Andrej Tozon's blog

In the Attic


Installing Windows Vista on NX7010 - blank screen

I'm receiving quite a few question about installing Windows Vista on HP NX7010 notebook, mainly because of the Radeon 9200 video driver issue, causing the notebook's screen go blank towards the end of installation - by default, Microsoft's Radeon 9000 driver is installed and it obviously doesn't work well with the video card. With the recent, 5536 Vista build, this happens after the last installation reboot, just before you're asked about regional and other settings. I'm going to describe the steps which helped me finish the installation by reinstalling the original Radeon 9200 (for Windows XP) driver.

Things you'll need in the process:
1. Vista installation CD (with the serial number),
2. The latest original (Windows XP) ATI 9200 Radeon driver (downloadable from HP's site),
3. Extra monitor, ready to plug it in your VGA expansion port on the back panel of your notebook (I'm using a KVM switch to control more computers with the same Keyboard/Monitor/Mouse, so my main desktop monitor is always available for these kind of issues).

The steps:
1. Plug in your extra monitor in the VGA port.
2. Start the Vista Setup and follow the installation steps. After a second (I think) reboot, the screen will stay blank (but not completely, as when the computer is turned off - you'll see some illumination on the edges).
3. Switch the screen to your extra monitor (by pressing Fn+F4 keys - until you see the screen appear on your extra monitor).
4. Complete the installation. If notebook reboots again, repeat step 3.
5. When your system is set up, download the video driver (if you already have it stored on a CD or other media - even better).
6. Unpack your video driver, but don't run the installation (on my system, the installation is copied to c:\swsetup\SP30204\ folder.
7. Go to Control Panel | Appearance and Personalization | Personalization | Display Settings.
8. Press Advanced Settings button and Properties button under Adapter Type - the properties dialog appears.
9. Select Driver tab and press Update Driver...
10. Select Browse my computer for driver software and browse for the folder, where video driver's files are located.
11. Press Next and follow the steps to finish the driver installation. The system will ask you to reboot. Do that.
12. After the reboot, the notebook screen should again be operational and set to the highest, 1680x1050 resolution.

This is the procedure I'm taking when installing Windows Vista on my NX7010. I've done this 3-4 times with different vista builds, installing it from scratch or upgrading from a previous version. Described steps might vary from case to case, but the idea of installing the original Windows XP driver should work.

Some notes: obviously, Radeon 9200 (along with mentioned XP driver) is currently not supported by Vista, so you can count on some unpredicted system failures - my system sometimes crashes when put in hibernation or never wakes up after put to sleep. However, this happens rarely with 5536 build. Also, forget about Aero glass effect and Flip 3D, and your Windows Experience Index will always be set to 1.

Right now, I wouldn't recommend installing Vista on NX7010, if the notebook is your primary/main working computer. Of course, it is still an unfinished product, and upgrading to the final RTM version probably won't work. But, if you can't wait to see the Vista, it's certainly worth a look.

I hope this post will help you get your NX7010 working with Windows Vista. Feel free to leave a comment about your installation experience here.

On a side note: Vista RC1 [b5600] was just released on Friday [with .NET FX 3.0 RC I'd guess]