Sitting on my desk at home is one of the original Shuttle SFF (Small Form Factor) PC's that I purchased back in 2003. It ran Windows XP Pro which was a bit sluggish but very stable. I had tried to install Vista on it at one stage but the experience wasn't that fantastic so I reverted back to XP.
This morning I thought it would be fun to wipe the machine and see if I could get the Windows 7
(32 bit) Beta build to install and whether or not the machine would be usable. My hopes weren't particularly high as this was six year old (vintage??) hardware based on a chipset (NVIDIA nforce2) that even Vista doesn't officially support.
To my surprise (and delight) the installation process went smoothly and quite quickly. There were a number of (chipset) devices that weren't automatically installed - which was to be expected - so I downloaded and installed the most recent nforce2 drivers from the NVIDIA web site.
This resolved all unknown devices except for ethernet adapter which was installed but non-functional.
A quick Live Search returned this Digg article
talking about how to get nforce2 drivers to work with Vista (as well as Windows 7) which pointed me to this page
where I downloaded a driver pack and manually installed the Windows XP ethernet driver.
Once I had ethernet up and running I was able to connect to Windows Update and get the machine up to speed with the latest drivers and various updates.
The end result: All devices successfully installed and functioning normally. I'm not going to be able to play Crysis on the machine but I certainly have rejuvenated a 6 year old PC that is quite capable of running everyday tasks like internet, email, photos, music and even movies!
Machine Specs:- Shuttle SN41G2
Barebones System (circa January 2003)
- NVIDIA nForce2 SPP/MCP-T Chipset
- AMD Athlon XP 3000+ (2.167 GHz)
- NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT (upgraded from original graphics card)
- 2GB RAM (upgraded from 1GB RAM ~ 2 years ago)Windows Experience Index Score: 3.3
Not too shabby indeed!
So if you have a PC laying about the house with hardware specs similar to mine I highly recommend giving the Windows 7 beta a try to see if it can breathe new life into an old(er) machine.
And if you've managed to get the beta up and running on even older hardware please let us know in the comments - I'd love to hear about your adventures
I wonder if I can get the Windows 7 beta running on an i486DX,.. hmm,....