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Installing Vista on the Eee 701 - i've done it and it works!

Guest PaulOBrien

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Forget all the people who told you Vista wouldn't work on the limited space of the Eeee... check out the video below, then check out how to do it :D

The Video:

* caveat: When I was recording the video, everything felt slower than it was earlier... I realised that I had just turned on Disk Compression, probably didn't help. Should give more space tho :)

The Deets:

To make this work, I started with...

- An Eee PC, completely unmodified (4GB version, 512MB RAM)

- A SD card (you'll need this, 2GB minimum, the bigger the better. I'm using 8GB, which are nice and cheap now)

- A Vista DVD

- A 1GB USB stick

Here's what I did!

- Download vLite from http://www.vlite.net/, and use to create a custom ISO with bits of Vista removed you don't need, the edition you want (I used Home Premium), such that it'll fit on your USB stick.

- Format USB stick with a single FAT32 partition, and set active. I did it in Vista, with the following commands from a command prompt (with admin rights):

LIST DISK (note the number of your USB drive at this point)
SELECT DISK 1 (or the appropriate number from the command above)

- Copy contents of your newly created ISO to the stick (you can extract the ISO with WinRAR, burn it to CD, mount it with Daemon Tools etc. etc.)

- Insert USB stick into Eee

- Turn on Eee, pressing escape at startup to select the USB stick as the boot device

- Install Vista, configuring 1 single 4GB partition.

- You should now have Vista, but chances are there isn't much space left. Ensure your SD card is in the slot at this point, and showing as drive D:.

- You need to download PendMoves and MoveFile to your machine from http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysintern.../PendMoves.mspx. Put them in \Windows\System32

Right, now the clever stuff. The thing that stops Vista playing ball on the Eee is it's HUGE side by side directory, \Windows\winsxs. I mean huge... on my machine it was 1.5GB. The real problem is that it's huge AND very difficult to move. We're gonna put it on SD however ;)

- Navigate to the \Windows\WinSXS directory, and view the security properties. You need to first give yourself ownership of the directory, and then give yourself full access (i'd use the administrator account to do this stuff).

- Now run a command prompt, and create a dummy directory. Type 'mkdir c:\windows\winsxs.moved'

- Now that's done, we're gonna create a junction (like a Symbolic link for Vista). Type 'mklink /J c:\windows\winsxs.link winsxs.moved'

- Good, now delete the winsxs.moved directory. Trust me on this one :(. Type 'rmdir c:\windows\winsxs.moved'

That's the preperation done. Now we need to use MoveFile to schedule renaming of the winsxs at reboot. This is the magic that will give us control over that nightmare directory.

- From the command prompt, run 'movefile c:\windows\winsxs c:\windows\winsxs.moved'. As you can see, this is renaming the winsxs directory before anything can get a hold on it.

- From the command prompt, run 'movefile c:\windows\winsxs.link c:\windows\winsxs'. This puts a winsxs directory back (as far as the OS is concerned), so everything doesn't collapse in a heap.

- Now type 'pendmoves'. It should show the 2 pending moves you've entered above, with NO ERRORS. If it all looks good, REBOOT!

On reboot the critical renames / moves will happen, and we'll be free of the shackles that stopped us messing with that pesky winsxs directory.

- When your PC is booted, again open a command prompt, and 'dir c:\windows\winsxs*'. If it's all gone well, you'll see a winsxs.moved real directory, and the winsxs junction. If it HASN'T worked, repeat the above steps!

If it's all good, then we're nearly home and dry. All we need to do is relocate WinSXS and amend the junction.

- Using Windows Explorer, COPY the whole winsxs.moved directory to a \Windows directory on your SD card. As it's HUGE, it'll take ages, and is often quicker using a USB card reader than the internal card reader.

- When this has finished, rename the directory on the SD card from winsxs.moved to winsxs. Go to a command prompt (again!) and type 'rmdir c:\windows\winsxs'. Then, type 'mklink /J c:\windows\winsxs d:\windows\winsxs'.

