Installing Ubuntu 12.04 on Sony Vaio VPC-Z13M9E/B

Update 17th June 2012: Please read the comments before following this guide.

I installed 11.04 from scratch and 11.10 as an upgrade. Both of them required quite a lot of fiddling before everything worked as they should.

I am pleased to say that things have improved greatly with 12.04. The install is way easier than before! It’s even easier if you disable RAID and just erase the Win7 partitions. These instructions are suitable if you wish to keep the Win7 install running alongside Ubuntu.

A couple of disclaimers:

Please note that I started the install with a reboot from my old Ubuntu 11.10 with only the Intel GPU enabled (i.e. the GPU switch set on “stamina”). Things might work differently during install if both of your GPUs are enabled, for example, you might need to remove the Nvidia drivers before installing the Bumblebee Nvidia package. But I don’t think this is probable. Please report in the comments if you encounter any strangeness, and I’ll update the post as needed.

Also, I haven’t yet tested everything systematically, I just updated my system an hour ago. So you might wait a week or two before doing this on a high-priority work computer. I’ll update this post if I notice anything strange.

Follow these steps:


  • Download the Ubuntu 12.04 64-bit alternate install image.
  • Use the USB startup disk creator to install it on a USB drive.
  • Start the installation process.
  • Remember to “Activate Serial ATA RAID devices” when asked!
  • Select manual partitioning.
  • I wanted to keep the partitioning scheme intact, so I left the Win7 ntfs partitions intact and just used my old ext4 partition. You can’t create a swap partition, because Win7 + 1 Linux partition take up all 4 primary partitions. That’s all right, you can always create a swap file later on if you like.
  • So select the ext4 partition using enter (or create one), mount it at root (“/”), and set the ‘bootable’ flag on.
  • Write down the name of the Raid volume, in my case it was “/dev/mapper/iswfeheiegigVolume0″
  • At this point, the install starts.
  • After install, you have to specify where to install the bootloader. You saw the name during partitioning, so it could be “/dev/mapper/iswfeheiegigVolume0″, for instance.
  • Remove the boot media and restart.

Post-install procedures

  • Now you have a working install, except both of the GPUs are in use, increasing battery usage.
  • (I got a Compiz crash in the beginning, plus some complaints about incomplete language support. Your mileage may wary.)
  • type in a terminal: “sudo apt-get update” and “sudo apt-get upgrade”
  • I don’t know how, but after upgrading the packages, the Update Manager had still more packages to install (a new 3.2.0-24 kernel). I installed that too.
  • I don’t know if this is necessary, but I rebooted at this point.
  • add the Bumblebee repository and install the packages:
  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bumblebee/stable
  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get install bumblebee bumblebee-nvidia
  • Now I rebooted a final time
  • All done!

I checked using powertop (sudo apt-get install powertop) that the Nvidia chip is not drawing power when idle. Whenever I want to run a program with the Nvidia chip, I just type “optirun programname”. You can try it with “glxspheres” vs. “optirun glxspheres”. I got 18 frames vs. 80 frames.