Windows 7 on a Lenovo Ideapad S10e Netbook

windows-7-lenovo-s10e-desktop

At the end of January I ordered a nice shiny Lenovo Ideapad S10e from Buy.com. I managed to get a decent price that didn’t hurt the pocketbook, and it was a new toy that I could endlessly experiment with. I started to install a wide variety of operating systems to check for support and to put it through the paces.

Now, if you’re like me, you have a profound dislike for Windows Vista (especially on laptops). Of all the operating systems I’ve chosen to install on the 10e I decided to skip Vista because it takes forever to boot and nags you like a four year old for doing just about anything.

My interested was piqued when the beta for Windows 7 was released. During the time period that I was deciding to purchase the Ideapad, I managed to sign up for the Windows 7 test and downloaded the iso. I basically just had it lying around until my S10e arrived. What better a machine to install a brand new Windows operating system on than a shiny new netbook. I plunged…

Before this was possible, I had to get an external cdrom drive. I located a combo on NewEgg that included a 2GB stick of Kingston RAM and a highly portable, power adapter-less Samsung SE-S084 DVD Burner.

With that, the new specs are as follows:

10.1″ Screen (1024×576 remember this is the ‘e’ model)
1.6Ghz Atom
2 GB Ram (2 gigs is the max the atom can see)
80GB Hard Drive
802.11g
10/100BaseT
ExpressCard Slot

I went ahead, booted up with the Windows 7 install disk, and walked the paces.  My first impressions were good since the install took about 30 minutes (enough time to make a cup of coffee and read the latest Slashdot). Boot up speed was okay, I eyeballed  a little over a minute with my wrist watch, including the time it took to enter my password and log on.

Now, if you haven’t used Vista before, Windows 7 will look pretty different, and it will most definitely feel like the red headed, alien step child compared to Win2k or XP. Here is a little proof that it did actually install:

windows-7-lenovo-s10e-system-information

You might notice that the RAM registers at 2.5 GB. You might also notice that I said my machines specs are 2GB. I wasn’t lying. Unfortunately for me, the Atom chipset can only recognize and use 2GB of memory. That means that the standard (and soldered-on) 512MB is nothing more than a space hog internally disabled.

Gripes about the chipset aside,  I really wanted to see how this little Ideapad would stack up so I started the benchmark tools that Windows 7 came with to see how it ranked. After a couple of minutes, the score came to 2.2, the lowest score achieved among all the tests. A screenshot can be seen below.

windows-7-lenovo-s10e-windows-experience-performance-results

Not too surprised by the score (it IS a netbook), I decided to check Windows Update to make sure there weren’t any outstanding video, sound, or otherwise performance enhancing updates. Naturally, there were three. I went ahead and updated, rebooted, and started the test over. Nothing changed, I still managed a 2.2. Oh well.

windows-7-lenovo-s10e-windows-experience-performance-retest

The next  big thing I wanted to test was Power Mangement, and I have to say I was pretty impressed with the sleep/wake function (key for being able to be constantly on the run). Know that I am a Mac user half of the time (the other half an Ubuntu user), and know that Apple has spoiled me pretty bad as far as the Sleep/Wake capabilities of a laptop. Fanboy silenced, I’m impressed. The Lenovo takes a little bit longer than my Macbook to wake from sleep, but is usable in well under two seconds. The stock XP install took closer to 10 seconds to wake and ‘do it’s thing’.

Unfortunately, I did notice something a little odd after putting the Ideapad to sleep and then waking it. There seemed to be a high pitch sound that randomly starts within a couple seconds of waking up. I’ve whittled this down to a driver issue since the high pitch sound goes away when I increase or decrease the volume. I went straight to the RealTek site, grabbed the latest drivers for the sound card  (2-24-09) and installed them. This seemed to do the trick.

Next up was battery life. I know the true purpose for these little machines isn’t to watch a DVD, but it is is something I’ll at least want to be doing at every now and again. I wasn’t going to be using wireless during this time, so I turned it off as well as decreased the screen brightness to half of its normal output. Next, I popped in a 16:9 DVD, and here is what I saw:

windows-7-lenovo-s10e-dvd-playback-pans-labyrinth

Using Windows Media Player, the DVD opened up in perfect widescreen mode with no black borders. This is thanks to the native 1024×576 resolution on the 10e (remember the .1″ difference in screen size compared to the S10). Normally, I wouldn’t have accepted the loss in prime 24 pixel real estate, but so far I haven’t found it a problem. In this case, it actually makes it the perfect screen for viewing widescreen dvds.

