Upgrading a 5 Year Old Laptop to Windows 7

I purchased this Dell Latitude D800 laptop in June 2004. At the time it was running Windows XP professional. In 2007, on the release of Windows Vista, I tried to upgrade this D800 laptop via a clean install of the then new OS.

However Windows Vista was having none of it and I encountered many driver issues and it running slower than I ever thought possible! So I had to abandon the process, and the laptop lay unused on a shelf in my home office.

BUT with the release of Windows 7 I decided to see if this would install, after all Microsoft claim that the “footprint” for Windows 7 is far smaller than that of Windows Vista.

Well I inserted the Windows Enterprise (Windows Ultimate but with different licensing for companies) DVD that I had created from a download via MSDN and was instantly suprised at just how painless it was to install!

The only post install work I had to do was to go to the Dell Support website and download the Audio drivers (Windows Vista) for the laptop and they worked OK.

I then noticed that I was limited to only a few screen resolutions as Windows 7 had only installed a default graphics driver. This would have been ok if it was not for the fact that this laptop comes with a 15″ XGVA WideScreen.

So I visited the Dell Support website again and located drivers for the NVIDIA GeForce4 4200 graphics card installed on the Lapatop. However, they were only for Windows XP. So I thought I would give it a go and they worked!

I know have a functional 5 year old laptop running Windows 7!

The only niggle with the laptop is that the graphics card is not up to running AERO in windows 7. But that is not Windows 7 fault!

Also, I need the laptop for work and not for games etc. It has Microsoft Office 2007 installed, runs IE8 just fine and has full internet connectivity via both ethernet and built-in wireless.

I now have the laptop working for me in my business at home:

So if you have an old laptop lying around it might be worth seeing if you can install Windows 7 on it…

When Microsoft say that Windows 7 does not need high spec hardware to run Windows 7 – they are correct!

Marc Liron – Ex-Microsoft MVP (2004-2010)
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