Install Windows 8 on a Dell Latitude D610

These Dell Latitude laptops were very popular and there are still a lot of them out there.  I am sure that some of the users of them are wondering if Windows 8 will even run on these machines.  Well, I was curious too and decided to install it on my Latitude D610.

I did a clean install (meaning I started from scratch) and installed Windows 8 Enterprise.  If you wanted to upgrade from Windows XP it will save all your files but not any settings or programs so you will have to reinstall them.

The install went easily enough but it did take some time.  I am not surprised with how old this machine is.  When it was finished I checked the Device Manager and four drivers were missing.

One of the drivers that installed was the Network Interface Card (Ethernet)  so I connected the computer to the internet and Windows Update installed two of the missing drivers.  One of the remaining two missing drivers is for the graphic card which does not support Windows 8 and I have not found a way to make it work.  (the system runs ok without this)  The other missing driver was the Audio Card.  It is a SigmaTel C-Major Audio Card and the driver works from Dell’s website.

Windows 8 Device Manager and System Properties on Dell Latitude D610

Windows 8 Device Manager and System Properties on Dell Latitude D610

This system does not run the best with Windows 8 on it.  It would probably run better with 2 GB of ram instead of 1 GB.  It would be fine for E-mail, writing documents, and browsing the internet but it is not for doing anything with games or videos. For some reason I was able to install Hyper-V 3.0, however, I am not sure how it would run given its slow performance.  I ran the PassMark Performance Test (which takes a while to start-up on this machine) and it gets a 103.6 so as you can see it really is not much of a performer.  Below is the Windows Experience Index.

Windows 8 Experience Index on Dell Latitude D610

Windows 8 Experience Index on Dell Latitude D610

In the end, I am not sure I would recommend this upgrade to everyone but if you wanted to check Windows 8 and have one of these Latitude laptops lying around you can and at least get a better feel for Windows 8 before it comes out in October.  Clearly, Microsoft has done a good job with performance  because I am sure Windows Vista or 7 would not run as well on this machine. If you are interested you can also pick up these machines for pretty cheap on Amazon.


Install Windows 8 on HP HDX 16 X16-1040US

These HP HDX 16 laptops are still great machines and the HP HDX 16 X16-1040US is no exception.  This machine came with Windows Vista and was later upgraded to Windows 7.   It is still able to go up to new machines and perform quite well.  It is my friend’s laptop and he wants to get into Windows 8 app development and wanted someone who is familiar with Windows 8 to set it up.  The install is not too hard but there is a little work.

I did a clean install of Windows 8, if you wanted to do an upgrade, you can upgrade from Windows 7 keeping your settings, files, and applications, however, if you upgrade from Windows Vista you can only keep the settings and files.  You will have to reinstall your applications if you upgrade from Windows Vista.  A clean install (you delete everything on the hard drive and start from scratch) will always give you the best performance I think.

The install is straight forward.  I booted from the install disc and installed Windows 8 Pro without any issues.  Once the system started and I could look at the Device Manager, there were drivers missing.  While this is annoying it is easily fixed.  If you look up this laptop on HP website and you look under Windows 7 (32 bit or 64 bit depending on your install) you can get the drivers you need.

There are five unknown devices that come up but you only need to install three drivers.  Here are the drivers with links for 64-bit drivers.  The  first is the JMicron Card Reader, the second is the Validity Fingerprint Sensor, and the third is the ENE CIR Receiver, this I think is for the remote.

Once I installed these drivers the system runs great.  It really runs just about as good as some machines today and it has no issues running Windows 8.

Device Manager and System on HP HDX 16

Device Manager and System on HP HDX 16

Other than the drivers I have not been able to install Hyper-V 3.0 and it looks like the processor does not support the requirements needed to run it.  I have enabled Virtualization in the BIOS but I am still not able to install it.  There is a message that the processor does not support Second Level Address Translation 2.0 (SLAT 2.0)  This machine runs everything else just fine and actually runs better than my HP Pavilion G4.  The HP HDX 16 gets a 679.1 in the PassMark Performance Test in Windows 8 and below is the Windows Experience Index.

HP HDX 16 Windows Experience Index in Windows 8

HP HDX 16 Windows Experience Index in Windows 8

I think it is great that Windows 8 runs so well on Vista era machines and I think that just shows the commitment Microsoft has to performance.  My friend is happy with this upgrade so far too.  I would say as long as you do not need Hyper-V this is a great upgrade to do on these machines if you’re looking at upgrading to Windows 8.

Will Windows 8 be Hurt by Low End Tablets?

With the recent announcement by Amazon a friend of mine started saying he thought that these low-end tablets are going to hurt Windows 8.  Granted some of these tablets are cheap going under the $200 mark, but I really don’t think it will and here is why.

Will these low-end tablets hurt Windows 8?  Maybe.  Windows 8 devices are going to be more expensive for sure as they all will be Intel (X86/X64) based.  Now Intel has the Atom wich is its system on a chip, and there are always the low-end Celeron.  Also, any PC makers could use AMD to cut costs down too but these devices are going to, I think, be more than $300.  So you could say yeah Windows 8 could be hurt by these things, but then you would be forgetting something, Windows RT.

Windows RT is almost exactly like Windows 8 but it runs on ARM chips.  These devices will be cheaper than their Intel-based counterparts and I could see someone making one for less than $300 maybe even around $200.  Honestly, these devices are going to be using almost the same hardware as these low-end tablets.  Windows RT will be competing with most tablets out there today.

I could stop here but there is something else to consider.  Let’s say Microsoft’s strategy fails, and Windows 8 on a tablet is just not working for consumers.  Microsoft still has Windows Phone 8.  Microsoft could easily turn this into a tablet operating system if it had to and I still think it would be great.  Windows Phone 8 is also based on the Windows 8 code and not the old Windows CE (Windows Mobile) like Windows Phone 7 was, so it would perform great on these devices while having a great feature set.  I would say at this point Windows Phone 8 could be Microsoft’s backup plan.

Really though when I look at all this I think these low-end tablets are going to be more harm to the iPad and it’s not just that but Microsoft will have Windows 8 competing with the iPad in the same price points, as well as Windows RT in the lower ones.  Really Apple has much to fear I think in the next coming months.