6.01.2008

Laptop Replacement

I sold my Sony laptop (and my EEE PC) as it just wasn't enough of what I wanted in a laptop. I found a replacement with the Gateway P6860FX laptop- with an integrated GeForceGo 8800GTS with 512MB of dedicated GPU RAM!

So far it is an excellent upgrade; I am getting 20-30fps with high settings for Age of Conan. The battery time is a little better than I expected (about 2 hours under normal non-gaming use) and the 2nd SATA hard drive bay provides ample storage when utilized.

I have already replaced the T5550 CPU (1.83Ghz Core2 Duo) with a T7700 CPU (2.4Ghz Core2 Duo) and it is running even better!

The P6860FX ships with Vista Home Premium 64b- and I will have to use Vista for the time being.

One caveat to the GeForceGo 8800GTS is that nVidia does not directly support it- the drivers are maintained by the vendor (in this case gateway) and there is not an XP version of the driver available!

One bug I have found with Vista x64 w/SP1 is that it does not allow me to change the computer or workgroup name; I receive an error message in event viewer that the current version of NetBIOS.sys is not compatible with the current version of windows...

EDIT: I have gotten a few requests to see if I found a solution to this issue. Ultimately it tuns out that the NETBIOS.SYS on the Gateway restore CD is from Vista pre-SP1 and everything else is Vista SP1. To confirm, you can check the version of your NETBIOS.SYS by looking at the details under the properties page:



The above images indicates version 6.0.6001.18000; this is the correct version for Vista service pack 1 (SP1). The Gateway restore CD installs v6.0.5840.16384 (the pre-SP1 version).

I contacted Microsoft as it seemed I needed the correct file and all would be good (I guess I could have contacted Gateway as well). After explaining (via email) it was conformed that this was the issue. The Microsoft tech attempted to send me the correct file, but ran into issues getting the file to me- I eventually installed Vista x64 on another PC, installed SP1 and copied the file to a USB drive.

For any other that are experiencing this issue, I have uploaded the Windows Vista x64 SP1 NETBIOS.SYS file to a free file hosting provider. (I do not know the exact legality of doing this, so if Microsoft gets irate it may go away). This is the correct NETBIOS.SYS file for the 64bit version of Windows Vista with service pack 1 installed; it will not work with the x86 version or the pre-SP1 version of Windows Vista.

Instructions (safe way) for fixing this:

  • download the above netbios.zip file and extract it somewhere on your PC that is having this problem; I would use some place that is easy to remember along the lines of c:\netbios\netbios.sys.
  • Once the netbios.sys file has been extracted from the netbios.zip you will need to reboot your system in safe mode. I believe hitting the space bar during Vista startup (when the moving bar is on the black screen) will bring up a 'startup mode' screen. Select safe mode and wait a bit for it to startup.
  • Navigate to c:\windows\system32\drivers\ and find the old netbios.sys (v6.0.5840.16384) file; rename this to 'netbios.old'
  • Copy the new netbios.sys (v6.0.6001.18000) into the c:\windows\system32\drivers\ folder. You should now have both a 'netbios.old' and a 'netbios.sys' file in this folder.
  • Reboot; if everything works you are done
  • If there are strange issues, reboot into safe mode again, return to c:\windows\system32\drivers\, delete the new netbios.sys (v6.0.6001.18000) and rename 'netbios.old' back to netbios.sys (undoing the changes made).

The above was the 'safe way'; I just copied the new netbios.sys over the old one and rebooted- problem solved. :o)

Disclaimer: I highly recommend that you contact either Gateway or Microsoft to resolve this issue- i.e. go through the proper channels to ensure your system remains under warranty. The above details methods I would use to fix my personal PC; it is provided solely for informative purposes. If you decide to do this yourself I will not be held liable for any issues or breaches of warranty that could occur as a result.

Truthfully, this is a simple omission in the Gateway CD build and is an easy fix- finding the correct file was the hard part!

8 comments:

  1. Wow, thanks for sharing this Laptop You're right... It's a right decision selling the two just to buy one that really amazed me....

    It's really has a nice specs....

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  2. Hey check out http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/ its got most laptop video card drivers.

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  3. I'v got the same laptop and really like it..although I wish it had a fingerprint reader like the wifes Toshiba.I see that you upgraded your T5550 processor to a T7700.Can I ask where you got it and how much it was?I assukm it was a pretty straight forward upgrade..pretty much unplug and plug in?
    Also..what do you think of the 64 bit OS.I'v had a few problems with sofeware that I really like not being able to load..as well as a few games and I been thinking about doing a clean install of the 32 bit system.I'm on the fence about it..in fact thats how I found this site as I was doing my research on the 2 operating systems

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  4. I have teh same problem with my 6860fx, cannot change workgroup name. has anyone figured this our yet. It is really annoying. and there are no fixes on the microsoft site that I have found.

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  5. Roger, I opened a ticket with Microsoft and it turned out that Gateway has an incorrect version of NETBIOS.SYS included on the Gateway re-install CD. If you check the properties of c:\windows\system32\drivers\netbios.sys you will find it is version 6.0.5840.16384- this should be up to version 6.0.6001.18000 after Vista SP1.

    Since I can not uninstall/re-install Vista SP1 (it was integrated into the OEM install CD) I ended up extracting SP1 to a folder, finding the netbios.sys file and replacing the old file (in safe mode). After this I was able to change the workgroup name.

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  6. Broo, you should detail your solution. This the top hit on google for this problem. I have extracted the x64 SP1 and there are no .dll or .sys files at all there.

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  7. Okay, I figured it out.

    Download the Vista SP1 file (~500MB).

    Run the command:

    Windows6.0-KB936330-X86-wave1 /E:C:\Extract

    This will extract all the SP1 files to C:\Extract.

    Now replace the netbios.sys file in your C:\Windows\system32\Drivers folder with the netbios.sys file located at C:\extract\x86_microsoft-windows-netbios_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.18000_none_59e1b82a6b1f4ec0 .

    I hope this helps someone else who is having problems with their sweet Gateway laptop.

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  8. I have a choice between an IPAD or a Del Inspiron laptop, which should I go for?

    Thank-you
    Silver MLM

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