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Thread: HowTo: Sony VPCCW21FX

  1. #1
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    HowTo: Sony VPCCW21FX

    I am no longer updating this as of April 2011
    Sections:
    1.Intro
    2.What doesn't work
    3.What you will need
    4.Installation – Briefing
    5.Post-Installation – Where you're at
    6.Wireless Card
    7.Graphics – 256 and 260 drivers covered
    8. HDMI Audio
    9.Closing notes
    10. Link to new kernel image and headers

    1.This guide will tell you how to get Ubuntu up and running on a Sony VPCCW21FX laptop. This guide will use Ubuntu 10.04-64bit for installation. There are 2 main problem areas that you are going to run into, and these will be the focus of this guide. If you are looking for step-by-step installation directions, please use some google-foo or look into the absolute beginner forum. There are loads of guides there. It isn't that I don't want to give you step-by-step installation directions, but I don't do normal Ubuntu installs anymore so I do not want to give out half-right statements to any first-time users.

    2. Wireless - The built in AR9285 wireless card drops packets like an armless juggler. If you compile a new kernel, or install the latest wireless drivers, it works a little better but is still far from reliable.
    Video stuff - As of the nVidia 256.53 drivers, HDMI works fine. I have not tested VGA. Brightness controls still do not work.

    3.What will you need?
    1.Alternate or Network Install disc for 10.04 Ubuntu (normal install had no video for me)
    2.Network cable (wireless doesn't work very well “out of the box”)
    3.Some time – An afternoon to dedicate to this would be nice.

    4.As I stated earlier, this isn't a step-by-step guide. Go ahead and install Ubuntu using your alternate or network install disk. Installation is normal (and pretty fast depending on your connection speed) for this laptop. I would recommend keeping your /home partition separate, as you may want to reformat / in the future. I know I will be doing that now that I have everything working.

    5.Okay, the installer is done doing it's thing and it's asking you to restart. Go ahead and pop the disc out and reboot your laptop. At this point one of two things is going to happen. You will either have absolutely no video, or you're you'll bad video. If you have no video, read below. If you have bad video, move onto section 6.

    No video – Hah, sucks don't it? Okay, reboot again (just hold the power button down to shut it off). Hold the shift key as it starts back up. The GRUB menu will load asking you what OS you wish to start. The default option should be selected, press 'e' to edit the boot lilne. Next to "quiet" add a space and "nomodeset". Then press CTRL + X. (thanks onhafoghefifo) You will have to remember this step until you get the nvidia drivers installed on step 7.

    6.At this point your wireless card appears to work. And it does to a point... packet loss plagues this card. If you wish to improve it a little you will want to install a newer kernel (2.6.36.2 kernel at end of this document, or compile your own).

    I ended up replacing my wireless card as I stream a lot of media to my PS3 and I like to game on this thing. For normal use you can probably put up with the crap Atheros card. However for best results I highly recommend getting a different one. I went with an Intel WiFi Link 1000 card.


    7.Now for video. You may have a desire to simply download the nVidia drivers Ubuntu provides. Just say no to this method, only madness and headaches will follow for the 310m card that's inside this machine. Instead we'll download the latest from nVidia's website. Go to nVidia's site and download some drivers (any 256 driver will work, and 260.19.29 works, other versions may or may not work. After the drivers are downloaded you have to quit X and install them from command line. Pay close attention to where you've saved them (home folder makes things easier).

    Press Ctrl+Alt+F1 to be dumped to a terminal. Login. Run the following command to shut down the X server.
    Code:
    sudo service gdm stop
    Now navigate to where you downloaded the nVidia drivers. If you saved them to your home folder, you're already there. For first timers... Use "cd" to change directory. Use "ls" to list the items in your current directory. To mark the nVidia drivers as executable use the following command...
    Code:
    chmod +x NameOfNvidiaDrivers
    To install the nvidia drivers use the "./" command, as follows...
    Code:
    ./NameOfNvidiaDrivers
    ./ means "Run this file that is in the current directory." Simply typing the files name will attempt to run a file location in /usr/bin rather than the current directory.

    Towards the end of the install the drivers will ask if you would like to run nvidia-xconfig. Go ahead and say yes and continue on.

    8. HDMI Audio - Doesn't work by default. Below are the steps I took to correct this on my system, I'm not sure if all steps are required.
    It looks like the 260 drivers from nVidia (260.19.29 right now) work for video.

    Huge kudos goes to this wiki.
    http://wiki.xbmc.org/?title=HOW-TO_s...T220,_or_GT240

    However in case anything changes, I will post exactly what I've done here.
    1. I upgraded my nVidia drivers to 260.19.29
    2. I updated my Kernel to 2.6.36.2 - Not sure if this step is needed, but .debs of this are at the end of this post.
    3. Added the following line to /etc/pulse/default.pa
    Code:
    load-module module-alsa-sink device=hw:1,7
    4. Make sure your device isn't muted in alsamixer. Run 'alsamixer'. Press F6. Choose HDA NVidia. You can unmute all of them if you want, but it's the 2nd option on our laptops so that's the only one that doesn't need to be muted.
    5. Reboot (remember to use 'nomodeset' if you need it)
    6. Open up your Sound preferences (System > Preferences > Sound) and choose your new output device (High Definition Audio Controller)

    9.That's it. You should be up and running now. Just remember that your wireless card will disappoint you until you replace it or Atheros finally fixes the packet loss issue.

    As of April 2011 I am no longer updating this guide. Ubuntu has steadily moved away from "bleeding edge but buggy" and more towards "stable but old", and that's not something I want for personal use. I have moved to Debian unstable. Ubuntu, I'll still see you every day at work. I hope we can still be friends and that things won't become awkward.

