X1 Mouse in the House…

x1-mouse-and-logo

The same old boilerplate:  From time to time the nice people at Lenovo send me a gadget.  They’re handy to have around – both for my own use and when trying to help out in the Lenovo forums.  I do some testing and writing as well.  I’m not otherwise compensated, and opinions are my own.  I DO NOT speak for Lenovo.

You’d think the humble mouse was fully evolved by now.  Nope.  Lenovo has managed to find ways to refine even the venerable rodent.

Behold the ThinkPad X1 Wireless Touch Mouse.  It’s a highly capable and innovative gadget.  The “buttons” are touch-sensitive, with the actual “click” located on the bottom.  It’s also quite compact.   Perhaps a little too compact for all-day use on the desk in my big paws, but an excellent companion to my ThinkPad X1 Yoga on the road.  Maybe an even better companion to the TrackPoint-absent non-Think Yoga series like my 900 where a small external mouse really makes a difference.

Please note that the X1 mouse supports Bluetooth 4.0 and won’t work with older laptops like my ThinkPad T420 that use an earlier Bluetooth version.  For those cases use the mouse in RF mode with the included USB dongle.

Lenovo’s specs and some images below, but first, here’s a nice bonus: a discount code for the Yoga Mouse. A somewhat different critter than the X1 and looks very nice in its own way. (I haven’t had a chance to try it myself.)

Lenovo YOGA Mouse(Black)-NA

Note: discount code currently for North American customers only.

Part number:
Lenovo YOGA Mouse(Golden)-NA – GX30K69569
Lenovo YOGA Mouse(Black)-NA – GX30K69565
eCoupon : INFLUENCER
% off : 25%
Start date: 10/25/2016
End date: 12/31/2016

Lenovo X1 Mouse link, specs and images:

ThinkPad X1 Wireless Touch Mouse

Dual wireless: Bluetooth 4.0 and 2.4GHz
Rechargeable internal battery (380 mAh)
Multiple LED battery life indicator
Capacitive touch scrolling
Touchpad presenter
1000 DPI

x1-mouse-details

 

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Windows 7 Installation Hacks: One Post to Bind Them…

After 31 October 2016  OEMs will no longer be allowed to ship computers with Windows 7 Pro. What better way to mark the end of an era than a series of articles about installing Windows 7?

14 November 2016 Correction:  OEMs are able to ship Windows 7 preloads after 31 October if they have an inventory of previously-purchased licenses.  Lenovo, for example, still has Windows 7 machines available as of this date.  Apologies for the misinformation!

I’ve gathered some information here based on my recent experience with a Lenovo X1 Yoga.  I wanted to purchase it while Windows 7 was still an option.  Even though it would have downgrade rights (as explained in an article linked below) I wished to have an actual Lenovo ‘7 preload to archive in case it was ever necessary.  True, Windows 10 makes much more sense on a touch-enabled laptop, but the Win 10 forced update policy is nearly intolerable.  I wonder how many trains, buses, and dentist’s appointments have been missed when a laptop decided to do an update instead of just shutting down?

Full disclosure: I’m running ’10 on the X1 Yoga now.  The group policy editor allows setting the update policy to notify only, but that’s a story for another day.

Lenovo machines shipped with Windows 7 Pro preloaded via downgrade rights come with a coupon for a Win 10 Lenovo image that can be downloaded.  With the Lenovo ‘7 recovery image created and archived, the Lenovo ’10 image downloaded and archived, and a clean Windows 10 downloaded from the Microsoft site, I’ve got all the bases covered – I hope.

Back to Windows 7: this seemed like an opportunity to test a clean Windows 7 install on the X1 before going over to the dark side and installing ’10.  Below are 4 little articles on installation hacks (plus a bonus on fixing Windows update) that came up as I tested a clean install.   They’ve been covered fairly extensively elsewhere but I’ve gathered them here in one place for my own information. Hopefully yours too 😉

Convert Windows 7 Install Media to All-Version  Take a single version install medium (Pro only for example) and enable the other versions hidden therein.

Windows 7 UEFI Installer on Flash Drive  Modify Windows 7 media to allow a UEFI-mode installation from flash.

Activating a Windows 7 Downgrade  Windows 8.x Pro and 10 Pro include downgrade rights to Windows 7.  Activation is tricky.

Adding USB 3.0 and NVMe Drivers to Windows 7 Install Media  Lack of USB 3.0 drivers will result in the dreaded and confusing “A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing” error.  An NVMe SSD target drive will be invisible to the installer without proper drivers.

Fixing Windows 7 Update Hangs  Bonus: it’s becoming more and more common for Windows 7 Update to spin for hours (or days…) on “checking for updates“.  It can and does happen with new installs, newly purchased OEM preloads and recovery images, and even otherwise fully-updated machines. There are many “fixes” on the interwebs.  This one worked for me.

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Adding USB 3.0 and NVMe Drivers to Windows 7 Install Media

You know what they say about watching sausage getting made.  It may be worse watching install media being modified.  Those with weak stomachs may want to look away…

This is the 4th and final (for now…) in a set of small articles on modification and use of Windows 7 install media:  multi-version, UEFI boot, driver injection, and downgrade activation.  The focus will be on USB flash media.

