MSI Wind gets the Vista Ultimate treatment


Just a quick note before I actually drop off for a few hours. Over the weekend I decided to take a look at how well Microsoft Windows Vista does or doesn’t run on a netbook. Mac OS X was a nice little experiment and quite usable, but I remember thinking about early Intel Atom news and figuring that Vista would just be too much for the little CPU that could. I’ll be spending some time with Vista Ultimate on the MSI Wind as a result. Clearly it’s up to each individual to choose the operating system that they’re most comfortable in; my point here isn’t to say what’s the best OS on a netbook because everyone’s needs are different. Many people are plenty happy with XP or a Linux distro, but Vista works well for others. Note that I upgraded my MSI Wind to run with 2GB of RAM. I still feel pretty adamant that an optimal Vista experience on any device requires two more gigabytes of memory.

All I can share at this point is the installation experience, which took about an hour last night. Everything went smoothly on the Wind but of course, many driver components were missing. MSI includes a driver disc for XP but I didn’t want to install everything from there since they were XP drivers. Instead, I only installed the WiFi driver. That worked fine and then I hit Windows Update for 33 software and driver updates. I was very impressed that Windows Update found drivers for almost all of the various components in the Wind, such as the Intel graphics and chipset, Ethernet and more. Basically, everything but the Bluetooth driver was installed or upgraded by Windows Update, which was a far better experience for me than when Vista first hit.

With the updated drivers, I have the proper screen resolution, sound, WiFi, wired Ethernet and more. All of the Wind’s function buttons such as screen brightness, radio activation and sound controls work great although there’s no on-screen display for these features. That’s simply a matter of installing the MSI utility, but I’ll likely pass on that as I don’t feel the need for it. More to follow over the next few weeks, but I stand corrected on one thing already: the Intel Atom is exceeding my expectations in terms of handling Vista. I’ve got the Windows Experience Index above for those who are interested. Yes, the Aero features of Vista work quite well; in fact the Flip3D feature is darn near seamless!

Oh, as far as me dropping off the grid for a bit. I’ll be attending a memorial service for Andy Abramson’s mom early this afternoon. Sadly, Andy lost his mom not long after I met him for the first time face-to-face at our Mobilize conference. If you have a minute to send him a warm thought today, please do. I know he could use it.

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