Windows 7 on the Toshiba Portege M200 Tablet PC

Two years ago I decided to upgrade my tablet PC to Windows Vista, a process that I detailed here. I don’t use my tablet very much, but I do like to get the pen out from time to time to do some scribbling. The improvements in Windows Vista made the tablet much more usable, and though it wasn’t without problems, I wouldn’t have gone back to Windows XP. Slowly but surely I’ve replaced or upgraded the rest of my computers to Windows 7, and I love it. It’s a great operating system that just works. I decided to see if Seven could breathe new life into my tablet too.

Windows 7 on Toshiba Portege M200

The first hurdle was the same as last time – the lack of a DVD drive in the tablet. Fortunately it was much easier to deal with this time! I took the installation DVD and put it on a USB key, something that appears to be quite common given all the tutorials available online. Here’s the TechNet guide and here’s a useful guide from Ars Technica.

The install proceeded normally, and as quickly as I had come to expect from Windows 7. All was going well until the first boot up after installation, when the machine froze. I restarted it, but the same thing happened. I decided to try to boot into safe mode, which didn’t work because the machine had not yet been setup. I searched around online and found many people talking about removing unnecessary hardware. The only extra thing I had was the D-Link Wireless card I had added (you can see it sticking out in the picture). I removed it, restarted, and everything worked fine! Success!

After all the Windows updates were finished, I installed a couple more things. First was the Toshiba Value Added Package for Windows 7 (click on Downloads), which is meant for the M400 but works fine on the M200. Second was the NVIDIA ForceWare driver. The 96.85 version worked reliably for me, enabling Aero without transparency. After that it was pretty much good to go!

I ran the Windows Experience test, which resulted in an overall drop from what I had under Vista:

Oddly enough, the gaming graphics score went up slightly! A score of 1.0 is a far cry from the 5.9 my desktop computer gets (and that’s just because of the hard drive score, everything else is 6.9 or higher), but considering how old the tablet is, I guess I can’t complain.

Under Windows Vista, everything worked as it did in Windows XP except for the external display. I haven’t tried that under Windows 7 yet, but a few other things no longer work, such as the buttons on the side of the screen, and more importantly, screen rotation. I’ve looked into a few threads where some people have successfully made it work, but I haven’t tried any of their solutions just yet. I’m not sure I want to mess with the video drivers too much now that I have something stable. I never take my tablet with me anymore anyway (I have a netbook for that), it’s strictly a home PC, so I’m not too worried about it.

There are some nice improvements to the tablet functionality in Windows 7, and combined with how much better the OS is than Vista in general, I’m happy with the upgrade! I’m not sure how much life the hardware has left though – I suspect Windows 7 will be the last OS it runs, but you never know.

13 thoughts on “Windows 7 on the Toshiba Portege M200 Tablet PC

  1. I have a beat-up M200 that I’d like to upgrade to Windows 7, your post has encouraged me. I’ll research some more and give it a try!

  2. Hi,

    Could you please tell me how you’ve booted from the USB drive? My m200 doesn’t recogizes the USB drive nor does it boot from an SD card. I followed the guide on how to create a bootable win7 USB. My ACPI BIOS version is 1.80, boot priority: CD-LAN-FFD-HDD HDD Priority: PC Card-Built in HDD.

    I’d really appreciate it if you would help me out!

    Thanks

  3. I’ve upgraded my M200 to Windows 7 too, about a year ago and I had a bit of a headache, cause I was unsuccessful at first. I’ve tried to install from SD card and USB and nothing so I just installed ubuntu instead. And after a while I thought to try over the network installation, and finally got it working. Toshiba’s screens are masterpieces and I really enjoy the high resolution and ease of writing, cause I take all my class notes on the tablet. However, it’s a shame that the video memory doesn’t allow for Aero, haven’t found a workaround for this yet, but as for the screen rotation you can just define a screen button to allow you to rotate. It should be under Tablet PC Settings.

  4. I have a small question. When I go to download the Value Added Package, I notice that only the Spanish version has a 32-bit application available. I only speak English and Japanese, and I would like the desktop to be consistent, including the same language around the OS, and I have an English edition installed, and I have only a 32-bit OS installed, as I think x86 is the archictecture of the CPU that comes with it. The only other language available is English, but the English edition is only available in x64. I would like to have x86, and in English.

    To be quick, the question is:
    Where can I get an English x86 edition of the Toshiba Value Added package?

  5. I have Mac OSX 10.6.8 running on a Portege M400 including the tablet and rotate functions and Quartz Extreme, etc.  It runs iMovie and other software which requires Quartz Extreme.  I haven’t tried it but Mac OSX 10.5.x and even 10.6.x will run on the Portege M200 too.

  6. Sorry for commenting on an old post but I have one of these machines coming (bought it as an off lease unit from ebay for $40).  I am not sure what kind of configuration it is going to have but if I use an external floppy drive to update the bios to 1.8, will I be able to install Windows 7 from a usb?  Every other post I have seen talks about booting from SD cards which would be fine as well.  

    I am just confused because I am not sure how I would build a bootable sd card from the links you have.  Are you talking about using an adapter or something or will the machine just be able to see the usb as a bootable device?Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  I am not really sure what I have but I am trying to gather information.  I know that the machine will not come with a hard drive so there is no chance that I will be able to do anything through an installed OS.  When I bought it, I thought I would just be able to boot from a usb stick like most machines.I could also find an external drive around but probably not a toshiba.  

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