I had this cool mobile pc from Sony for a while now. I was kind of getting tired of how slow XP would run on this machine and multi-tasking was almost impossible due to small amount of RAM it had on this (512MB). Most probably because of the tons of bloatware that came installed with the default Windows XP Pro installation from Sony. When Windows 7 RTM was released on MSDN recently, I wanted to give it a try on my machine. I started looking on Google for other people who installed Windows Vista, Windows 7 beta or Windows 7 RC on their UX series ultra mobiles and learn about their experiences. Most probably I was looking if all the hardware on the UX will work in Windows. After getting convinced that Windows 7 runs quite well and grabbing all the available Vista drivers for the UX, I sat down to install. I have a Lite-On external usb dvd writer and connected it to the UX. I did the first installation and it took about 20-25 minutes to complete, which was quite fast compared to earlier windows installation experiences. Surprisingly enough 85% of the UX’s hardware were recognized and installed by Windows 7. The only major hardware that was not installed was the web cam. Then I grabbed the driver package I downloaded earlier that I found on http://www.micropctalk.com/ and install the missing hardwares from there. The link is shared on this thread – http://www.micropctalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5617&page=14. And the direct download link is: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=0CIQ4TEV. I am not sure how long it will be available though. Because I also found a few other links on the thread, that was broken already. In the download package, the instructions say to install the hardware in a certain order and the folders are numbered accordingly. If you follow the order, you will be fine. However, you won’t need to install all of them. Windows 7 will pre-install most of the hardware for you. You will mostly need to install the driver for the mouse stick, software for the touch screen, utility for the special buttons, Sony Event Manager tool, Sony Firmware Extension Parser Driver, Sony Notebook Control Driver, Sony Utility Dlls, Sony Shared Libraries, Sony Power Management, Hard drive protection driver form Misc Drivers folder, Camera Driver & Applications and other Sony bundled applications such as the Sony VAIO Control Center tool, wireless switching utility, zoom utility. Alternatively you can also download the drivers from Sony’s support site, which might be a bit confusing, because those drivers, patches etc. were targeted for windows vista. In other words, you will not need to download all the drivers and patches from there and install on windows 7, just get the applications and drivers you need, that windows 7 did not pre-install for you.
Please note that if you don’t install the special button utility and the sony event manager, the zoom buttons and the touch launcher button on your UX will not work. I was having problem with those buttons for some time and finally figured out the reason was the Event Manager tool not been installed.
This is how it’s looking running windows 7. You may have noticed the RAM usage is near the red area. Mine came with 512Mb of RAM and I am not surprised to see the usage up to that level. However, the UX is much more responsive than it was in Windows XP. I got rid of the restore partition, which eats up about 7GB of space on the hard drive. Now I have around 20GB of free space after the installation. I have yet to install more software on the UX as I need. But Windows 7 comes with all the important tools and software you need to do on this tiny yet powerful machine. I think Microsoft did a great job on making Windows 7 less hardware power hungry, more stable and the footprint to run on smaller hardware profiles. I was reading about people successfully installing and running windows 7 on their old intel mmx hardware with 128Mb or RAM, which is quite impressible based on the features and power windows 7 presents.
One thing I want to mention though, I was unable to get the back side camera to work with the camera utility, only the front camera is accessible with the tool right now.