Toshiba Protege M400 Tablet PC and Vista RC2

I've been running Vista RC2 since the weekend on my Toshiba M400. I was running RC1 before that, and Beta 2 on and off prior to that. During the RC1 “era” (from an XP upgrade)  I had a lot of junk on my laptop that wouldn't work. So I was backfilling with help from Virtual PC, VMWare, and remote desktop into other machines to get real work done.

RC2 looks pretty good so far. This time I did a clean install and just about everything works like I'd hope, save for the HDD vibration. I did not use all of the drivers from the Toshiba M400 Vista RC1 support page. I used their RAID drivers (have to on a clean install) during the initial install. I am using the common modules after that, then the fingerprint drivers, and the flash memory drivers. A couple of friends at MS hooked me up with another build of the bluetooth monitor - which is not the full stack from this page. I think I'm using just the toshiba bluetooth monitor, and then the rest of the MS stack/utilities from that point up. My dial-up networking over bluetooth to my EVDO Bell Mobility phone wasn't working with the pure Toshiba stuff. Works like a charm now with this setup. Since RC1 I've been getting glass my default after installs. I've noticed however that with RC2, it hasn't been turning glass off when I go into multi-monitor mode. Nice.

I did have one major problem - something got pooched after day 2 with my tablet pc input - data execution protection was turning it off and the machine ran like a dog. It happened on the train home on Monday - I threw the machine into rotated tablet mode for the first time since the install - and the Toshiba rotation utility captured the event and rotated nicely. However, something was wrong. When I clicked on a point on the screen - the actual mouse would be positioned somewhere about 2 feet to the right (off screen). I had to use the touch pad to bring it back over. Going back into landscape mode didn't help either. After a reboot - then I was cooked - DEP errors and even going to “Last Known Good Configuration“ didn't help either. I solved the problem by going back to a system restore point from the day earlier and things were fine after that.

Since that, everything has been roses (knock on wood). Things working include Multi-monitor, rotation, fingerprint, flash media reader, DVD Burner, usb ready-boost. wifi, bluetooth (mouse and DUN are all that I'm using). I even captured a home video over IEEE firewire last night surprisingly simple. I plugged in my camera and it just showed up and offerred to import the video (including rewinding the tape for me). It was almost like a I had a Mac for a moment. When it got to the end of the tape (on my Canon Elura) instead of parsing up the video into scenes like it said it would, it just displayed an error message that said there was no tape in the camera. Fortunately the tmp file was sitting my Videos folder and I was able to rename it and then open it up in Movie Maker, and it it cut it up into scenes very nicely.

I haven't loaded the cross-fire craplet - but that was working on my upgrade with RC1. I'm not using the buttons utility or hotkey display from Toshiba - they've never done anything for me in the past so I'd just as soon as not muddy the waters. The auto-detect orientation button on the M400 never worked with it either (and still doesn't without). Depressing that button does rotate, but it just advances 90 degrees each time. The 4 way joystick seems to have a mind of it's own so I need to figure out what to do with that. Up goes into Windows-Tab carousel mode. Down shows the desktop. Left opens up a new IE window. Right opens up Excel. I'm not sure what press-down does yet - but it's something. ESC stranglely loads up Media player. The Key/lock button is the same as CTRL-ALT-DEL and gives you the option of locking the machine. The “i” info button doesn't do anything and the the presentation mode button doesn't do anything either - although I really want that to use the built-in vista presentation mode accessed from the windows mobility center if I can ever figure out that.

Appcompat is a bit better. VMWare player 1.02 installs and work fine. I have yet to try out Virtual PC but I'm going to have to today or tomorrow (lest I use an old stunt machine for customer session I'm doing tomorrow with team system).

A few weeks ago when I first tried out RC1, and did some goofing around with Acronis True Image to back up my old system on a second drive (in the HDD Adapter slim-drive bay) something wierd happened. My cmos battery appears to have died. I can't keep an accurate time anymore. I suspect it's the battery because at one point I restored back to XP and still had the problem. At the same point I also did the 1.70 bios update so maybe that caused it. It does seem strange that a 6 month old laptop cmos battery would die. I'm told I have to bring it in for service for them to look at that. What a pain.