It’s the same old story:  hardware marches on, and operating systems play catch-up.  This has become more of an issue lately with Windows 7 installs and contemporary hardware.  Lack of USB 3.0 drivers can make the install media unbootable (past the initial boot) and lack of NVMe SSD drivers can render the target drive invisible to the installer.  OEM images like Lenovo’s preload and recovery media will include appropriate drivers but Microsoft media will not.  This makes a “clean” install impossible without some work.

Many, if not all laptops these days are USB 3.0 only.  The chipsets don’t support plain-old USB 2.0 sockets.  The strange outcome of this is the misleading “A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing” error.

windows-7-required-cd-driver-is-missing-cropped

This can be a little startling, especially if you’re installing from a flash drive.  What it means is that the installer is missing the driver it needs to access the flash drive.  Huh?  You’ve already booted from the flash drive, so how can that be?

What happened is that the initial boot was done via BIOS functions.  At some point the install drive access is handed over to the newly-booted install code, which doesn’t have 3.0 drivers.  Fail.

The old-school fix for this is to put the necessary drivers on media and do an “F6” driver add during the install process, but… since we only have USB 3.0 ports we can’t read flash media.  It might be possible to stash the drivers on some other medium (if it’s readable somehow) or even on the target main drive.  This article explores how to add the drivers to the install media so they’re already in place when needed – and the same media can be used for later/other installs as well.

[edit 2018.25.08]  If Only USB drivers are needed and the main drive doesn’t need NVMe or iRST (RAID) drivers for access by the Win 7 installer, it can be used to hold the required drivers during installation.  Use a live Linux flash drive, a temporary install of Windows 8 or 10 (which should be installable via flash drive) or any other means to copy the USB 3.0 drivers (expanded as below) to a directory on the main drive. During the following Win 7 install browse to that folder to access the drivers.

Intel provides a nifty utility that can modify an existing Windows 7 SP1 install setup that’s already on a flash drive and plug in the appropriate drivers.  I’ve tried it and it works.  It’s a little fussy and fragile: it won’t run on a Win 7 host, wouldn’t work for me in a Win 10 virtual machine, and on a native Win 10 laptop it barfed when the laptop went to sleep during the process (and it’s a long process…).

Windows 7* USB 3.0 Creator Utility

If that’s all you need – you’re done 🙂  If you also need NVMe SSD drivers, it makes more sense to integrate those and the USB drivers at the same time.  There is at least one free tool available that can help automate the process: NTLite.  I gave it a good try but never got a result that loaded the USB drivers correctly.  I’ll admit it was probably PEBKAC, so check it out and give it a try if you’re so inclined.  Here, we’ll do it the old-fashioned way.

First, round up the appropriate drivers:

Update to add native driver support in NVM Express in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 will get the Microsoft NVMe driver.  For some reason MS requries clicking on the Hotfix Download Available button, then filling out a form.  A link to the actual download will be emailed once the form is submitted.

477475_intl_x64_zip.exe is a self-extracting executable that will extract Windows6.1-KB2990941-v3-x64.msu to a folder of choice.  Either stash it somewhere for now or wait until the working folders are created as described below and extract it there.  The .msu could also be extracted from the .exe with an archiving utility like 7zip.  (Might as well go get it, you’ll need it now … or later:  http://www.7-zip.org/)

The USB 3.0 drivers can come from Intel or an OEM (Lenovo in my case).  The Intel USB 3.0 creator linked above is a zip file that contains the drivers – among other things.  Open it with Windows explorer or 7zip and drill down to the appropriate drivers – 64 bit for this exercise.  Stash them too, or wait and extract to the folder created below.

extracted-intel-usb-3-drivers

The Intel USB 3.0 drivers available from Lenovo are embedded in an installer.  This driver installer is from the X1 Yoga driver matrix: Intel USB 3.0 Driver for Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit) – ThinkPad.

Run it to the point that it wants to do the final install but un-check the “install” checkbox before hitting “finish”.  Drill down in the folder chosen for the driver extraction and pull out the 64-bit USB 3.0 drivers.

lenovo-driver-dont-install-arrow-cropped

extracted-x1y-usb-3-drivers

Now to the real sausage making:

The actual install media manipulation requires using Microsoft’s Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool (dism, the dismal tool) and the command line image creation tool (oscdimg) if an ISO is the end result desired.  If the target is a USB flash drive installer an ISO shouldn’t be necessary (note: I didn’t test that directly – I made an ISO and later  flash drive from the ISO) but may be a convenient way to archive the result.

On my machines dism is available in the stock operating system, but the Windows 7 version doesn’t include the necessary image manipulation commands.  The Windows 10 version does. Neither includes oscdimg.  If a flash drive installer is the goal a stock Win 10 should be sufficient as a host OS.  If an ISO is the desired end result, or Win 7 is the available build platform an additional download will be required.

