Installing Windows 7 Ultimate on a Panasonic CF-29 Toughbook

Installing Windows 7 Ultimate on a Panasonic CF-29 Toughbook  

First off is it possible… YES, I have done this, second off..it is very difficult to achieve, but well worth it. All of our test CF-29s are touchscreen models. They came with Windows XP Professional, and I purchased them a few years ago from an oil company on auction for 100 bucks each. Last week I wanted to upgrade my personal one to Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit.

Here is what I experienced.

1) The CF-29 has a 32 bit chip set thus 64bit of Windows 7 will not install, BUT the 32bit will!
2) All the drivers install perfectly except the Intel 82852/82855 GM/GME Graphics controller. (Intel will NOT make a Windows 7 Driver), and the touchscreen driver (XP Only) had problems too.
3) Windows 7 will only allow the default Generic VGA graphics driver. (Which does not support the touch screen driver)

So after talking with Panasonic and Intel they told me to forget about upgrading the CF-29 to Windows 7 it is impossible…and not supported…I have heard that before…lol 🙂

Solution: Force the Windows 7 to accept the Intel 82852/82855 GM/GME Graphics controller for Windows Vista, and force the Mouse driver to accept the XP Driver for touchscreen to work. All this works fine, and the Panasonic CF-29 has a few more years of life with Windows 7, and every driver works, and all the cool touch screen features with Windows 7 are very cool, and what is even more cool is I don't have to go out and purchase a new Toughbook and save myself thousands of dollars that can be spent elsewhere, like a badly needed spa vacation!!

Here are the instructions that worked for me: I found MANY helpful instructions I listed below from: Sevenforums.com  http://www.sevenforums.com/  

STEP 1 Go to the Intel website and Download the latest Intel 82852/82855 GM/GME Graphics controller for Windows Vista, and save the driver where you can find it later!

Make sure you uninstall all the video drivers that do not work. If you see exclamation marks on your previous drivers in Device Manager, uninstall them. Your Device Manager should say that you have Standard VGA Driver installed under Display category and exclamation mark on "video controller". Make sure you restart PC when asked.

STEP 2

We will need to edit "c:\windows\system32\drivers\vgapnp.sys" file, but there is a problem. Windows Vista and Windows 7 will NOT allow you to edit system files even when you are the admin. Changing security attributes of that file did not work either. The file is owned by "TrustedInstaller" service. We will need to own the file and give ourselves the full control to edit it.
Click 'Start' and in 'Search' type 'cmd'. The result will show on top. Right-click on 'cmd' and choose "Run as Administrator". If your account does not have admin rights you might be prompted to enter username and password. I used account that already has administrator privileges. You should have a command prompt with administrator privileges.

STEP 3

Lets say my logged in username is nick

First command you do is:

takeown /f c:\windows\system32\drivers\vgapnp.sys

This will give ownership to the your user account. You should see a message saying SUCCESS etc…..

Second command you do is:

cacls c:\windows\system32\drivers\vgapnp.sys /G nick:F

There will be a confirmation message so type 'Y'. This will change the security attributes to give you ONLY all the permissions for the file.


STEP 4

Open c:\windows\system32\drivers\vgapnp.sys in any text editor. Make a copy vgapnp.sys file. In the original vgapnp.sys file add any character to the beginning of the text. Let's say we add character "z". So the text should start with zMZ and the rest of stuff. Save the file. This edit will render that file unusable. This will not destroy the file. Windows 7 will bypass it, your video card will still work.

STEP 5

In Device Manager uninstall Standard VGA Adapter. It will prompt you to restart so do it. After install you will see a message saying that certain devices did NOT installed successfully, which is GOOD!!. Go to Device Manager and you should see the exclamation point next to "video controller" and "video controller (vga compatible)". Right-click on "video controller (vga compatible)" and do update driver. Choose "Browse for the Driver" (or something like it ). Point to the Vista Intel 82842/82855 driver directory that you downloaded and extracted from the Intel web site. Click "OK". Wait for the driver to be installed.. After restart it will finish installing the driver.

Congratulations!!! You should have a working video driver!!!

