Since Microsoft made Windows 7 (Win7) available to the public for beta testing, I’ve been salivating over installing it on my laptop. My dreams were dashed when I discovered the minimum hardware you need to use the new operating system (OS): 1GHz CPU.

Why? Because my trusty 5 year old laptop is actually an 800Mhz Intel Celeron HP TC1100 tablet PC. I thought about upgrading the motherboard to 1GHz but buying the parts in Hong Kong was prohibitive! I might as well buy a new netbook – its cheaper! (damn HP!). So I’ve resigned myself to the idea that I would never be able to test drive the new OS.

Why am I so interested in trying it out myself? A friend of mine – Greg the Geek – installed the RC version of Win7 recently on his 1GHz EeePC netbook – the same machine he used to test drive two Linux OSes and Mac OSX. Yes, I saw him using the EeePC with Mac OSX. It was a crude and ineffective hack since many of the hardware features of the EeePC didn’t work under OSX.

Thankfully (huh?) my TC1100’s 80GB HDD failed a week ago. I took the opportunity to try my luck. I partitioned a new 80GB HDD into two and installed the original Windows XP Pro Tablet edition on the C Drive and prepared Drive D for Win7 RC. As expected the Windows XP install was flawless even though my laptop is an aging dinousaur by most people’s standard.

While I had no problem installing Win7 RC, I could not boot from it. It kept stalling as it tried to install a driver – AGP4400.sys. After checking around the Web, I discovered I was not alone and this AGP440.sys problem is not limited to Win7. In fact its been a recurring problem with Windows Vista.

Day 2 I got myself to try and reinstall Win7 a second time. Nothing to lose anyway! This time around fate was smiling upon me. The install was flawless and the boot process smooth as a baby’s bottom (figuratively). I installed some gadgets (called widgets on the Mac). Again, things went very smoothly.

I am pleased to say that I am happy with what I got. An aging laptop that can run on either the original Windows XP that it came with and the new Win7 RC. The only thing I miss on the Win7 platform is the use of the magnetic pen that works so well on the Windows XP. Why? WACOM refuses to release drivers for the new OS until Microsoft releases the final product to the public.

Tough love!

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