Larry Osterman's WebLog

Confessions of an Old Fogey
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Forced to use XP again

Forced to use XP again

  • Comments 24

A couple of weeks ago, my old laptop's motherboard gave up the ghost, so after much price and feature shopping, I got a new Toshiba Satellite A100 laptop for work.

 

In general, I love this box.  It's pretty fast, has a good modern processor, a decent video card (NVidia Go 7300), 1G RAM, and more extras than I would expect for a value laptop (it cost under $1000).  This thing's got Bluetooth, a fingerprint reader, a SD flash reader, IR, and other stuff - way more than I'd expect for a low end laptop.

I have only two major complaints about it.  The first is that the monitor, while a 15 inch widescreen monitor, can only do 1280x800 (my old laptop could do 1280x1024 and I miss that).

The other major complaint is that I can't run Vista on it.  Toshiba hasn't yet released the display drivers for the video card, so I have the choice of running XP in 1280x800 or Vista in 1024x768 VGA mode.  And I'm addicted to the resolution.

I actually tried Vista for a while, but it was too painful - everything worked (even the silly fingerprint reader had drivers on Windows Update), but not having the screen working just got on my nerves.

 

What's interesting is that after using Vista exclusively at work for 6 months and almost exclusively for over a month (I have one machine at home I use that doesn't have Vista on it), I've decided that the XP UI is just broken.  I've got totally used to the Vista UX and hate not having it.  I miss being able to type into the pearl, I actually miss breadcrumbs (which is wierd, because I hated them when I first encountered them).

 

I can't wait until Toshiba finally gets the drivers for my machine finished, XP feels so dated.

  • Hi Larry!

    There's a website that has modified nvidia drivers that also work on mobile versions of the nvidia graphics adapters:

    http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=11329

    http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=8128

    This driver should work with your Toshiba on Vista.

  • From my personal experience, www.laptopvideo2go.com is your friend for Vista drivers for laptops (with Nvidia video). The chances of you getting drivers from Toshiba are close to zero as these guys point out. My grand old Tecra A4 is running aero beautifully, thanks to them.

  • Unfortunately those are all XDDM drivers (XP Device Driver Model).  For Vista, I need an LDDM driver (Longhorn Device Driver Model).  I didn't see any of those on that site.

    I've tried the XDDM driver on this machine and it was.... Unpleasant.

  • I am using this and it works:

    http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=10932

    for 64-bit:

    http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=10933

    don't forget to use the modded INF, as otherwise, it wouldn't 'see' your card.

  • I know exactly how you feel!!

    I've installed Vista's RC1 on my Toshiba laptop, and after 3 hours for this process to complete, after a few time playing around I've soon too discover that it needed rollback to a new XP instalation (a job of 5 hours).

    And, like you, I also miss the resolution of my last laptop, aldo much under powered compared to the present one, it had small advantage (but big for me): able to display a 1600x1024 resolution.

  • Sorry, when you say, "...type into the pearl,..." what is the pearl?  I don't think I've ever heard of that.

  • The pearl is the windows logo - it replaces the start button.  You click on the pearl and start typing to find stuff.

  • The modded INF+drivers from laptopvideo2go.com works perfectly for me on b2. I haven't tried RCx yet (b2 is stable for me so I don't want to lose a day rebuilding my laptop) but that site has a mod they claim works on RC1 and later.

  • > I've decided that the XP UI is just broken.

    Only (well... mostly only) the defaults are broken.  You can set a lot of things to the "classic" look, and not hide hidden files and not hide extensions of executable files etc.

    > Unfortunately those are all XDDM drivers (XP Device Driver

    > Model).

    Oh, I didn't know that's what XDDM stands for.  The only observations I've made of "XDDM" is that the word "Microsoft" is next to it and it BSODs all the time.  I've sent around 5 minidumps from various versions.  One time one of your colleagues asked for a full memory dump, which I wasted a few hours producing and submitting, whereupon your company tossed it because it was larger than 50MB.  Can you explain to your colleagues that full memory dumps are likely to be larger than 50MB and they shouldn't tell customers to waste time submitting such?

    On the other hand NVidia drivers are one thing I haven't had trouble with in Vista.  The only NVidia drivers I had trouble with were in XP, for the GeForce 6100.  (Um... not a fair comparison.  I no longer have a GeForce 6100 chip and don't know if NVidia's Vista drivers would fail on it the same way.)

  • I remember when Windows XP RC1 got out. Unlike Vista RC1 or 2 everything just worked. Windows had its own video drivers for my Geforce and I could run any resolution the card supported.

    When I installed Vista RC2, my Audigy sound card was missing drivers and my 3Com network adapter was also missing drivers (which was most frustrating since I couldn't just connect to the internet to download new drivers - I had to download on another computer and transfer by an usb harddrive.).

    I'm quite worried about this. Isn't vista going to have the same "works-just-out-of-the-box" as Windows XP did?

  • So.....the $64k question for me - does it make the laptop sleep UX as good as OS X does on my iBook - i.e. you shut the lid'n'go and when you arrive, you open the lid and you're using the lappie in about 2 seconds?

    Don't get me wrong - I use Windows quite happily at work, I'm not a raving Mac-head...but since I got my iBook last November, this aspect of OS X-dom means I don't want to use a Windows laptop. Well, that and the Unix command line and the almost 6 hours of battery life. Oh, and TextMate.

  • Right now I think I'm going to avoid Vista, even though I've been testing the betas and release candidates.

    I like the breadcrumbs, I like the pervasive search, but my tools simply aren't going to work (eVC 3.0 and 4.0 are completely broken, and DevDiv recently announced that they won't support VS 2003 even though it's still well within its support lifecycle). I'm not buying and installing a new OS then have to run all my development tools in a VM. You know my attitude to running programs in a VM, Larry, I remember we had this discussion a few years ago.

    I said over on the Code Project forum, where this announcement was linked, that preventing developers from running, or at least not helping them run, their tools on the new OS is idiotic in the extreme. If the developers don't adopt it, they won't develop applications which use the new features or run well on the OS, which may well lead to end-users not adopting it.

  • This isn't a XP-vs-Vista-features problem, it's a "what my brain is now trained to do as a reflex" problem. Any time someone rearranges the furniture it's going to take you longer to get through the room until you learn the new pattern.

    The question remains, is the new arrangement really that much better than the old one? And, was it worth waiting five years? I have been using the Vista beta for a year and I'm not yet convinced. My dev box will stay on XP for at least another six months. Vista users would get better support if I could run the darned thing accepably in a VM. Having to haul everything over to a separate computer for testing is so five years ago.

  • The steps in this blog entry worked fine for me with my GEForce 7600 Go in my Vaio.

    http://blogs.msdn.com/sumanc/archive/2006/07/13/664460.aspx

  • Dave, that's a good point, and a valid one.  Personally I think it was worth it, but YMMV.

    At a minimum, the security changes alone are worth it - I don't feel uncomfortable surfing the web in Vista, especially with IE.

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