Monday, December 18, 2006

Windows Vista Ultimate on Dell XPS M170

I installed Windows Vista Ultimate on my Dell XPS M170 laptop with all the fixin's 3-days ago. I actually did the upgrade process and am now (pretty) happily up and running. I haven't had alot of time to play with it until today since I received a Nintendo Wii for my birthday from my wonderful wife. I finally got into fixing all of the little things today.

First the process of actually getting the install to run. I had to remove Nero and Daemon tools to my dismay. Daemon tools had given me trouble before uninstalling so I went through the old process of finding the leftovers in the registry, reinstalling 3.47 and then removing it. Problem solved, Vista install is running. My best estimate is that it took about 5 hours to upgrade.

What was missing:

  • Scrolling from my touchpad

  • Bluetooth access to my Motorola BT120 from Skype

  • Media Direct was totally buggered

  • Quickset dies alot, hard to control the pretty XPS lights

  • Visual Studio 2005 is incompatible???!?!

  • Power management neutered?

  • Symantec Antivirus CE 9 Dead

I am sure I will find alot more problems along the way but these were the major ones. Now that I look back, they are pretty unmajor. I was a little irked to find my system is runnning at a Windows Experience Index of 2.1 due to my processor but I am sure that isn't a big deal in the long run. The one problem I did notice immediately was the glacial movements of my start menu. A quick googling told me to turn off the "Highlight newly installed programs" feature under Customize Start Menu. It worked although I am still unsure of the new start menu layout in general, I have a big start menu and don't really like scrolling through everything. The Control Panel also seems a bit sluggish when opening.

Addressing My Issues

Issues 1 and 2
I was saddened to find Dell has taken a nolo contendere stance in the Vista scheme of things on their older (cry) laptops. I did a lot of digging into the hardware origins and found some drivers for other laptops using the same OEM hardware. For the Dell Wireless 350 Bluetooth Internal Card I found a download from the Toshiba Site. Same site had the ALPS Touchpad Driver version 7.0.302.3 whcih restored problem 2 on my list.

Issue 3
I plugged in my USB IR receiver and hit the Media Direct button, it wasn't good. After punching enough buttons, Vista gave up and kicked into basic skin mode to support Media Direct but even then it was barely functioning. Another googling revealed that Windows Media Center did a pretty good job, but would it function like my beautiful Media Direct in XP? Yes, it worked beautifully, actually better that Media Direct. It was great. The only problem wat that when I hit the home key on my Dell remote, I would get both MD and WMC fighting to take control. I quickly uninstalled Media Direct and now have a very happy solution. Now I want to buy the TV tuner for my laptop so I can use the DVR functionality. Later Cyberlink PowerDVD popped up as well, a quick uninstall took care of that as well.

Issue 4
The volume controls actually do respond to the buttons as does the mute. I can use BIOS to do the rare change to my light configuration. There is a newer version of Quickset out there but it refuses to install on my system. I guess I will wait and see if Dell comes out with something for me.

Issue 5
I am installing Visual Studio 2005 SP1 right now, it's a monster, there is supposed to be an SP that directly addresses Vista in Jan or Feb of 2007. We will see how bad it really is. I did fire it up (using the Start as Administrator option). Checked out a solution from my Visual Source Safe and closed it with no major issues. I will be digging into the development in the next few days to make sure all is well there.

Issue 6
I was wondering if my low processor score was due to processor throttling. I went into the power management control and was frightened by the lack of control over the various power management features of my XPS. I decided to create my own power plan only to find the same lack of options available. It turns out that after you create a power plan, you can go back in and Change Plan Settings, Change advanced power settings and there are all the missing items.

Issue 7
Upgraded to Symantec Antivirus CE 10.2. All seems to be well with it.

So, there you have it. I still look forward to finding a tool to control my XPS lights but not too worried right now. This post will be updated as I find new issues and resolutions.

No comments:

Post a Comment