Dell Studio 1747 Experiences

I bought a Dell Core i7 laptop (well, mobile desktop) from their clearance warehouse and am working on building it to the spec that I need. There seem to have been some issues with blue screens and strange behaviour with these laptops, so I’ll keep a note of my experiences here.

As an independent IT specialist working on applications (CRM), collaboration (SharePoint) and virtualisation (Hyper-V) I need a machine that will run multiple environments, my needs are

– a Hyper-V host for demanding demonstrations and presentations

– a Windows7 environment for day to day office use and Virtual PC demos

– an XP install for kids and games (32 bit)

I also want as much dik as possible in a single drive, as this avoids messing about moving big virtual machines from drive to drive because of a lack of space. The machine has 2 x 2gb memory right now, I’ll upgrade to 6Gb when prices drop and I have more cash!

So far, three Dell problems

– No certificate of authenticity (COA) for the Win7 Home Premium installation (or label on the machine), this is a breach of Dell’s OEM terms and means that the copy of Windows effectively is not legitimate

– The machine came with a 90w PSU, and there are a number of issues with the 90w, Dell are shipping 130w http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3518/t/19326356.aspx. They processed my request very quickly and helpfully

– Biggest issue, I bought 2 x 500gb disks and the machine has only one. I’ve tried to log a short shipment twice on the web site and failed, but Dell did log the issue over the phone.

UPDATE 02 Jun – kind of fixed, got the disk but no caddy, I bought the caddy on ebay and Dell say they’ll refund me

The only other issue is with the BIOS: I updated to the latest A08 release as it seems to fix some issues, particularly with throttling http://en.community.dell.com/dell-blogs/b/direct2dell/archive/2010/03/22/throttling-and-the-studio-1747.aspx

Install Objectives

I decided to install XP on a single NTFS 100gb partition, and Win7 Ultimate (to replace the Home Premium, no VirtualPC available…) on the remaining 400Gb. I’ll make use of Win7/WS2008’s brilliant VHD support to install Windows Server 2008 R2 in a 50Gb VHD. WS2008 can be small as I plan to run pretty much everything from Hyper-V.

The only gotcha with VHD booting on a laptop is that you can’t hibernate, so I’ll install Win7 native. I’ll maybe create a second Win7 VHD for trial/testing.

Windows XP Installation

Nothing ever goes smoothly with a PC install, and the Dell was typical. I’ve decided on Windows XP Professional x86 with SP3 to minimise compatibility issues, but the XP boot crashed with a blue screen (BSOD).

TIP: before trashing the default install, use MagicKey Finder to get the Win7 product key for re-use if required

TIP: As the machine is nicely installed and all the drivers are loaded on Win7, run msinfo32 and save an NFO file with the full config. This will save time later trying to find XP drivers for the hardware

My suspicion was that it was the storage driver, which was set to AHCI in the BIOS, and switching to ATA did allow XP to boot, however, I want AHCI for the server/virtualisation OS, so some investigation to do.

There are a couple of good blogs on registry hacks for ATA-AHCI changes, but I couldn’t find an example for the Intel S3400 controller and XP.

The answer is nLite http://www.nliteos.com/download.html, a fantastic app for creating a custom install disk for XP (vLite for Vista/Win7 is equally brilliant)

I downloaded the Intel driver (http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=YHYPERLINK “http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&DwnldID=18055&lang=eng”&HYPERLINK “http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&DwnldID=18055&lang=eng”DwnldID=18055HYPERLINK “http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&DwnldID=18055&lang=eng”&HYPERLINK “http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&DwnldID=18055&lang=eng”lang=eng) and slipstreamed it with nLite, along with a few tweaks (product key, username, getting rid of some of the sample rubbish etc), and created an iso. nLite will burn it too, but I’d recommend ImgBurn http://www.imgburn.com/index.php?act=download as another tool you can’t do without.

The boot was clean this time, so the XP install is underway. I may change the nLite install to incorporate a few more device drivers if there’s any problem. I trashed the OEM & recovery partitions, as I know I never want the Dell malware back again (Norton, yeuch…)

As expected, XP didn’t recognise the wireless, so, time to decide if I download all the drivers and slipstream again, or just hand crank it. My wireless is the Broadcom DW1520. I found the driver at http://www.wireless-driver.com/download/dell/dell-wireless-1300135013701390140014501470149015001505-wlan-card-windows-xp-driver.htm, but the Dell installer didn’t work. I had to select the device in Device Manager and run ‘update driver’ pointing at the right folder. Now to try Windows update…off and running ok.

Video Drivers – annoyingly, the ATi catalyst download for XP doesn’t seem to recognise the mobilty Radeon 4650 in the machine. Might need to go looking for a hacked driver, but found this thread on Dell http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3519/t/19317124.aspx. This gave me a 9.4 version of the ATi drivers

Next step is the Intel chipset update, which removes most of the ‘?’ entries in device manager. A couple of devices are left.

O2Media card reader – seems like the MS/xD reader only has a Win7 driver

Intel SM Bus controller – strangely doesn’t update the driver even after the Intel chipset utility; not a big deal. The Intel 5 Series 3400 controller also seems to have some kind of thermal monitor.

Finally, there is an unknown device (ACPI\SMO8800) which is the Dell accelerometer.

Windows7

A smooth process, as you’d expect when drivers are in the build. First get the DW1520 wireless driver (the wired driver is built in but I didn’t have a lead handy).

A few drivers to get from Dell; but all on the standard Studio 1747 driver download page.

Final housekeeping, use bcdedit (cmd prompt) to set the name of the XP boot

bcdedit /set {ntldr} description “XP Pro”

Next, get my ‘standard’ apps, ImgBurn, MagicDisc, Adobe Reader, Flash (necessary evils) and Office 2010, Visio 2010, Project 2010, SharePoint Designer 2010.

Windows Server 2008 R2

More to come in the next blog

Advertisements

5 Responses to “Dell Studio 1747 Experiences”


  1. 1 PPIanW June 21, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I’m going through the same process on a Precision M4500 – Win2K8R2 with Hyper-V. There are no official DW1520 drivers for Win2K8R2 – and the Win7x64 don’t work (for me anyway – driver installs ok but device won’t enable). Interested to hear of your findings.

    • 2 jzedward June 21, 2010 at 3:48 pm

      My Ws2008R2 install has been on ice as I’ve had too much else on; I’ll try to install this week. I assume you kow that WS2008 doesn’t come w Hyper-V enabled out of the box and that you need to enable the service.

      • 3 PPIanW June 22, 2010 at 11:43 am

        I got fixated on the fact that it was a driver issue – it was in fact that Wireless services aren’t enabled by default on Win2K8. I guess that’s what you were alluding to.

  2. 4 jm August 4, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    COA is under the battery!


  1. 1 Dell Studio 1747 Experiences (via jzedward’s Blog) « MicroScotland Blog Trackback on June 2, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




jzedward’s tweets


%d bloggers like this: