Monday, November 09, 2009

Windows 7 on the MSI Wind U100 Netbook

Earlier this week I decided to install Windows 7 on Hobbit, my MSI Wind netbook PC.  Hobbit shipped with Windows XP Home SP3 installed, to which I added Ubuntu Linux in a dual boot configuration.

I have a couple reasons for installing Windows 7.  First, it's a much more up-to-date OS than XP.  In playing around with it at work I've been impressed.  Second, as an IT professional it behooves me to keep up with new technology.

To install Windows 7 on Hobbit, I first needed to acquire a USB optical drive.  I bought an LG Electronics GP08LU10 8X Slim LightScribe DVD+/-RW External Drive. (11/17/09 - Link updated from NewEgg to Amazon.)  Aside from creating the recovery media, booting DBAN from System Rescue CD, and installing W7, it will allow me to access optical media more conveniently on Hobbit.  (Previously, I've copied files from CDs and DVDs to a thumb drive using another computer, or accessed discs over the network.)

I then burned an XP recovery CD.  MSI ships the Wind with an XP recovery partition but no media.  They do include a utility to create a recovery disc. 

For my W7 install I wanted a clean slate, i.e., no OSes on Hobbit's hard drive.  I selected a Custom install, deleted the existing partitions, and created a 50 GB partition for C:\.  (I later formatted the remained of the drive as D:\ after I was up and running.)

The install went smoothly and all my hardware was detected.  After installing the Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus/antimalware suite, Firefox, and a few other apps, I used Hobbit over the weekend.  (My previous favorite AV program was AVG.  The last couple of versions have become increasingly bloated.  I've had good results with MS's offering.)

I am impressed.  Windows 7 runs very nicely on this hardware (1.6 GHz Atom CPU, 2 GB Kingston RAM, Intel 4965agn WiFi card).  In fact, I'd say it runs better on Hobbit than XP Home or Ubuntu 9.04 did.

So far so good.  I'll be using this setup frequently.  But if the initial impressions hold up I think MS has a winner on its hands.


MSIfan said...

I think Windows 7 is a great addition to the netbook industry. My current HP runs XP and I think it's a bit silly to run an 8 year old OS on a brand new PC.

rob said...

I noticed you installed the Intel 4965agn WiFi card on your U100. I am having trouble installing mine. It installs fine and is detected by the system, but I get a "Limited or No Connectivity" message for my wireless connection. I am thinking it might have to do with not installing a 3rd antenna. Did you install a 3d antenna? If so, what kind did you get? Where in the case did you run your antenna? Thanks.

Dave Markowitz said...

Rob, I did not connect a 3rd antenna. The card works fine without it as far as I can tell, at least as an 802.11g client. My home LAN works in mixed g/n mode because I have a few g-only clients. Your experience on a purely-n network may be different.

schoolgirl said...

What did you do about the U100's function keys? I did a clean install of Windows 7 and lost the use of all of my function keys. I figured this would happen, but now I can't find the drivers to download anywhere, and I want my function keys back :(

Anonymous said...

download system control manager from msi site