Tag: "tablet pc"

Doubled user accounts on Vista welcome screen

With Windows Vista Service Pack 1 RC coming out next week for the general public, there are a few issues that they may come up against.

The one that I've run up against is on my Motion LE1700 Tablet PC, when using the OmniPass password login software, this issue doesn't just effect SP1, but also some other updates that have been rolled out over the last year. Typically this can be solved by reinstalling the OmniPass software, however that is a lot of work and below is a quicker solution.

Essentially after some updates are installed you end up with two copies of your user icon on the welcome screen, this doesn't effect functionality, but its annoying and something I spent most of yesterday trying to get around with numerous reinstalls and uninstalls and system restores. Anyway I've cracked what was causing it, and I hear this will be fixed in a future version of OmniPass.

Warning: Altering this section of the registry is dangerous, you can quite literally remove all user icons from the Welcome screen preventing login. You should ensure System Restore has a recent restore point.

You'll need to crack open regedit and make your way to the location below:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\Credential Providers\

Registry Editor, OmniPass key in Credential Providers

You should have a key containing OmniPassCredProv, this is the one we want to keep.

There should also be a key containing PasswordProvider, this starts with 6f45dc1e (not shown on the image above), this is the default key OmniPass removes when it is installed, and this is responsible for their being an extra user icon, some updates seem to rebuild this entry. I'd recommend exporting this key (just in case you need to import it back if something went wrong), then deleting it and rebooting. That should restore things to how they used to be.

Motion LE1700 Tablet PC review

So I splashed out a bit this week and brought a new Tablet PC. After having a convertible style Portege M200 for over two years now, I decided I'd rather go for a slate, it is very rare I use the keyboard on my M200. As Motion this year released the LE1700 a slate machine with a 1400x1050 screen there was really no other choice. 1024x768, or any combination of weird widescreen ratios, just don't do the job.

I've been off and on thinking about getting a new one, thanks to nVidia's terrible support of the GeForce 5xxx on Windows Vista, which has two or three niggling issues despite hours of troubleshooting and attempted workarounds, I'm happy to say the new machine doesn't have an nVidia graphics card.

I ordered it from Mobitech, who specialise in Tablet PCs and the like, they kept me well informed and it arrived the following day.

The Motion LE1700 comes in two basic flavours, one with a Core Solo processor at 1.2Ghz, or with a Core 2 Duo at 1.5Ghz. For price and battery life reasons I went with the Core Solo.

I also threw in a bunch of upgrades like 2GB of RAM (512MB default with Windows XP), and a 60GB hard drive (30GB default), as well as the View Anywhere screen which, although I hear isn't as good as with previous models, really improves the brightness and clarity of the screen, today outside I had no problems reading it. I'm still waiting for the Sun to come out to try it in direct sunlight.

I won't be going into too many details of what ports it has and the specs, you can find that stuff in many other reviews around the internet.

To start of, let's talk packaging. It comes in some simple packaging, it doesn't feel over-packaged like some products so that's good, less stuff to throw away.

Motion LE1700 packaging

Motion LE1700 accessories

Motion LE1700 packaging

You get a note about imaging software and recovery discs, I believe Mobitech included one in the accessories box, and there is also one attached onto the screen.

Motion LE1700 out of the box

As the unit has no optical drive, typically you'd make an image of it over a network, it comes with True Image for that purpose, and then boot from a USB device to restore the image. But first I had a play around with it, mine came with Windows XP, as the Windows Vista version was only available with the Core 2 Duo version, at least from Mobitech.

Motion LE1700 running Windows XP

By default it ships with the screen set to 120 DPI, this is nice, and the more people who start using more high DPI settings, the better support for it there will be. At the Windows default of 96 DPI, some people do have to strain to read the text, remember this is a 12 inch screen at 1400x1050.

Motion LE1700 running True Image

After a few minutes playing with Windows XP on the machine I fired up True Image and made an image over the network. That took about 45 minutes to backup about 10GB over the wireless network to my Home Server ready for installation of Windows Vista, whose tablet features cannot be resisted.

Windows Vista took about 50 minutes to install (clean install), I spent another hour patching it up and installing Motion's software and drivers, then I installed Office, the machine comes with a copy of OneNote 2007, as my M200 did with OneNote 2003. So that's good.

Motion LE1700 vs Toshiba Protégé M200

Comparing it to the M200 (right), which was already quite a small Tablet PC, doesn't look too good from this angle, they are both 12 inch screens. But from the side on, the Motion is much slimmer.

Motion LE1700 vs Toshiba Portege M200

The machine is about 25% lighter than the M200 too, which is all good, I don't have to carry around a keyboard anymore; unless I want to (I'm planning on doing a separate review of the Motion's external keyboard).

I've had it for over a day now, and have been doing my tweaks to get it working the way I want it. Removing the fingerprint software from inside of Windows - don't need that bloat, I just need it for quick logins, undoing the damage Intel's driver did to my menu - I don't want entries to the graphics control panel when I right-click on the background - thanks.

