Forced to use XP again

A couple of weeks ago, my old laptop's motherboard gave up the ghost, so after much price and feature shopping, I got a new Toshiba Satellite A100 laptop for work.


In general, I love this box.  It's pretty fast, has a good modern processor, a decent video card (NVidia Go 7300), 1G RAM, and more extras than I would expect for a value laptop (it cost under $1000).  This thing's got Bluetooth, a fingerprint reader, a SD flash reader, IR, and other stuff - way more than I'd expect for a low end laptop.

I have only two major complaints about it.  The first is that the monitor, while a 15 inch widescreen monitor, can only do 1280x800 (my old laptop could do 1280x1024 and I miss that).

The other major complaint is that I can't run Vista on it.  Toshiba hasn't yet released the display drivers for the video card, so I have the choice of running XP in 1280x800 or Vista in 1024x768 VGA mode.  And I'm addicted to the resolution.

I actually tried Vista for a while, but it was too painful - everything worked (even the silly fingerprint reader had drivers on Windows Update), but not having the screen working just got on my nerves.


What's interesting is that after using Vista exclusively at work for 6 months and almost exclusively for over a month (I have one machine at home I use that doesn't have Vista on it), I've decided that the XP UI is just broken.  I've got totally used to the Vista UX and hate not having it.  I miss being able to type into the pearl, I actually miss breadcrumbs (which is wierd, because I hated them when I first encountered them).


I can't wait until Toshiba finally gets the drivers for my machine finished, XP feels so dated.

Comments (24)

  1. Hi Larry!

    There’s a website that has modified nvidia drivers that also work on mobile versions of the nvidia graphics adapters:

    This driver should work with your Toshiba on Vista.

  2. gkdada says:

    From my personal experience, is your friend for Vista drivers for laptops (with Nvidia video). The chances of you getting drivers from Toshiba are close to zero as these guys point out. My grand old Tecra A4 is running aero beautifully, thanks to them.

  3. Unfortunately those are all XDDM drivers (XP Device Driver Model).  For Vista, I need an LDDM driver (Longhorn Device Driver Model).  I didn’t see any of those on that site.

    I’ve tried the XDDM driver on this machine and it was…. Unpleasant.

  4. mastmaker says:

    I am using this and it works:

    for 64-bit:

    don’t forget to use the modded INF, as otherwise, it wouldn’t ‘see’ your card.

  5. Jorge Lourenco says:

    I know exactly how you feel!!

    I’ve installed Vista’s RC1 on my Toshiba laptop, and after 3 hours for this process to complete, after a few time playing around I’ve soon too discover that it needed rollback to a new XP instalation (a job of 5 hours).

    And, like you, I also miss the resolution of my last laptop, aldo much under powered compared to the present one, it had small advantage (but big for me): able to display a 1600×1024 resolution.

  6. ben says:

    Sorry, when you say, "…type into the pearl,…" what is the pearl?  I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that.

  7. The pearl is the windows logo – it replaces the start button.  You click on the pearl and start typing to find stuff.

  8. Mike Dunn says:

    The modded INF+drivers from works perfectly for me on b2. I haven’t tried RCx yet (b2 is stable for me so I don’t want to lose a day rebuilding my laptop) but that site has a mod they claim works on RC1 and later.

  9. Norman Diamond says:

    > I’ve decided that the XP UI is just broken.

    Only (well… mostly only) the defaults are broken.  You can set a lot of things to the "classic" look, and not hide hidden files and not hide extensions of executable files etc.

    > Unfortunately those are all XDDM drivers (XP Device Driver

    > Model).

    Oh, I didn’t know that’s what XDDM stands for.  The only observations I’ve made of "XDDM" is that the word "Microsoft" is next to it and it BSODs all the time.  I’ve sent around 5 minidumps from various versions.  One time one of your colleagues asked for a full memory dump, which I wasted a few hours producing and submitting, whereupon your company tossed it because it was larger than 50MB.  Can you explain to your colleagues that full memory dumps are likely to be larger than 50MB and they shouldn’t tell customers to waste time submitting such?

    On the other hand NVidia drivers are one thing I haven’t had trouble with in Vista.  The only NVidia drivers I had trouble with were in XP, for the GeForce 6100.  (Um… not a fair comparison.  I no longer have a GeForce 6100 chip and don’t know if NVidia’s Vista drivers would fail on it the same way.)

  10. XP RC1 says:

    I remember when Windows XP RC1 got out. Unlike Vista RC1 or 2 everything just worked. Windows had its own video drivers for my Geforce and I could run any resolution the card supported.

    When I installed Vista RC2, my Audigy sound card was missing drivers and my 3Com network adapter was also missing drivers (which was most frustrating since I couldn’t just connect to the internet to download new drivers – I had to download on another computer and transfer by an usb harddrive.).

    I’m quite worried about this. Isn’t vista going to have the same "works-just-out-of-the-box" as Windows XP did?

  11. Stuart Dootson says:

    So…..the $64k question for me – does it make the laptop sleep UX as good as OS X does on my iBook – i.e. you shut the lid’n’go and when you arrive, you open the lid and you’re using the lappie in about 2 seconds?

    Don’t get me wrong – I use Windows quite happily at work, I’m not a raving Mac-head…but since I got my iBook last November, this aspect of OS X-dom means I don’t want to use a Windows laptop. Well, that and the Unix command line and the almost 6 hours of battery life. Oh, and TextMate.

