Friday, March 27, 2009

Running Windows 7 on an Old Computer

Before I explain anything, here are my computer specs:

  • Processor: Mobile AMD Duron 4 1.30GHz
  • RAM: 1024MB, ddr2 400mhz
  • Graphics: SiS 650 (On-Board)

And hard drive states:

  • HD1: 40GB, running Windows XP SP3
  • HD2: 75GB, downloads, music, and future HD of Windows 7
  • HD3: 20GB, running #! Crunchbang Linux

Can you imagine running the Windows 7 RC on a computer like that? I went for it, just for laughs and maybe—just maybe—to use it instead of Windows XP. Who knows, maybe it’ll all be just fine?

(0) What you say !!

You can have your doubts, but I like testing stuff. Running Windows 7, who’s supposed to be able to run on even old systems, on an actual old system? I just wanted to see how it’ll go.

This post is for me to show you how I got Windows 7 running, so in case you have similar issues, maybe you’ll find solutions here.

Note: I couldn’t have done this without having another computer with Internet access on it, whether I needed it for finding answers to problems or to download drivers for my internet-lacking computer.

(1) Running the Setup

Booting from the DVD wasn’t possible so I had to install the OS from my existing Windows XP installation. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a solution for that problem, but having a working Windows to install 7 from might have made me less eager to look for a real solution.

The setup was easy, and I didn’t have to sit staring at the screen in case some setup questions come up. And I was really surprised how the setup took about 30 minutes. I was sure it’ll take more than that, having an old computer and all.

So I came back after 20-30 minutes and saw the setup was at its end, as it was marking the last “Finalizing Installation” step as complete. The computer restarted itself, and suddenly my monitor told me something odd.

(2) Analog out of Range

That’s what my monitor stated. So I posted my question on three different forums and waited for a solution. I am happy to say that once again the Internet didn’t fail me.

On one of the two posts that actually got replies, I was told that I should hit the F8 key after the screen goes blank and run 7 in Safe Mode using a menu of some sort that should appear. So I did that, and I saw the red led on my comp flashing rapidly, then nothing, again. Apparently the safe mode wasn’t displayed for the same reason nothing was displayed until now.

I printed the Windows 7 menu screenshot (using the link above) and blindly pressed the DOWN key three times and hit ENTER. That made 7 boot to Safe Mode with Networking.

EDIT: Remember that before you get to the boot menu, you might have other OSs on your computer. So before getting to the actual boot menu, you might need to hit DOWN and ENTER to get to the Windows 7 stuff. I found the following options most relevant:

  • Earlier version of Windows
  • Windows 7
  • ...and others

(3) Safe Mode with Networking without Networking

As OS installations go, I was missing a few critical drivers: The video, the audio and the networking drivers were all missing. So I had to figure out what my Network card was, look for drivers online and copy them to my 7 computer.

Once I got my driver installed, I tried creating a new network several times. Each time I got a message saying general stuff about not being able to connect, and I assumed the problem was 7’s.

That’s a mistake I won’t repeat. Once I gave up and went to the other computer to look for an answer yet again, I noticed that the Internet connection was acting funny and when I tried to disconnect an reconnect, it failed just like 7.

Then I saw some TV and tried to connect again and succeeded. Now that I was sure my ISP wasn’t to blame, I went back to my 7 computer and tried connecting again. It worked! I was ONLINE!

(4) Windows Update

Windows Update successfully found both drivers I mentioned in the previous section, plus a better version of the network driver and several more to devices I didn’t know even existed on my computer. Finally, I could change to a more reasonable screen resolution and hear those sweet, sweet Windows 7 sound effects.

(5) Working with 7

Surprisingly, I didn’t feel that much of a different in performance between this version of Windows and my old XP installation. My computer is slow and XP is old, but my applications aren’t. I feel they run the same on both OSs, but then again—slow is slow and slower might look like regular slow sometimes.

For those of you who care, here’s my Windows Experience Index scores:


Needless to say I can’t use Aero, and removing many effects might be a good idea. 7 said my system can handle it, but I prefer enabling only the “visual styles on windows and buttons” option so my system won’t look like crap. Really, Vista and 7 make the Windows 2000 ‘Redmond’ style look awful.

