Flashing a Vaio

Sony in it’s infinite wisdom has decided to make updates for my Sony Vaio VGN-BX560B available as a Windows only executable. Unfortunately, I don’t have Windows on the laptop, since I’m running Ubuntu almost exclusively right now. A lot of googling suggests that I’m not the only one who’s had that trouble.I even tried finding a BIOS update right from Phoenix, but that didn’t turn up anything.

So the next idea was to find a boot CD, that would run Windows. Enter the Ulitmate Boot CD 4 Windows. After some effort of making the CD, I got an error trying to run the Windows BIOS Update. As a side note, the CD will likely come in handy in the future. It’s got quite a few neat tools built in.

Since I’m stubborn and don’t like computers getting the better of me, I decided to persevere.

This is where it gets interesting.

So, the laptop had Linux installed as I have mentioned, but I needed Windows to update the BIOS. I decided to bite the bullet and made a backup and inserted the Windows XP CD. When I was presented with the disk partitioning I realized that the swap partition would do the trick for the install without having to touch the data!

That saved a lot of time and I had Windows up and running pretty quick.

The next step was to flash the BIOS with the Sony provided BIOS update, but it failed!

That’s right it failed with “WBFLASH” dialog that proudly proclaimed: Cannot read the system information. After some more searching, I found nothing and decided to use the Sony chat.

In the meantime I continued to browse the VGN-BX560B website and came across the Sony® Shared Library for Microsoft® Windows® XP. After installing it, the BIOS update finally succeeded! The Sony tech support guy also confirmed this after letting me know I should only run the Sony provided version of Windows.

Once the BIOS was updated, I just booted a Ubuntu CD and deleted the Windows partition, re-created the swap partition, with the same UUID and re-installed GRUB.

That was fun.


15 Replies to “Flashing a Vaio”

  1. I looked….(one more). EVERYWHERE on the web to fix this WBFLASH: Cannot read the system information error message… and then, and then I found you… I mean I tried searching for wbflash “Cannot read the system information” in google but i only got three exact results. I guess google didn’t show your blog cause “Cannot read the system information” is in italics… not sure but now… the world will know… Btw, after I installed the shared library, I rebooted, then I was able to upgrade my vaio’s… bios… =) Thanks again… Sony should publish this kind of info on its support sight…


    P.S. I also ranked you in google search…

      1. Possibly the best post on the internet…well at the moment anyway!

        Sony are as bad as Apple for customer service and support (Iphone 4 anyone?). The fix and instructions (which SHOULD be on the SONY website, take note SONY!!!) is fantastic, top marks for the work fella.

        Life saver.

    1. I aggree with your comments. Thanks Mattias.that is very useful. I had the same problem and could not resolve it until I seen your blog. I am very p*** **f with Sony as their support refuse to help because I dont have the OS that came with the laptop and the issue ends up been as simple as that…..


  2. Dude you rock! I have been trying to update the bios on an old Sony VGN-FE790 model so I try to load Windows 7, but needed to update the BIOS so I thought. I still ended up with the same STOP error on “Expanding Windows Files”, but at least I was able to update the BIOS and rule that out. Thanks again!

  3. That was helpful, I was having quite the same problem except I use ArchLinux. In my case I installed TinyXP into the swap partition (which was reformatted of course), because it’s, well, tiny.

  4. I have needed my BIOS update for the W2K8 Server R2 Hypervisor install/configuration. I am hoping my Intel Core DUO T7500 is going to allow 2 virtual processors. Point being that it is not an option in the BIOS to turn on VIRTUALIZATION. I’ll see if this works.

  5. I recently bought a SSD which has TRIM support and had the same problem since my trusted old VGN-FE31M had an older bios and the R0200 bios adds ACHI support, needed for TRIM to work and for SSD drives to operate at full speed, but the BIOS updater does not work in Win7…

    So as per your fantastic advice, I installed XP & installed the sony shared library and the BIOS updater worked flawlessly 😀 Success finally after 8 hours of searching!

    Now I’m installing Win7 again and hopefully it recognises the AHCI device :O :O :O

  6. This worked perfect, I updated the BIOS for my FE-series notebook. Something that SONY told me was impossible 😀

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