Sadly my viewing pleasure came to an end about 10 minutes too early. The battery power had been depleted and Windows started to hibernate the netbook at 6% battery life. I’m sure there was some sort of modification I could have made to prevent it, but in all honesty 6% wouldn’t have given me much to work with anyways. I was going for minimal tweaks so beyond changing the the screen brightness and the power saving setting I don’t think a normal user would think of anything else.  In the end, the 1 hour 51 minute runtime is still a little unimpressive for the machine but it is okay. I have to give some credit to the S10e since the Samsung external DVD drive is completely USB powered.

windows-7-lenovo-s10e-dvd-playback-battery-life

That being said, I didn’t want to leave the experience with a crutch so I decided to help balance it out by rerunning the battery test with another movie imported to h.264 and on an SD card. This is the more ideal situation for me, since I will mostly be watching movies mostly from SD cards instead of a cumbersome external DVD setup.

Under an hour and a half into the movie I checked to see the time left on the battery. To my dismay, 26 minutes were left. Looks like the external DVD drive didn’t consume that much power after all. Again, Windows decided to hibernate at 6% and I was still missing about 5 minutes of the movie. As far as Windows 7 is concerned, battery life conservation when watching DVD or DVD quality movies is poor despite enabling ‘Power Saving’ and disabling wireless.

After the movie test I decided to ease up a bit and retest the ‘Power Saving’ setting in Windows 7. I managed to get about 2.5 hours of ‘normal use’ out of the netbook when web surfing, and writing emails. Nothing too spectacular, but on par with other netbooks running XP.

Since I did have the DVD Burner, I wanted to test out Windows 7′s support for burners. I downloaded the latest MythBuntu ISO, right clicked, and I had an option to burn the ISO. Very nice. I was able to burn the ISO without needing any extra software. I did run into a little problem though. Before I burned the ISO I selected the option to verify the disk when it completes. The verification pop up never completed, and left me with this on screen:

windows-7-lenovo-s10e-dvd-burn-stuck-verify

The disk did, however, burn successfully. Next, I installed Safari to test drive the massive Javascript improvement Apple has been touting. The install went clean, and I was presented with a fairly nice interface on the little netbook screen.

windows-7-lenovo-s10e-safari-2-screenshot

I almost preferred this to Firefox since the address bar didn’t take up as much screen real estate. It ran pretty nice making Gmail quite a bit zippier. I also ran some Sunspider benchmarks comparing IE and Safari and there wasn’t really much of a competition.  Safari won hands down with final tests running 5x faster than IE. That just solidified my stance that my prefererence is not for IE and I don’t think Windows 7 will change it.

After spending a couple days with Windows 7 on the S10e, I feel that it was at least on par with the performance of Windows XP, and much better than the initial Vista release I had experienced on other, more powerful laptops. I was happy with the built in features: a new and clean interface, ability to burn ISOs without extra software, complete hardware support for the netbook, and okay power savings. As it has more time to mature, I’m sure Windows 7 might be a viable contender on these new Atom-based machines.

Windows 7 Screenshot Gallery


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35 Responses to “Windows 7 on a Lenovo Ideapad S10e Netbook”

  1. Rob Allen March 10, 2009 at 7:48 am #

    Hey there,

    just did the same thing with my new Netbook as well, s10e , have you managed to find out what the Unknown device is in the device manager ?

    Rob

  2. Ray Gomez March 10, 2009 at 8:13 am #

    Hi Rob, thanks for stopping by.

    Actually, I don’t recall coming across an Unknown device. Have you run Windows update and grabbed the latest Realtek drivers? Also, if you have something to test it with, you might want to check to see if it might be the Express Card slot. There was some mention on the http://www.s10lenovo.com forum stating that the Unknown Device is an energy management problem (http://www.s10lenovo.com/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=598) and you can download Lenovo’s Energy Cut here.

    It isn’t listed in the downloads for the s10e, so I am skeptical. Especially since things worked pretty much out-of-the-box for me (Realtek drivers aside). Let us know how it goes!

  3. Joe April 17, 2009 at 9:35 pm #

    good article. So you think win7 is faster than xp runing on s10e? I have same spec 10e. I added 2g of ram plus built in 512 but xp only sees 2gig. I am waiting microsoft release win7 and try it out. I am thinking installing ubuntu instead.

  4. Dennis May 14, 2009 at 11:19 am #

    I have my S10e with windows 7 RC and it runs excelent :) better than xp ¡¡

  5. Rob Allen May 15, 2009 at 10:30 am #

    I am running the RC now and its great. I discovered the battery on this is rubbish for anything , never mind watching a video :)
    Bought a 6 cell battery , get 5 hours worth of working, must try and watch a video on it and see what happens.

  6. Kev H May 20, 2009 at 10:41 am #

    Hey, I’ve just ordered the s10e with linux. Im just wandering once I’ve installed windows 7, does the windows update install all the drivers? Or do I have to hunt around the lenovo website and get them myself?

    Cheers in advance

    • Ray Gomez May 20, 2009 at 10:56 am #

      I didn’t need to install any extra drivers (except for the soundcard) with Windows 7. Everything, except for that high pitched sound from the soundcard, ‘just worked’.

  7. Kev H May 20, 2009 at 12:15 pm #

    K thanks for the quick response.

  8. Bev G May 29, 2009 at 6:03 am #

    Did you install 7 as a fresh copy or over Linux, as I have tried and I lose all drives only the sound remains.

  9. Peter June 5, 2009 at 5:03 am #

    I installed win7 from USB without problems.Everything was working fine – wifi,sound,lan… .After installation there was one unknown device.I installed energy manager for win vista and the unknown device was gone so try it.I have 1GB ram and it works as fast as xp.

  10. Edison F July 1, 2009 at 12:19 am #

    Hola Todos, actualmente tengo un lenovo S10e ideapad a la cual le instale Windows 7, pero desde entonces ya no me sirve la camara web, el sensor del mouse, ni el bluetooth, no se como hacer que sirvan, por favor ayudenme soy novato en esto, muchas gracias.

  11. Ross July 3, 2009 at 10:23 pm #

    Hi Guys,

    Just bought myself a s10e and installed Windows 7 RC1. It seems that when ever i try and do a windows update it fails with Error code: 80072EE2

    Also my IE is VERY slow. I have ADSL2+ in Australia wich works out about 11Mbps download and to open goodle it took about 5 minutes. It even times out when visiting some websites.

    Has anyone come across this before? If so any help would be greatful.

    Cheers,
    Ross

  12. John August 2, 2009 at 2:29 am #

    Hi I was wondering if all the driver in the ideapad works in the window 7,or was there any drivers that were not compatible?

  13. Ross August 2, 2009 at 5:18 am #

    John,

    I have a s10e and all work except the auto scroll on the touch pad. some drivers you need to get off the net as they don’t come on Windows 7. Other than that all should be good.

    Ross

  14. Dennis August 2, 2009 at 7:37 am #

    Here you can get help with S10 http://www.s10lenovo.com

    @John : I Installed a driver from an ideapad but I don’t remember right now, in the forum I posted you can find it.

  15. Ruvan September 6, 2009 at 12:45 pm #

    Hey Ray, just have a few questions for you if you don’t mind.
    The shop where i work just got a few in and I immediately started to pull the product apart, replacing ram, testing speeds.
    I found that the little netbook doesnt post nevermind boot with a 2GB DIMM in it. Just need to know exactly what ram you used to upgrade as i will be needing to do the same if i decide to buy it. Secondly when you install windows7, does it erase the quickboot application?
    and finally, If you even noticed the slightest increse/decrease in speed when going from winxp to win7, please let me know which is slightly faster/slower. Thanks =P

    p.s. Did you boot from disk after a format? or how else did you install win7. i hear if its 64bit ultimate you can flash the OS via memory stick but im not 100% sure if the CPU will allow it.

    Looking forward to hearing from you…

  16. Lance September 16, 2009 at 10:21 am #

    Just ordered an S10. I plan to install RTM of Windows 7 over XPSP3 it comes with, based on your feedback on the beta and the other posts here. I’m wondering how the IdeaPad will work for Office-type programs, like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Does anything come pre-installed? Can I install Office 2007 on it?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Riyad Kalla September 17, 2009 at 11:00 am #

      Lance I think your editing experience on the Netbook will be decent. I’ve got OpenOffice on my S10 and it runs fine on Windows XP, just like my other laptop or my desktop. No problems to speak of.

  17. Darshik October 5, 2009 at 11:05 pm #

    Hey Guys.

