Windows 8.1, Windows 7, heat sink/fan assembly issues, RAM

thomas-

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Oct 26, 2014
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Hi everyone,

I believe this is the most appropriate sub-forum for this post. Please forgive me if it's not or if this post should be several different posts in various sub-forums.

Basically, I have a Sony Vaio VGN-z520n laptop that has an Intel Core2 Duo P8400 cpu which I purchased back in 2008/2009. Originally it came with 32-bit Vista Business installed and 3GB of RAM.

Recently, I've been trying to upgrade it to try to get better performance out of it. I heard that windows 8.1 could make old laptops function better, so I figured I would try it out. Previously, I had installed a ssd + hdd hybrid 1TB hard drive to try to increase the performance while I had Vista installed, which it did. I know I could further increase performance with a true SSD, but the 1TB models aren't at the price I would be willing to spend.

Windows 8.1

After installing Windows 8.1 I immediately noticed that heat sink fan was running louder. Pretty much a few minutes, if that, after turning on my computer it kicks on and doesn't turn off even if I'm just browsing the web. I've been monitoring it with speed fan and it seems that the CPU temps sit between high 40s and 60s. Occasionally, it might jump up to the 70 - 80 degrees or so.

Also, just for the heck of it I installed 64-bit Ubuntu as a virtual machine in a trial copy of Workstation 11 while typing this post just to see how the CPU temps would go. During the installation the CPU temps stayed steady around 75-76 degrees and but didn't rase higher than 79 degrees Celsius.

I'm not sure if these temperatures are normal. It doesn't seem like anything to worry about, but the temps with just the web browsing seem kind of high. I was pleasantly surprised to see them temperatures remain steady without breaking 79 degrees Celsius during the Ubuntu VM installation.

I researched the fan always being on and I heard that updating the graphics driver may solve the fan issue. Which brings me to the first issue.

Drivers

My laptop is not supported anymore. The last drivers that Sony support on their website is Windows 7. Therefore Sony doesn't have any Windows 8.1 specific drivers. When I installed Windows 8.1, it installed the 64-bit version which surprised me because I always assumed that my processor was 32-bit, since it had a 32-bit Vista version on it.

Will 64-bit Windows 7 drivers work with 64-bit Windows 8.1?

I currently have the latest 32-bit Vista BIOS from Sony on my laptop. I saw that there was a newer BIOS for 64-bit Windows 7. Is it ok to install this BIOS even though my laptop is running Windows 8.1 and not Windows 7?

Graphics Driver

When I tried to install newer graphics drivers from nVidia their installation tool told me that it could not find supported graphics hardware. I did some research and found out it was possible to make some changes to the INF files by adding in the device id of my graphics card to the files along with some other things. I was able to get a newer graphics driver to install certain parts of the driver, but not all of it. This didn't fix the fan issue.

Is the graphics driver a likely cause of my fan issue?

Heat Sink Assembly

I was also thinking the heat sink/fan issue may be due to accumulated dust. I saw some dust that had accumulated on the center of the fan where the fan blades attach to the center, but that's about all the dust I could find.

About a year ago I had to completely disassemble the laptop to replace a DC harness cable due to a broken cable. Years before the laptop had fallen off the bed and broke the shell that surrounded the DC harness cable then finally the inside cable got broken just due to the force of inserting and removing the DC power jack. While replacing the DC harness cable I gave the inside of my laptop a pretty good cleaning and I also had to reapply thermal past seeing as I had to remove the heat sink assembly to replace the cable.

Could the heat sink assembly be the cause of the fan always being on? Is it simply old and needs to be replaced?

RAM

This is a completely separate issue, but once I realized that I was able to install more than 3-4 GB RAM in my laptop due to having a 64-bit operating system I tried to install more RAM.

While researching my CPU and chipset everything I read in Intel's documentation said that the chipset and CPU should support that amount of RAM. Crucial's memory tool said that the max RAM was 4GB for my computer model, but another website said the max RAM was 8GB. I'm assuming Crucial's website listed 4GB as that is what Sony supported.

I bought two RAM modules from the website that said my model of laptop should support 8GB of RAM. When I installed the two 4GB RAM module into my laptop, it refused to boot. If I installed each module by itself, my laptop would boot up and 4GB of RAM would show up both in the System properties and in the Task Manager. Additionally, I could combine each 4GB RAM module with the original 1GB and 2GB RAM modules and the computer would boot just fine and 5GB and 6GB of RAM would show up just fine. However, I never could get my laptop to boot with both 4GB modules.

I emailed support of the company who I purchased the RAM from. They tried to help me troubleshoot the problem, but they couldn't resolve it. They did mention that they would allow me to return 1 or both RAM modules to them for a refund as long as I requested a RMA number within 30 days after delivery of the RAM.

The only reason I'm trying to get 8GB RAM in my laptop is because I'm starting to mess around with virtualization, and it would be nice to run a few VMs on my laptop. Although, a few VMs might be a stretch with only two cores and no threading available to me.

Windows 7

Finally, I was thinking about installing Windows 7 on my laptop since it was the last supported version on this model of laptop and has all of the Sony drivers for it. I was thinking this may solve the fan issue and maybe even potentially allow both 4GB RAM modules to work. Furthermore, since there is a 64-bit version of Windows 7 it would still allow me to install Workstation 11 and still allow me to play around with VMs.

I've tried find retail copies of Windows 7, but haven't been successful. I've seen OEM copies and read other threads on here, but from my understanding OEM copies of Windows 7 are meant for computers that are going to be sold to another person.

Does anyone know of a place where it's still possible to buy a retail copy of Windows 7?

Any and all advice on any of these topics is appreciated. The most important thing I am trying to solve is the fan issue.

If there's one thing I could get advice on is whether to try to replace the heat sink/fan assembly or just install Windows 7?

Thank you for your help, it is truly appreciated.
 

Dragos Manea

Estimable
Mar 30, 2015
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Just for testing purpose download from internet a copy of windows 7 and run in trial mode (30 days) to test if it is what you need (if it fixes the fan and ram issue), if it does then buy a windows 7 copy if not there is no point to buy one.
 

thomas-

Estimable
Oct 26, 2014
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4,510
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What's the best website to download a trial copy from?
 
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