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Sony VAIO VGX-XL201
Media Center PC
Clean Install Guide
Author: William Warby
Introduction When I purchased my VGX-XL201 Media Center PC, I fully expected it to arrive preloaded with a myriad of freeware, trialware and Sony- branded software products and I wasn’t wrong. Such is the trend when you buy almost any PC these days, and I don’t doubt that many consumers are very grateful for it. I am not one of those consumers. I know what software I want for any particular job, and invariably it isn’t the software provided by Sony. Also, due to the pace of software developme
Product Keys This guide was written with the assumption that methods described in Club VAIO forum threads for using the Windows product key from the sticker on the back of your PC would work in this slightly different scenario. My experience has been that following the instructions in this guide to the letter, I was unable to activate Windows after installation using the product key on my PC, although it happily let me install Windows. The Media Center CDs I used came from my MSDN Profession
Creating the Recovery DVDs When you first power on your PC, you will have to go through the motions of finalising your installation of Windows. This involves pairing the wireless keyboard to the PC, choosing regional settings and time zone, accepting Microsoft’s EULAs, enabling automatic updates, naming your computer, setting and Administrator password, registering with Microsoft (or not) and setting up your first user account. It doesn’t matter at all what you do with any of these settings
• Run the VAIO Recovery Utility and select “Create Recovery Media Kit”. • Press “OK”.
• Press “Next”.
• Choose the type of DVDs you want to burn. I don’t have any double layer recordable DVDs mostly because they are hugely more expensive than single layer discs at the moment) so I used 2 DVD-Rs. I recommend doing the same since I this guide will assume the file structure of the 2 disc approach. • Press “Next”.
• Press “Start” and give feed the application with blank discs as required. I made two copies of each for good measure but you only need one set. • Burning the discs on my VGX-XL201 took about 20 minutes for the Application Recovery Disc and 30 minutes for the System Recovery Disc. • Label your DVDs as instructed by the application.
Returning to the Factory Installed Image Should you ever feel the need, you can restore your system to it’s factory default image at any time using these discs by booting from the System Recovery Disc. When the System Recovery disc boots, you will have some options to choose from: You can recover just the C: drive, leaving your D: drive in-tact. Useful if you want to get back to the factory default image without affecting your D: drive which probably has all your personal files on. Alterna
Preparing for the Custom Operating System Install Image You need some files from the C: drive and from your System Recovery DVD. Although you can pull these files in when you need them from their current locations, for convenience I advise copying them so that you have everything you need all in one place (this is particularly useful if you want to make back up these files so that you can tweak your custom operating system image later). Create the following folder structure: C: \Cle
Files from the System Recovery DVD Copy the contents of [System Recovery DVD]\VAIO Applications\Drivers to C:\CleanInstall\Drivers Tip: These files can also be found at C:\Drivers, and can also be downloaded from the VAIO Link website Copy the contents of [System Recovery DVD]\VAIO Applications\Hotfix to C:\CleanInstall\Hotfix Tip: All of these hotfixes can be downloaded from Microsoft’s website, but not all of them will get installed automatically by running Microsoft Update. Optional:
Creating the Custom Operating System Install Image Sony do not provide you with an installable operating system CD, so you need to obtain one somehow. Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, the operating system we will be using in this guide comes on two CDs. I don’t know whether it is possible to obtain these CDs from Sony, because I am a Microsoft Developer Network subscriber, and my subscription grants me access to all of Microsoft’s operating systems so I needed to look no further. It is
• Run nLite and press “Next”.
• Insert MCE 2005 CD1 and press “Browse…” to select your DVD drive. • nLite will ask you where you want to save the CD installation files for modification. Click “OK”.
• Browse to C:\CleanInstall\OS_Default and click “OK”. • nLite will copy the contents of the CD to your hard drive.
• nLite will ask to copy CD2 to the same location as CD1. Insert CD 2 and press “Yes”, then browse and select your DVD drive. • nLite will copy the contents of CD2 to C:\CleanInstall\OS_Default.
• Don’t click “Next” yet. It has been my experience that you may want build your nLite modified operation system install image a few times before you get it right, so you want to be able to easily get back to this point. • I recommend taking a backup of your C:\CleanInstall folder at this point, for example to an external hard drive or recordable DVD. At any later date you can then resume the clean install process from this point using your backup. Once you have this folder structur
• Copy the contents of C:\CleanInstall\OS_Default to C:\CleanInstall\OS_Custom. This is so that you are modifying a copy of the OS rather than the original, and you can quickly start again if things go wrong. • Click “Browse” and browse to C:\CleanInstall\OS_Custom. • Click “Next”.
• If you have run nLite before and you are going back to tweak the image, settings you used on previous runs will be shown here. Select the occasion you want to use and press “Load”, or if you saved settings to a file, press “Import” to load the settings now.
• This is where you select how much or how little customisation you want to do with your custom operating system image. • “Hotfixes and Update Packs”, “Drivers” and “Bootable ISO” are required for the purposes of this guide, but I recommend selecting all the options I have selected in this screenshot.
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