Enabling Aero Glass on Windows Vista with a Toshiba M200/M205
I've been really disappointed that the lovely Toshiba M200/M205 series of notebooks has been so poorly supported by Toshiba. While these little workhorses will run Vanilla Vista just fine, none of the useful craplets will work and Toshiba seems to have abandoned this TabletPC for the sexier M400.
I've googled all over for this and found Microsoft blogs where the guy said "it's working great on internal drivers" but I can't get a straight answer from anyone. I figured it was time to solve it once and for all.
The NVidia Vista Drivers announcement says:
GeForce Go GPUs in notebooks are currently not supported in drivers from NVIDIA.com.
At this time, the drivers available on NVIDIA.com do not support notebook GPUs. Many NVIDIA notebook GPUs have Windows Vista drivers already built into the operating system and install the first time you run Windows Vista.
However, I refuse to give up on the Little Tablet That Could.
Even though the M205 isn't listed as supported, I threw caution to the wind and downloaded and installed the:
- Toshiba Value Added Package for Windows Vista (this apparently adds value)
- Toshiba Tablet PC Extension for Windows Vista
- Toshiba Extended Tiles for Windows Mobility Center
I also demand Vista Aero Transparent Glass on this laptop. So what that it has a crappy NVidia Fx5200 GX video card with 32megs of RAM? That was state of the art three years ago. Runs (some) 3D games just fine thank you, and Google Earth, too. Surely this POS can run some transparent windows, right? I mean, it did under XP running Windows Blinds. ;) (Yes, I know how the new desktop compositor works under Vista, no letters, please.)
There's a real Gold Mine over at LaptopVideo2Go.com. While NVidia seems not to care much about existing Laptop GPUs with their driver releases, the community at LaptopVideo2Go forces them to care by editing their INF files.
WARNING: You're on your own if you do this...don't come to me with problems. YMMV.
There's excellent step by step screen-shotted instructions on how to download the right drivers for your laptop and use a Modified INF driver file to fool/force/coerce the drivers to supporting your hardware, even when the manufacturer would really rather that you not.
I quaked in fear as Windows reported that this driver was not digitally signed. But, some how I worked past it.
This thread over at LaptopVideo2Go offers this great graphical table explaning the drivers vs. GPU chipset relationships. It's a little out of date, but it helps one get the idea.
I downloaded the NVidia 9802 driver for use on this Toshiba but 9719 and a few others. The 9708 driver seemed pretty snappy as well. This was actually a driver released for ASUS laptops. The modified INF is what gets it working for other GPUs. I've actually tried about 10 different versions.
You can poke around and make an educated decision. Many folks feel the 60xx series of drivers is a better choice for the 5200 GO Chipset, others say not to use any lower than 70xx. I went with a newer one based on comments in the forums.
I downloaded the modified INF, copied it over the existing one, and did the old "Update Driver | Have Disk" trick. Again, see the instructions.
After the driver installation, I saw this in my Properties Dialog...check out that Shared System Memory Value. Yikes. I've got 1.5Gigs on this laptop. If you're going to get this working you'll likely need at LEAST that much memory.
But I loves my Glass. I'll charge onward and see if I can get this to work...
After rebooting, I didn't see any Aero Glass and was totally bummed. Then I went to the Start Menu and typed in "Performance" and ran Performance Information and Tools. I had originally a 1.0 for Graphics Perf, since I was using the out of the box, auto-detected Standard VGA driver.
I ran it again, and got some error that the Video Driver had some trouble and got restarted, but now my Gaming Graphics experience went from a 1.0 (horrific) to a 2.4 (marginally horrific.)
Hm...that's something, I guess, but I still haven't got Glass. Most times I run the Windows Experience Index tolol (by pressing Update my Score) I get this error:
So, there's actually no happy ending (yet) to this post...folks in the Forums insist they've gotten Aero to work on an M205, but I've tried literally 10 different driver versions and modded INF files and while my 3D score has increased, I'm still Glassless.
I'll update this post as information comes in or one of you M200/5 owners tries this and finds a success that you'll share with the rest of us.
- UPDATE: I got a flash of Aero, then this message in the Event Viewer:
The Desktop Window Manager did not start because an analysis of the hardware and configuration indicated that it would perform poorly. The Desktop Window Manager has encountered a fatal error (0x8876017c)