Experiencing Lenovo W500 with Windows 7

January 20, 2009 at 12:45 pm | Posted in Lenovo W500, Windows 7 | 60 Comments
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Also check the updated post using Windows 7 RC:

Experiencing Lenovo W500 with Windows 7 (RC) – Part II

 

Well finally my wait was over on the last week, I could finally get my self a fresh new laptop with all the horse power that I was wanting for :) This new toy of mine is the Lenovo ThinkPad W500.

This fine solid piece of machine it’s not actually a brand new model (around 6 moths older now on their firsts models). My own model (4063-33Y) fits perfectly on most of power users looking for a nice laptop with a better performance.

A few highlights of this notebook (full hardware review at this CNET link):

  • Core 2 Duo T9400 (2.53 GHz) VPro Technology
  • 4GB RAM DDR3
  • 160GB 7200rpm HD
  • 15.4in 1680×1050 LCD
  • ATI™ Mobility FireGL™ V5700 512MB

Before I even received this notebook I knew that Windows 7 was going to be the first operating system to be installed. So, I want to tell you about my experience so far working with Windows 7 inside this laptop.

Installation

No problems here, the installation process executed without any problem. The version selected was the 64 bits.

Note: This is a cool link about why to use Windows 7 with a 64bits architecture.

Drivers

After the Windows 7 installation, almost every “important” device was automatically configured: Video, wireless, Ethernet card and audio.

But if you check the Device Manager, you’ll probably get the following with big and yellow “!”:

Base System Device (x2)
PCI Serial Port
PCI Simple Communications Controller
SM Bus Controller

So, I started to look around and found this link on the Lenovo site that includes all drivers for the T500 and W500 models made to use on Windows Vista (you cannot expect that there are going to be any official drivers for Windows 7 as a Beta operating system). You can download all of the necessary drivers from there.

But to actually solve those yellow exclamation marks, use the following links:

Note: You have to manually install the mentioned drivers to get properly installed: Execute the downloaded file, and access to device manager and select “Update Driver” indicating the folder where the files were uncompressed.

Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to solve the “SM Bus Controller” driver issue. It appears that this one is related to the Intel Matrix Storage driver; but I tried to install it manually and using it ThinkPad System Update, but no luck. So if any of you find the solution to that problem on Windows 7, please share it.

After all that, your device manager should look like this: Check “Updating Info”!

Updating Info

Ok I didn’t have the chance to look much for this “SM Bus Controller” problem, but recently Windows 7 did all the work for me. The Action Center (the place where the OS informs about changes necessary, general health status, etc) notify me that there was a problem with the Intel Chipset driver.

The solution it was very simple, download the zip file (Action Center also included the link), run Troubleshoot Compatibility on the setup file (the same as “Compatibility Mode” on file Properties) and the driver was successfully installed.

If the message is not appearing for you, download the file from this Intel link.

My Device Manager looks like this now:

 

Installed Programs

Here’s a short summary about all the software I installed on Windows 7 and if there were any workarounds to install it:

Microsoft Office 2007 SP1
No problem here.

Foxit Reader (my preferred PDF reader)
No problem here.

Google Chrome
Issue: You can install it, but you won’t be able to browse any page.
Solution: Add to the execution file path the following “–in-process-plugins”. Check this post (on comments area is the correction).

Google Chrome on Windows 7

Google Earth
No problem here.

Mozilla Firefox
Issue: Cannot install it, requires for user name and password but the installation never starts.
Solution: Change the compatibility mode on the installer to Windows Vista.

Mozilla Firefox installer. Compatibility Mode

WinRAR 3.80
No problem here.

Twihrl and Adobe AIR
No problem here.

ThinkVantage System Update
No problem here.

Also, from ThinkPad software and features, I installed successfully:

- Power Manager
Active Protection System
Lenovo Fingerprint Software
Easy Eject
Hotkey Utility

Check also this other post about using Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) on Windows 7.

