imageNow that Windows 7 beta 1 is out in the wild I can't resist sharing my experiences with Windows 7 Beta 1 on my ASUS Eee PC 1000H Netbook (also see My ASUS Eee PC 1000H Netbook and Windows Vista Experiences)  I did a fresh install and the system is upgraded with 2GB RAM, 2GB ReadyBoost SD card, 200GB disk.

To help you get up and running with Windows 7 I've listed the device drivers, software packages I've installed that work just fine plus a few minor tweaks I made!!

First impressions are awesome, system is responsive, stable, search is fast, battery life great and the environment is more consistent and visually appealing.

I love the new unified taskbar with application preview that IMHO combines the best of previous generation Windows and OS X Taskbars and makes for a much more consistent experience.

Battery life on the system is pretty similar to running Windows XP and Vista.  With the network off, screen dimmed, power set to 'Power saver' then getting 5 or so hours, watched part of a movie, did some email, read a few docs, edited a few pictures, wrote this blog item etc..  Yes, you'll notice better memory utilisation but I have 2 gig of RAM installed so not really much of an issue.

Stuff I love

There are a ton of great reviews on the web about Windows 7 and this entry is more about my experiences on the ASUS Eee PC, but a quick summary of the cool stuff I like:-

  • Attention to detail, example the wifi control applet, sticky notes, calculator (tons of new stuff), ribbons added to Paint, Wordpad (see Small Screen UI Optimization for Office - it's applicable for all Ribbon enabled apps)
  • Libraries are a great way for you to consolidate multiple folders of similar items (eg Pictures) and manage, search, sort, filter etc as if they were one.
  • Integrated DivX Codecs see http://apcmag.com/windows_7_surprise_divx_built_in.htm, yup freely available today, but great now just part of the platform, tested and supported.
  • Gadgets anywhere on your desktop.
  • The eye candy, yup, I know, shallow, but the built-in themes are beautiful, love the Australian theme and I assume themes will be available by region.
  • PowerShell 2 and an Integrated script Editor/Debugger.
  • Creating and mounting VHDs (Virtual Hard Disk format used by Virtual PC, Server, Hyper-V Server)
  • clip_image001key combination takes the sweat out of selecting your video output!!
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery (see tweaks below, not specific to Windows 7) - Photo fixing, Tagging, Face Detection along with search and filtering is phenomenal!!

Stuff I'm not sure about

  • Windows Experience Index - Doesn't seem to reflect the "Super Hybrid Engine" Power modes, either a problem with the ASUS Utility on Windows 7 not working or Windows 7 Beta 1 Experience Index issue, I think the latter.
  • LAN traffic slow, wifi works as expected.

Setup and Drivers

Most of what I needed for Windows 7 on my ASUS Eee PC 1000H was part of the default install but I had to manually install the network drivers and ASUS utilities. 

Also be sure to install the "Update for Windows 7" and run Windows Update after the network drivers are installed!!

Chipset/Graphics Diver

Mobile Intel® 945 Express Chipset Family

Installed as part of Windows 7 but run Windows Update for the latest release of drivers from Intel.  As at time of writing this was pre release version 8.15.10.1620

Wireless Network

PCI/mPCI/CB(RT2760/RT2790/RT2860/RT2890)

Installed driver only

http://www.ralinktech.com/ralink/Home/Support/Windows.html ->

http://www.ralinktech.com.tw/data/drivers/IS_AP_STA_RT2860_D-1.2.1.0_VA-2.1.2.0_RU-2.1.9.0_VA-2.2.4.0_AU_2.0.9.0_VA-2.0.9.0_111108_1.0.6.0_Free.exe

LAN Driver

Atheros AR81Family Windows Driver x86/x64(Vista, XP, Server 2003)

Current Version: 1.0.0.40

http://partner.atheros.com/Drivers.aspx

ACPI ASUS Driver

Advanced Configuration and Power Interface Driver

Patched driver from http://gecko.me/?acpifix fixes Vista and Windows 7 driver incompatibility.

ASUS Utilities

Super Hybrid Engine Utility for Windows XP
Current Version: V1.04 - works on top of patched ACPI Driver.

http://support.asus.com/download/download.aspx?SLanguage=en-us&model=Eee%20PC%201000H/XP

Software Installed

  • Office 2007 fully Service Packed
  • Visual Studio 2008 SP1
  • Expression Blend V2 SP1 and Design V2
  • Silverlight 2 SDK and Silverlight Visual Studio Addin
  • Windows Live Essentials - Windows Live Photo Gallery, Live Messenger etc
  • Skype 4.0 Beta (Skype 3.x not supported on Windows 7) - tweaked recording device 2 channel, 16 bit, 48000 Hz (DVD Quality)
  • Adobe Reader
  • Zune 3.1
  • Twitter Clients - Twhirl and Witty

Utilities

  • CCleaner
  • WinRAR - useful for unpacking ISO files while Daemon tools not working on Windows 7
  • Daemon tools for now doesn't install:(

Tweaks

Bar the changes listed below everything else is as default - Super Fetch running, Aero running - Aero auto switches off when on battery and Power Saver mode selected.

  • Disk Advanced Performance: Device Manager -> Disk Drives -> Properties for system drive -> Policies -> Enable: Turn off Windows write-cache buffer flushing on the device (ensure you read the warning!!)
  • Windows Update once a week: Ok, yes probably not best practice.
  • For Skype voice calls set recording device 2 channel, 16 bit, 48000 Hz (DVD Quality), default setting wasn't so great.
  • Set Windows Live Photo Gallery as default photo manager: Start -> Default Programs -> Set your default programs -> Windows Live Photo Gallery -> Set this program as default
  • Set Windows Live Photo Gallery as default Autoplay for photos: Start -> Default Programs -> Change Autoplay Settings -> Pictures -> Import Pictures and Videos with Windows Live Photo Gallery

 

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Resources

Enjoy Windows 7 beta 1 on your Netbook and be sure to send your feedback to the product group via the "Send Feedback" links scattered across most parts of the OS.

Cheers Dave