- To be sure everything is happy, in explorer browse to c:\windows\winsxs. You should see a ton of files. They're really on your SD card :(

- Reboot

After reboot, you should be able to delete c:\windows\winsxs.moved and FINALLY liberate all that disk space. Now you're at the point where you need to tweak your system. This means reducing / moving the page file, disabling hibernation and so on and so forth. To disable hibernation on Vista, drop to a command prompt and type 'powercfg -h off'.

There's one last thing you should do. When you download Windows Updates etc., the files get put into C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution, and this will quickly become huge. I recommend moving this to the SD too. It's easier though... stop Windows Update service, move directory, create junction, restart service, DONE!

It goes without saying that when you install apps (e.g. i'm gonna put Office 2007 on), you should install them to D:\Program Files - your SD - where appropriate!

Job done, you have Vista on your EEE :D

[b]Please let me know how you get on![/b]


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A couple of points, these may sound obvious but...

- ejecting the SD while the machine is running is a bad idea

- booting up the machine without the SD in is a bad idea

I have a hunch some of the Vista 'Windows Updates' improve file copy performance, so it may be worth while doing a windows update BEFORE moving winsxs. You might want to relocate SoftwareDistribution first tho ;)


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Haha! Impressive indeed P. Your ardous will to see if it works, just for the hell of it is impressive. Now I can show my buddies that it DOES work, if they EVER wanted to. How long did it take you btw?

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Don't ask :(

Now that the process is documented it's not too bad, but I think I did about 5 rebuilds to get it all working, not to mention copying the winsxs directory to SD, 17,000 files ish and 1.7 GB, took an AGE each time! ;)


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Well done nevertheless. I too would like to get a custom XP working. I know many users have too.

Also, I'm beginning to need that extra 512MB I think. For web browsing, uni work (excluding CAD or any 3Dness), I think 512 is enough. Key word being 'enough'. ASUS aint stupid. BUT, for example, mid my firefox 5 tabs and Pidgin 5 tabs IM-ing, I decide to check my mail, launch Outlook2007 :S Some random annoying error about memory. Sigh.

I understand this is a situation where one has outlook on the eeepc and is a silly concept esp. with screen size and size of .pst. But if the eeepc is your main PC ;) then you would like to use Outlook. Im selling my main machine and would be without a desktop PC for a longtime. Enter eeepc. Enter 1GB. :(

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thanks for the instructions about the WinSxS folder Paul. Worked out fine for me until the end, there was still 200MB worth of sub directories in my winsxs.moved folder, when I tried to delete them the OS kept saying they were in use. Gonna try again with another new image soon.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey guys, i need helped,

Slipstreamed vista and installed it, moved winsxs to sd card... installed drivers... can't get the webcam up and running... all drivers appear in Device Manger as installed, flash site can't power on the webcam, yahoo or msn messneger reports as no webcam present... what to do... i really need webcam on this eee... btw i changed the ram to 1 gb and removed swap, works smooth... how to power on "manually" the webcam? or what model and what drivers to install so it can be automatically detected and powered on?

Tnx guys...

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hey just a little help on this? I have a vista iso which is hitting for 6.6gb, after vlite, the smallest I can get it to is 2.2, how the hell is everyone getting 600meg? If you could post a guide for this it would be a massive help to me.

For help, im using the msdn vista iso, i dont know if there are retail isos which are any smaller? Thanks again.

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Im not super smart when it comes to what to remove from the Vista cd to fit on the USB 1 gig stick! Can you help please! Thank you! :(

Anything it doesn't look like you're gonna use - vlite is quite self explanatory.


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- Now that's done, we're gonna create a junction (like a Symbolic link for Vista). Type 'mklink /J c:\windows\winsxs.link winsxs.moved'

Paul, Thanks for doing this! I followed the directions, and as an intermediate computer guy was able to get it working- and it's actually quite quick and responsive.

One note on the directions, which for a guy at my level posed an issue. I eventually figured it out, but I believe the direction above should include 'C:\' before 'winsxs.moved'.

This is a very small item to what is really a huge benefit to the community. Thanks for all of your work with this.

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hey im stuck when i try to install vista it says "The selected partition requires at least 5060 MB free space" and wont let me continue with the install what should i do

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