I really do love Sony. They do have so many innovative ways of ******* off their customers it's unbelievable they are still in business. We have already seen proprietary formats, rootkits on CDs, the soon to be closed online music store that will leave customers who have purchased music there with not playing music if they change hardware or computer. Now there is another story emerging, this one is about Sony notebooks and how they lock out low cost batteries.
Reports are all over the Internet (here, here or here for instance) and from the date of the news we can see that it is not really a "new" problem but one that exists for several years. If you own a Sony laptop and want to buy a separate battery you have to pay roughly three to four times the price if you buy a original Sony battery instead of a generic one.
If you make the decision to buy the generic battery you might be in for a nasty surprise. Sony is not allowing generic batteries in many of their notebooks by using software and hardware protections. The software protection is simply a file called ISBMgr.exe which prevents the usage of another battery not manufactured by Sony. Some users were able to use the battery by removing that program from their computer. (ISBMgr.exe is apparently run at system startup, use msconfig or autoruns to disable it.)
One user described the error message that he received when he booted his Sony notebook with the generic battery:
I got an error message saying the battery either wasn't properly inserted or wasn't a genuine Sony, and that the notebook would go into hibernation and the battery must be removed
The hardware protection on the other hand cannot be disabled which means that if you have a notebook with that hardware protection you will not be able to use a generic battery. The It's a Sony slogan becomes a whole new meaning, don't you think ?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.