier Lauwaert has told The Reg: "I'll take the action to be clearer on our site that VT will not be enabled."

After discovering that Intel's virtualization technology - VT - does not work on their new Vaios, some customers complained that Sony's advertising had not been clear on this subject.

VT is a part of the Intel Core 2 Duo chips used by the Viaos, so users understandably assumed VT would work out of the box. But Sony deliberately stopped the Vaio BIOS from working with VT.

Users have also complained about not being able to get their money back on machines they had bought. But Lauwaert said customers should be able to get refunds.

Lauwaert was speaking after users last week raged at Sony for stopping the Vaios' BIOS from working with VT in the Core 2 Duos.

VT will let customers with Windows XP applications run their software using Windows XP Mode, a virtualized environment that'll run inside the Windows 7 desktop.

Customers have been buying Vaios in anticipation of Windows 7's shipment in October, with the consumer electronics giant pushing Vaios through its site as the perfect fit for Windows 7

But Sony's site does not make it clear that VT in the Intel chips does not work.

As of writing, on Thursday afternoon, Sony did not appear to have updated its site to make it clear VT does not work on the Vaios.

Lauwaert said Sony had been taken by surprise by the level of demand for VT, and - again - he committed Sony to supporting VT in Vaios in future. But - again - he was unable to say when this would happen.

The product manager said the Vaio Z series would be "top of the list" for getting VT support in the US. Lauwaert covers the US market and said he was unable to comment on Sony's plans for allowing the BIOS of Sony notebooks sold in Europe to work with Intel's VT.

In the meantime, Reg reader Ji Yong sent us a link that might help you side-step Sony's nobbling of the Vaio BIOS here.

Yong's advice came with a caveat: "Of course, if you screw it up, you really are screwed. But if you can work a bit careful, it is doable for anyone who isn't scared of a command line."

You've been warned. ®

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