Windows 7 and Netbooks
I have had a Gigabyte Q1000C Netbook on the workbench this week. The mini laptop came with Windows 7 Starter pre-installed. First off let me comment on ‘7 Starter’: I do not like these starter operating systems, for that matter all the ‘Home’ versions of every Windows operating system, XP, Vista and 7. They always seem to have problems. It would have been preferable for Microsoft to provide the basic Pro version at reduced price to OEM’s and the public market.
However the problems with Netbooks (at least this example) seems more about the lack of ability of the Intel Atom CPU, and insufficient RAM (2GB), to adequately run Windows 7.
Win 7 Instability Problems
Microsoft is aware of problems running Windows 7 on Netbooks. Their response is “There are too few problems to warrant a fix by a service pack or regular update, instead each issue will be addressed by a Hot-Fix”. Not really an adequate response to the numerous issues raised in online tech forums by owners of Netbooks.
The problems with this example:
- Windows Freezes: An ongoing problem that has persisted with the machine since the owner purchased it. Since arriving on the bench on Monday, this has occurred every day, initially so often it was almost impossible to do a Windows update (The owner had struggled with this, and ended up disabling updates – even Service Pack 1 had not been installed).
- Blue Screen of Death: No fewer than 5 instances of the ubiquitous Windows ‘friend’, the blue screen. After all these years, one would have expected Microsoft to move away from the basics that cause this error – a flawed basic system. After Windows XP, Microsoft should have taken the route Apple took with OSX – Unix.
NoDisk With Laptops
I recently came across a post regarding a problem experienced in trying to recover a broken Windows Vista Operating System on a Laptop.
The laptop was supplied without a windows installation disk; which is an increasingly common scenario. Laptop manufacturers (OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturers) seem to feel that the built-in recovery function is sufficient, and saves them a few cents of the cost of supplying a disk.
Sadly, the recovery system does not always work… damaged hard drives, viruses, and numerous other lesser factors can prevent this from working as expected.
The unhappy laptop owner put the blame on Microsoft; “since Microsoft stopped supplying installation disks with laptops” I contend this is not Microsoft’s fault, it is the OEM laptop manufacturers fault. Microsoft does not manufacture laptops. In fact Microsoft made Vista readily available, and 7 can be installed from any disk using the matching version and the PC owners ‘key’.
Microsoft does not sell Windows CD’s, they sell the licence, i.e. the right to use the operating system. Anyone can download the operating system from their website for free, and even run it on trial for a limited period of time. When you decide to keep the version you are happy with, purchase the licence, enter the activation code, and you have a full and legal Windows installation.
I agree that not having the disk on hand is annoying. Perhaps it is time Microsoft demanded OEM’s provided an installation disk included with the package. Consumer demand is of course the real answer. Refuse to buy any equipment that does not come with a legal version of the operating system, whetehr it is new or used.
It is not exactly a new phenomenon, Going as far back as Windows XP and perhaps even earlier, OEM’s were providing their own disks, which often had a customised Windows installation, rather than the standard version which Microsoft provides on their own disks. Very often these OEM’s (and I mention Dell, and Hewlett Packard) had hard coded the BIOS, which was then locked, making it extremely difficult for owners, even technicians, to install any other version of operating system. They of course will contend this is to “improve the user experience of their products” and other such nonsense! This practice was not only limited to laptops, but the desktops from some manufacturers also had this limitation built-in.
I believe they do this in order to lock their customers into their own support network! While it is reasonable to expect the owner of ANY equipment to be required to make use of a manufacturers support service during the WARRANTY period, making it extremely difficult for the owner to choose another service agent outside of warranty is a violation of consumer rights, definitely in my own country, and I am certain this applies in the USA and much of the EU as well. Consumers have a right to choose!
All is not lost however
As mentioned, the operating system can be obtained from Microsft or other sources. Just download it (using another PC if the one with the problem has totally ceased to work, burn it to a disk a writeable DVD will be required) and run this on the PC (or laptop) required. You may need to choose which version to use.
On your laptop or desktop, there will be a ‘certificate of authenticity’ which describes the version the licence is for, and the ‘key’ to enter when requested. That’s it, the installer will continue and the system will soon be back up and running.
Real life examples: Read the rest of this entry →
Flash Plugin Crashing
Adobe Flash Player plugin crashes in Win XP systems are usually caused by a combination of older graphics card drivers using Microsoft Direct Draw 9 (DX 9) and an up to date version of the plugin.
Assuming the actual hardware components are OK – and if the display is working they probably are, the user has a choice of two routes – driver update or OpenGL.