Sunday, May 10, 2009

Windows 7 RC on ThinkPad W500

Today I replaced Vista (32-bit) on my Thinkpad W500* with shiny new Windows 7 RC (64-bit). Now just waiting for Fedora 11 to be released for dual boot with Windows – yeah, sometimes Virtual Machine is not enough!

In summary, Win7 is just awesome! Installation went smooth. Post-install some problems I faced:

- Switchable graphics didn’t work. However, ATI card works normally with switchable graphics driver (for Vista64) from Lenovo site. But since switchable graphics does not work, you have to set BIOS to use Discrete Graphics as default. I’m not much into computer gaming (occasionally NFS MW, AOE), so I have just set BIOS to Integrated Graphics considering I’m going to dual-boot with Linux once Fedora 11 is released (Linux and ATI are not good buddies).

- Fingerprint device didn’t work. Tried Fingerprint driver for Vista64 from Lenovo site but installer bails out with error “Lenovo Fingerprint Software is not supported on this version of Windows”. Didn’t try any further – its not so important :)

- Few Software incompatibility issues: MagicDisk could not mount ISO (and any other disk image) files. So, currently I have no way to mount such images. Again, not a showstopper. All “essential” stuff works perfectly – Firefox 3, Thunderbird 2, VMware Workstation 6.5.2, Sun VirtualBox 2.2.2, Vim 7.2 (failed to add “Edit with Vim” context menu entry), Visual Studio 2008, Adobe Reader 9, VideoLAN 0.9.9, Office 2007.

Keeping aside above problems, system seems much more responsive than (pre-installed) Vista crap – primarily I think due to full use of 4G RAM (pre-installed was Vista 32-bit. eh!). Startup is fast – Login screen appears within ~30 secs. Shutdown has “Force Shutdown” option – so if something is stuck during shutdown, you have option to kill that pig and proceed with shutdown. Neat.

Overall, this RC is impressive and really, this is how Vista should have been. There is nothing even remotely radical in Win7 over Vista/XP but surely good step forward in terms of performance and stability.

* Configuration: Intel Core 2 Duo (T9600, 2.8GHz), RAM: 4G, Win7 partition: 132G (~35G for Linux), Video: Switchable Graphics (Intel 45 Express + ATI FireGL V5700), Display: WUXGA (1920x1200), Wireless: Intel 5300AGN.