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Tempting Fate Doesn't Always Pay Off

I’ve got an older, but still pretty powerful HP notebook I use for testing and watching the occasional video. It’s a HDX9203KW, aka “The Dragon” because of its snazzy exterior design. With 8 GB of RAM and 1.5 TB of disk space, it’s pretty powerful as notebooks go, and it runs Windows 7 like a top — most of the time. Thing is, HP never released a full complement of Windows 7 drivers for this notebook (it’s fully covered for Vista, but these units were so big and expensive, HP discontinued the model after only two years of production, and they apparently didn’t see fit to lead their buyers into the brave new world of Windows 7).

Thanks to the folks at the Notebook Review “HP HDX Dragon Owner’s Lounge” plus a little help and expert steering from my friend John RV Jones (a fellow Dragon owner who worked his way through the upgrade a couple of months before I had time to tackle it myself, and consequently saved me oodles of time running around and running down drivers and potential issues. There’s also a peachy Windows 7 Installer’s Guide, too.), I have been able to get Windows 7 up and running on this machine. In fact, I’ve got all the hardware working properly, but it doesn’t work with all the most current drivers for the various devices installed on the machine (I’m guessing it probably gets down to BIOS support issues and HP simply hasn’t updated the BIOS to incorporate elements specific to Windows 7 because it doesn’t support that OS for this machine).

Thus, DriverAgent reports four drivers are “behind the times” on this machine, including:

  • The HP Bluetooth module
  • My Authentec AES2501A fingerprint scanner
  • The SigmaTel High Definition Audio codec
  • The integrated HP WebCam

Sure, I can install those newer drivers (and I’ve tried, believe me). But when I do, the related devices quit working. That’s why I keep an eye on the aforementioned owners lounge to see if anybody’s hacked any new drivers lately, but otherwise keep those items where they currently stand, so as to keep the device working properly.

Interestingly, I’ve also got an Asus Eee PC 1000HE which that company released before Windows 7 went commercial. Nevertheless, they’ve got a complete set of Windows 7 drivers and have even published a guide on how to upgrade the unit from its original Windows XP Home to any of several Windows 7 versions (I run Windows 7 Professional on my notebooks so I can use Remote Desktop Connection to access them from my primary desktop machine, but I’ve also successfully installed Windows 7 Starter and Windows 7 Home Premium on this notebook as well). Two very different attitudes and levels of support from two very different PC makers where, perhaps not surprisingly the up-and-coming upstart company (Asus) is a lot more helpful and supportive than the long-time market leader (HP). Go figure!

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