    Great work. I am going to install W7RC in a moment, and will get the RTM at the end of the year. I use my s10e for all my daily work, including gaming. I replaced my previous laptop for this and have no regrets. For editing (using Office 2007), for basic gaming, for web browsing…its unbelievable. I have it hooked up to a 20″ LCD and it works brilliantly. I even go as far as running C.A.D. software. Not the best experience, but this little beast handles it. Respect.

  18. Marco October 25, 2009 at 3:16 am #

    I had a Lenovo s10e and I want Windows 7 to be tested here myself. Tested Win7 on an HP Mini and it got Aero enabled, unlike on Vista.

  19. Lance October 25, 2009 at 10:28 am #

    just to close the loop on my earlier post, rtm bits of windows 7 enterprise edition has been running perfectly on my ideapad for one month now. all office 2007 enterprise apps work similarly well. i’ll be presenting a powerpoint deck to some big-wigs again this week. this is an amazing little machine. i use it for so much more than email and web surfing. it’s adding years to my life by being so much lighter in my backpack. it’s a very cool device, and i’m very happy with it. i leave my toshiba satellite laptop at home now.

  20. Shali November 9, 2009 at 11:54 am #

    Do u know if I can install the 64bit windows 7 copy to the s10e? coz i hae a copy of the 64bit version but not the 32.

  21. Joshua November 13, 2009 at 2:45 am #

    Atom N270 processor does not support 64-bit Operating Systems.

  22. Shali November 13, 2009 at 8:46 pm #

    Thanks. I installed x32 copy and it works like a charm. no crashes or lags what so ever. best part is that i only got 1gb RAM but it still runs smooth. for some reason though,the lenovo power management utility doesn’t run after the installation. it’s not bad though. I still get more than 2 hours on it on performance mode. i love windows 7!

    • Riyad Kalla January 22, 2010 at 7:57 am #

      Shali, you will need to check with Lenovo on getting updated Power Management software for Windows 7 — chances are the underlying power-management APIs in Windows 7 are much different than Windows XP, which is probably why the software doesn’t work.

  23. Clemente December 12, 2009 at 8:53 pm #

    I just installed Win7 on my S10E, and everything went great, until I ran my printer’s software.

    It wont start the printer dashboard because the resolution annot be set to the minimum 800×600 resolution. Ive been beating my head all day on this one. I have latest Intel Display adapter driver, but the Monitor driver is a ‘Generic” driver. Can anyone sway me in the right direction, as the specs for this netbook state 1024×600, not the 1024×574.

    Thanx!

  24. Adam December 30, 2009 at 12:44 pm #

    Does the built in web cam still work after installing Windows 7? That is what I’m most concerned about working.

  25. robert January 18, 2010 at 7:05 am #

    i can not get internal bluetooth to work on s10e on window 7 ultimate help

  26. Max January 20, 2010 at 2:31 am #

    I have the same problem with internal bluetooth on my S10e on windows 7. Thouh in “device manager” all devices are recognized, when I try to run Bluetooth, it happens nothing, or if I install an another BT-driver, the system want to rerun explorer.exe, and then it happens nothing again.
    Please, help.

    • Riyad Kalla January 22, 2010 at 7:53 am #

      Max, I had this problem before as well. Try and hit the “Wireless” button on the top of the keyboard, near the power button and see if the BlueTooth antenna is actually turned off in hardware. Additionally try the “Fn+WIRELESS” key, I think it’s F5 or something.

  27. Thomas Moltsen February 1, 2010 at 2:38 am #

    Hi Rob

    Fantastic article.. Microsoft owes you alot for this.. But.. I have a question.. Do you know if it is possible to install windows 7 from an iso on an USB stick? I don’t have an external dvd drive.

    Thanks again – and have a nive week :)

    //TM

    • si February 13, 2010 at 6:16 am #

      to install win7 from usb, use wintoflash. i install win7 on s10e via usb, and it work better then winXP.
      only problem’s are:
      function on screen does not work,
      touchpad features, like zoom and etc also not work,
      and i on device manager i have unknown device.
      i search on lenovo web site, they do not have drivers or software for s10e under win7. anyone have idea how to solve those issues?
      they are not critical, but if can, why not to fix them :) )

  28. Dick Alban September 5, 2010 at 12:34 am #

    Do I have your permission to reference a few sentences from your post? I’m finishing up an essay for college. Thanks!

  29. marco November 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    Hi, I also have Lenovo s10e. Did someone install Windows 8 on this netbook? Any comments?

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