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Windows XP Pro
Short and not-so-sweet
This machine was ordered with Vista Ultimate installed with XP Pro factoryl media included as a downgrade option. My idea was to experiment with Vista but have XP available in case Vista didn't work out. The original Vista Ultimate 32 didn't work out, but neither did XP.
After wrestling with Vista Ultimate 32 bit for a few days I used the provided XP Pro install media to downgrade to XP. My issues with Vista 32 included (among other things) very unreliable wifi behavior, and absolutely wretched use of available RAM. That particular tale of woe is over in Vista Ultimate.
My time with XP Pro was also cut short thanks to one show stopper: there is no driver set for the switchable graphics feature for XP pro. That basically voided one of my major reasons for purchasing this laptop in the first place. The appeal of the T400 was switchable graphics and the available XP downgrade. The sales person who sold me this thing neglected to tell me that the two were mutually exclusive. Grrr.
I didn't spend much time with XP on this box. Here are a few observations, in no particular order.
No switchable graphics driver for XP. Switching between integrated and discrete requires a reboot and fiddling BIOS settings. When XP is the OS, in the BIOS -> Config -> Display menu, disable the "OS Detection for Switchable Graphics" and select either discrete or integrated. The first time or two XP will probably ask for the appropriate driver when it boots.
Battery Run Time
Quick and casual testing indicates 4.5 to 5.5 hours with discrete graphics. 7+ hours with integrated graphics
Turn off automatic backups
The XP build for current laptops seems to have automatic backups enabled. This will eat a great deal of hard drive space by putting backup images in a hidden folder on the internal drive. IMNSHO, that isn't much of a backup. Yes, if XP soils itself you can restore from the on-disk backup. If the hard drive fails, you are screwed. I turn off auto backups and do manual backup to an external hard drive.
All kinds of rants and suggestions here. How to turn it off, how to reclaim lost space, and a place to complain:
Immediately after making factory backup media (if necessary) I go to Rescue and Recovery and turn it off:
Start -> Rescue and Recovery -> Launch Advanced Rescue and Recovery -> Set Schedue and Preferences
The factory installed Intel 5300 AGN mini-PCI card seemed stable in XP Pro. It wasn't in Vista.
On my recommendation (!) a friend bought a pair of T400s running XP Pro with Intel 5100s installed. Those machines had the same kind of unstable wifi behavior as the 5300 in Vista: wifi connection failure when switching access points or from wired to wireless unless rebooted. Full updates of XP and all Lenovo software sorted that problem and the 5100s have been stable since.
The Lenovo build of XP Pro still defaults to both Windows wifi management and ThinkVantage Access Connections enabled to manage the network(s). Dumb. The interference between the two can cause all kinds of instability. Go to Windows wifi configuration and turn off the "Let Windows Manage My WIFI Networks" check box:
Control Panel -> Network Connections -> Right Click Wireless Connection -> Properties -> Wireless Networks Tab -> Uncheck "Use Windows to Configure My Wireless Network Settings"
I had been running AVG 7.x Free on all my machines. That version is being dropped in favor of AVG 8. IMNSHO, AVG 8 is a disaster. On some machines it won't install. On some it won't update. On this T400 it installed and sometimes worked. Sometimes it would go insane, take 100% of the CPU, and wedge the machine. I have abandoned it in favor of Avast Antivirus (free).
The current VMWare tools seem to install and run OK. Tested Server, Player, and Workstation 6.
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