Today I finally obtained Windows 7 32 bit Beta bootable ISO (build 7000). Last night I tried to install the non-bootable bits, but it seems something went wrong when we were downloading them from the internal mirror, so I had to wait for today. Today I grabbed the ISO from a colleague and burned it. I was ready for the evening.
My plan was to install tonight Windows 7 beta 32 bits on my old Toshiba Qosmio F20 notebook. We used this notebook in Denmark, it was Vessi’s primary work machine before she got her MacBook, and it also was my primary gaming machine after that 🙂 . Since the notebook is quite old-fashion, I wanted to see how the process would go.
I decided to go on clean install, wiping out the old (and very crap-full) setup.
The basic install went trouble-free and after 25 minutes I had working machine with Windows 7. On first look, I was missing these drivers:
- Mass Storage Controller (WTF?)
- Network (Wireless). My wired network was correctly recognized and setup
First, of course, I needed the wireless driver. I had to use USB stick to transfer it (phew, no worries with the drivers for the stick, though). The wireless driver, of course, did not work “directly”. When I ran it, the setup asked for authorization, and after that just ended 🙂 . Hmmm, let’s try the compatibility wizard? The wizard asked me a couple of questions, I told him that it worked before on Windows XP, Next, Next and then it started and completed successfully. The driver, however, did not fire immediately, so I had to restart. After the restart, of course, it did not work as well :).
I saw that there’s another version of this driver, this time for Intel-based wireless adapters. I downloaded it, and retried the procedure. However, this time there was no setup, just selected “Update driver”, pointed to it and then it started doing “stuff” for about 5+ minutes. Then it timed out.
I retried the process. Same thing. After that I noticed there’s an installation file there (IMDinst) and decided to start it. The first run complained that it’s not supported on this operating system. But I was very pushy and selected after that “Use recommended settings”. Then it started and… timed out after the same amount of time as before, but did not show any error. The last resort was rebooting and retrying.
Suddenly, I noticed that… my wireless switch (the hardware one), is set to… OFF! Damn! DAMN! How stupid is that?
Turned on the wireless switch, and retried. The same thing!
Last resort: restart and retry! And nothing.
My next step was to find the “Intel ® PRO/Wireless network driver” on the net. That hit on the Intel site, which ended up to a 188MB (!!) zip file, containing all drivers (or so they claimed). I just had to download the whole thing (impressive 1221KB/sec speed, thanks Megalan!), and then move it with the same USB stick I was using before. Now I had the VISTA version of the driver as well, so I was a bit more hopeful.
This time I decided to restart and run the package on a clean system. Then I tried the standard setup. And it failed. Now I started to get a bit angry, because I was close to my very last resort: manual install.
This huge, 200MB structure, had 4 set of drivers: 32 bit, 64 bit for both Vista and XP. Since I had 32 bit OS, my choice was only for these. I tried with VISTA driver first and I got a failure! Almost desperate, I tried the XP driver and… oh miracle! It worked.
So, in short, if you want to install the Wireless drivers for this Toshiba Quosmio F20:
- Download the drivers from Intel, nothing else.
- Unpack the driver, you have to see a structure like X:\FV 184.108.40.206_Gen_SW_155293\XP\x32. There are the drivers.
- Manually update the driver. In Device Manager, right click the unknown network driver, and manually point to this directory. Otherwise it will chose the wrong driver and it won’t work.
- And, FFS, turn off your wireless adapter before that!
Now, since my wireless card was already working, it was time for the rest.
The first thing you should know after installing a new Windows setup is: Windows Update! Windows Update helps both for fixing critical security glitches and also it installs the latest drivers’ versions, even some which are not included on the distribution image.
However, before running Windows Update, I decided to install AVG Antivirus. This is great antivirus for personal use, since it’s free for home user and it provides excellent protection and features in the free package. The download and installation took me only like 2 minutes. No restart was necessary, so I was ready to continue with Windows Update.
Windows update showed 4 important updates, all of them were drivers, which I needed in order to get all yellow exclamation marks away from my Device Manager:
- TV Tuner Driver
- Video controller driver
- Audio controller driver
- (Optional) LAN controller driver (not the wireless), which was already working but obviously there was update available
All 4 drivers were successfully installed and after the restart I got it all working and in excellent shape.
Windows 7 boots up in about 25 seconds (from right after BIOS until the login prompt). This is pretty quick, but of course the system is not yet loaded with stuff. We’ll see how it will go after a couple of months usage.
Then I saw that I still have one yellow (!) in the Device manager. This was Mass Storage Device, most probably my card reader. I downloaded the CardBus driver from DriversCollection and tried it. It worked like a charm, but again with manual (Update Driver from Device Manager) installation, I even did not try the standard setup.
My conclusion is that Windows 7 Setup was the best Windows setup I’ve ever experienced in years. Yes, it had its challenges, but none of them were unavoidable. And considering this is the most modern Windows operating system on an old hardware, and considering that all hardware at the end is working as it should, I account this as a definitive success.
I’d encourage every one, who is computer geek, to give Windows 7 beta a try. It will be available soon on the main Windows 7 site. I do not remember when was the official release date for it, but it should be really soon.