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Sony Vaio SVS13 & Windows 10

Alastair Grant | Monday 3 August 2015

I'm in the unfortunate position of owning a Sony Vaio laptop, an SVS13A1C5E to be specific (catchy name, I know). It's a cracking laptop and great value for money; at the time if you wanted a lightweight 13" laptop with a dedicated GPU it was Sony, Dell, HP or Apple, with Sony coming in the cheapest with some nice features to boot such as bluray. The unfortunate part being that Sony has canned the Vaio line and has stopped selling computers. Whilst they are committed to supporting existing customers, this doesn't include things like updating drivers and providing support for Windows 10.

So Windows 10, my installation was a bit of a fluke, with numerous hard-reboots and rollbacks until it magically worked. Installing drivers for the Sony has always been a challenge for things like the ambient sensor and fingerprint scanner, the most troublesome feature being the touch-pad. Upon resume from sleep the mouse wouldn't work. Interestingly Windows Update had automatically installed Synaptics driver for the touchpad - removing this solved the problem, but also meant I was a little restricted (being a "clickpad" and not a "touchpad" there are no physical buttons).

Lucky for us, this hyped up Windows "It's so significant we've jumped a version" 10 is actually fairly similar to Windows 8.1, which was pretty much identical to Windows 8 which was essentially the same as Windows 7, which wasn't vastly removed from Vista. In terms of drivers and how things work underneath, at least.

For a successful installation of the Sony you need to just treat it like Windows 8.1. Install all the Windows 7 drivers where you can (which can be downloaded from the Sony support web-site), followed by the Windows 8 drivers, followed by the Windows 8.1 driver.

The only driver that I struggled with was the Sony Firmware Parser, for this to work I ran the installer and then opened the temporary directory the installer was running from and manually installed the driver into device manager (I just tried each unknown device until one matched up).

The mouse issue was cleared up by using the Windows 7 driver, which is a Synaptics ClickPad v16.2.10.5 from August 2012. It seems to work like a charm and you can edit the registry to add middle click to 3-finger tap.

I should now be able to get on with poking around Windows 10 and discovering just how little impact the UI changes actually have on my day-to-day usage.

One thing I have noticed is that with all this touch-enabled effort, accessibility for the keyboard seems to have reduced. It used to be entirely feasible to navigate around Windows, including interacting with context menus and the desktop with just the keyboard. Things are a lot more trickier if you have a dead mouse on Windows 10.

Breaking from the voyeuristic norms of the Internet, any comments can be made in private by contacting me.