Don't throw that aging laptop away! I upgraded mine to WIN7 for only $57.00!
A Beloved MachineI have been using my DELL XPS M1210 for at about 10 years now. I like it. Here's what it looks like:
Perfidious VendorBut I have a problem. The operating system running on my DELL XPS M1210 is Windows XP. Recently, certain vendors (Dropbox) have stopped supporting Windows XP. Because Dropbox is crucial to my business, I have been given no choice. I must upgrade.
The UpgradeSo I went online and found a China-based purveyor of Windows licenses, who sold me an OEM version of Windows 7 for $40.00. At the same time, I bought a RAM upgrade from a different vendor, who charged me $17.00 for 2 x 2Gb RAM (DDR2/667Mhz/5300), which is the kind of memory that is compatible with the DELL XPS M1210:
The RAMHere's what the 2Gb SODIMM RAM sticks looked like. I received two of them.
Here's the bottom of the DELL XPS M1210:
Here's the DELL XPS M1210 with the RAM cover removed:
Here's the DELL XPS M1210 with the 2Gb SODIMM installed:
Here's what the removed 1Gb SODIMM looked like:
Here's what Windows XP says about having 3Gb of RAM installed:
Here's what the DELL XPS M1210 looked like with the top bezel removed:
Here's what the DELL XPS M1210 looked like with the keyboard flipped forward:
Here's what the DELL XPS M1210 looked like with the internal 1Gb SODIMM removed:
Here's what the DELL XPS M1210 looked like with the internal 2Gb SODIMM installed:
Here's what the DELL XPS M1210 BIOS says about having 2 x 2Gb SODIMM installed:
Here's what Windows XP says about its having 4Gb of RAM installed. Unfortunately it can only address 3.25Gb of RAM due to the architecture of the onboard 32-bit memory controller and RAM allocated for video memory.
Here's the Windows 7 license I bought for $44.00
Here's the Windows 7 activation key...
Installing Windows 7
Here's how the Windows 7 the installation process went on the DELL XPS M1210.
First, I inserted the CD-ROM...
...and rebooted the machine. After pressing <space> to boot the DVD, here's what I saw:
I clicked on Next:
I clicked on Install now:
I accepted the Microsoft Software License terms:
I accepted the default partition scheme:
The Windows7 installation proceeded as expected...
...and eventually asked for a restart:
After another restart and status screens, I was asked to confirm my timezone, the date and the time. Once all of that was done, I was presented with a Windows 7 desktop:
There was only one hitch during the installation, and it happened post-installation.
For whatever reason, Windows 7 told me that I had supplied an invalid activation code during the installation process. I found this out by right clicking on My Computer and choosing Properties. At the bottom of the Properties screen I looked at the Activation Status where I saw that I had been given a three day grace period to activate the machine. I clicked on the Activate Now link, entered the activation code that was printed on my OEM Windows 7 packaging, and after a while the magical seal of approval appeared:
Overall, the installation process went smoothly and without surprises, except for the activation hiccup, which was easily finalized.
The DELL XPS M1210 works just fine with Windows 7. Windows 7 will be supported by Microsoft until 2020. If you amortize my hardware and software investments over the period of time until Microsoft stops supporting Windows 7, I will have paid just under $20.00 a year until I will have no choice but to upgrade once again. At that point, I will switch to a 64-bit machine and a 64-bit operating system (happily) because I will have extracted all of the value possible from my beloved, but aging DELL XPS M1210. If I upgrade earlier than that, I will have a spare machine in my DELL XPS M1210, as an insurance policy against unforseen circumstances, for less than $2.00 a month.
UPDATE (2017-03-19): The webcam does not work. I have learned from online sources that Windows Vista drivers might work under windows, so now it's a matter of hunting down 32-bit drivers that will work on my Windows 7 implementation. I tried to download drivers from the DELL website, but they both told me that I was trying to install 64-bit drivers in a 32-bit environment. What that means is hunting down drivers from a different vendor, or simply doing without that particular device.
UPDATE (2017-03-29): I found the hard disk performance on the machine a bit slow, so I installed a SANDISK 120Gb SSD that I got on Amazon for $53.00, bringing the total upgrade cost to $110.00. Here's the unit I installed: https://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-120GB-2-5-Inch-SDSSDA-120G-G25-Version/dp/B00S9Q9UKS