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Install Windows 8 on Toshiba Satellite A215-S5849

If there has been a computer manufacture that has made laptops longer than most companies it is Toshiba.  Well I had a Toshiba Satellite A215-S5849 that I was working on and I wanted to test it further to see if its issues were hardware or software.  So I got out my test hard drive and decided to install Windows 8 on this machine.  I will say my test proved that the issues I was observing were software related and Windows 8 runs very well on this machine.

For my test I did a clean install of Windows 8 Enterprise X64 on this machine but you could to an upgrade install keeping your files and settings. but not the programs you have installed.  The install went great and it was up and running in no time.  After it booted I checked the Device Manager and there were a few drivers missing, to install these just run Windows Update.  Now the Device Manager looks clean but there are a few hidden issues.

First if you check under Display under the Device Manager you will see that there is no Graphic Driver installed.  This is easily solved however you will want to download the AMD ATI driver for the X1200 Graphic Card.  Once downloaded run the installer and choose the express setting.  This will not install the driver you have to do it manually.  Under Display Adapters right-click on the Microsoft Basic Display Adapter and click on Update Driver Software… then click on Browse My Computer For Driver Software, then click on the Browse button, then go to this folder C:\ATI\Support\10-02_legacy_vista32-64_dd_ccc\Packages\Drivers\Display\LH6A_INF then hit OK and then Next.  This should get the correct driver installed and want you to restart the computer.

Second if you try to adjust the screen brightness you may notice it does not work.  To resolve this you will want to download the Function Keys Driver from Toshiba.  Once you download it just run the installer and that is it.  Now the Function Keys should work fine under Windows 8.

Toshiba Satellite A215-S5849 System Properties and Device Manager in Windows 8

Toshiba Satellite A215-S5849 System Properties and Device Manager in Windows 8

This machine performs very well actually and I really like Windows 8 on here if you have a Toshiba Satellite A215-S5849 I would install Windows 8 on this computer.  Now if you are interested in running Hyper-v 3.0 you will not be able to on this machine as the processor does not support SLAT.  I ran the PassMark Performance Test and the computer got a score of 324.1, below is the Windows Experience Index.

Windows 8 Experience Index on Toshiba Satellite A215-S5849

Windows 8 Experience Index on Toshiba Satellite A215-S5849

This is a great computer to run Windows 8 on and I highly suggest this upgrade.  It really runs well on here and I think it is a great upgrade from Windows Vista or Windows 7.

 

Windows 7 on an HP Mini 1000 (1030NR) Yes it works better!!!

Some of you know that I set up Windows Vista Home Premium on this Netbook earlier and you can read that here.  I was glad to say goodbye to  XP and see Vista running on this little machine.  Well, the day after Thanksgiving I was able to get the family pack of Windows 7 Home Premium for $150.  It was time to upgrade the Mini, I knew my fiancé would love the new features and I wanted to see how much better it would run on there.  So again I went to work.

Here is some background, I got this Netbook because it is light and portable, not to just check e-mail and look cool.  This thing is very light.  I would suggest any of the HP Netbooks if you are interested in them.  This one is an HP Mini 1000 the true model number is the 1030NR.  I have read that the best thing you can do to these computers that run Intel Atom processors is to upgrade the ram and I did just that, I upgraded it to 2 Gb.  Other than that this thing is still stock.

The upgrade was much simpler than putting Vista on this and I would say that anyone could do this very easily.  I had purchased an external DVD drive when I got the Mini so I attached it to it and booted off of the Windows 7 install disc.  The Mini will only support 32bit versions of Windows. I booted off of the 32bit disc and formatted the hard drive and installed Windows,  it was simple.  Afterward, I ran Windows Updates and installed Microsoft Office 2007 Ultimate.  Total Windows, Office, and a few programs fill up the 16Gb Solid State hard drive.  Just a few gigs free when it is all said and done.  I again disabled System Restore and set to a manual page file size instead of letting the OS manage it.

