Reverting to Windows 7 on the HP Envy Sleekbook 6 (6-1110us)

Alright, so a bit of bad news, my old laptop (also an HP decided it wanted to start mucking up on me. Network adapters going all haywire, you know how it goes. The USB wireless adapter I got for it should do me in the mean time but I decided to go out and get a new laptop today.

I was looking in my usual spot online (Micro Center) to see if they had any reasonably priced laptop replacements. I found one for about 480 bucks after tax, and I had them hold one for me to come pick up in the store. When I got there, picked it up (paid the 480 and change I was expecting) I got home and unboxed a new Sleekbook Envy 6 instead, which has better hardware definitely but it also had Windows 8 which is a big no-go for me.

So I took the time to figure out how to get this bad boy working on Windows 7 and have everything put together in sequential order in download links section.

UPDATE: If you are just looking for a Windows 7-like environment I suggest you check out this great app: Start8

Getting Started

Note: This guide is for going through a clean install of Windows only. I can not guarantee the same results will apply otherwise.

Firstly — You will need to boot up your device and hit either F10 or ESC to get in to the BIOS before you get the HP logo at the black screen. Once you’re in, move over to the third tab labeled “Security” or similar and enable legacy boot. Once you have done this, save and exit the BIOS shutting down your computer.

Secondly you are going to need Windows 7 install media and a USB stick with at least 8GB of available storage because as you may have noticed this model of Envy has no optical drive. There’s a great guide on setting up the USB drive for installing Windows 7 that can be found here: Into Windows.

Once you have completed setting up your USB drive with the Windows 7 install files and installing windows as per normal (using the USB 2.0 port on the right hand side, hint hint) you are ready to get your Envy rolling on Windows 7.

The Drivers

1) Synaptics Touch Pad Driver: http://q.gs/2WPH1
2a) Realtek Ethernet Driver: http://q.gs/2WPH2
2b) Qualcomm Wireless Driver: http://q.gs/2WPH3
3) AMD A70M Chipset Drivers: http://q.gs/2WPH4
4) AMD 7600G Drivers: http://q.gs/6ayCe

UPDATE: It appears newer versions of the drivers aren’t compatible with the 7600G, I have reverted the link to point to an older, compatible version of the drivers that should work. Let me know if there are any issues, thanks!

Download all these ahead of time and load them on to a USB stick so we can make this a quick, easy setup. Once you have download them, plug the USB stick in to the USB 2.0 port on the right hand side and follow the steps below.

Enabling the Mouse Pad

The first thing you will undoubtedly notice is that your mouse pad is completely useless at this point and you have absolutely no access to your USB 3.0 ports on the left side of your Envy. This presents a problem as I was stuck using my keyboard to navigate around and install things.

Note: If you are not familiar with mouseless navigation tab will move you between sections, arrow keys will move you between items, and return executes.

With your USB key plugged in (it should be drive letter D) hit the Windows key and type (or navigate to) D:Drivers1 – SYNAPTICS_TOUCHPAD.zip1 – SYNAPTICS_TOUCHPADSYNAPTICS_TOUCHPAD.exe (or replace D with whatever it mounted your thumb drive as). You should then be prompted to either extract or run the zip file. tab over to run, and hit enter. This will bring up the setup Window for the Synaptics Touch Pad driver. You will then be presented with a screen saying “Welcome” and the “Next” button should be hi-lighted already hit return now to proceed.

Next you will be presented with the license agreement, just tab through that until both the agree radio button is selected and the next button is hi-lighted in blue. It should then proceed to install the drivers. Give it a minute or so and voila you are now free to move about the cabin or… computer.

Now, isn’t that better? It should make navigating around your Envy much easier now. Next we move on to the network driver of our choice. I personally did this using ethernet but if you are a distance away from your router and you don’t feel like wiring your whole house with RJ-45 you might want to use wireless. I included the download links to both above.

Installing the Network Adapters

A) Right so if you chose to go with the ethernet adapter you have downloaded that first. I suggest doing this because Windows update will take care of the wireless one later on if you want it to, or you can just install it using the drivers I provided.

To get our Envy online we’ll need to unzip the archive named “2a – REALTEK_GIGABIT_ETHERNET” and run the enclosed setup executable. After a few minutes of waiting, maybe skimming over the license agreement if the author’s are lucky — We now have internet access. Hooray, internets!

B) If you chose to go with the wireless adapter installation first, I don’t blame you for this either. I don’t have an RJ-45 cable that reaches out to the back porch either. Now, going forward — You’ll want to extract the zip archive named “2b – QUALCOMM_QCA9565_WIRELESS” and in it I have included a handy batch file to run a non-silent install of the drivers so you can actually see it’s progress.

Once you have this installed both your bluetooth and your WiFi will now be active and you can read this blog posting from your new laptop.

Installing the Chipset Devices

It took me a little bit to find chipset drivers that actually worked for this but it turns out the 6-1110us is running on the AMD A70M chipset and I have included all the necessary files to install the USB 3.0 drivers and all sorts of goodies in the zip archive. Extract that off your USB key and run the enclosed setup executable. You may be asked to restart your computer after this (and several other points during the setup process) but it is necessary as Windows will only cooperate with you if you feed it enough tasty restarts.

