Windows 8 Gives New Life to Older Hardware

Like most of you, I’ve been wonderfully surprised by the Microsoft BUILD conference this last week. The delivered software and presentations to help us get started with Windows 8 far exceeded any expectations I had.

To try and add anything to what has been clearly communicated would be foolish on my part.  Instead let me tell you about my “Lazarus” experience this week.

I’ve been eyeing the Asus EP121 for several weeks now. I got to play with one at the Bellevue Microsoft Store. This is one sweet unit.

Well, I have a dusty, HP tm2 TouchSmart Laptop/Tablet. It has a Core i3 1.2ghz, 4GB memory, integrated graphics card, slow 5400rpm drive. My thinking was, if I can pull a Lazarus on this computer for 6-12 months, I’ll save myself the $1,000 now and wait for the next generation hardware and with fast CPU, SSD, HD screen, etc.

I did use the HP tm2 for Window Phone 7 development and OneNote note taking.  It was kind of slow, especially compared to other modern hardware.

The slowness was not attributed to Windows 7, but rather to lame hardware. 

PC hardware manufacturers please start making decent hardware that competes with Apple’s hardware and PLEASE stop putting crapware on my new PC. All crapware should be a line item, opt-in.

I need to move off this topic before I go into a tirade.

On the good side, one of the keynotes at BUILD showed new hardware coming soon that looks like the MacBook Air, metal, thin, etc.  At last. Please offer good components in your units, I’ll pay for them.

So I replaced the first generation 5,400rpm hard drive with a 7,200 second generation SATA. Was getting just a little excited, breathing new life into my laptop.

Lazarus!

Following simple directions on Scott Hanselman’s blog, I loaded the Win8 Preview on a USB.

When I booted the laptop I change the default boot to the USB so I could install Windows.  When Windows restarts, don’t forget to change the default boot back to your hard drive.

Installation took 12 minutes; Windows, Visual Studio, demo applications, etc.  Core i3 and a decent disk, still respectable.

The laptop boots very quickly, applications are responsive and fun to use.  I have not installed Office yet, but will soon. For now, just learning to get around Windows 8 and how to write Metro XAML apps.

Scud Missile

After I logged in, I ran Windows Update and one of the items installed was the, “Microsoft IntelliPoint 8.2 Mouse Software for Windows – 64 bit” This update on my laptop caused the touch to quick working.  So I used Add Remove programs to uninstall it, rebooted and got touch working again.

Visual Studio XAML Designer Patch

You need to install a patch published by the Expression Team to correct a mouse issue with the designer.

https://connect.microsoft.com/VisualStudio/Downloads/DownloadDetails.aspx?DownloadID=38599

After downloading, don’t forget to “Unblock” the .zip file.  The instructions left this out.

You MUST follow the installation instructions, most important you must install the patch as an administrator.

The fun part will be trying to figure out how to open an Administrator Command Prompt. I could not figure out how to do this using the Metro interface.  So… I opened Windows Explorer in the Desktop, navigated to the \Windows\system32 folder, right-clicked on the cmd.exe file and selected, “Run as Administrator.” While you at it, go ahead and pin that Administrator Command Window to the TaskBar, problem solved.

Getting Around Windows 8

Since you probably won’t be writing code using your TouchScreen keyboard, you’ll want to get up to speed on Windows Shortcuts. The following blog post is being recommended by several on Twitter so I’ve included it here as well.

http://www.winrumors.com/windows-8-tips-and-tricks-for-mousekeyboard-users/

Before Your Frist Project

Before you dive into your first Metro project, take time and watch some of the BUILD videos. If you only watch one video, watch this one: http://channel9.msdn.com/events/BUILD/BUILD2011/BPS-1004. Jensen Harris clearly explains Metro and the thinking behind it. He is also one of the best presenters at BUILD and connects with the audience and viewers alike.

Video

The below video shows my HP tm2 after the Lazarus operation.  Short, 3 minutes gives you a good feel for how a Core i3 runs Windows 8.

http://www.vimeo.com/29222402

Close

These are good times for Windows developers.

For me, I’m finishing up my WPF/Prism BBQ Shack program and will move the cash register and online purchasing modules to Metro.  Metro is perfect for a touch screen cash register.  This will be so much fun to write.

Have a great day,

Just a grain of sand on the worlds beaches.

3 Responses to Windows 8 Gives New Life to Older Hardware

  1. [...] Shiflett (@kdawg02) provided several useful tips for the Windows 8 Developer Preview in his Windows 8 Gives New Life to Older Hardware post of [...]

  2. [...] Windows 8 Gives New Life to Older Hardware (Karl Shifflett) [...]

  3. Josh Smith says:

    Windows 8 is breathing life into dead machines. The great zombie apocolypse is near!

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