Enabling Intel VT On Sony Vaio

05 Jun 2010 10:45

I created a 64-bit virtual machine for testing some cool stuff on some cool machine in our office, but wanted to transfer it to my laptop. How pissed I was to realize that 64-bit machine can be only emulated by VirtualBox when VT-X (or corresponding AMD's technology) is used (Intel's extension to CPUs especially for virtualization). Without them, you can only emulate 32-bit machines even if you have 64-bit Linux running or the host.

Sony for some reason disables the virtualization technologies in their laptops and give so poor BIOS UI, that you can't enable it. I've read that after someone actually hacked their BIOS to enable the feature, Sony released BIOS update that adds the option to enable VT, but not for my model (Vaio SZ-640N).

I found one wonderful howto here, but it had a few flaws:

  • link to symcmos.exe was not valid anymore (just search for that file on random FTP servers, you'll find it quickly)
  • I haven't handled to run FreeDOS from USB stick, so I downloaded CD image from FreeDOS site and burnt it into a DVD (no CD in my house, but that's not a problem)
  • FreeDOS when run from CD fails to initialize USB sticks I've tried (3 of them). Additionally it crashes with an error "invalid opcode" after doing "InitDisks". I needed to have the symcmos.exe file available in FreeDOS LiveCD, so I created a small FAT16 partition on my main disk and put it there. It was accessible as disk C:. It seems FreeDOS handles partitions really well, because the partition was the last partition on my quite big disk, located on a extended partition and my partition table is not straight in a way that /dev/sda2 in the extended partition, while primary one /dev/sda3 is located before it. FreeDOS handled this, I had my FAT16 partition visible and I was able to run symcmos commands :-).

So that's it. Time to do experiments on the machine.

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