Once you have rebooted (if it asked you to) you should now have access to your left-side Super-Speed USB 3.0 ports. If you’ve stuck with my guide thus far I’ll have to make out an I.O.U. to you in the amount of exactly 1 internet and no more than that.

Installing the Graphics Driver

This particular model of Envy 6 has an AMD Radeon HD 7600G for which you will not find working drivers in any of the obvious places. I did however dig up some beta drivers over at Guru 3D. Kudos to them on their work getting this up to date.

I checked the compatible devices and the 7600G was among them so after several failed attempts at getting Aero working on other manufacturer drivers I thought I’d give it a go and thankfully it worked, it fixed my Aero problem and to top it off I tested it by playing through Hard Rain in Left 4 Dead 2 and it ran nice and smooth.

Before we install the graphics drivers though, we will need to install the latest .NET framework for the Catalyst Control Centre to function properly. You can either retrieve the latest .NET framework from Windows update or from the Microsoft CDN.

Next verse same as the first (but with a mouse) just unzip the archive named “4 – AMD_Catalyst_x.x_Betax” and run setup.exe within the contained folder. After all this is said and done, restart your computer, set your proper aspect ratio. Switch to an aero theme and BAM. You should now be running happily on Windows 7.

Conclusion

You should now be running on Windows 7 as if it was meant to come with it. if you have any problems during the installation drop by my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/TheInternetNomad and I’ll do my best to respond when I am able! If you want to say thanks, buy me a cup of coffee or an energy drink by clicking the donate button on the right-hand side of the page. I am currently studying in university and this is something I do in my spare time.

-Andrew

UPDATE: 17-November-2012 Occasionally on restart or shutdown/start up the USB controller (which handles the USB 3.0 ports on the left side of the computer) will stop functioning. This can usually be resolved opening device manager, disabling the AMD USB 3.0 Host Controller, unplugging any devices from these ports and re-enabling it. After that, plug your devices back in and continue using your system as per normal.

ReFS and What it Means for Windows Users

NTFS, Fat32, Ext3, and ReFS — That’s a lot of acronyms, the first three are some of the most widely used system partitions today while the latter most is something new. Microsoft has developed the successor to the most widely used NTFS file system for Windows called the Resilient File System — You might be asking yourself: “How does this affect me?”

The short answer is — Aside from performance and stability improvements, you won’t notice a thing. The ReFS file system will maintain the crucial backwards compatiblity with the NTFS file system and your applications should remain in working order if you choose to make the switch.

ReFS will be released on Windows 8 however it’s initial launch will only support the next release of Windows Server in the 8 series, and while Microsoft has not confirmed or denied the possibility of it being added as a feature to the popular Windows 7 operating system, it is not out of the question.

Microsoft has laid out some key goals of what they want to accomplish by utilising this new file system:

  • Maintain a high degree of compatibility with a subset of NTFS features that are widely adopted while deprecating others that provide limited value at the cost of system complexity and footprint.
  • Verify and auto-correct data. Data can get corrupted due to a number of reasons and therefore must be verified and, when possible, corrected automatically. Metadata must not be written in place to avoid the possibility of “torn writes,” which we will talk about in more detail below.
  • Optimize for extreme scale. Use scalable structures for everything. Don’t assume that disk-checking algorithms, in particular, can scale to the size of the entire file system.
  • Never take the file system offline. Assume that in the event of corruptions, it is advantageous to isolate the fault while allowing access to the rest of the volume. This is done while salvaging the maximum amount of data possible, all done live.
  • Provide a full end-to-end resiliency architecture when used in conjunction with the Storage Spaces feature, which was co-designed and built in conjunction with ReFS.

So let’s break down each of these points. Microsoft is aiming to maintain a high level of compatibility with the current file structure — So most applications will be able to run on the new file system. Which is a win for everyone. They will however, be removing some features which are outdated, or not as widely used. That being the case, I wouldn’t worry about whether your applications will run or not.

Now the next bit, is something that I personally am glad to see. Microsoft will be introducing some features similar to the HFS file system used in OS X to automate and correct drive corruption to optimise drive performance. What this means for you: Less worrying, less problems, less defragging and waiting for your computer to free up hard drive usage, and best of all, less disk checking. The ReFS file system aims for a smoother, better performing operating environment from it’s  predecessor.

Isolation of corrupted data is another big selling point for ReFS — This means that if there is bad data on your hard drive it will most likely not interfere with the repair process. This means you will be able to identify, and repair the issue while the drive is still active and your session is still live. This means less downtime in critical situations, and in day to day use.

Lastly — ReFS is designed to work together with the Storage Spaces feature which will be introduced in Windows 8. Storage Spaces, in short combines all of your physical drives, SAS, RAID, internal, external, NAS, etc, and combines them in to one consistent virtual drive you can use for direct and organised storage.

Now that all the hefty reading is out of the way, I do have to break some bad news to everyone else who is looking forward to this — Initially ReFS will not be bootable. Microsoft intends on taking it in “evolving steps” to quote a Softpedia Article it will be implemented “…first as a storage system for Windows Server, then as storage for clients, and then ultimately as a boot volume…”

If you are looking forward to Windows 8, the beta will be available in mid, to late February.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Sources: MSDN Blog, Softpedia

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