Thursday, December 17, 2009

Upgrading from XP to Windows 7 on the HP Mini 5101


I decided to upgrade to Windows 7 Professional on the HP Mini 5101 from its base install of Windows XP so sent off for the "free" upgrade from HP which requires US$19.99 for postage and handling.  From the time I placed the order until the DVD arrived in my hands in New Zealand was 9 days.

Since I do not have a DVD drive for the HP Mini I copied the Windows 7 installation files to a 4GB USB Stick using WinToFlash (which had been recommended by a work colleague) on another machine that did have a DVD drive.  WinToFlash creates a bootable Windows install on the USB Stick, was reasonably intuitive to use, and took about 30 minutes to complete (I suspect my Anti-virus program slowed things down).  Upon completion I noticed there was 409MB remaining on the USB Stick.

I checked in the Bios on the HP Mini and by default the option to install from a bootable USB device was turned on but changed the ordering so that USB Hard Disk and USB SuperDisk were prior to the Hard Drive; I wasn't sure which of these it was but suspected it would be one of these.

After ensuring that all files I cared about were backed up and I had extracted a copy of the "System Information" (Start --> All Programs --> Accessories --> System Tools --> System Information, and then choosing Export from the File menu), just in case I needed a setting, I was set to go.

I put the bootable Windows 7 USB Stick into the HP Mini and started the machine and it started the Windows 7 installation process.

I then selected to do a "Custom (advanced)" install which overwrites the previous OS and does a clean install.  I don't believe an upgrade option is available from XP to Windows 7, and even if it was my preference would still have been to do a clean install.  Of note, the installation process does copy the previous installation to a Windows.old directory.  I also noted post-installation that at least one of my other directories still existed, so maybe it wasn't as clean as I thought.

Once the installation had mostly completed (~20 mins) the machine then rebooted and wanted to re-start the installation process from the USB stick.  I subsequently removed the USB stick and rebooted the machine and it started up nicely and completed the remainder of the installation (~10 mins) and then rebooted again.  Other than needing to remove the USB stick, no user input was required.

I then went through the remainder of the installation but found that I couldn't get the Wireless connection working.  I was however able to connect to the Internet via a network cable connected directly to the router, so downloaded the latest Windows Updates since I had read something about these fixing a number of problems and knew there were some HP specific upgrades included.  Unfortunately this didn't help (or at least it didn't appear to).

Next step was off to the HP site to download the Broadcom Wireless LAN Driver for Windows 7, install and then reboot.  I didn't think it had worked at first but then (after getting frustrated searching for a solution) noticed the famliar wireless icon in the taskbar and from there was able to connect up to the Wifi; Yay!

I then continued to download and install other drivers and software from the HP site; ADI SoundMAX,  "Essential System Updates for Microsoft Windows 7", HP 3D DriveGuard and PDF Complete.

So I got there in the end but it took a little more effort than I originally envisaged.  It is running nicely now and seems to be quite fast.  I have just started installing all of my other standard apps, Firefox, Tweetdeck etc. and so far no problems at all.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur by Sir Richard Branson

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book from Richard Branson.  This is a good inspirational and motivating book that is very easy to read.  I knew that there were a number of Virgin companies prior to reading this book, however I was not aware of how many different industries Virgin is involved with (music, mobile, space travel, planes, trains, finance, health clubs, …).

The culture of Virgin is a key component of the why the Virgin companies have been successful.  Whilst there is not a step by step guide for how to build a successful company, there are many useful insights and lessons learnt.  Caring and Encouraging your people, Customer-focus, Innovation, Embracing leadership, Fun, Learning from mistakes and Social Responsibility are key attributes I now associate with the Virgin brand.

Monday, December 7, 2009

My base Windows install

I have just gone through the process of setting up a new Windows PC and thought I would jot down the current applications I have installed:
  • The machine came with XP pre-installed and, for now at least, I've decided to keep it.
  • Downloaded the latest Windows Updates
  • Installed Firefox, with the add-ons of Delicious and IE Tab
  • Tweetdeck (which also installed Adobe Air)
  • Upgraded the Flash Player (when prompted by the browser)
  • Installed AVG Anti-virus Free and removed the previous anti-virus solution
  • Irfanview

In terms of other software I expect to install in the imminent future:
  • Notepad++
  • Open Office
  • Video viewing software and codecs as required
  • Canon Camera Software
  • WAMP Server (for if I decide I want to do development on the machine)