MacBook Windows 7

I installed Windows 7 (Build 6801) on my MacBook “Core 2 Duo” 2.0 13″ (Black) with 3GB RAM.

To manage the boot menu for my Vista and Leopard partitions, I use rEFIt instead of Boot Camp. After I made a backup disk image of the Vista partition, I booted the Windows 7 DVD, reformatted the Vista partition and began the installation. It went a lot faster than the Vista install.

The Boot Camp drivers from the Leopard DVD installed without any problems in Windows 7 – the Apple Built-in Bluetooth, the Apple Built-in iSight, the Apple Trackpad Enabler, the Apple Keyboard, the Apple IR Receiver, the Atheros AR5008X Wireless Network Adapter, the Marvell Yukon 88E8053 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller, the SigmaTel High Definition Audio Codec and the Boot Camp Control Panel. Windows 7 installed the Mobile Intel(R) 945 Express Chipset Family (Prerelease WDDM 1.0 Driver) for the display adapter.

I used Randy’s SharpKeys 2.1.1 (a registry hack) to remap the Apple enter key (on the bottom row) to a forward delete key so I don’t have to hold down the fn key and delete for that function. I also mapped F8 to Prtscr – another Windows key that’s missing on the MacBook keyboard.

Thankfully, my two year old MacBook still feels responsive in Windows 7 (and in Vista). I’ve never had any major problems with Vista, and so far, Windows 7 seems to be an improvement.

OS X Vista Linux

Version 7.10 of Ubuntu Linux was released today. I downloaded the desktop 386 version and burned the ISO to a CD.

rEFIt Bootloader

The live version booted quickly on my Macintrash using rEFIt (a bootloader and maintenance toolkit for the Extensible Firmware Interface). Ubuntu configured my Marvell Yukon gigabit Ethernet adapter (as eth0) and my DHCP server gave it an address, but the Atheros wi-fi chipset didn’t show up as eth1.

Windows Home Server

I signed up on Microsoft Connect to beta test Windows Home Server RC1 (WHS). For what it does, it’s a great piece of software. It’s based on Windows Server 2003 but with a very simple user interface for home users. Each PC (Vista or XP SP2) on the network gets the Windows Home Server Connector installed. The software finds the server and automates the backup of each PC.

Windows Home Server Console

The front-end on each client is Windows Home Server Console. It displays the computers on the network and their backup status, User Accounts, Shared Folders, Server Storage and Network Status.

During installation, WHS destructively formats all the disks used on the server and creates network shares, e.g., video, photos and music, that are all available to each client. Each user account has their own personal folder and basic permissions – Full, Read and None can be set on each folder. With at least two hard disks in the server, the ability to have redundancy for shared folders is available.

Windows Home Server Xbox 360 Media Extender

WHS also has the ability to share stored media with an Xbox 360, and does this very well also.

Remote access via the web is also available, and the WHS software will automatically configure PNP 2.0 routers.

The one application that’s missing in WHS that would make it a killer home app is Windows Media Center. The media hub software is built into Vista Home Premium and Ultimate Editions and XP Media Center Edition (MCE) but not in WHS. I have the WHS PC hooked up to our Sony KV-36FV1, so I want to use it as a Media Center. Unfortunately that means I can’t use Windows Home Server.


Vista Slow File Copy

I have been experiencing the slow file copy problem on the Vista installation on my Shuttle SB51G, which is my “media center” PC – it is connected to our Sony KV-36FV1 television.

My network topology looks like this: I have a Linksys WRT54G ver.2 running DD-WRT v23 SP2 (09/15/06) vpn and a Linksys EZXS55W 5 port switch. Connected to the router and switch are the Shuttle, a Sony laptop running Windows 2003 Server SP2 (the domain controller), a Toshiba Portege connected via WiFi, a Dell Inspiron 700m connected by Ethernet, an Apple Powerbook G4 12″ (rev. A) connected via WiFi, a Bootcamp (really, rEFIt) Apple Macbook (Late 2006 – MA701LL/A) connected by Ethernet and WiFi and an Xbox 360 connected by Ethernet.

The main symptom for me was the Calculating remaining time dialog box that would not indicate the remaining time for a file copy. I tried the solutions I found by searching for “Vista slow file copy”. Microsoft has a Support Knowledge Base article, KB931770 that describes their solution and offers a Hotfix, which did not work for me.

I ticked the setting (in the Folder Options/View/Advanced Settings) Always show icons, never thumbnails. As Monty Hall and Keith Linford always said, “No Deal!”

I tried turning off Remote Differential Compression, in Control Panel/Programs and Features/Turn Windows Features On and Off/clear check on Remote Differential Compression. No deal.

It did not seem like a PATA controller problem, where a second device (such as DVD drive) was on the same channel as a hard disk. My second hard disk was on its own channel and I still had the slow file copy problem to that disk.

Since I was sometimes getting an error -36, copying files from OSX to Vista booted on the Shuttle, I tried changing the Vista Security Settings/Local Policies/Security Options/ to:

Domain member: Digitally encrypt secure channel data (always) – Enable
Domain member: Digitally sign secure channel data (when possible) – Enable
Microsoft network client: Digitally sign communications (always) – Disable
Microsoft network client: Digitally sign communications (if server agrees) – Enable
Microsoft network server: Digitally sign communications (always) – Disable
Microsoft network server: Digitally sign communications (if client agrees) – Enable

All these settings did not resolve the problem.

What solved the problem? Updating the Realtek (RTL8139/810x) Ethernet Driver from Realtek to version 6.104 for Vista.

You may be thinking, “Why didn’t he try that first?” – I did. But in early June, the Realtek driver was only up to version 6.103, which did not solve the slow file copy problem.

Merom and Santa Rosa

I’m ready for a new notebook computer but with Leopard and Vista around the corner, maybe I’ll wait for a system with either of those installed. With Core 2 (Merom) Macbooks (Pro) most likely being introducted by Apple in their September 12 announcement, plus being able to run Windows, I’m leaning toward another Mac(intrash).

Intel Core2 Extreme processor die (photo courtesy Intel)
Intel Core2 Extreme processor die (photo courtesy Intel)

Currently, I’m using a Rev. A 12″ Powerbook and a Shuttle SB51G desktop with a 2.2 GHz P4 and 845 GE chipset – not exactly the latest technology. Since I don’t do anything, it’s adequate – the Powerbook is running Apache and MySQL for testing, so that’s OK for now.

I downloaded Vista Beta 2 but I have yet to install it. There’s no Windows Aero for me anyway because my Shuttle is using a ATI AIW (Radeon 9000) for video.

Being a former heatseeker (who would pay $1500 for a Motorola Micro Tac Elite?), I know you should just buy what you need. With the Santa Rosa platform due in H1 2007, I guess more patience is required. What I always wonder is why, when you get a new computer, is it fast and then a couple of years later, it’s so slow?