Viliv X70 – Upgrading XP Home to Tablet PC Edition without an Install CD

tipjournal I successfully upgraded the XP Home OS on my Viliv X70 to XP Tablet PC 2005 Edition. Unfortunately, as you can see, my abysmal handwriting was not upgraded.

I have a Tablet PC edition install CD. But I didn’t use it for reasons I’ll explain. Instead, I added files and registry settings using a procedure available to any X70, S5 or XP owner.

How did I upgrade? Read on.

You probably want me to get right to how to do the upgrade. I’ll get there soon. Maybe it’s the teacher in me, but I think it’s important first to discuss why upgrade at all, and why upgrade the “hard way” without an install CD. 

Additionally, Giddamis Shahanga, a world class marathoner from Tanzania in the 1980s, once said “the will to win is nothing without the will to prepare.” Preparation is important. Otherwise you might find yourself in the middle of the upgrade without the necessary tools. So I’ll also discuss some preparatory steps.

Why Bother Upgrading?

My Viliv X70 came with the XP Home OS. I chose XP Home over Vista because the X70 only has has 1GB of RAM, OK for XP but not for a memory hog like Vista.

However, XP Home, unlike Vista, lacks touchscreen support. You can still use a touchscreen on XP Home. But XP Home lacks the Tablet Input Panel (TIP) and other features of an OS that has touchscreen support. Therefore, I thought of upgrading my XP Home to XP Tablet PC 2005 Edition, which as its name indicates, has touchscreen support.

An alternative is just to wait until October 22, 2009. That’s the release date for Windows 7, which has excellent touchscreen support.

However, I decide not to wait. First, October 22, 2009 is 2 1/2 months away, and I’m not a patient guy. Second, as slow as Viliv has been to put its X70 drivers and software online, I was concerned how timely Viliv would be with Windows 7 drivers. By contrast, a driver that works in XP Home should work in XP Tablet PC, since, as next explained, the latter is not a different OS, but just a superset of the former.

Why Not use an Install CD?

Normally you don’t have a choice but to use an install CD or DVD when upgrading an OS. However, XP Tablet PC 2005 Edition is not a different OS than XP Home. Instead, it’s is a superset of XP Home. The procedure I followed here would not work for an upgrade to Vista or Windows 7 (even leaving aside the licensing issues).

The difficulty is you can’t just buy a XP Tablet PC 2005 Edition install CD. Rather, you get one only through a MSDN subscription, or an OEM which sold you a Tablet PC. Therefore, some of my readers would not have an install CD. So I wanted to upgrade a way my readers without a XP Tablet PC install CD could use.

I wasn’t being entirely unselfish. I also was concerned that a CD install might wipe out the X70 drivers and software. As I reported a few days ago, Viliv has not yet put those drivers and software online. By contrast, the procedure I follow here should not affect the X70 drivers and software.

Finally, I’ve long been curious if or how this upgrade could be done manually. Since XP Tablet PC 2005 Edition is a superset of, not different than, XP Home, it should just be a matter of adding some files and changing some registry settings. But which files and settings?

I’m Wired

I had to download some files. I have a decent wireless connection. But wired is faster and more reliable than wireless.

The X70, like many devices of its size, does not have a hardware Ethernet port. No problema. I used my Linksys 300M USB Ethernet adapter. Of course, there are other USB to Ethernet adapters.

At your Service

XP Service Pack 3, that is. One of the last steps is to apply, or re=apply, this service pack. The full package download is a hefty 316MB. Hence my suggestion of using a wired connection.

Unzip It

Another of those files you may wish to download is an unzip utility, one that extracts cab as well as zip files. I use the free and excellent 7-Zip. Of course, there are other good and free alternatives.

Real Men Don’t Back Up

But they should backup. Especially before making a major change. And an OS change is major.

The X70 does have a 5GB recovery partition. But I’ve never tested it. So an external backup would serve as “belt and suspenders.” An external backup also would save me from having to re-install applications such as Firefox which would not be on the recovery partition.

I used Acronis True Image Workstation because I own it and am comfortable with it. Of course there are other alternatives, some free.

After backing up, I tested and validated my backup. So the preliminaries were done. Now for the main event! But first …

Caveat Emptor

No guaranties. Your mileage may vary. Back up everything. Make sure you know what you’re doing. Follow directions. Fully charge your battery + plug the X70 into external electric power. Wear clean underwear in case there’s an accident. You get the idea.

