Monday 21 April 2008

Sony Vaio VGN-CR11 Hotkeys

This post is strictly not Linux related, but since many users around the internet seem to have problems getting the hotkeys to work after an 'upgrade' to XP from Vista, I thought I should document the process here.

First of all, the hotkeys I am referring to are the combinations of Fn + F5,F6,F7,F10. They are used to adjust screen brightness, switch between dual video outputs and magnify the screen. There are other buttons on the laptop such as the media control buttons and the AV mode buttons. Unfortunately, these don't work with XP like they do in Vista, and I haven't been able to find a fix. Winamp does detect the Play/Pause,Stop,Previous Track and Next Track buttons, but the volume controls and the mute button still won't work.

The most annoying thing however is the Fn hotkey settings. I can't imagine the logic of controlling the monitor brightness with software. This effectively means that any users not using the Sony recommended Vista crap will get an ultra bright monitor that will eventually make their eyes explode. Unfortunately, I don't have the time or money to look in to this; but I am sure it's illegal in some way.


To get the Fn key combinations working in XP, first you need to download the Sony Shared Library and the Sony Utilities DLL from the Sony-Asia site ( They seem to be the only sane Sony division with proper Vista-to-XP 'upgrade' options at the moment.

You also need to download the Hotkey Utility from Vaio-link ( ). I grabbed the "", you might want to grab a different language edition if your native language is not English.

Then, install the 3 packages in this order:
  1. Sony Shared Library [Reboot after intallation]
  2. Sony Utilities DLL
  3. Hotkey Utility [Reboot after installation]
That's it, the hotkeys should be working now. If not, also download the Sony Vaio Event Service setup from the Sony-Asia site and install it as well.

This is a ridiculous instance of vendor arrogance. We pay for the hardware but they force down their choice of software on us too. How hard can it be to port their tiny Vista driver to work on XP ? Are they so short-handed or more likely, are they employing drunken monkeys as programmers ?? How legal is it to cripple a perfectly working hardware just because the customer chose an alternative OS ??

Finally, if you're tired of all this crap, give linux a try. All the special buttons work on Fedora 8 and 9 as expected without any configuration at all. However, the Fn key combinations are not working. But the brighness control widget for Gnome panel more than compensates for that tiny shortcoming.

1 comment:

Dasun said...

Ha Ha! It looks like u've Recovered from the Crashdown of your Lap.
Keep up the good work man.