Tuesday Apr 10, 2007

Vista on an External Display

Last week, I had to give a presentation and my Tecra M5 Vista laptop would not project on the screen. After playing around with the obvious suspects (Fn keys, Toshiba Presentation Button, changing the resolution) the reason was narrowed down to not having the correct display Driver. After I installed nVidia Display Driver, Vista could project on the screen and I gave a preso yesterday using the same laptop.

There was no need to restart Vista.

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Monday Apr 02, 2007

Laptop upgrade to Vista Ultimate

Follow up from previous entry.

I'm doing this on Toshiba Tecra M5 S433.

The document on how to Upgrade to Windows Vista for Toshiba Tecra M5 gave two options of "manual upgrade" and "manual clean installation". I decided to go the clean installation route mainly because it's simpler and cleaner. Here are the 4 steps listed in the document:

  1. Update the computer's BIOS
  2. Download the Toshiba RAID driver (if required)
  3. Install Windows Vista
  4. Download and install Toshiba software components for Windows Vista

The first step was straight forward so I updated the BIOS to Version 3.20. 2nd step was not required. Then I used the Vista DVD to install the media. And voila, it worked! The last step was kind painful as the document lists 23 software components that need to be downloaded and installed. I talked to the technical support and they said everybody needs to individually download each piece individually and then install them. Why can't Toshiba create a package with all the components that can be downloaded and installed easily ?

Anyway, to save some effort for others, I've provided the list of all the software components after searching for a download link for each of the component:

  1. Alps Pointing Device Driver (driver_touchpad_25333A.exe)
  2. Bluetooth Monitor (util_bluetooth_monitor_25351C.exe)
  3. Bluetooth Stack (driver_bluetooth_25503A.exe)
  4. PCIe Mini Card Driver (driver_wifi_intel_25485B.exe)
  5. Intel Calistoga GM Display Driver (?)
  6. nVidia Display Driver (driver_display_nvidia_25409E.exe)
  7. SigmaTel Audio HD Driver (driver_audio_sigmatel_25410B.exe)
  8. Toshiba Fingerprint Utility (util_fingerprint_25535A.exe)
  9. Toshiba Software Modem (driver_modem_25342E.exe)
  10. CD/DVD Drive Acoustic Silencer (util_drive_silencer_25330E.exe)
  11. Config Free (util_config_free_25573A.exe)
  12. TOSHIBA Assist (util_assist_25533A.exe)
  13. TOSHIBA Disc Creator (util_disc_creator_25489B.exe)
  14. TOSHIBA Extended Tiles for Windows Mobility Center (util_extended_tiles_25331C.exe)
  15. Toshiba HDD Protection (util_hdd_protection_25580A.exe)
  16. TOSHIBA IE Favorites Links
  17. TOSHIBA SD Memory Boot Utility (util_sd_memory_boot_25469C.exe)
  18. TOSHIBA SD Memory Utilities (util_sd_memory_25479B.exe)
  19. TOSHIBA Security Assist (util_security_assist_25329B.exe)
  20. Toshiba Software Upgrades (util_software_upgrades_25157C.exe)
  21. TOSHIBA Value Added Package (util_tvap_25459E.exe)
  22. User's Guide - Unattended Installation
  23. Wireless Key Logon (util_wireless_key_logon_25356D.exe)

This was quite a time consuming process since I had to search for exact match of my laptop's model (Tecra M5 S433) and then copy/paste the link etc. Anyway of the entire list, so far I've installed #9 since that allows me to login to my laptop using biometrics and I love that functionality. May be I'll install others later but I'm good for now.

As I mentioned earlier, this entry is indeed from my laptop with Vista Ultimate now. One good thing with Vista installation is that it preserved all my personal data (which is huge directory space) so there was no need for backing up the laptop. Instead it moved Windows, Program Files and Documents and Settings directories to windows.old. This makes using old data really easy.

So overall, not a bad experience but I spent significant part of my Sunday doing this installation. Hopefully this will save some time for you.

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Sunday Apr 01, 2007

Upgrading Toshiba TecraM5 from XP to Vista

I decided to upgrade my Toshiba Tecra M5 laptop with Windows Vista, finally!

The laptop has the logo "Designed for Windows XP, Windows Vista Capable". A laptop equipped with Windows Vista Capable  meets minimum requirements of 512 MB RAM which does not necessarily mean you'll be able to run all your Windows Vista applications. Rather Vista will deliver sub-XP performance. So I'm not sure how this logo needs to be interpreted.

Anyway, I downloaded Vista and started installing and got the error "Windows cannot be installed on this computer with the current system BIOS version. Contact your computer manufacturer for a BIOS update, install the update, and then start Windows installation again. OEM Name: TOSHIBA; OEM Model: TECRA M5; BIOS Version: v1.60 ; BIOS Date: 20060803000000.000000+000".

Even though the laptop is advertised Vista capable but still need a BIOS update. Why ?

pcsupport.toshiba.com where all the BIOS updates can be downloaded was down most of this morning and so no updates could be downloaded. Toshiba Tech Support told me that new drivers are uploaded to the website but I don't understand why the complete website has to be down for that.

I found out about Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor from the recorded message at the Tech Support. So I downloaded that and got the same error "Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor encountered an error while scanning your system. If the problem persist, you can uninstall and reinstall the latest version." I'm using the latest version available on their website so this error message makes no sense.

Finally, pcsupport.toshiba.com is now live and I found instructions on how to Upgrade to Windows Vista for Toshiba Tecra M5. This is exactly what I've been looking for and fortunately this document was posted on 3/28 (3 days ago). I'm going to follow the instructions here and provide an update later today.

I'm hoping my next blog will be from my upgraded Vista laptop but so far the experience has not been very pleasant. Fingers crossed!

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Arun Gupta is a technology enthusiast, a passionate runner, author, and a community guy who works for Oracle Corp.

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