Hello VGX-XL1 friends,
I've sucessfully upgraded Sony's Digital Living System VGX-XL1 from Windows Media Center to Windows Vista Premium. Purchased this unit around a year back at TigerDirect ( $ 1099 ) and have been using it quite a bit with known issues around DTS and everything going out of TosLink as Dolby Live etc. Uninstalled Norton and disabled hibernation from the GO and booted to Windows and then started Media Center, it always loaded the media changer correctly.
With Vista around I kept looking at drivers released at Sony site. Ordered 1 GB of Kingston RAM ( DDR2 4200 ) from NewEgg ( $ 47 ) and grabbled a Vista Premium Upgrade from CompUSA ( $ 94 ). Yes it was STORE CLOSEOUT! Sony was not giving me a Vista express upgrade kit either as the unit was purchased before Oct 26, 2006.
Spent some time analyzing the details given at Sony's eSupport ( esupport|sony|com|US|perl|support-info.pl|info_id=144 - change pipe to . , / and ? ) and then looked at the drivers released for VGX-XL1. A few components listed out in step 7 are not even applicable to this model and a couple of more uninstall utilities were released since Jan 31, 2007 (The date of above link)
Go for it !Opened the box and snapped the HDMI graphics card. Removed two 256 RAM modules and added two 512 MB RAM. Added those two 256 RAM in remaining stots ( # 2 and # 4 ). Removed SATA cable from additional 250 GB hard drive I'd added few months back. Booted the box, memory was recognized. Ran unified and VAIO module uninstallers (thy remove 6 and 3 softwares respectively) and then four additional uninstall utilities published at eSupport site. Removed applications detailed out in Manual removal section ( WinDVD yes ! ).
The upgrade part is easy and you need to follow the steps detailed out in step 5. Opted not to activate Vista while I connect to internet and immediately after the install disabled automatic update to ensure no communication with Microsoft site ( Will enabled after watching a few movies ).
The detail oriented piece. I installed the files in a sequential order and look at the attached image to know my install order. A few applications listed in step 7 are not applicable for VGX-XL1. After covering the list, installed the remaining drivers published at eSupport. System reboots a few times and warns about incorrect installs etc. - ignore those. No WinDVD was a surprise and I was curious how Vista and XL1 are going to handle Dobly ( & DTS ! ).
Time to hold the nerve ! Connected the 200 disk changer and rebooted the system. Started the Media Center ( first time ) and went though mundane steps. Selected My DVD and viola, everything looked perfect! I couldn't believe it. Selected Master & Commander with DTS and my Pioneer VSX-816 switched to DTS! Without doubt there is a noticeable improvement in picture and sound and you will be blown away this time.Sony's Vision meets the reality
( and makes me happy that I'll use VGX-XL1 for next few years to come ).