Posts Tagged ‘Windows 7’

Windows 7 and ye olde PCs … woe unto thee …

In STT on December 8, 2009 at 1:51 pm

So I was pretty excited that Windows 7 installed and worked on some of the old laptops we have here at the NMRLS lab (circa 2004-06, see that post here).  But I’m now become disconsolate over the fact that I can’t get it work on some of my favorite ye olde desktop PCs … Well I can get it to actually work and boot up (which I was kinda of amazed at).  And for old geezer PCs, they’re impressively zippy, but I can’t get them on to the internet!

Turns out there are no approved Windows 7 drivers for the 3Com or Linksys Ethernet controllers these “ye olde”PCs use … and the Vista versions of theses drivers won’t work either … All the PCs are Dells  that date from way back in 2002.

The “ye olde” network adapters in question:

Dell Optiplex GX400 + Dell OptiPlex GX 240
Network controller is integrated into motherboard on both these models.

  • 3Com 3C905C integrated network card
    -Windows link
    -3Com link

Dell Dimension 4400
There is no integrated Ethernet or network card on this PC.  It uses an Ethernet to USB adapter for its network connection.

  • Linksys USB200M ver.2.0 Ethernet adapter
    -Windows link
    -Linksys Cisco link

So ironically I upgraded an old computer to a brand new version of Windows, it seemed to work just fine, but I just couldn’t get to the internet tubes!  So there’d be no updates to Windows, or any software, or even reading of this blog!  On the other hand the virus risk would be minimal 😉


Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor
Download, install and run.  A full report with compatibility on hardware and software is the result, read it!

Windows 7 Compatibility Center
A listing of apparently every piece of hardware and software ever put into a PC(!) and site also lists whether Windows 7 will work with hardware or software in question. Compiling this must have been fun for the testers!

In case you’re wondering I didn’t blow away and reformat the Windows XP disks originally installed on these PCs.  I installed Windows 7 on another olde hard drive I had kickin’ around and swapped it out.  Since the Dimension 4400 uses PCI slots for peripheral cards, I may hunt around for a cheap Ethernet card and try to get Windows 7 going on this PC again.

oohhh … so close …

My Windows 7 Install Experience

In STT on November 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm

As I’m sure you know by now, the lines to buy Windows 7 started on October 22nd, and I’m sure you attended a “Launch Party” too!

I’ve completely installed 4 copies of Win7, 3 copies almost installed (see that post here), and had on my MacBook Pro too for a while, so 8 Windows “install experiences” TOTAL thus far.

Three of these have been the FREE Evaluation Copy – Build 7100 on three different machines (as per the license for this formerly FREE release candidate version, kudos Microsoft!).   One of these was on a Mac via Apple Boot Camp and two of these installs on older NMRLS computer lab PC laptops.

On Thanksgiving Day I installed the retail version of Windows 7 Ultimate for my mother-in-law on her 17″ HP laptop, upgrading from Vista.  I was hoping that the only turkey in the house was basting in the oven! This may have been the most important upgrade I’ve ever performed(!) … given the possibility for familial strife had it not gone well … whew, it went well, albeit with some major quibbles on my part due to the incredible slowness and inane-ness of Windows installs (like not having the Mail and Photo software on the install disc!  It was the Ultimate version, shouldn’t it have everything!!!).

Generally speaking, other than the multiple reboots and numerous updates to download after initial install, it went pretty smoothly for a Windows install.  But, unlike my experience with Apple OS X or even Ubuntu upgrades, Windows 7 upgrades do take a lot of time … like pretty much write-off-your-afternoon or work-day kind of time.  This is mainly due to the fact you need to keep an eye on the machine in case it asks you a question or just plain stops the process … yeah, it’s a project …

TIP: decline the offer to download updates from the internet while performing the upgrade.  I’ve never gotten this to work, ever!  My experience is that while it makes online attempts for updates it slows the process down and at worst quits out of the whole upgrade process.  First thing you should do once Win7 is up and running is run a Windows Update to get your machine and Win7 up to speed.

Please Note that a Windows 7 install will reformat the disc of a Windows XP PC and may blow away any associated files, but Windows 7 retains files and programs when upgrading from Vista.  Although, always, ALWAYS! perform a backup before any upgrade!

Also, you may need to re-install drivers for sound cards, Ethernet cards, WiFi cards etc., etc.  Which is a pain, but Windows 7 is pretty good about finding these drivers itself or if it’s a Dell, just download the latest, even if it’s for WinXP, and Windows 7 seems to adapt (although, depends on age of your PC components, see my post on Ye Olde PCs here).

Oh, and update your anti-virus too! I recommend AVG Free.  Works like a charm on all versions of Windows and is FREE!  For spyware/malware, Windows Defender is included in the install, just remember to set it up to run regularly.  Or you might want to give Microsoft Security Essentials a try.  It’s the new FREE Microsoft anti-virus / anti-malware program.

BTW, pay attention to the little gray flag in the lower right corner of the screen.  Yeah, it’s the attention grabbing color of grayGRAY! This little flag might remind you to install your anti-virus program for instance… as this Mac guy totally forgot about that and was surfing the web (gasp!) before he remembered … I  did not have that problem when installing Snow Leopard 😉

Below are the system stats on the machines I’ve installed Windows 7 on thus far as well as the Windows Experience Score (WES) which rates your machine on a handy 1.0 – 7.9 scaleyep not 1-10, but 1 to 7.9, gotta luv the Microsoft …

Dell Latitude D620 latop (circa 2006):
2.0 GhzCore Duo T2500 / 2 GB RAM / 80 GB HD / 256MB video
WES = 3.5 (graphics low / hard drive high)

Mac mini desktop (circa 2008):
2.0 Ghz Core 2 Duo T7200 / 1 GB RAM / 120 GB HD / 256MB video
Running dual OS via Apple Boot Camp
WES = 3.3 (graphics low / processor high)

HP Pavilion dv9000 laptop (circa 2007):
1.8 Ghz AMD / 2 GB RAM / 160 GB HD / 256MB video(?)
WES = 3.0 (graphics low / memory high)

Dell Latitude D610 laptop (circa 2004):
2.0Ghz Pentium M / 2 GB RAM / 60 GB HD / 64 MB video card
WES = 2.0 (graphics low / memory high)

On the Plus Side: I will say that Windows 7 works much smoother on all the machines that I’ve upgraded.

  • No more of those constantly nagging security warnings
  • Quicker start up and shut-downs
  • The shut-down button actually shuts the computer down!!!
  • Very adept at finding and logging into WiFi networks
  • Gadgets can be placed anywhere on the desktop
  • Graphically more appealing overall
  • Even on “older” machines its quicker, certainly rids former Vista PCs of their sluggishness