Download the Windows ADK

Note the different versions for different operating systems – and OS versions.  Use the 8.1 ADK if working in a Win 7 OS.  It’s a large download.  The direct link to the 8.1 ADK is here:  Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) for Windows 8.1 Update

Once it’s downloaded and installed use the newly-created CMD prompt option in Windows Kits -> Windows ADK  to access the new dism and other tools in the correct environment.

window-7-desktop-launch-dism-cropped

So much for the easy part.  Actually modifying the install media is a PITA with many opportunities for error.  Below are links to Microsoft and Lenovo guides.  I find the Lenovo version easier to read and understand.  I’d recommend creating the working folders exactly as specified – based in C: – rather than setting up your own workspace.  This will allow grinding away with copy-and-paste and should avoid many opportunities for error.  I did it … so can you 🙂

As directed, copy the source install media from Windows 7 SP1 DVD or use 7zip or other archiving/mount tool and extract the source files from an SP1 ISO.

Lenovo: How to prepare the Windows 7 installation ISO image with USB3.0 driver and NVM Express (NVMe) driver

Microsoft: Update to add native driver support in NVM Express in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

Patience, fortitude, and good luck 🙂

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Activating a Windows 7 Downgrade

This is the 3rd in a set of small articles on modification and use of Windows 7 install media:  multi-version, UEFI boot, driver injection, and downgrade activation.  The focus will be on USB flash media.

Well, 31 October, 2016 brings the end of an era.  OEMs like Lenovo will no longer be able to ship machines with a Windows 7 Pro preload.  Fortunately downgrade rights will persist.  Windows 10 Pro users will be able to downgrade to Windows 7 Pro.   (NOTE: everything I can find online says that’s the case. I can’t personally guarantee it.)

14 November 2016 Correction:  OEMs are able to ship Windows 7 preloads after 31 October if they have an inventory of previously-purchased licenses.  Lenovo, for example, still has Windows 7 machines available as of this date.  Apologies for the misinformation!

Finding Windows 7 install media may or may not be a problem, but activation can be an issue.  OEM preloads, factory media, and user-made recovery media shouldn’t need activation, but clean installs from Microsoft media will.  This will apply to clean installs on machines that originally had ‘7 Pro installed, and to first-time clean installs to machines that shipped with ‘8.x or ’10 Pro.

Microsoft’s downgrade activation is … odd, to say the least.  I’ll try for a TLDR translation here.  Links to MS documents are below.

So:  Run your install from MS media.  Use an existing – already in use – activation key for Windows 7 Pro.  That will probably fail but you should be offered a phone number to use for activation.

You have to use a legitimate key in order to get far enough into the activation process to be offered the phone number.  A made-up key will fail too early.  If you use a key that hasn’t been used before, it will be consumed by the activation, and wasted.  Probably not what you want.

My own experience in several of these downgrade activations has been interesting.  They were all on Lenovo ThinkPads.  I used the key from the battery compartment of my T420 and it just activated immediately online with no call required.  There may be something to using an OEM key from the same manufacturer as the target machine.  I can’t be sure that it will avoid the extra steps, but it has for me.

Some Microsoft documents:

Understanding downgrade rights

Downgrade rights (PDF)

 

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Windows 7 UEFI Installer on Flash Drive

This is another of a set of small articles on modification and use of Windows 7 install media:  multi-version, UEFI boot, driver injection, and downgrade activation.  The focus will be on USB flash media.

It is possible to install Windows 7 in UEFI mode, but it takes some work. Patience, grasshopper, and read on…

Why bother?  Good question.  Perhaps to take advantage of GPT drive formatting, or to co-exist with another OS that boots in UEFI mode.

First, prep a flash drive for UEFI boot as described here:  A FOB STORY: Preparing the flash drive  (TLDR: a single FAT-32 formatted partition, active flag not set.)

If you don’t already have it, go get 7zip.  It’s an incredibly useful archive manipulation tool.  http://www.7-zip.org/  You’ll also need a Windows 7 SP1 DVD or ISO.  Copy the contents of the DVD – or use 7zip to extract the ISO contents – to the prepped flash drive.  The extracted contents should look like this:

win-7-pro-64-iso-extracted-to-flash

Open the “efi” folder and create a new folder there: “boot”.

Navigate up and then down into the sources folder and find install.wim. Open it with 7zip:

win-7-pro-64-flash-install-wim-open-in-7zip

Then drill down into folders “1” -> “windows” -> “boot” -> EFI and locate the file bootmgfw.efi.

win-7-pro-64-flash-install-wim-down-to-bootmgw-in-7zip

Extract that file to the previously created \efi\boot folder on the flash drive.  (use the extract function or simply drag it from 7zip to that \efi\boot folder.)

Rename bootmgw.efi to bootx64.efi.  That’s it.

win-7-pro-64-flash-extracted-to-temp-bootx64-created

To boot the created USB flash drive: in BIOS configuration turn off Secure Boot, make sure UEFI booting and USB booting are enabled, and enable CSM (compatibility support module).

If CSM isn’t enabled the installer will boot but typically hang on the Windows + dancing balloons splash screen.  An installed UEFI Windows 7 will also hang in the same way if CSM support is OFF.

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