Home > Vaio P > Vaio P Part 1: The OS.

Vaio P Part 1: The OS.

December 27, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

My Vaio P, like most others’, originally shipped with Windows Vista. It was actually the first time I’d ever used Vista, and although the complaints were rampant, I actually found it quite usable in most circumstances. Given the hardware of the P, I did find that Vista ran fairly slow, but it was acceptable given what I was using this machine for… just random crap. However, considering my nature as a wannabe hacker, I had to play around, and over the past few weeks, I’ve installed the standard options.

Windows for Legacy Processors:

After I played around with a full install of Vista Home, the first up to bat was Windows FLP. FLP is a slimmed down version of Windows XP, that is meant for running on outdated computer systems. There are some limitations such as the inability to use Outlook or Outlook Express for email, due to a missing component. Still, it is a solid OS that runs very well on old equipment. Using USB Multiboot 10, I was able to create a USB stick that booted a copy of Windows FLP. The install was quite easy, and using the Vaio P XP driver tool I was able to get everything working well.

Although I did not do comprehensive testing, I found the experience quite enjoyable. Boot up was a lot faster than Vista, and it also opened applications quickly. Most of my day-to-day tasks were accomplished by Firefox, so I did not need to install a lot of different applications. The biggest drawback for me was  hibernating. Anytime I tried to get the P hibernate, it would seem to hang for minutes. I did not give it the time to do its thing, and after several minutes of waiting I just used the power slider to shut off the power. The final straw for FLP was getting BSODs when playing videos with Media Center Classic.

My conclusion of Windows FLP for the Vaio P, is a thumbs down. Although it has been a solid OS on other machines I’ve tried it on, with the Vaio P it just did not do what I needed. Hibernation and lack of video stability made me reinstall Vista.

Windows Vista Home (optimized):

After my FLP mishap, I ran back to Vista Home. Using the recovery partition, I was able to restore the system to factory specs. By nature, Sony installs quite a lot of software, and to be fair some of the proprietary Sony warez seem to be pretty cool. However, those warez are meant for higher-spec’d machines. Given that I was not interested in using my P as full on media center, I sought to uninstall everything I could from the stock Vista install. After a little bit of playing around, I was able to find the right combination of functionality without Sony bloat. Note: when uninstalling software I lost my hot key functionality, using the recovery tool, I was able to restore the hotkeys **somehow**.

After using Vista Home “optimized” for a few days, I came to realize that even with uninstalling unnecessary software, it was still slower than I like. Everything worked acceptably except full screen DIVX video. When watching DIVX encoded video (non-HD) with Media Player Classic Home Cinema, the video played well in a small window, but when in full-screen, the sound was off. Unacceptable. There are probably further ways to optimize, but after searching the forums, I came to the conclusion there was a better option.

Windows XP Professional:

Windows XP seems to be the epitome of computer OSs. It still has the largest market share, and has continued to be immensely popular over two version upgrades. With today’s newest technology, even the “slow” Intel Atom processors, it runs flawlessly. On my Vaio P, I took an old copy of XP Pro slated for my Vaio Picturebook, slipstreamed it with SP3, burned it to CD, and plopped it onto the P. After  Sony’s XP downgrade tool did its work, I’d have to say my P is in heaven. All of the software I use runs flawlessly, including full-screen DIVX vids in MPC — the forums were right.

Considering hardward functionality and my usage needs, XP is the hands-down winner. My Vaio P x XP Pro does everything I need, with all of the hardware functioning perfectly. For me, there are no drawbacks. If you need a small computer with full functionality, the Vaio P with Windows XP are a surefire winner.

The Future:

During my initial OS installations, I did attempt to install Ubuntu 9.10. Before installation, I read that most people were having trouble with getting full screen resolution, however Ubuntu 9.10 automatically sets the 1600 x 768 resolution perfectly. I was running it off a live USB stick, so the performance was a little slow, and battery seemed to be dismal. I would have attempted install, but I was not able to get it properly connected to my router at the time (it connected to the router but not the internets). I am also tempted to purchase the Windows 7 upgrade through Sony, I believe the DVDs will cost just over 3000 Yen.

Are you a Vaio P owner? What OS do you prefer?

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