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

 

No news to you if I tell you that Windows 7 RC has just become available for download to the public (starting May 5th, you can download it from here).

So if you had the chance to read my previous review about Windows 7, you would now that having this operating system installed all this time has been a real good experience to me and my Lenovo ThinkPad W500. This time I want to share with you the experience of installing this release candidate on my laptop.

So, what’s new on the RC?

You are probably wondering what changes have been introduced in this version compared to the previous beta. I won’t lie, nothing much.

Did you hear the rumor that said that the RC was going to introduce a significant change in the UI? Didn’t happen.

Windows Media Player: Media Streaming. You can now stream music or video using the internet. Sharing the media with other friends and using Windows Live ID. That’s actually quite nice and using a smart technology adapting the streaming to your connection.

More icons on Taskbar: You can now place around 30% more icons on taskbar (depending on your resolution).

IE8. You can uninstall IE8 from Windows Features.

Windows XP Mode (Beta) was also introduced as a feature to download for Windows 7 RC. It is an interesting move to achieve the always controversial application compatibility and motivate people to an early adoption to Windows 7. Basically the feature it’s a Windows XP SP3 virtual machine, for Virtual PC of course, that works together with the operating system and application virtualization. You can download the beta from here.

Plus another things like fixing some minor bugs, adding drivers support, more wallpapers and themes.

Hands-On

Ok then, back to our case, I’ve started the installation on my ThinkPad W500.

Installation Process

Of course, nothing changed in the basic process that you’ve seen so far.

But great news for all the W500 users, the video driver does not crash on the last phase of the installation.

For those that also tried previous beta versions of Windows 7, as we discussed in some comments on previous post, noticed that in the last part of the installation process the screen goes black (the operating system didn’t crash, the installation continues but with no display) and there’s nothing you can do  (you cannot start in safe mode because the installation did not complete). The only resolution, complete the installation completely blind.

Well that problem it’s not present in the RC version.

Regarding to the video adapter, let’s check on the other devices.

Drivers

Here’s where I noticed another good news after the installation was completed. My “Device Manager” looked like this:

I know, nothing promising. But, Windows Update showed me right away the next updates available:

Ok, now we are talking 7. Let’s install them.

There was no need on installing it manually or selecting compatibility mode. After that, my Device Manager looked like this:

Close enough, but we can do better than that. So, I’ve downloaded and installed these drivers:

And yes, the drivers for “PCI Serial Port” and “PCI Simple Communications Controllerdisappeared from “Other Devices”.

On the other hand, the video adapter driver shows ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 with the yellow exclamation mark. Installing ATI™ Mobility FireGL™ V570? No luck.

ATI released video drivers for Windows 7, but for now there’s no availability for FireGL family.

Software

Another good news is that I was able to install Mozilla Firefox without using the compatibility mode, like I shown on the first post.

Other software installed without any problem:

Unfortunately, Google Chrome still needs to be configured manually to actually work: Add to the execution file path the following “–in-process-plugins”.

Using Microsoft Outlook Connector, I’ve noticed an issue with Office 2007. Whenever you minimize the Outlook window, and if the option is set to “Hide When Minimized”, if you open again Outlook from taskbar or tray, you’ll see that the Outlook Connector option disappeared. The same thing happens if you use Xobni, once you minimize it, the option disappeared and the add-on is closed.

Cool Links

Here are some interesting links to read about Windows 7. I’ll add a few more in the next days.

Conclusions

  • Even though there are no big differences between the first official beta (build 7000) and this one (build 7100), still it is my preferred operating system to use, more than Windows Vista or XP.
  • I’ve noticed also a performance improvement from previous builds.
  • Stability it’s another characteristic I’ve noticed using it on the ThinkPad W500. Even though I’ve installed and uninstalled drivers and software, I haven’t seen any program nor operating system crash.
  • Still waiting for a acceptable solution for the video drivers.

Haven’t tried it yet? What are you waiting for?

Cheers!

15 Comments »

  1. Hi augusto
    I also have a W500. For the drivers, I installed the mobility radeon drivers for windows 7 (the 4000 version). it works like a charm.
    Thanks for your article anyway ^^

    • How do you enable the 4000 drivers when they are installed? Can’t seem to find the way to switch the graphic drivers (I have not installed the Lenovo utilies).

      Thx.

      • Hello James,
        Did you check your BIOS setting about video? Which option you have there configured?
        Cheers
        Augusto

      • I set the BIOS to Discrete Graphics and disabled the switchable graphics…and now I have ATI graphics enabled.

        I tried installing the Lenovo Power Manager to get back the Switchable Graphics feature, but the menu choice is not available.

        Have you had any success getting the switchable graphics to work?

        Thanks.

    • thx NANE for letting us know about the drivers. Works like a charm for me too, drivers are pretty old, like August of 08 i think….but who’s complaining, much better then the intel chipset and will do just fine until they release official windows 7 drivers

  2. Okay, so I had to reinstall Win 7 and this time I can not get the AMTSOL driver set to install.

    When I run the setup program (after setting it to Vista compatibility and run as administrator), I continue to get a “This computer does not meet the minimum requirements for installing the software. Setup will exit.” dialog box.

    Any advice?

  3. I have also had few real problems running Windows 7 RC on my W500. However, I was wondering if anyone else with the same setup has had any of the following issues:

    – Attempting to play a DVD movie causes media player to hang (regardless if using Windows Media Player or Media Center)
    – Sometimes, when coming out of Sleep Mode, the task bar and Quick Launch icons disappear (they reappear when hovering over them)..obviously not a critical issue, but still irritating
    – Windows 7 detects a second monitor and automatically extends the desktop onto this monitor (I have no second monitor attached, nor have I since installing Windows 7)

    If anyone has had these problems and has any solutions, please let me know.

    Thanks

  4. In order to make graphics work correctly on the T500 or W500 (at least until Lenovo gets off their butt and releases some Win7 drivers) is to enter the BIOS setup mode when booting (by pressing the ThinkVantage button), and then in the Config/Display section, set the graphics for “Discrete” and set the OS detection for graphics switching to “Disabled”.

    After you do that you can successfully install the Catalyst drivers and software, and finally get rid of integrated graphics.

    Unless you set things up this way in the BIOS, the Intel integrated graphics refuse to relinquish control to the ATI discrete graphics.

    Until, of course, Lenovo gives us Win 7 users a break and releases the graphics switching drivers. (Today is Aug. 20th, and still no driver.)

  5. 1. I don’t have the latest BIOS installed on my W500 which Lenovo recommends for Windows 7. I figure the BIOS allows the system update to change a setting to tell it you have Windows 7 installed on your machine. Something similar was required to do Vista…

    2. After I installed Windows 7 Profession x64 (RTM) I used the lasted SystemUpdate 3.14 and installed the switchable graphics driver for Vista x64, surprisingly the driver installed and I have a no issue with the ATI driver under Windows 7.

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