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Windows 7 x64 on ThinkPad T61p

Posted by jpluimers on 2010/03/06

Somehow, the latest Windows Vista automatic update screwed my laptop.

It didn’t manage to make a System Restore Point, but in stead managed to remove all previous restore points.

In addition, my laptop now performed like a dog because of excessive disk activity on the primary HDD (login took 30 minutes).
Safe Mode and Safe Mode with Network were fine, so I tried to figure out what was wrong, but gave up after a day of investigating with Process Monitor and Process Explorer, and stopping/pausing allmost all services and killing/pausing almost all processes.

So: I bit the bullet and Installed Windows 7 x64 on my fully loaded T61p.

The machine has dual 7200 rpm 500 Gb drives (I have not used physical DVD’s or CD’s in years), with 4 Gb of memory (the official maximum, but I recently heard it can actually handle 8 gigabyte fine).
It functions as a host (my work is almost exclusively in a virtual machines so I can separate things), so it needs to be a balance of functional but lean installation.

Most of the installation process was straight forward (in fact much more straightforward than getting Vista on it).

Here is the run-down that includes the things I bumped into:

  1. Installed the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool to copy the installation DVD to a bootable USB stick (I know there many guides on doing this by hand, but I like to be pragmatic).
  2. Booted from the USB stick and did basic install
  3. Be surprised about how much hardware was supported out of the box
  4. Installed these Lenovo drivers (most from the T61p drivers and software matrix):
    UltraNav driver (for thehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TrackPoint– which I love – and the TouchPad – which I disabled)
    FingerPrint driver (I really like the biometric fingerprint login over typing my password)
    Hotkey driver (more formally called “features integration”)
    4-in-1 Ricoh  multi card reader driver (which is not on the driver matrix, and supports SD/SDIO/MMC/MMCplus, MS/MS-Pro, xD Picture Card, and IEEE 1394/FireWire)
  5. DAEMON Tools Lite (a virtual CD/DVD player – ideal on a 2 HDD setup)
  6. GhostScript and FreePDF (so I can print to PDF files and view PostScript files)
  7. Adobe Reader (there are faster and smaller PDF viewers, but nothing beats the original)
  8. Google Chrome (my favorite browser, I use other browsers for testing web-stuff, but those are in virtual machines)
  9. Fiddler2 (for monitoring HTTP/HTTPS traffic when things go wrong, or I need a direct download URL of something
  10. Skype (the new 4.x, even though it is almost unworkable compared to the old 3.8.0.188, the old version keeps crashing under Windows 7. I moved my Skype Chat History)
  11. VMware Workstation (note that officially you need version 7 to run Windows as host or guest, 6.5.3 does seem to work for some people)
  12. 7zip (my favourite compression tool)
  13. My standard BIN directory with my favourite light weight command-line tools (did I mention I’m from they keyboard age? Hence the love for the TrackPoint)

Windows 7 feels a lot faster than Windows Vista, and requires a lot less memory for itself (slightly more than 1 gigabyte, where Vista needs almost half a gigabyte more).

–jeroen

Ref: Re: Device Manager unknown devices T61p – lenovo community.

6 Responses to “Windows 7 x64 on ThinkPad T61p”

  1. Thomas Pfister said

    Hi Jereon,
    I can confirm your memory and speed-result on my Thinkpad T61p, too. The 7.0.1 version from VMWare works fine (must be with the same number “7” ), here I fight some hrs because the mouse doesn’t work correct in vmware-machines; here I found the result: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1016158

    Well, I must admit, that I only made the step from Vista to Win7-32 bit…

    • jpluimers said

      x64 supports more physical memory, and that’s what I have.
      For the license, it does not matter if you install x64 or x86.

      The mouse problem solves itself when your Windows 7 host display setting is at 100% (which I did not change, so it is still 100% here).
      Thanks for pointing me at it though.
      And indeed: with VMware workstation, I meant version 7.0.1 build-227600 :-)

      –jeroen

  2. IL said

    I like 2-disks setup, but how much time your laptop can work on standard battery?

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