Given how smoothly Windows 7 had been running on the NC10, I really did not think twice about updating to the (unofficially released) latest version 7057. Windows 7 is still peppy and I’m running the Ultimate version on the netbook rather than the more limited version which is likely to come pre-installed on most future netbooks. I have not had a chance to test whether power management has been improved in this build but plan to do do shortly.
I did my update last Sunday and then Monday flew to London. I noticed a network problem immediately on Sunday evening but thought it was my usually very reliable cable connection rather than my computer. I did not have time to really test things out and instead rebooted the cable modem and went to bed. The next day I was completely unable to connect to Boingo at JFK and only after a reboot did things work. My time was limited so I checked a few messages and boarded the plan. At my hotel in London is where I finally realized the problem was consistently related to the new Windows 7 build. Both my wireless and wired connection options were dropping after about 30 minutes and given the hassle of frequent reboots I chose to just leave the NC10 in the safe and use my work machine instead. This morning however back at home, Iâ€™ve had time and the patience to try and few things and it seems Iâ€™ve solved the matter for real â€¦
Windows comes with itâ€™s own generic drivers and I had them running alongside my Atheros Driver from Samsung though the Atheros was the preferred choice. I guessed there was a conflict between the two and decided to remove the Atheros via the Setup utility (in the installer download). When the Windows 7 generic driver also failed to stay connected I removed that as well and then re-installed the Atheros driver â€“ leaving just that as my only wireless connection option.
Iâ€™m happy to report that after over an hour of connectivity I am still connected and there are no detectable issues. Previously I would see the Yellow Caution Triangle appear on my wireless signal meter within 15-30 minutes killing the connection. Clearly beta is beta though with a bit of troubleshooting Windows 7 is back online reliably.
I should probably preface this post by saying Iâ€™m far from a windows expert. I am quite comfortable within XP but donâ€™t really have much experience in Vista outside of the few occasions Iâ€™ve launched it in VMware to flash a phone. I use XP daily for work, but basically just tolerate how it all works. I definitely prefer OSX, though the more Iâ€™ve used Windows on a daily basis the less I find I care as there are ways to basically to everything I need on each system.
The Windows 7 beta was leaked at the same time I ordered the Samsung NC10 netbook so I decided to go for it. I had a few days of experience in VMware before the NC10 arrived and overall I find that itâ€™s quite peppy and looks really slick. It definitely reveals XPâ€™s age visually and offers some general niceties. I was pleased to see that performance in both virtualized as well as the netbook environment was excellent. The standard install / startup of the NC10 includes some Samsung specific applications for controlling the keyboard, trackpad, battery etc and none were obviously included in the Windows 7 install though they all installed without too much hassle in Windows 7. I did have to use compatibility mode to install things, and thus far the only conflict here seems to be the synaptics trackpad software. Through some trial and error I was able to find that the conflicts are unfortunately with most of the cool stuff you get with the synaptics driver. By disabling the virtual scrolling and gestures, I was able to stop the trackpad from freezing. While this essentially reduces the trackpad to a basic device again, I at least can continue using the PalmCheck feature which prevents the trackpad from activating while typing. With the smaller keyboard this feature is actually critical for me.
Otherwise Iâ€™m running Firefox, iTunes, Tweetdeck, Chrome, Windows Live Writer, Evernote, Launchy, Skype, WinSCP, OpenOffice, Boingo and probably a few things Iâ€™m not remembering. Iâ€™ve seen a few circular stalls (the windows 7 beach ball) which I expect to have resolved when I upgrade from 1 to 2GBs of RAM. Windows 7 installed beautifully and seems to handle pretty much anything Iâ€™ve thrown at it. Iâ€™m looking forward to seeing how things evolve over the course of the beta.