Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Windows 7 on a ThinkPad

I'm going to be Mister Never Had Vista, and I think I'm not going to be alone!

Now that Windows 7 is officially available, I decided I'd better start learning something about it.  I have an IBM ThinkPad T-43 with one gig of memory and a tiny 30G hard disk.  I decided to put Windows 7 Professional on it to See What Happens (tm).

I was using a "generic" Windows 7 install, and not one customized for the ThinkPad, and that made me worry that things like the eraserhead pointing stick might not work.  However, the installation worked like a champ and all was well at the end.  Apparently Lenovo (or IBM) provided Microsoft with at least a basic driver kit.  Good.

I downloaded ThinkVantage System Update (TVSU).  It took several iterations before I had everything up to date.  Apparently TVSU understands prerequisites, but makes one iterate over them.  That doesn't seem too bad as it only has to happen once.  TVSU for Windows 7 can be downloaded here.

The only real problem I had is that TVSU tried to install an unsupported External Controller flash on my 1871-type T-43.  I had to borrow a USB floppy and do a flash from diskette to get over that.  Happily, it didn't brick my T-43.

I wish I had not installed ThinkVantage Access Connections. Windows 7 does a lot of what one needed Access Connections for.  That's OK, too, because installing Windows 7 was an experiment.  I intend to blow the installation away and start over in a month or so.  (And yes, I did keep good notes.)

In summary, Windows 7 works even on older Thinkpads, and, with enough updates, you will get the drivers you need.  (But please don't try this with a mission-critical machine, OK?)