MSI Wind “Netbook”

— the actual date is Nov 16, 2008 —

— I subtracted 8 years for this category —

U100-279US MSI Part Number: 9S7-N01152-279. Another MSI site. The sticker on bottom says Model Number MS-N011

Serial Number (which is on the box, and strangely i can’t find on the unit?!): U100-279USK0809000480. (is that in nv memory maybe?)

I think most of the U100’s have a bunch of the same base features: webcam, some sort of wireless.

This unit is relatively fully loaded — 1GB DDR2 memory, 160GB hard drive. Wireless N (Ralink RT02700E). XP is preloaded.

The unit is named Y012 on my network.

My first official act was to open it up and install and extra 512MB of ram (ddr2 so-dimm) i had laying around. I can take up to 1G extra, but there is only one slot.

Since it has no optical drive, just 3 usb ports; i spent a fair amount of time messing around with being sure i could boot from, for example USB sticks, and running ghost. I made a bootable 2.88mbyte key and ghosted the recovery and xp partitions.

OSX should be do-able, but it didn’t work for me; looks like i need a more modern usb to ide dongle. MSIWindosx86.iso

There are hot keys (and hot keys only! also watch out: these devices default to OFF if you cut all power, e.g. battery and ac) for webcam (Fn, F6), wireless and bluetooth (Fn, F11. repeatedly).

Some details:

  • Wireless: Ralink RT-2700E, shows up in device manager as “1T2R Mini Card”. miniPci card sticker: MS-6890, RT-2700E, VQF-RT2700E. lspci: Device 0781, subsys device 6890.
  • Webcam: Bison
  • Bios version: 1.06, apparently. The website has a 1.09 as of the day i got it Nov 11, 2008. Now is says “1.0E“, dated Sept 2009. Here is a blog article about 1.0B (oh, i finally get it, that last digit is a hex nibble)
  • Hard drive:  160GB WD Scorpio, which is coincidentally the same drive that Dave bought to work in the xbox.

Inital Hard Drive configuration:

Ranish Partition Manager       Version 2.40.00
152,627M [ 19,457 cyls x 255 heads x 63 sects = 312,581,808 sects ]
                File                Starting         Ending      Partition

# Type Row   System Type         Cyl Head Sect    Cyl Head Sect  Size [KB]

0  MBR   Master Boot Record        0    0    1      0    0    1           0

1  Pri   Unused                    0    0    2      0    0   63          31

2  Pri 1 Compaq Diagnostics        0    1    1    509  254   63   4,096,543

3 >Pri 2 Windows NT NTFS         510    0    1  5,609  254   63  40,965,750

4  Pri 3 Windows NT NTFS       5,610    0    1 19,456  254   63 111,226,027

5  Pri   Unused               19,457    0    1 19,457   80   63       2,551

There is a bios function, if you hit F3 while posting you can run the recovery stuff on the hidden (hidden to windows, that is) partion 1. This will do a factory-restore of XP, I tried it and it worked fine and took like 15 minutes. Note that you have to then go through the initial Windows stuff (name, etc).

There is an application to create a recovery DVD (image, since the unit has no burner) — I did this and then chose to delete the recovery files since that makes the XP partion ~ 2G smaller. The unit also ships with a recovery DVD. Since I deleted the recovery files under XP with the tool, I can no longer create a recovery dvd (easily). Then I ghosted the recovery partion — this yielded about 2.5G worth of data and I burned that on yet another DVD that can be used to restore a recovery partition should the need arise.

The XP ghosts were 5 gigs including recovery files, and under 3G without.

Threads on the MSI Wind Forum on how to get the wireless working: here and here This actually worked; all i needed to do was install mkds(?) from the synaptic pkg mgr, then I double clicked on the .deb file mentioned in the posting. I rebooted (not necessary?) and ran the network configurator widget and connected to my web network. I don’t know how you “roam” (i.e. connect to an open network you don’t know what the ssid is?)?