As my previous article about my cute little NC10 KAY2DE got some attention, I would like to share my experiences in installing Windows 7 on my little computer.
But one after the other:
Normally, the Samsung NC10 comes with Windows XP Home. After all, for professional use in networks with several computers, at least Windows XP Professional is necessary in my opinion. That is why I installed XP Pro right away immediately after the purchase. Under XP Pro, the NC10 runs as fluent as under XP Home. The OS and the performance fit very well together. I nevertheless invested a few Euros to buy in a 2 GB Ram module, which is a really good buy, as the Ram helps already under XP to make daily life more fluent.
Prior to installing Windows 7, this Ram upgrade is ESSENTIAL! So make sure to get the Ram before further steps. Installing it is as easy as opening 2 screws, exchanging the Ram and closing the whole thing again. Around 5 minutes of work.
So, lets ROCK!!
1. Installation medium:
As the NC10 (as most other netbooks) has no optical drive, already to provide an installation medium can be a challenge. In fact there is a variety of possibilities:
Buying an external USB powered DVD Rom / burner. These optical drives are widely available in many local and online electronics stores and will cost around 80€. Buying one of those makes sense if you plan to use an optical drive on a regular basis, e.g. for Video DVDs etc. and if you need a burner anyway. It is really convenient, that you need no external power source for these.
Buying a USB SATA/IDE Converter. These useful little devices which come with a lot of cables and a AC adaptor enable you to convert any SATA/IDE device to USB. You can attach HDs as well as optical drives. That comes not only handy for installing OSes on Netbooks, but is also great for data recovery out of a dead computer. You should even have an adaptor for 2,5″ HDs in your package. For about 30€, this solution is cheaper, if you have an old optical drive lying around anyway.
|Buying a USB Stick! That is the coolest possibility to install an OS. And the way I prefer from now on, as it speeds up OS installation considerably. But how to do that? The best tutorial (at least the one that worked for me) is here. But there might be others around. Important: that tutorial ONLY works on at least Vista! Once the USB stick is bootable, you can swap the OS on it as you want. With a “bootstick” out of the tutorial, I installed Windows 7 as well as Windows Server 2008 by just extracting the files in the ISO to the basis of the USB stick. For further installations, I keep the files on my (16 GB) stick and just move the files from their directory to the basis of the stick. Like that, you have a “Multi-OS-Installation-USB-Stick” in no time. You might ask “why doing all that?”. Well, because it SPEEDS UP installation time considerably and because you can e.g. easily add drivers right on the installation medium.||
To really boot up the stick, you will have to go to the BIOS and change the boot sequence to first boot the USB stick (go into the BIOS with the stick plugged in and you should be able to select it). Once that is done, the installation program of Windows 7 should start. The rest of the installation of Win7 is described all over the internet and nothing special. You will notice, that you only have to provide some information in the beginning of the installation (e.g. where to install the OS) and at the end (username and name of the computer).You can even install the OS without a serial number and without activation (for a limited amount of time).
A great thing about brand new OSes is, that almost all hardware in a computer is recognized instantly. This also happens here: In Windows 7 Professional FINAL (from MSDN-AA), almost ALL hardware in the NC10 KAY2DE is supported. Only the UMTS modem is not working right away. Also the blue Fn keys do not (yet) work and the touchpad only works without scrolling (right side).
Nothing that can’t be fixed 🙂
4. UMTS / HSDPA:
To enable UMTS is a little bit more work than the other hardware in your little friend.
and install it. You will notice, that the unknown HSPA device in device manager will vanish, which means, that the hardware will work from now on. You will however notice, that the Connection Manager will not work right away. Some websites say that using it in XP compatibility mode would work, I cannot confirm that. But there is even a better solution:
– Go to Win7 network center and add a new connection
– Select “create a connection with the internet” (should be the first option)
– Use a new connection (this page will only be offered if other connections exist)
– Select “dial up connection”
– Now you should be asked for a dial-up number and your credentials. These settings differ from network to network, please check with your mobile network provider. For the number, you should enter *99# , as that is the correct setting for packet based dial-up connections (GPRS, UMTS, HSDPA). If you need further credentials, I cannot say.
– After this procedure, you can dial-up the connection and should have mobile internet after a few seconds. The fastest way to connect from now on, is the internet/network symbol in the taskbar, where you can find all network connections (LAN, WiFi, Dial-Up) and from where you can shoot up your HSDPA connection right away.
Having worked some time with Windows 7 on the Samsung NC10 KAY2DE now, I have to say the Netbook performs well enough to keep Win7 as standard operating system. All my usual programs run like on XP plus the extra gadgets Win7 offers. It surely performs better than Vista would have (although I have to say that I never tried Vista on it).
It however is DEFINITELY necessary to upgrade the Ram to 2 GB, otherwise Win7 will not be funny at all. Some people I know have upgraded to a SSD as well. On my main PC, I have a SSD under Win7 as well. In a desktop, as well as in a laptop, a SSD surely makes sense, as it speeds up the system considerably. On the other hand, it is quite expensive. I would suggest a SSD in you main computer or a bigger/faster laptop, but you can equip the NC10 with a SSD as well of course.
If you have questions and/or comments to my installation procedure, please do not hesitate to post in the comments.