My Way of Dealing with Sony VAIO Recovery Discs

I came across a Sony VAIO PCG-FX150 with a few issues. I wound up purchasing another similar VAIO off of eBay (a PCG-FX340) and combining the two units’ parts together to make one dang nice retro laptop. As far as a good battery goes, that remains to be seen.

Nonetheless, one hurdle I had to face was that I needed the drivers for the Fn key combos to work right, for stuff like brightness adjustment, etc. I depend on that a lot, because I expect my doggone laptop to function the way it should. I like key combos and I cannot lie.

I was fortunate to have received recovery discs with the second machine that I purchased, which seem to have been burnt by the seller of the machine. Wow, they really went out of their way to help me out! Very cool. Anyway, I tried to run the applications disc on my VAIO, but it wouldn’t let me, because mine was a FX150, and it was looking for a 340! Thanks, Sony!

But I wasn’t going to stop there. I found out that I could extract the disc content with the utility known as KCAP. I downloaded it, but then I was faced with a new issue: the folder names were uninformative! How was I supposed to go into each one of them, and find out which one was what I wanted?

Lo and behold, I found a way. Each folder usually contains a Setup.ini that tells you what it is. It’s annoying trying to go into each folder to find out what each one was, which I did for a while, but I decided to write a really simple Python script to deal with the problem, which I have attached to this post. I call it the Sony VAIO Recovery Disc Folder Renamer. I’m licensing this under the WTFPL, because I do not care whatsoever. It was so easy, but yet I’m hoping it will actually prove useful to someone, at least one person out there, who might run into the same situation as me.

It’s pretty easy to work with, all ya gotta do is just put the script into the same folder as all of your extracted recovery disc files are, and run it with Python 2.

I’m also attaching KCAP, just in case something happens where it becomes nigh-impossible to find anywhere else. For information on how to use KCAP, see this page on


Computers Affected by “The Solder Plague”

The Solder Plague is a bit hard to define. Initially when lead-free solder started being used (around 2006), the same equipment was being used that used to use leaded solder. The only difference in production, in other words, was that the solder changed. Lead-free solder melts at a higher temperature than leaded, and, as such, must be treated differently. This caused countless devices to be affected by The Solder Plague. Heck, I’ve seen things as new as a Radeon HD 7850 fail from solder issues, so this proves that the solder plague, technically speaking, still isn’t over!

Here is a list of affected devices. Note that there are very likely to be more, and similar models to those listed are very likely to also be affected for the same reason. Keep in mind that not every single device of a certain model is doomed to fail (or has failed in the past), as sometimes, you get lucky. It’s been years since a lot of these computers were made, so if you have one of these that works, it may never fail from this issue.

Devices that have affected dGPUs (dedicated GPUs):

  • HP Pavilion dv2000 (w/dGPU)/dv6000/dv9000
  • Dell Inspiron 1×20
  • Dell XPS M1x30
  • Lenovo Y400?

Devices that have affected chipsets (aka ALL machines of said model are affected):

  • HP Pavilion dv2000/dv6000/dv9000 (w/o dGPU)
  • Dell Inspiron M5030
  • Toshiba L50xD (maybe L55xD too), Toshiba L6xxD
  • Acer Aspire 5551

Equivalent RAM Speed Reference

This is a solution article that explains what memory names are the same as another. For example, DDR-400 and PC-3200 are one and the same.


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Supported Maximum RAM Per Computer Platform

This page tells you what you can use at a maximum on your motherboard, depending on your system type (desktop or laptop) and chipset/CPU.

Generally, you should NOT try to put faster RAM than your chipset/CPU supports, or else you may encounter crashing, freezing, and who knows what else? Simply avoid it.

Intel-based 2006-2008 Laptops

In older laptops, memory support is judged by the chipset.

ChipsetYearMax CPU FSBMax RAM capacity & speedNotes
Mobile Intel 940/943GML2006533MHz2GB DDR2-533X
Mobile Intel 945GM/PM/GME2006667MHz4GB DDR2-6671
Mobile Intel GM/PM9652007800MHz8GB DDR2-667X
Mobile Intel GL402008800MHz8GB DDR2-800/DDR3-1066X
Mobile Intel GS402008800MHz4GB DDR2-800/DDR3-1066X
Mobile Intel GM/PM4520081066MHz8GB DDR2-800/DDR3-10662
  1. Only supports 32-bit memory addressing; only up to 3.5GB will be usable, no matter how much you go above it.
  2. RAM generation depends on your motherboard. DDR2 boards cannot take DDR3 or vice versa.

Intel-based 2009-now Laptops

In newer laptops, memory support is judged by the CPU.

CPUYearMax RAM capacity & speed
Core i7 1st-gen Quad-Core20098GB DDR3-1333
Celeron/Pentium/Core 1st-gen Dual-Core20108GB DDR3-1066
Core i7 Extreme 2nd-gen201116GB DDR3-1600
Core i7 2nd-gen Quad-Core201116GB DDR3-1333
Core i3/i5/i7 2nd-gen Dual-Core20118GB DDR3-1333
Pentium/Core i3/i5/i7 3rd-gen201232GB DDR3-1600
Core i3/i5/i7 4th-gen Dual-Core201332GB DDR3/DDR3L-1600
Core i7 4th-gen Quad-Core201432GB DDR3L-1600
Core i3 5th-gen20158GB DDR3L-1600
Core i5/i7 5th-gen Dual-Core201516GB DDR3L-1600
Core i7 5th-gen Quad-Core201532GB DDR3L-1866
Core i3 6th-gen201532GB DDR4-2133
Core i5/i7 6th-gen201532GB DDR3L-1600/DDR4-2133
Core i3/i5/i7 7th-gen “U”-models201632GB DDR3L-1600/DDR4-2133
Core i5/i7 7th-gen Quad-Core201764GB DDR3L-1600/DDR4-2400
Core i3/i5/i7 8th-gen “U”-models201732GB DDR4-2400
Core i7 8th-gen Hexa-Core & 8th-gen “H”-model i5s201864GB DDR4-2667

Common BIOS Keys for Computers

This page is a list of common keys to enter the boot menu and/or BIOS of a computer.

Brand of Motherboard/SystemBIOS keyBoot menu keyRecoveryOther
Acer Aspire OneF2F12?Boot menu has to be enabled
HP MediaSmartDeleteF12Disc only
ASUS DesktopDeleteF8
DellF2F12Windows’ Recovery Menu (F8)Diagnostics F12
SamsungF2Esc/F12F4On models that show a loading bar in the BIOS, only press Esc once, and only while you see the loading bar.
Gateway LaptopF2F12Windows’ Recovery Menu (F8)
Gateway DesktopF2F10
ASUS LaptopF2Esc
Newer HPF10F9F11Diagnostics: F2
Older HP/CompaqF1Esc