Troubleshooting

The only blocking issue I found so far is about running MSI installers that crashed the installation, but fortunately, there is a solution for that too. Check this link:

  1. Delete the string values (Except for (Default)) in HKLM\Software\Microsoft\SQMClient\Windows\DisabledSessions
  2. Start gpedit.msc
  3. Expand Computer Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, expand System, expand Internet Communication Management, and then click Internet Communication settings.
  4. In the details pane, double-click Turn off Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program, and then click Enabled.

Cool Things

I would like to mention some cool things I’ve noticed so far about functionality on Windows 7. I’ll be naming just a few, for checking some other stuff on Windows 7, take a look to the “Cool Links” section.

Shrinking Disks
This function has been present since Windows Vista, but it had a some restrictions, you could not actually shrink a partition on any size you want; there was a total possible available (depending on the partition size and space available). Well this restriction is practically gone, you can shrink any partition almost at the maximum possible (meaning space available).

Finding What You Need from Start Menu
Sometimes to access a feature or changing some options on the operating system you need to make several clicks, like “Computer”, “Properties”, “Change Settings”, “Change”. Now you just have to type what you need on the Start menu, like “change power” for accessing Power Settings.

Cool Links

Conclusions

  • Windows 7 showed a great performance running on this laptop; and, at least in this beta version, doesn’t seem to require great aspects in hardware.
  • Excluding the MSI issue, I did not have any stability issues so far.
  • Internet Explorer 8 (included by default) still has some random issues, crashed a few times.
  • You can find several cool things on this new operating system, but still you won’t find much functionality differences between Windows Vista.

Regarding to stability and performance, if you ask me to make a choice between Windows Vista RTM and Windows 7 Beta, I would choose Windows 7. Vista (even though became more stable since SP1) has some issues and the performance still need some improvements.

If you get the chance, I’d recommend you to install it and give this Beta a try. And of course, share your feedback with the community.

Cheers!

 

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WSUS 3.0: Adding Drivers for WSUS

December 12, 2008 at 5:23 pm | Posted in WSUS | 6 Comments
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Did you get the feeling that your WSUS was not downloading all the drivers that your clients needed? Well, let me tell you if you have that feeling probably you are right. WSUS does not automatically recognize or download all the drivers needed for all devices.

Why is this happening? Because by default WSUS only receives and distributes drivers that are digitally signed by Microsoft (meaning that the driver was fully and properly tested by Microsoft).

I’ve recently had several problems with machines that are part of my domain, like the newer IBM ThinkPad T60 and T61 models with Vista installations. Some of their drivers were missing and I had to use IBM official site to download them because WSUS did not recognize any updates on that machines.

But you actually don’t have to worry, within a few steps you can configure your WSUS to import all the drivers that you are requiring by your clients. The only thing that must be clear to you first is the model of each device you need to update the driver (you can easily find out all the details by accessing the manufacturer’s official site, like IBM Lenovo downloads and support site).

Here are the steps:

1 – Open your WSUS console and access “Action” and select “Import Updates”.

The Microsoft Update Catalog site will appear

2 – Insert the model of the device that you need to update the driver. For example: “Mobile Intel 965 Express”. A list with all the drivers for that device will appear and ordered by release date.

3 – See for the latest drivers according to your product and select “Add”.

4 – Do that for all the drivers you need and when you finish go to the basket option.

You will see a summary of all the updates you’ve selected

5 – Leave checked the option “Import directly to Windows Server Update Services” and select “Import”.

Now all the drivers’ updates that you selected will be importing to your WSUS.

6 – When this procedure finishes, the clients’ machines will need to inform about their updates status again. So, from a client machine that needs any driver that you’ve just imported, access the cmd and enter “wuauclt /reportnow /detectnow”.

It may take several minutes to the clients’ machines to inform about the status of the updates that are required.

7 – From your WSUS console check on the client’s updates status and you will find all the new updates that can apply to this machine.

You can now approve them and distribute to your test or users machines.

Hope you find it useful!

Cheers!

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