Sony VAIO and UEFI – what a lie

Sony seems to believe they can ignore the UEFI standards. As I have written in the previous post on booting, Sony messes up the EFI boot setting on every boot.

UEFI-Sony

I did a hard core test, that is *remove* every entry, remove the boot order, everything.

Rebooting then I got

BootCurrent: 0007
Timeout: 0 seconds
BootOrder: 0005,0007,0008
Boot0005* Sony Original	        HD(1,...)File(\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\bootmgfw.efi)
Boot0007* Windows Boot Manager	HD(3,...)File(\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\bootmgfw.efi)
Boot0008* Windows Boot Manager	HD(5,...)File(\EFI\Boot\bootx64.efi)

And the same happens when you change, add entries. ALl new entries are just added at the end, but there is no way to access the UEFI boot manager, as the VAIO Bios disregards timeouts, bootnext settings, everything.

Furthermore, it seems that because the partition 1 is hidden and not boot, that the 0005 entry is not actually used. I replaced it with the grubx64.efi, but that did not help.

That means, one has to replace \EFI\Microsoft\Boot\bootmgfw.efi on the third partition. But this is dangerous as Windows might change that at will.

Better option

Fortunately, we can do slightly better! If one turns of windows fast boot with bootmgr /h off or similar, then there are only three entries:

BootCurrent: 0008
Timeout: 0 seconds
BootOrder: 0005,0008,0000
Boot0000* Windows Boot Manager	HD(3,389800,82000,54d2400d-15ad-407d-9d60-61c60576cc56)File(\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\bootmgfw.efi)WINDOWS.........x...B.C.D.O.B.J.E.C.T.=.{.9.d.e.a.8.6.2.c.-.5.c.d.d.-.4.e.7.0.-.a.c.c.1.-.f.3.2.b.3.4.4.d.4.7.9.5.}....................
Boot0005* Sony Original	HD(1,800,1e5000,d8406f50-1236-4c46-a81d-3dc344783e6a)File(\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\bootmgfw.efi)
Boot0008* Windows Boot Manager	HD(5,44b800,c8a2c40,d6156b9b-95d4-4864-ade4-ff813101ffcd)File(\EFI\Boot\bootx64.efi)

Thus, the following procedure at least gives me safety that Windows will not mess around (hopefully) with my grub boot code:

  • reinstatiated the original HD(3,..)bootmgfw.efi which is the one shipped with windows
  • create a new directory in the Windows drive hd(5) in \EFI\Boot and copied grubx64.efi there, renaming it to bootx64.efi

After that, the laptop boots from the 0008 entry of the efi boot list, which is the grub one.

Let me finish with a big big fat WARNING: every time grub is updated, make sure to copy the new boot loader to the above mentioned location, otherwise you might find yourself (as I did) with a grub that does not boot. And then you should know the grub emergency console quite well.

Let us hope that Sony at some point fixes this incompatiblity.

7 Responses

  1. Eva Brucherseifer says:

    As there won’t be any more laptops from Sony, I fear they’ll never fix it 🙁

  2. coppa says:

    Hello! I am a newbie and I am fighting with a Vaio Pro too to install Debian with Win8… Your text seems interesting but you go too fast for me 😉
    – “reinstatiated the original HD(3,..)bootmgfw.efi which is the one shipped with windows”
    how do you that?
    – create a new directory in the Windows drive hd(5) in \EFI\Boot and copied grubx64.efi there, renaming it to bootx64.efi
    where do you find this grubx64.efi? (it seems I have none, but I rebooted whitout doing anything special when Debian finished to install)
    Thanks!

    • Hi coppa,

      Well, it is not for the faint of heart what I wrote. First, the “reinstatiate” thingy you only have to do if you have replaced the boot loader as described in the first part, the part before the “Better option”. If you haven’t done that, then there is no need to do so.

      Concerning the grubx64.efi: Did you install grub-efi-amd64 package? After that it should be somewhere in /boot/efi/EFI/debian/grubx64.efi

      Hope that helps you to go on!

  3. coppa says:

    thanks for your reply! Actually when I install Debian (I did once again), I install Grub along and I can see grubx64.efi in /target/boot/efi/EFI/debian… But when I reboot, the debian directory is not here any more (sda3?)…

    + in your Step 4.2, when I reboot, Windows starts, nowhere I can type update-grub…

    Is my SVP1321M2 more ‘protected’?

    • Hmm, that means that the EFI directory is not automatically mounted. I suggest the following procedure:

      • boot from the install medium, but select emergency console or something like that
      • go to a console, mount your installed system into /target (create if necessary, /dev/sda6? don’t know which of the partitions you used as /)
      • mount your EFI partition into the /target/boot/efi/
      • there you should find the grubx64.efi, copy that to the mentioned destination
      • finally, chroot /target, and run update-grub
      • unmount all /target/boot/efi and /target, then reboot (and hope)

      Hope that helps.

  1. 2015/11/16

    […] described here, the Vaio E series of laptops don’t follow the UEFI standard, and simply load […]

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