STEP 6

Open c:\windows\system32\drivers\vgapnp.sys in any text editor. Remove the first character you put there which was "z". Save the file. Your file will be useable again. If it is damaged, mine didn't you can delete the file and use your backup, rename it.


STEP 7

Right-click on any other file in the c:\windows \system32\drivers. Choose "Properties". Go to "Security" tab. Now compare that security tab with the security tab of c:\windows\system32\drivers\vgapnp.sys. Just make sure the security tabs of those two files look the same (all tabs and advanced options). In order to add "Trusted Installer" it is not the same as regular usernames because it is a service.
You will need to type "NT SERVICE\TrustedInstaller" (without quotes) when adding it to own the file and to have all permissions. Once you done editing you can delete your account from c:\windows\system32\drivers\vgapnp.sys, because it was not there from the beginning. We took control over and the previous commands added it by default.

STEP 8 Install the Touch screen drivers for windows XP you downloaded from the Panasonic Website, or the ones you have that came with your CF-29. Install it using the Capability mode for windows XP SP2, and with admin rights. Go to Device Manager and under the default mouse controller that Windows 7 installed by default change it to the touch screen driver.

 Congratulations!!! You should have a working touch screen driver!!!

The fact is the CF-29 runs Windows 7 Better than XP! Yes the screen resolution is still 1024 x 768, but that is not bad when using the touch screen. Every Drivers works! I am very happy with the new life of the CF-29!!  

 

30 thoughts on “Installing Windows 7 Ultimate on a Panasonic CF-29 Toughbook

  1. Thanks for the post but I have some questions.

    1. I cant find the Intel driver download you suggested anywhered. Can you provide a link or send me the file via email?

    2. You said all your other drivers worked. Did you used the default drivers provided by Windows 7 install or did you use the Panasonic XP drivers? I can’t get my audio driver to work.

    • Q: I cant find the Intel driver download you suggested anywhered. Can you provide a link or send me the file via email?

      A: Here is the download link for the intel drivers we used:

      http://download.cnet.com/win2k-xp1361-exe/3000-2108_4-104048.html

      Q: You said all your other drivers worked. Did you used the default drivers provided by Windows 7 install or did you use the Panasonic XP drivers? I can’t get my audio driver to work.
      A: We used the Panasonic XP drivers installed in XP SP2 Compatibility Mode. I would check your audio driver from Panasonic, if a vista driver exists I would use that if you are having problems with the audio XP Driver.

  2. Before I attempt this I can’t seem to find the touchscreen driver?
    The model # info is kinda vague. I think I have a Mk2? Here’s the Model # on the back. cf-29E3KGZKM.

    I have full copies of w 7 ultimate and XP pro with All the Service packs. But as you guys said xp is getting old and It would be great to have 7 on the TB. Could use some Expert experienced Advice on this up grade for the right TScreen driver.
    There is always trial and ERROR! LOL

    • Use the Windows XP touchscreen drivers fro the CF-29. Install the drivers in Windows 7 using the Compatibility mode. This worked for me!

  3. hey! i got all the drivers to work except my wifi/wireless. it just says not connected – no wireless detected. and there is wireless everywhere in my house! it used to work on XP and Ubuntu 10.04. who knows how to fix this??

    • The wireless fix for me was after I got windows 7 installed, I installed the Wireless card driver that came with the toughbook, in Windows XP Compabiltiy Mode. The default XP driver works in Windows 7. Double check your wireless Network card driver, make sure it is working correctly. If it is not, uninstall it and reinstall it. If it still doesn’t work, check in your system bios and make sure it is turned on, I have had it turned off before. I hope this helps!

  4. Thank you very much! I am acquiring a Toughbook cf-29, and was wondering if I could put Windows 7 on it, as I did a Dell Inspiron 6000. This is pretty much what I did to make things work on the Dell (for that one, I depended more on Vista drivers.) The Touchscreen is the *only* driver missing…and I think you just helped me solve the problem for *both* machines.