  12. Mike Dimmick says:

    Right now I think I’m going to avoid Vista, even though I’ve been testing the betas and release candidates.

    I like the breadcrumbs, I like the pervasive search, but my tools simply aren’t going to work (eVC 3.0 and 4.0 are completely broken, and DevDiv recently announced that they won’t support VS 2003 even though it’s still well within its support lifecycle). I’m not buying and installing a new OS then have to run all my development tools in a VM. You know my attitude to running programs in a VM, Larry, I remember we had this discussion a few years ago.

    I said over on the Code Project forum, where this announcement was linked, that preventing developers from running, or at least not helping them run, their tools on the new OS is idiotic in the extreme. If the developers don’t adopt it, they won’t develop applications which use the new features or run well on the OS, which may well lead to end-users not adopting it.

  13. Dave says:

    This isn’t a XP-vs-Vista-features problem, it’s a "what my brain is now trained to do as a reflex" problem. Any time someone rearranges the furniture it’s going to take you longer to get through the room until you learn the new pattern.

    The question remains, is the new arrangement really that much better than the old one? And, was it worth waiting five years? I have been using the Vista beta for a year and I’m not yet convinced. My dev box will stay on XP for at least another six months. Vista users would get better support if I could run the darned thing accepably in a VM. Having to haul everything over to a separate computer for testing is so five years ago.

  14. Niall says:

    The steps in this blog entry worked fine for me with my GEForce 7600 Go in my Vaio.

  15. Dave, that’s a good point, and a valid one.  Personally I think it was worth it, but YMMV.

    At a minimum, the security changes alone are worth it – I don’t feel uncomfortable surfing the web in Vista, especially with IE.

  16. kiwiblue says:

    I second Mike Dimmick’s opinion – lack of support for non-VS2005 IDEs sucks big time and effectively prevents from using Vista. In turn, ensuring that our apps work correctly on most recent Microsoft’s OS is going to be a pain.

    I hope that demand for Vista will be below expectations – it’s probably the only way of changing the attitude present among MS managers at the moment.

  17. Dave says:

    "I don’t feel uncomfortable surfing the web in Vista, especially with IE."

    Actually, IE7 is a gold plated classic example of furniture rearrangement. The security features could have been added without changing the UI at all. My mouse hand reflexively moves to the upper left area of the toolbar to click the Stop button or do menu actions–menus are in the upper left corner of Windows apps, right? Yet IE7 puts them on the right side. I am sure I can get used to it over the course of a year, but was it really necessary to do that? Now whenever I am using *any* application I have an exception to consciously handle each time I want to access the menu: If IE7 then move right, else move left.

    All of this drains just a little bit of productivity, but does it many times a day. Interface inconsistency prevents your mind from being able to take actions subconsiously. For example, have you ever tried to use some Word or Visual Studio feature in an HTML form, forgetting you weren’t in Word or VS? I waste a few seconds each time just slapping my forehead. 🙂

  18. So I decided to take the advice people mentioned in the previous post , and my laptop is now happily

  19. Norman Diamond says:

    Among all the furniture rearrangements in Vista, the security improvements are about the only ones that seem to make it worth while.  The rest still look like negatives.

    The inability to use Vista for development purposes is in some ways a negative and in other ways a throwback.  For real-time systems, since the dawn of time development systems and target systems have been separate computers.  Developers always needed both machines, edit and compile on one and execute on the other.  When microprocessors entered the scene, they were handled the same way.  I’ve heard from reliable sources that Microsoft used a VAX to develop programs that ran under MS-DOS, which is either the same or close to what lots of other embedded programmers were doing for micros that maybe didn’t have any operating system.  So now with Vista, maybe we need to use XP to do editing and compiling but then copy the output over to a Vista computer to see if they’ll execute.

    With modern micros, just like on mainframes in the days of dinosaurs, a lot of developers have grown accustomed to doing development on the same machine we test on.  So how many are going to accept the throwback to separate development and target machines?

  20. Igor says:

    "So how many are going to accept the throwback to separate development and target machines?"

    Once new versions of virtual machine software kick in, you will be able to run XP as a guest in Vista, develop inside VM and test on both host and guest. That will be a workaround for many until the tools get updated.

  21. Rune says:

    In the end, UAC was unacceptable to me. I love Vista’s new look, but it was not until I had shut down UAC, Windows Defender, the search and indexing service among other things, that things started looking up.

    I only have a Core 2 Duo and 2GB memory, so wasting CPU, disk and memory resources on those features was not an option.

    As for browsing, I typically disable ActiveX, scripting and Java, which leads to a very safe level of surfing. I enable scripts on sites I trust, and stay away from the less serious ones. IMO, a webpage that plays music is just another form of DOS attack. Disabling the means of such attacks further reduce the need for Windows Defender and such.

    Now… If only I could disable the need for signed drivers. What idiot made signed drivers a requirement? (as if getting 64-bit drivers for my TV tuner and printers wasn’t hard enough already)

  22. CRMMario says:

    I Have a HP Pavilion dv1721la supposed Windows Vista Capable, but i install RC1 and sound and other devices don’t work properly or simply don’t work, i contact with HP and they say that in March 2007 will have Drivers for Pavilion, so i think why is so hurry begin to sell the SO if even laptop "Vista Capable" work properly ???

  23. Hi Larry

    Just a quick email to check you are OK. I’ve been missing your blogging – my favourite. The perfect blend of serious techie stuff and ‘real’ life.

    Hope you had a happy thanksgiving.


Skip to main content