Adventures with wS2008 on my laptop

By | August 9, 2008


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.

3 thoughts on “Adventures with wS2008 on my laptop

  1. Tony Murray

    I managed to get the wireless connection working. It only required me to add the “Wireless LAN Service” feature using Server Manager.

    It seems kind of obvious once you know about it. 🙂

  2. Geza Levai

    Hi Tony,

    You are my life savior! Not literary of course, but I am EXACTlY in the same shoes, that you were/are. I bought a Dell Precision T3400 for home (wife me) use 3 months ago and a month ago I decided to take Exchange 2007 classes at a local training school. I was shocked to find out that I need a feature “VT” in the CPU and chipset in order to run VMWARE guest with 64-bit.

    The classes are already in the 3rd week I have 2 more weeks to go and I’ve been looking for the right hardware (Dell) solution for myself and today I found your “Adventures…” writing by googling for “dell em64t VT latitude” but before this I did so many other goole searches to find some useable info about this matter.

    Since I’ve been using Dell computers at work and home for more than 9 years I wanted to find an affordable Dell solution if there is a way.

    Based on your writing (you don’t carry any responsibility of course 🙂 I am going to go ahead and order a Latitude D830 within the next few days and hopefully I can have my virtual Exchange 2007 up as soon as possible.

    Just for your info, during doing google searches in the last few weeks I found this interesting Mark Minasi blog chat where someone describes how well Ubuntu worked well for him as a host OS:
    on PAGE 2!, but read page 1 for the continuity:

    Thanks a bunch!
    Geza Levai
    Reseda, CA

  3. Tony Murray

    Thanks Geza

    One more piece of informatuon that might be useful if you decide to install Windows Server 2008. The Bluetooth drivers from the Dell Support site loaded ok, but I couldn’t get any devices to work. Annoying, as I had a Bluetooth mouse. I eventually came across this excellent post from my friend Gil Kirkpatrick. If you can read the tiny font, follow the steps shown and all should be fine. 🙂

    Good luck!


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