It felt like it took forever to finally get here.
As I am not ready to upgrade my main machine to Windows 10 just yet (quite happy with Win 7, so why fix what isn’t broken), I wanted to use my old HP Mini Netbook with its tiny 10″ screen as a guinea pig.
When I bought it new it came with Windows 7 Starter which was awful. Since then I am looking for a better, smaller, lightweight OS. Found nothing. Tried Linux. Didn’t like it that much.
So I installed Windows 8.
Yes, 8. On a tiny Atom processor with just 1GB ram. All signs posted to “NO! It won’t work! Don’t do it or the Universe will implode!”. Even HP isn’t officially supporting it, but lo and behold, I tried and it worked!
Windows 8 ran okay, but felt quite heavy and sluggish and of course apps didn’t work on the small screen because Microsoft didn’t support the resolution, but that was okay, didn’t need that. And if I did there was a hack for that.
Then came the update to Win 8.1. Still worked against all odds and when I finally reserved the upgrade to Windows 10 the pre-check for the minimum requirements came back green. You are good to go. Or so I thought…
I was ready to go.
But Windows update was not.
First it did nothing. Then I tried the work around I posted previously and it started the update process. But then it kept giving me error messages because my Intel Media Accelerator 3150 is not compatible and that Intel has not yet said when or if it ever would be. What? Why?
Googled the web, forums and even asked Intel via Twitter if they’re working on a solution. Computer says no. No updates planned for old rubbish Atoms. Argh!
Someone suggested the fault lies with Microsoft and that their database isn’t listing my thing. Someones else suggested to de-install the display driver and use the generic Windows one. Good idea.
Except, that it didn’t work.
The problem is that silly Windows update. It HAS to be set to automatic or everything comes to a halt. And when you do set it to automatic updates, it re-installs the dreaded Win 8.1 Intel driver that’s giving me the error message in the first place (weird that Intel only lists drivers up to Win 7, really weird.)
At this point it all feels like a Mexican standoff and I am caught in the middle of it. Intel isn’t responsible. Microsoft has drivers that even Intel doesn’t seem to have, but doesn’t like them even though it keeps reinstalling them. Microsoft of course, also has no solution listed on its pages. It is just weird. Without really understanding this silly problem it is quite difficult to figure out a solution or know who to ask. Or what to ask for.
Give up? No, never.
So what did I do to finally get the upgrade to install on this impossible machine?
As I was wondering where to look for a solution I was thinking that there has to be some kind of ISO of Windows 10 that can be used to install the darn thing without using the update thing.
Ironically enough, Microsoft provides exactly this here. It says “Use the media creation tool to download Windows”. But no where was I made aware of this. Why did the windows upgrade pop up window not just suggest I try this if upgrading keeps stubbornly failing?
What’s even more confusing is the following paragraph on the above website:
If you will be installing the operating system for the first time, you will need your Windows product key (xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx). For more information about product keys and when they are required, visit the FAQ page.
No. You don’t. I ignored that and downloaded the installer just to see what would happen and eventually it asked me if I wanted to a) create an install media on a 4GB flash drive or b) install now. I chose door B. Install. NOW! Now. Now. Now.
I really clicked it. It really worked.
It downloaded all night and installed all night.
It restarted in the morning and…it works! Beautifully.
Not ONCE did it complain about the media accelerator not being good enough. It is still there by the way. And it must be compatible if it works.
So Intel, HP and Microsoft all told me that Windows 10 will not work on my old Netbook and that I should maybe consider buying a new machine.
But that is not the point. I will buy a new laptop when I need it, not because I am forced to. Why give up on a perfectly fine little computer just because someone else’s communication system is broken.
In the end it was really simple, but it felt like the whole process was made unnecessarily difficult. And I imagine that most people would have given up half way, tossing their Netbook out the window like an old Frisbee at the first sign of failure accepting the inevitable and upgrading not their soft- but their hardware.
What I don’t understand though, Microsoft wants everyone to use Win 10, and get as many old machines equipped, spread the word and conquer the world again. But on the other side doesn’t provide people with the information they really need to do so. Intel obviously doesn’t care about older products and HP also seems to have no one who takes care of these kind or after market issues upsetting their customers.
Don’t you guys know that communication is the key? Your customers like help, information and full disclosure.
As a customer I am now leaning away from Intel products in favor of AMD and will not consider my next laptop to be an HP because I do not believe they are future proof – and I like future proof. At least 5 years of future. I keep stuff until it breaks and cannot be rescued. It is not only more environmentally friendly but it’s like it should be.
In the old days quality products had to last a lifetime and for even more generations to come. I just do not accept that computers and most electronic products these days are throw away items. Yes, technology advances fast but that is no excuse. See, I am up to date now with an “old” piece of hardware. So, just because someone (or three) says it can’t be done, I just don’t have to accept it to be true.
HP Mini 110 (approx. from 2010)
Processor: Atom N455 /1,67GHz
Graphics: Intel Media Accelerator 3150
Windows 7 Starter, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 Pro