Win7 & Dell Latitude D810

In case this helps others:

I did a clean install (not upgrade) of Windows 7 Ultimate RTM (32 bit) on a D810 laptop about a month ago. This laptop has been put through the paces by a mobile professional. It is the user's only computer. No problems have surfaced yet.

Basic Win7 installation is seamless and relatively quick. The laptop was somewhat functional after the basic Win7 install, but some of the D810 devices did not have drivers installed; other devices needed driver updates. Here is a list of device drivers which required installation or updating, and the order in which the work was performed:
  • File: D810_A05.exe Source: Description: One-time update of laptop BIOS, before Win7 install.
  • File: R104771.EXE Source: Description: ATI Mobility Radeon X600 Display Adapter. Note: After installing the driver and rebooting, the adapter was set to 1680 x 1050 resolution and 32 bit true color for the 15.4 inch WSXGA+ screen.
  • File: R155386.EXE Source: site Description: Intel Pro Wireless 2915ABG Wireless LAN Controller.
  • File: R165177.EXE Source: site Description: TI PCI 6515 (i.e. SmartCard controller).
  • File: R99254.EXE Source: site Description: Sigmatel 9751 Audio Controller Driver.
  • File: Source: Description: Touchpad driver. Note: The latest available Alps and Synaptics touchpad drivers did not work. This Toshiba driver offers 100% touchpad functionality, but does not expose specific controls/settings for the integrated pointing device. The integrated pointing device and its buttons do work OK; they are just not configurable.
  • File: IPx86_1033_7.00.260.0.exe Source: Description: Microsoft IntelliPoint 7.0 Mouse Software for Presenter 8000 Wireless Mouse. Note: The point here is to install the touchpad driver and configure the touchpad before a wireless mouse.
  • Install printer driver(s) next.
  • File: mssefullinstall-x86fre-en-us-vista-win7.exe Source: Description: Free virus scanner with real time protection.
D810 customers were provided with a few choices for display screen, video display adapters, wired and WIFI network controllers, and Bluetooth controllers. The devices listed above may not be the devices installed in your D810.

In general, the latest 32 bit device drivers available for download were used. If a Win7 driver was not available, a Vista compatible driver was sought after. These drivers, Microsoft Security Essentials, and other useful tools/utilities were burned onto a DVD prior to the Win7 install. This approach permits the workstation to be setup, configured, and secured without the need for network connectivity or access to the internet.

Although not always required, the computer was rebooted after each driver install or update. No apps were installed until all the device driver work was completed. Each device was configured/tested upon reboot after the driver was installed. After all drivers were installed, configured, and tested, Security Essentials was installed and configured, then Windows Updates were applied, then applications were installed.

The operating system, drivers, and MS updates required about 10.75 gigs of hard disk space for the Ultimate version (no apps). Some unnecessary operating system "features" were installed (e.g. games). No attempt was made to optimize or minimize space.

Some random comments/observations:
  • Prior to the Win7 install, this particular D810 sample was running WinXP SP3 and had already had been upgraded to 2 gigs of physical RAM. 2 gigs is the maximum supported by the D810. The laptop is 4 1/2 years old; the laptop's user is the original owner. Up until the week before the conversion to Win7, the XP configuration was stable and very reliable.
  • The user's impressions:
    While navigating the user interface to work with files, open apps, perform administrative tasks, Win7 performance is slightly slower than WinXP SP3. The user describes the difference as "barely noticeable".
    Some applications definitely run much faster on Win7 (e.g. image post processing, using office apps with massive documents, code compiles).
    The user does not like the many aspects of the Win7 user interface (e.g. forced changes to Start Menu, Taskbar, Windows Explorer, the layered access to workstation configuration/management/administration tools). After a month of 12 hour days, using the Start Menu and accessing workstation configuration/management functionality is still a struggle.
  • To protect against viruses and malware, the organization that owns this laptop has used a handful of third party security-related products on their workstations. Over the last few years, these products have suffered from functionality bloat and incompatibility problems, creating a number of difficult to troubleshoot problems which are never resolved by the third party vendors. As the organization migrates to Win7, it is abandoning all of the third party products, in favor of Microsoft's free Security Essentials tool.
  • The organization uses a variety of Adobe products, mostly for image processing and desktop publishing. Some of these are older versions and would not install or run on Win7. The organization has cost/support/standardization constraints which sometimes prevent them from deploying the very latest versions of the products, even if they are entitled to use them via enterprise licensing agreements. As a result of the Win7 migration experience, they are reducing the number of different Adobe SKU's they deploy. Restoring lost Adobe application functionality can make migration to Win7 expensive.
  • While the Aero Themes are available on this D810 sample, some of the advanced functionality (e.g. transparency) are not. However, the overall video graphics and display experience is somewhat better in Win7 than WinXP SP3.
  • After confirming Win7 would run on the D810 platform, the original 60 gig 7200 RPM Hitachi TravelStar 2.5 inch ATA-100 hard drive was replaced with a 160 gig 5400 RPM Samsung PATA hard drive (HM160HC) for about $80 shipped. For the user of this laptop, the slower spindle speed of the Samsung is noticeable but not objectionable.
  • Native operating support for backup and for the CD/DVD writer is also a big plus; no more third party apps.
  • This D810 sample supports version 1.1 of the Trusted Platform Module. Win7 BitLocker requires version 1.2 TPM, so (arguably) the best drive encryption features are not available on the D810. NTFS file/folder level encryption is available.
Mods: Newbie on board; if there is a better location for this thread, please move it.

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