(6) Finalizing Postallation

I still can’t see any of the boot menus, so I suppose I’ll install a different one using Linux or whatever; My computer is still sluggish and heavy, but that won’t be solved until I buy a new one.

So my advice to you is only to install this system if you want to test your software and have no faster comp to do that on, unless you want to test your software on old computers and see how it works. Unless you got nothing to lose, I say buy a new computer already or stick to Linux and XP, preferably a lightweight Linux distribution like the one i used. (#!)

(7) One Last Thing

I think I’ll post something about how to get Windows 7 to look like the old OS, with a normal taskbar etc. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bye bye Heysan!

I've been using Heysan! for quite some time, and for those who I chatted with when I was on the road I'm sorry for all the spam it sent you during.

These spam messages were sent to you whenever you opened a conversation with me, or whenever I did. Also, it had too many ads for a small mobile phone screen.

But it wasn't always like that--the service started really well, but as time passed they added ads, some lame point buy-and-sell system and made their spam messages more annoying than ever (it started with a simple 'I'm using Heysan!' but now it's some long message you get every now and then).

I quit looking for a real application for my phone long ago (Nokia 6120 Symbian 60 - 3rd edition) for IM, because most software I installed used some ports that my service provider (Orange) blocked.

But when I had enough for the second time, I looked for other WAP IM and I found eBuddy. It has a web browser client, WAP and mobile phone software. I successfully connected to my IM protocols and chatted, succeeding where other Symbian software failed.

So if you're after one IM client, which is available in either the desktop web, WAP or Symbian--eBuddy is your answer. I just hope it won't go bad like Heysan! did.

Though, I'll always use on desktop computers. It holds my history, and is the best web application for IM I've seen.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Linux Post ...Finally

As I previously stated, I moved to a computer which is terribly low on resources and therefore is really slow and heavy. Thinking Windows XP was just too heavy, I installed #! Crunchbang Linux to try and see how different it is performance-wise.

So now I have two operating systems on my computer: Crunchbang Linux and Windows XP SP3. Working with Crunchbang was easy and simple, as much as Linux can be. I will not try going into details, for I went back to Windows XP because its Firefox had miscellaneous bugs and glitches, and currently I have no choice but to use several Windows-only software on my machine. On the other hand, my DVD burner can not fully operate on Windows and to burn DVDs I must use Linux. Again, both systems have their pros and cons for me right now.

So, I went back to mainly using Windows. Both operating systems were about the same in matters of performance and memory, while in matters of software Linux is still the right way to go; I use web services anyway, like Meebo and Gmail, and I also use Firefox so no matter what operating system I'll end up using--I'll work the exact same way I always do.

And that's an excellent time to mention Weave! This Firefox extension syncs your data with Mozilla's servers (or your own server, it's configurable) that wherever you go, your entire web history, favorites, tabs and much more go with you. The feature I'm more excited about is being able to open a tab in computer A and go to it on computer B. Also, Mozilla's Fennec uses Weave and when Firefox goes fully mobile for Symbian phones, I'll be happy to have all my information really anywhere!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Shredder the Heavy

So I started using Thunderbird (to be exact, I use its 3.0 nightly build called 'Shredder'). After using it for a day I'm not going to use it again.

My computer is really, really sluggish and old. Shredder was quite heavy on my machine (Mobile AMD Duron 4, 1.30GHz 992mb RAM) so I've decided to try it again when I get a new computer--in the extremely far future. Meanwhile I downloaded my entire Inbox with Shredder so at least I have an offline copy of my emails.

Monday, March 2, 2009

No More Mr. Web Mailer

That Google Account incident made me download Thunderbird and use it to download my entire Gmail inbox to my computer using Gmail's IMAP service.

That's a lot of messages to download, but I think it'll be worth it. Plus--it's only once.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sorry, your account has been disabled.

On Saturday when I got back from a bar in Gan Darom, I tried to check my email when I discovered that Google disabled my account!

I tried googling for an answer for to find out that's just another major bug, but it wasn't. They just disabled it without any explanation, so I had to use my hotmail account instead. It was awful.

So I sent them a couple of emails complaining about it: The first the moment it happened, and another the next day.

Finally I got an email to my hotmail account:

We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced. The issue you described should now be resolved. If you continue to experience difficulties, please respond to this message, and we'll investigate further.


The Google Team

I replied to the email, asking what the hell happened. I hope to get a decent response.