Recovery disks

The Sony Vaio UX series does not ship with recovery disks out of the box. It relies on a small recovery partition on the internal hard drive, which takes up about 6 GB. This partition contains the full installation of Windows XP / Windows Vista, all bundled software and all the drivers needed to get the hardware to work with your version of Windows.

To obtain recovery disks, you could use the built-in VAIO Recovery application. You will need 2 blank DVDs and a USB / Firewire DVD burner.

The problem

Not many people have the recovery disks. They were not included with all systems. If you didn’t get a set of recovery DVDs with your computer, you had to make them yourself. And even then, they were sometimes hard to make. I’ve found out that – with all the Windows updates installed – there’s not enough free space on the C: drive to make them – and you also need to have an external DVD burner. This means these disks are nowadays rare and hard to find.

The lack of recovery disks can be problematic in 2 scenarios:

1: The hard disk has failed and want to install a new drive (or you’ve upgraded it to a SSD). You’ll need the disks to reinstall the OS.

2: You’ve (accidently) removed the small recovery partition to make more space on C: or while installing another OS. Now, you want to go back to the original OS. You’ll also need to use the disks, as you cannot use the regular recovery options to get back.

Without the recovery partition and the recovery disks, there’s no way to get the original Sony software and drivers back. Sony doesn’t sell recovery disks anymore and almost all sites offering the drivers, including the Sony site, are either offline or redirect to generic support pages and paid driver utilities. (except https://drivers.eu, but with 35+ drivers needed and the need to install them in the correct order, it’s almost impossible to do find these yourself)

The solution: The Internet Archive

Whilst Sony and the driver websites don’t offer the disks anymore, as of late 2020, some VAIO UX users have started uploading recovery disks images to the Internet Archive. This means there is finally a way to download them. It’s not for all models though, so sometimes you are out of luck.

As for the legal aspects, this remains a bit of a grey area. One could say this software is still under copyright, but since the disks haven’t been sold for years (with one exception – see below) one could also say they’re considered abandonware, software that has no value anymore for the company that once sold it. Therefore, sharing these disks on the Internet archive is probably fine. Especially given the fact that all VAIO UX computers are now more than 10 years old and all software is already out of support by Sony and Microsoft.

It’s good to know that some recovery disks are usable for a series of computers rather than only one specific model (e.g. VGN-UX100 series works with UX-180N, VGN-UX200 series with 230N and 280N, etc.). This improves the chance that a disk is available for your model of computer.

Scroll down to see which disk to get for your model.

VGN-UX50, VGN-UX90S, VGN-UX90SSD, VGN-UX91, VGN-UX92, VGN-UX92SSD (Japanese models)

Unfortunately, no recovery disk for your computer model is available on the Internet Archive (yet)

VGN-UX180P (XP and 512MB RAM)

VGN-UX230P and VGN-UX280P (XP and 1GB RAM)

VGN-UX380N and VGN-UX390N (Vista)

VGN-UX490N (Vista and Core 2 solo)

Unfortunately, no recovery disk is available on the Internet Archive (yet), but a disk may still be available for sale: http://www.recovery-disks.com/sony-vaio-ux-vgnux490n-c.html

VGN-UX1XN (European model with Vista)

No disk for this exact model is available on the Internet Archive, but you can try the disk for VGN-UX380N and VGN-UX390N. I’m not sure if this works.

VGN-UX17GP and VGN-UX17TP (Australian / Taiwanese models with XP and 512 MB RAM)

No disk for this exact model is available on the Internet Archive, but you can try the disk for VGN-UX180P. I’m not sure if this works.

VGN-UX27TN and VGN-UX27GN (Taiwanese / Australian models with Vista)

No disk for this exact model is available on the Internet Archive, but you can try the disk for VGN-UX380N and VGN-UX390N. I’m not sure if this works.

VGN-UX38GN (Singapore model with Vista)

No disk for this exact model is available on the Internet Archive, but you can try the disk for the VGN-UX390N and VGN-UX390N. I’m not sure if this works.

VGN-UX58GN (Singapore model with Vista and Core 2 Solo)

No disk for this model is available on the Internet Archive, but you can try purchasing or using a disk for the VGN-UX490N. I’m not sure if this works.

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