Windows 7 on HP Mini 1030NR

Windows 7 on HP Mini 1030NR

 

This was an easy install, the Device Manager was clear from the end of the installation.  However, a basic mouse driver was installed.  If you want the scroll function, download the Vista mouse driver from another HP laptop that used a Synaptics driver.  Also, just a note the built-in webcam in the Mini works just fine in Windows 7, did not have to load any drivers for it the Windows Setup did it automatically.

Nice Clean Device Manager

All in all this Mini seems faster with 7 installed than with Vista.  The numbers are interesting, below is the Scores from Windows 7, check out my other blog here for windows Vista’s numbers on the same machine. Remember in Vista the highest score was a 5.9, in Windows 7 the highest score is a 7.9

Windows Experience Index in Windows 7 on the Mini

Again I ran the Passmark Performance Test and Vista got a 172, while Windows 7 gets a 178.8, not a big jump but it is still a performance increase and you notice it on the Mini, the system is much more responsive.

So if you bought that Netbook on Black Friday or have an older one  I would suggest a Windows 7 upgrade.  If you do not have an external DVD drive you can look into local computer service shops to do an upgrade for you.  Windows 7 takes everything good about Vista and makes it better, as well as taking the bad and making it great. This upgrade is simple and recommended.

Is Windows 7 Faster than Windows XP, It’s Faster than Windows Vista

I had a friend ask me is Windows 7 faster than Windows XP, and I did not know.  I knew that it ran faster than Vista, so I went to work.

First, my laptop has never known Windows XP and it never will, I do not like XP and prefer Vista over it and love 7 over both of them.  Some would say I am nuts but as a computer technician, the newer versions of Windows make my life easier.  This laptop is a Compaq Presario C700 (C712NR) with 2 Gb of Ram and an Intel Core 2 Duo T5850 running at 2.16 GHz this also runs an Intel Mobile 965 Express Graphics Chipset.  The laptop came with Vista Home Premium 32bit and I installed Windows 7 Enterprize 32bit.     Below is the Windows Experience Index from Vista.  Please note that the Index range is from 1.0 to 5.9 in Vista.

Windows Exprierence Index form Vista

Windows Experience Index from Vista

As you can see the laptop does ok but below is the Windows Experience Index from 7 it seems like there is not much of a difference. Please note that in 7 the Index range is from 1.0 to 7.9 and that might be why the numbers are different.

Windows Expierence Index from 7

Windows Experience Index from 7

The difference in the numbers is interesting however I also ran Pass Mark Performance Test in both operating systems.  I figured this would give me a good answer if Windows 7 was, in fact, faster than Vista.  In Vista the Performance Test got a total score of 537.8 while in 7 it got a total of 590.4  I think these numbers speak for themselves.  Vista is slower than 7 the benchmark proves this.  So then what about Windows XP?

Well, my father has a computer that I figured would be a great it is a home-built machine with an Asus KV8 SE Deluxe motherboard with an AMD Athlon 64 3200+ running at 2.2GHz and with 2 Gb or Ram and an ATI X800 XT All-in-Wonder.  It already has Windows XP installed and it has never known Vista, so I partitioned the hard drive and installed Windows 7 Enterprize 32bit.  Pictured below is the Windows Experience Index from Windows 7

Windows Expierence Index in Windows 7

Windows Experience Index in Windows 7

As before I ran the Pass Mark Performance Test on both operating systems and here are the results you have waited for.  Windows 7 got a total score of 390.1 where Windows XP got a total score of 440.6  XP did better in 2D and 3D graphics than 7 and that could be due to the lack of proper driver support, as time goes on I’m sure that gap will close.  Really XP does not do that much better than 7 but it is a little faster.  Still, my mother was using Windows 7 for the first time today on my father’s computer and really liked it and wants to use it more, and she has never used Vista.

So is Windows 7 faster than Windows XP? Nope, but Windows 7 is faster than Vista but just a little slower than XP, not bad Microsoft, not bad at all.  If you are thinking of making the jump to Windows 7 the numbers speak for themselves, go for it.  The new Features and the fact that it is more energy-efficient make Windows 7 worth the upgrade, even if it is a little slower than XP.