I'm still slowly moving things over to this machine, like favourites and RSS feeds, as well as setting up my documents as offline stores so they can be synced back and forth and so on. I'm pretty much up and running with it now.

Performance wise I am actually really surprised, the machine only scores a WEI of 2.8 due to the Core Solo 1.2Ghz processor, and the 4800 RPM 1.8 inch hard drive was making me nervous but performance is really good considering the specs of this machine and it feels much smoother than the M200 running Windows Vista and it is ready to use straight away after login, the M200's disk would get hammered for a few minutes. I have yet to install World of WarCraft on this machine, the M200 struggled with it, and so it'll be a good test once I can get Catherine playing it again.

The screen is a lot better than on the M200, writing on it feels very smooth. The M200 had a plastic film over the screen which gave it a more papery texture, but also made the whites look slightly off-colour. There is also much less glare on the screen too.

The Motion LE1700 feels solid to hold; the casing is strong and feels like it could take some punishment.

The pen it comes with is also very good quality; I brought one of Wacom's executive pens to use with my M200 because the pen it came with was so cheap and plasticy. I won't need to be replacing this pen.

There's a few software issues I've come across, Motion's dashboard software resets the screen orientation on login to landscape mode - they have however acknowledged this and should be coming up with a fix. The fingerprint reader is by Omnipass and includes a lot of extra bloat I think a lot of people won't need, once that's prevented from running and I removed a lot of annoyingness to the system too - like ugly icons on file menus and the like from the registry things were much better. In the default install Motion don't have a lot of bloat like other manufacturers, but I am not a fan of display drivers wanting to put junk in my menus.

The direction pad can be quite difficult to use sometimes too, left or down (depending on which way around you are) is sometimes hard to press first time as its so close to the edge of the screen. It's also at the top of the machine when in portrait mode (where I spend most of my time), unlike the M200 which had the direction pad on the right-hand side. This is much less of a problem with Windows Vista as you can use pen flicks to move up and down pages thankfully, using Windows XP on this machine in portrait mode could get quite annoying if you do a lot of reading and need to scroll up and down.

Other than these issues, I give this machine 5 out of 5. I'll try and do a follow up review of it after I've used it for a few weeks, and do a review of the Motion keyboard that I brought with it.

Dell entering the Tablet PC market

Dell has just announced that they will be entering the Tablet PC market later this year.

Visually it's a nice looking machine, and it does somewhat go against the recent trend for heavier convertible Tablets, like the Protégé M400 (bigger and heavier than the M200).

So what do I want from this? Screen resolution wider than 1024 pixels when in portrait mode, so something like 1400x1050 like the M200. Although it looks like the shot in the video had perhaps 900 pixels wide, so if I'm right can we have an option for higher resolution screen please?

Lighter weight than the Protégé M200, or at least no heavier.

4 hour or greater battery life (with Wi-Fi turned on).

Any moderately OK specs will do me, I'd like a decent graphics accelerator but that's not essential.

Release it in the UK and you'll probably have my money.

Windows Vista vs Toshiba M200

As regular readers know I've been caught in a battle between Windows Vista and my Toshiba M200 Tablet PC.

The root cause? nVidia's Vista drivers not turning the screen back on when resuming from sleep. In the whole beta program and up until now with the final version I had been using the Windows XP drivers Toshiba had posted on their website, largely without a hitch, but they are dated 2004, don't support Aero Glass and all the other nice things that WDDM drivers do support.

Anyway a few days ago I fired up Chess, and the system threw up a stop error, you can guess that nv_disp was mentioned somewhere in it. That was it I decided, time to use the Vista drivers and just use hibernate instead of sleep.

So I installed the latest Vista drivers 97.52 (with a modified inf so they actually install), rebooted and the screen wouldn't work at all. I tried some older versions with the same thing. So I System Restored back to how it was until I had time to sort it out.

That time came this evening, after about an hour, a system restore and a purge of everything nVidia I could find, I got the system back up and running, I think an old nVidia control panel was to blame, after installing Vista on my M200 I had gone through practically every driver version to see if sleep worked with any of them, I can't imagine the sort of mess that made of the system, when I installed Windows it only installed the standard VGA driver, I guess it felt there would be trouble ahead. But anyway I thought I was sorted, I was wrong.

Where's my hibernate option disappeared to? It was just gone. The hiberfil.sys had seemingly vanished. So I ran 'powercfg -h on' on an elevated command line, which turned hibernate back on. But that started the investigation as to what had turned it off.

After about 30 minutes of going through in my head everything I had done with the system, I realised this was the only machine I had run Disk Cleanup on.

Windows Vista Disk Cleanup

There it is, delete the hibernation file. I must of checked that by accident when I ran it.

So this round of the battle is over. But I feel more in the months ahead. I want to be able to sleep without having to resort to drivers from the dark ages. Come on I know Toshiba don't support Windows Vista on the M200, but this is getting silly, nVidia I'm looking at you.

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