Call me rash and impulsive, but the other day I blew away XP and installed Windows Server 2008 x64 Standard Edition on my Dell Latitude D830 laptop. Other than idle curiosity, the main driver behind my foolishness was the need to create some demo machines using Hyper-V. I don’t have any other hardware that meets the system specifications for Hyper-V, so it was the laptop or nothing.
The installation itself was a breeze and completed without mishap. Windows Server 2008 didn’t have the correct video drivers, but I found these fairly quickly on the Dell support site. They were Vista 64bit drivers, but work just as well for Windows Server 2008.
The first problem I encountered was that the built-in Intel PRO\Wireless 3945ABG wireless connection no longer works. I found some 64bit Vista drivers from the Intel web site, which seemed to load ok, but I can’t see any wireless networks despite Device Manager showing the device as working properly. The Intel PROSet/Wireless diagnostic tool passes on the driver test, but fails on the hardware test. The Dell web site also has 64bit Vista drivers but these are older than those from Intel. I tried these older drivers too, but again without success.
I even tried installing my old Cisco Aironet 350 series wireless card, but couldn’t find any drivers that would work for that either. The Cisco support site’s latest drivers for the card are for XP.
The second annoyance is that VMWare Workstation guests were working fine until I installed Hyper-V. Then all hell broke loose. The VMWare guests started causing the host to bluescreen. There were also warning messages on the guests about changes to processor speed. Oh, and I lost 64bit guest support. Apparently, all this is due to incompatibilities between the hypervisors used by VMWare and Hyper-V. Happily, I found a workaround on Geert Baeke’s web site that shows how to create a new entry in the boot loader that allows you to select a hypervisorless (is that a word?) boot option. Good stuff. Here’s a link to the information.
Now I’m busy creating virtual machines in Hyper-V. I haven’t used it before, but it all seems fairly intuitive, especially for anyone already familiar with VMWare.