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Drivers | HP Mini Note PC Blog

Archive for the 'Drivers' Category

Painless (and free) hard drive cloning

I’m sad to report that my HP2133 mini note spends most of it’s time these days as a device for helping me do backups. None of my recent laptops match my mini note for portability but they meet my other needs for decent performance and light gaming.

Last week I bought a Lenovo Ideapad Y460 from the Lenovo outlet.  The machine has an amazing spec and buying from the outlet means you can save about 45% off the price on the Lenovo main site (look out for sales on the outlet). I’ve had Thinkpad’s pretty much my entire career and respect the quality of workmanship of these great machines.  The Ideapad’s are not as sturdy but they do offer considerable performance for the price (when you pay the outlet price).  I won’t get in to my experience with customer service at the outlet (basically abysmal) but the machine arrived in good condition, working perfectly.

I’ve done two major upgrades since I got the machine last week.  I installed 8 gb of RAM (it came with 4 gb) and put in a faster hard drive (going from a 5400 RPM to a 7200 RPM drive).

As computer enthusiasts we spend a lot of time working with drives so I thought I’d document my experience of cloning the Y460’s drive.

I chose the Western Digital Scorpio Black as the drive for the upgrade.  It comes with an amazing 5 year warranty and was recently given the The Tech Report Editors Choice Award for 7200 RPM 500gb notebook drives. At the time of purchase the drive cost $59.99 (Newegg).

To do the work of cloning the drive without having to buy an intermediate hard drive to perform a backup, I selected the Thermaltake BlacX eSata USB Docking Station.  I wanted a docking station that did both eSata and USB 2.0 as I have machines with both ports. At the time of purchase the docking station cost $33.28 (Amazon).

Having spent just under a $100 on hardware I wanted to minimize further cost so I looked around for a free, open source solution to drive cloning.  After some research I selected Clonezilla, a free, open source alternative to the commercial cloning and backup software available.

I installed Clonezilla on to a small (about 500 MB) USB thumb drive using the mechanism described here.

The installation uses Tuxboot another free, open source utility available from SourceForge (where I used to work!).

To download the software and setup the thumb drive will take you about 15 minutes, and requires no technical knowledge.  Your thumb drive will become a bootable version of Linux, but don’t let this worry you!  You will need to be able to select your thumb drive as the boot drive so you can do the cloning, but most modern BIOS’s provide this functionality.

I admit that the thought of accidentally erasing the contents of my internal hard drive by incorrectly choosing the new drive as the source and my internal laptop drive as the destination scared the pants off me, so I did read a couple of tutorials on using clonezilla before going ahead.

http://linuxgravity.com/creating-and-restoring-an-image-of-hard-disk-with-clonzilla

http://www.mindworkshop.info/windows/windows-adjustments-back-up-your-windows-installation/

The process itself was seamless, and completed in less than 1 hr, including removing and installing the new drive in the laptop.  Using the eSata interface my drive was being cloned at about 3 GB/per minute.  The 500gb drive had about 70gb of content and copied in about 15 minutes.

It’s great to be able to use free, stable, open source software to quickly clone hard drives.  If you do decide to use the software, don’t forget to donate to the project - it’s the right thing to do.

HP prepares for US launch of the HP Mini 311

HP are preparing for the launch of their next generation laptop products, including the new HP Mini 311, a netbook that will come with the new Nvidia ION LE graphics platform.  On the HP website we now have links to two HP Mini 311 models, the 311-1011TU and the 311-1012TU.  No price is published on the site yet but other mininote blogs are saying that models will start at $399.

Here’s my initial take on the specs published.

Pro’s:

  • 11.6″ HP LED Widescreen Display (1366 x 768)
  • 6-Cell Battery
  • HDMI
  • 3 USBs
  • Price - starting at $399

Con’s:

  • No Gigabit NIC, only 10/100
  • No Wireless N, only b/g
  • Heavier than I expected at 1.46 kg (3.2 lbs)

What’s interesting is HP have decided to ship this laptop with Windows XP Home, in advance of the Windows 7 launch (probably with a free upgrade when 7 becomes available).  Both Samsung & Lenovo are waiting until the Windows 7 launch to bring their ION based products to market.

I must admit I’m tempted.

HP mini 311

Mini USB Game pad enhances the Mini note gaming experience

If your a HP2133 mini note gamer, you might want to consider picking up a mini usb Game pad. I found this gamepad at my local Walmart and was very impressed with the size, sturdiness and general build quality. At $11 and requiring no drivers to work with your mini note (Windows XP), I think it was a real bargain. You can also find them on ebay.

USB Gamepad in use with MAME

Gamemon USB Game pad in action with the HP2133 mini note

usb gamepad comparison with HP2133 mini note

Gamemon USB Game pad is slightly thicker than the mini note

Gamemon USB Gamepad

The Gamemon USB Game pad has a retractable USB cable (ideal for traveling)

usb game pad size comparison with HP2133 mini note

A quick size comparison of the Gamemon USB Game pad with the mini note

gamemon usb game pad boxed

The Gamemon USB Game pad in the retail packaging (from Walmart)

HP adds SuSE Linux Source ISO to HP2133 support page

It looks like HP have got around to publishing the ISO of the default HP2133 SuSE 10.1 installation on their driver/download page.

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription….

Mininoteuser.com have already got a discussion thread started on the subject, if you prefer to not be the first to experiment with it.

http://forums.mininoteuser.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=233

Windows XP Drivers now available on HP Support Site

It looks like HP is starting to get their act together to support the Mini-note. They have just posted Microsoft Windows XP drivers for most of the hardware in the Mini-note. The drivers can be found at:

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/…