Recovery disks

Page last updated: February 2nd, 2023

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 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 for your computer model is available on the Internet Archive (yet)

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)

A back-up of the internal hard drive of this computer is available on the Internet Archive. You can restore this using Norton Ghost. It is untested if this copy of Windows will stay activated, since it may have someone else’s license information in it.

4 Comments

  1. Kevin

    Reply

    I had accidentally removed the recovery partition then added lubuntu Linux on my ux380cn. I tried using the ux380n recovery disks. I can get it to boot, but there is no “restore to factory default” setting. I can restore from a backup, etc. but none of the options just lets me wipe out the Linux partition and then uninstall the factory default setup.

    Am I missing something?

    • Reply

      Hi, I’ve checked this on my own Vaio and this should be the correct way to use the Recovery Disks:
      1. Press ESC while starting up the computer, in the menu that appears choose Enter Setup
      2. In the BIOS, under the tab Advanced, enable External Drive Boot
      3. F10 -> Save changes and exit, system will restart. Press ESC again
      4. Connect USB dvd drive, insert Recovery Disk 1 and choose USB Optical Drive
      a. If not working, restart computer and try again with DVD drive already connected
      5. Windows should load files and ask for keybaord layout. Press Next
      6. It may or may not do ‘startup repair’, let this fail or cancel it
      7. It shows ‘startup repair could noto detect problem’ and offers link to view advanced options for system recovery. Click that
      8. A list with options appears, choose the bottom one ‘VAIO Recovery center’
      9. Vaio recovery opens, choose the option ‘Restore Complete System’ (extremely small text, 4th option).
      10. Follow any steps that appear (didnt do this myself as i don’t want to wipe my system)
      11. Swap disk 1 for disk 2 when asked

      Let me know if this worked. Good luck!

  2. Adam F

    Reply

    OH MAN, I need some help, some advice. I’m having the hardest time restoring my UX. I bought a ux490 but it only had win8.1 on it runs nice but i dont have the original features and I would love to have a original OS on it as well. I wiped the ssd and installed win vista businessx86 but when i try too use the recovery DVDs it wont open the Vaio recovery. I decided to also give the ux58 partition a shot. i was able to extract the GHO file but i dont really know where to go from there.

    • Reply

      Hi, I’ve searched the internet archive again, but unfortunately no recovery disk or partition has been shared yet for the 490N.

      For now, your best option would be a clean install of Vista and installing the Vista drivers pack (is on this site).

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