    10. Links to kernel headers and image...
    http://darkstang.com/vpccw21fx/linux...2-ds_amd64.deb
    http://darkstang.com/vpccw21fx/linux...2-ds_amd64.deb
    Last edited by Dark_Stang; April 2nd, 2011 at 05:44 AM. Reason: Updating

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: HowTo: Sony VPCCW21FX

    Hi, First thanks for excellent post, i buyed this model of laptop VPCCW21FX and i would like my Ubuntu 10.04 work in my laptop, but don't work, i follow your steps, install in alternate mode because normal install dont work, but in the section 5, when i should choose (if i have no video yet) Ubuntu recovery mode, i have no video too, black screen in recovery mode, i can't enter to console for modify the xorg.conf file, same result when i booted in normal mode. Please, i need a help, thanks for your time.

    Ubuntu Rocks.

  3. #3
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    Re: HowTo: Sony VPCCW21FX

    Interesting. There may have been an update to the .iso since I initially installed. I am working on a solution for you.

    Edit: Okay, try this out.

    Pop the alternate install CD back in and restart the computer with that in it. It should load the main menu of the CD again.
    Choose "Rescue a broken system" from the options.
    Go through the menus as normal until you get to "Choose Root FileSystem."
    Pick your root filesystem and choose "Drop to root shell." If you choose the wrong partition don't worry, you'll just get an error message.
    Once you're at a root shell prompt navigate to /etc/X11 .
    Now run "nano xorg.conf" .
    Make your way down to the Driver option and change it to "vesa".
    If there is a module section, delete it.
    Now save the file (Ctrl + O) and exit nano(Ctrl + X).
    Type "exit" to exit the root shell, then choose reboot the system.

    Hopefully it should work for you now... Let me know how it goes.
    Last edited by Dark_Stang; May 23rd, 2010 at 07:27 PM. Reason: testing

  4. #4
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    Re: HowTo: Sony VPCCW21FX

    Humm i'll try your tip, i can't test now your tips, i'm travelling now, but thanks by your time, i really appreciate your help, we are in contact. Thanks again.

  5. #5
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    Re: HowTo: Sony VPCCW21FX

    Hi, i tested your tips, i booted with alternate install cd, and select rescue a broken system and navigate to /etc/X11, but don't have a xorg.conf file, instead i have a xorg.conf.failsafe file, very curious, so i checked the content of that file (xorg.conf.failsafe), and i found the line driver "vesa", so i use the cp command (cp xorg.conf.failsafe xorg.conf), and reboot the system, but same result and normal and recovery mode, black screen, so, i like that shows me your xorg.conf file for compare with my file. I think that my file is incomplete and don't start the graphical mode. And finally what do you think about that i don't have a xorg.conf file.

    Thanks by your time.

  6. #6
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    Re: HowTo: Sony VPCCW21FX

    All right. Go ahead and get back into /etc/X11. Copy the file xorg.conf.failsaif to xorg.conf. To do that just run...
    Code:
    cp xorg.conf.failsaif xorg.conf
    Make sure the driver line reads vesa. Then reboot and see if video is there.

  7. #7
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    Re: HowTo: Sony VPCCW21FX

    Hi, first thanks for the post, surely did help a lot of people, but it didn't work for me. I buyed one VPCCW21FX laptop and would like to use it with ubuntu lucid. Got the same problems, and found how to solve the graphics part on the internet. However never found a way to make my wifi work as it should. I followed all the steps in your tutorial, but never got any far from connecting to my router. Packet loss happens all the time, making it impossible to use. I've tried so far:
    * installed the linux-backports-modules-wireless-lucid-generic
    * compiling the most recent kernel following your steps: 2.6.34
    * compiling it and using the compat-wireless for 2.6.34 kernel
    * even tried to activate network boot on BIOS because I read it somewhere that a guy did it and his wifi started to work as it should after installing backports modules
    after so much failures I don't know what else to do
    my last options as I can see now are trying madwifi and ndiswrapper, but I read that it won't work with the AR9285 wireless card.

    Please help me!!!

    Thanks in advance

    NOTE: my wireless works just fine with windows, so that is not hardware problem
    Last edited by onhafoghefifo; May 31st, 2010 at 06:13 AM.

  8. #8
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    Re: HowTo: Sony VPCCW21FX

    Did you download and install the kernel that I have posted? How did you solve your graphics issue?

  9. #9
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    Re: HowTo: Sony VPCCW21FX

    Onhafoghefifo, How did you solve your graphics problem? Please tell us, i'll go crazy working with windows7.

    Thanks by your time,

    Ubuntu rocks.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Re: HowTo: Sony VPCCW21FX

    I've installed my ubuntu from live cd.
    To do so after selecting your language when booting from live cd press F6 and check the "nomodeset" option, and your video card will work.
    After installing it restart your pc, and when the grub menu shows up press 'e'. Add next to quiet the word nomodeset, and then press CTRL + X.
    To make my video work I followed the steps of this post: http://newyork.ubuntuforums.org/show...04&postcount=9
    But instead of installing nvidia packages from apt-get I used the latest binary package from nvidia site (at the time is 195.36.24): http://www.nvidia.com/object/unix.html

    Dark_Stang, I've downloaded the kernel version you used, but didn't give it a try yet. Planning to do so this evening. But theoretically shouldn't the newer version work just as fine? I've downloaded also the compat-wireless bleeding edge drivers. If this fails, I don't know what else to do.

    jjchm, I'm going crazy to work with windows 7 too. I need my ubuntu working perfect asap. It's such a pain having to manually install all the tools that I could just apt-get in ubuntu.

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