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The myth of Microsoft hardware compatability

ENw7comp_5F00_rgb_5F00_L_5F00_595A9778There is a train of thought in the world of PC’s that tells most users that you cannot go wrong with a windows PC, one of the biggest pushes is hardware compatibility. You can buy any hardware and plug it into a windows PC and it will work, it might need a driver install, but it will work..

Well I’d like to tell you a tale of two OS’s and let you make up your mind..

The hardware for this story is an Acer Aspire One D255 a 2010 model NetBoot, 11″ screen a Gb of ram a nice side HDD pretty average spec and a huge Windows 7 compatible sticker slapped on the part of the keyboard area that gets rubbed off… Basically a nice little device..

For reasons which are not necessary to go into here I needed to blat the PC and reinstall Windows on it, I did this using a stock vanilla windows 7 pro built onto a USB stick using a handy tool from Microsoft. The install was about as uneventful as install program’s are but quick none the less..

After a reboot the fun began as yes windows had installed but the screen resolution was 800×600 not good.. Other notable omissions were no working SD card and most importantly no working wifi OR Ethernet ports.

Had this been my only PC I’d have been stuck, however it’s not so I headed over to the support.acer.com page and found a useful site which let me find the exact NetBoot I have most useful, and it was right up to the part where it only offered 32 bit drivers.. So I reinstalled 32 bit windows..

There was still a problem, which if I was a novice would have stumped me, while there was only one VGA driver download.. There are 4 different wifi drivers Broadcom, Atheros, Realtek or Intel which poses a problem as no where on the device does it tell you which wireless chipset this particular device uses and as it turns out if you install the wrong driver Windows gets a BSOD after every reboot and needs a reinstall.. Same with the Ethernet card

So it has taken me 4 windows installs and about 4 hrs just to get windows working.. However now I have another issue..

Software..

I’m going to need at least AV installed and realistically a better firewall as well and putting these on the device causes a notable change in the speed of the device, however putting Office 2007 on the device almost killed it. Which is interesting as you’d think it wouldn’t have much effect until it was run.. but there is is..

Once the software is on I need to print, but i can’t because I need another printer driver download, thats a 100Mb or so of files because i can’t just download a printer driver the manufacturer wants to happily include a photo management app and loads of other stuff I don’t want, never wanted or don’t need.

This is all on a nettop which has a sticker on the front of it advertising how well it works with Windows 7…

The software actually needed ontop of the OS is both Memory and HDD is heavily used on this Win 7 OS, and it’s no better on Windows 8 because installing Windows 8 on this same device allows me to install all the way right up until i open the first app and nothing because the screen resolution of 1280 x 600 isn’t tall enough..

I’m the first to admit the Windows 7 Compatibility sticker isn’t there to say Windows works out of the box, its there to say Windows works haver it’s got to stand for something.. However what Most windows advocates fail to even know because they rarely install OS’s from scratch or if they do its in VMware or Virtualbox. Fresh installs of Windows are a Nightmare constantly involving the procedure above.

If i take the same laptop I can install using again a USB Ubuntu on that laptop, after the Install which takes about the same time (and installs required updates prior to the first reboot) post reboot I’m pretty much done. No need for additional drivers, Wifi works out of the box, Printers print, scanners scan, Display gives full resolution

I’ve also got a full office suite built in which is recognised as being as good for most users as Microsofts offering and so far not a penny has needed to be paid..

Lets put this myth to bed now that Ubuntu isn’t a workable OS, it’s ridiculous how many times in my week I find it solves more problems than Windows does. The only thing holding IT people especially back is their lack of knowledge and understanding.

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This entry was posted on December 9, 2012 by in comment, ilike, Linux, Ubuntu and tagged , , , , , , , .
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