The Procedure

Reader AL_IL posted a comment in Viliv X70 Arrived!. His post included a link to this WinMatrix thread. His comment includes the caution: “unchecked.” So I checked.

The first post in the WinMatrix thread provides all of the necessary information and links. This post is very long, partly because there is much information to cover, and partly because there’s also information about extras.

Basically, there are two sections. One concerns prerequisites, the other the actual OS conversion.

I read and followed the directions carefully. They work. However, I’d point out a few things.

The OS conversion appears to be reliant on Microsoft .NET Framework 1.0 and its SP3, and Microsoft .Net Framework 1.1 and its SP1. These are old .NET Framework versions, and there were newer ones (e.g., 2.0) already on my Viliv. You may be able to modify the installation so it relies on the newer .NET Framework version versions. Otherwise, I believe you do need to install the older .NET Framework versions.

The files for the OS conversion are zipped in a file, downloadable from the WinMatrix thread, named, promisingly, Convert Xp to Xp Tablet PC Extracting it creates a folder named Convert Xp to Xp Tablet PC 2005. Inside that folder is a file named Read Me.txt. Read it!

The read me file walks you through the steps. The documentation is quite good. My only addition/correction is that I had to extract (using 7-Zip) the file, which creates a folder named TabletPC. When executing the Tablet PC commands, the instructions tell you that a dialog window will prompt you to navigate/browse to where you placed Pointing to that file or its folder wasn’t enough, at least for me. I had to point it to the folder I created from extracting the file.

The result? Look at the picture at the beginning of the post. TIP works, Windows Journal works. Near as I can tell, all is OK. 

So Now I have a Tablet PC?

compprop You have a Tablet PC OS. System Properties says so.

However, the digitizer (not sure of the manufacturer) is likely not going to give you the inking experience of a true Tablet PC. So be it. I really don’t plan on using the X70 as a Tablet PC. I plan to interact with it via touch, not ink. But it’s nice to have the inking capability of a Tablet PC. More on how I use that capability later.

Hope this helps. Please feel free to comment with questions, corrections, etc.

7 Responses to “Viliv X70 – Upgrading XP Home to Tablet PC Edition without an Install CD”

  • I tried this today. And the digitizer is really laggy. Do you have this issue?

    • Jon, I don’t think so. Of course, it’s hard to tell since (i) the measurement is subjective and (ii) I’m not sure I even have an accurate memory of how it was before. It would be interesting if someone using metrics could do a before and after. I’d also be interested if someone with a good understanding of the OS changes could tell us if they could cause more lag. I don’t think so, but I also don’t think I have the expertise to make that determination.

      • Genghis, you would have noticed it of it were as bad as mine. So I think I will restore and do it again. The one thing I didn’t do was change the .net framework. I figured 2.0 would be fine.

        I had a s5 with me at the time and it’s was completely usable as a tablet. My x70 is not usable at all. so I will give I a shot today after work. I will keep you posted. Thanks for your input! I really want this to work!

      • Jon, I want to make sure we’re talking about the same thing. To me, the digitizer is the screen. It is still very responsive to touch. Inking on the other hand is a bit laggy, though I think it always was. I also noticed that using a good stylus pen rather than the X70 stylus does make a big difference.

        I have the .NET Framework 3.5 installed, along with 2.0 and a few other versions. Yikes! I don’t have the expertise on the interplay between the framework and the tablet functionality to know if 3.5 would make a difference. But I doublt it would make that much of a difference if any.

        Please keep me posted.

  • so far so good on my viliv x70;

    inking actually works SLOWLY for english handwriting

    i am wondering if i can get the CHINESE handwriting recoginzation to work at all??

    installing trg pack tells me it is for other editions of WIN XP and will not allow me to continue.

    pls help

  • On the install of XP Tablet there is a command to copy tabletpc.inf to C:\windows\inf\ – But in the windows folder, I cannot see a folder called inf.

    Also, where to I copy the extracted Tablet Pc cab file to (I have copied the contents to a folder called TabletPc, but I don’t know where to put it. Regards,

  • Cool blog, interesting post. I’ll be returning soon. Hopefully there will be more quality posts like this. =)

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