Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Windows 7 on the Eee PC 1000HE (Best Buy)

Well, I couldn't wait any longer. I installed Windows 7 on my Eee PC (1000HE, the Best Buy version) just yesterday, and I have to say, it works incredibly well. I believe my favorite overall feature has to be the fact that I can re-organize the items on the task bar, and simply slide them to the left or the right of other programs. This has been a common source of frustration for me in the past, as I've usually ended up closing down and opening programs just to get them in the right order (I always like Visual Studio on the far left.)

The installation experience was very smooth. One new feature of the installation, if you have the disk space, is the ability to back up your entire Windows folder while installing, thus saving yourself the paranoia of losing some important file that's hidden away in some obscure hidden directory under your home directory. That's worth alot to me, and I wish I had known that before I spent an hour backing everything up.

I also have Visual Studio Shell installed with F#, as well as Visual C# Express, Visual C++ Express, and Visual Web Developer installed. I opted to go with the Express versions mainly because in the past, they've tended to have less baggage than the full versions, and they run more swiftly. Nevertheless, the VS Shell with F# works just fine as far as I can tell. Here's a screenshot that simultaneously shows you the desktop and my solution to Euler problem 16:

The compilation times are a slight bit slower than a standard laptop, but still nothing to sneeze at, considering this is a box that is solely meant to "check email".

I downloaded the drivers referred to in this thread and managed to even get the Super Hybrid Engine working. The catch was the installation however, I had to set the compatibility mode of the installation package to Windows XP SP3, and then find the executables after install, to undo the compatibility mode from the actual application, otherwise, every time I would click Fn+Space, I would receive an error saying "Asus SHE not exist". After removing compatibility mode from the Super Hybrid Engine executable, it seemed to work just fine.

Another thing to note is that it seems that there are no video drivers out right now that would allow for either 1024x768 or 1024x768 compressed mode to work properly with Windows 7, so for now, I'm stuck with 1024x600.

One last thing, I've actually added the extra 1 gig of memory onto the system to bring my total memory up to 2 gb. I'm not sure what would happen if you tried to install this on a machine with only one gig of memory. It may do fine, or it may choke, but either way, I'd suggest upgrading.

All that to say, I am very impressed with the speed and smoothness of how Windows 7 performs on the EeePC. I'm looking forward to purchasing the full retail version the moment it comes out.

UPDATE (11/8/09)

Over the past few weeks, ASUS has released an entire set of Windows 7 drivers and utilities for the 1000HE. I've installed them all, and they work wonderfully. I would strongly suggest updating your BIOS and installing the drivers from the ASUS site for best compatibility with Windows 7.

I've also begun using ReadyBoost with a 4GB Class 4 SD Card. This is also strongly recommended. I find that I can actually run a couple of instances of Visual Studio without any problem at all if I use the SD card solution.