    • Your existing touchscreen driver for xp should work fine for windows 7. Windows 7 works great with the Toughbook cf-29, I also find that the wi-fi seems to work better in Windows 7 than XP. I also put Windows 7 on the Toughbook CF-18 and it was much easier to setup than the CF-29. But once its setup, on both the Toughbook CF-29, or the CF-18 Windows 7 is very stable! Thanks for letting me know!

      • I used the windows XP video driver and XP touch screen driver and installed it via windows Capability mode. This will fix the standard video that Windows Installs by default.

  5. Thank you Nicholas for this excellent procedure. For those tracking or searching by model, it worked on my CF-29ETKGZKM

  6. Thanks for the advice. i haven’t tried this yet but i was wondering something. I plan on changing out the harddrive to a faster one on my cf-29 and i am putting in a 1g ram card. can i reinstall the old xp OS and then just install the Ultimate 7 upgrade or should i just install the complete windows Ultimate 7 package. i ask becasue the upgrade package is about 100 bucks cheaper than the complete package.

  7. Hi Nicolas,

    You wrote: I used the windows XP video driver and XP touch screen driver and installed it via windows Capability mode. This will fix the standard video that Windows Installs by default.

    Video driver, ok, though how to extract it? Isn’t the touchscreen driver incorporated with the trackpad driver?

    Thanks.

    • Here are the answers to your questions.

      Q:Video driver, ok, though how to extract it?
      A: I went to the below link and downloaded all the drivers on a different Computer. I then put them on a USB thumb drive and copied them to the toughbooks c drive. I then extracted and installed all the drivers to a directory I name Toughbookdrivers.
      http://toughbookcentral.com/panasonic-cf-29-drivers/
      Q: Isn’t the touchscreen driver incorporated with the trackpad driver?
      A: I believe that the touchscreen is not incorporated with the trackpad driver, I remember the touchscreen driver was installed after the trackpad driver.

      I hope this helps.

  8. I did this and everything worked EXCEPT, every time Window$ started, it popped up a screen saying the (video) driver installation was not complete and I needed to re-start Window$ for it to finish. Every time, even after re-starts, it never did apparently finish the installation. I was just playing with this option, so I went back to XP for now. I have saved the directions in case I need to go back to 7 again in the future.

    • Hello Robert,
      I have only seen this a few times, typically with hardware failure. (Windows setup loads a graphics driver for a faulty graphics card – SVGA/standard driver works, using the real driver fails).
      All I can suggest is try booting in to safe mode and update all drivers, or perform another fresh install and cross your fingers!

  9. Hi All,
    I posted this on the Seven Forums as well.
    I found the installation procedure will fail if you have a Toughbook with a 915 GMS Intel graphics controller.
    I have a C_29LAQGZBM which makes it a Mk4 model. I’m not sure but the Mk5 might also have the 915 controller chip.

    I was able to get the procedure to work if I used Intel’s WIN2K_XP142550 driver. I got it here.

    http://downloadcenter.intel.com/conf…indows+2000++*

    After installing the Windows performance rating went from 1 to 1.9, still not a screamingly fast video, but now at least Solitaire is playable 🙂

    I have noticed one side effect however, desk top background is now off centred and the task bar notification area cant be seen if the task bar is at the bottom. If you move the taskbar to the left the system tray notification area becomes visible again.
    Also when you maximize a window it “overmaximizes” and the right hande part is off screen, you can grab the window and move it to the left however to access the closer icon etc. I am still searching for a fix for this.

    I have only been running it this way for a day, so more hiccups might show up.

    Mike

  10. i thought win 7 was memory hungry!! and as you only have 1.5 gig max on a cf29,isnt it gonna slow it down ,not speed it up? as i think they recomend something like 4gig memory or more for win7?

    • My old CF29 runs just fine with win 7, and 1 gig of ram. I did upgrade the Hard drive to a 7600 rpm from a 5200 rpm a few years back when I installed Win 7 on it. I take this CF-29 to Africa, Turkey and the Middle East to access the internet and not worry about it getting stolen or destroyed by dropping it. Accessing the internet and the GPS functions works great for me. I also like uploading my pictures to the CF-29 in the field as a backup in case my camera gets destroyed. Win 7 and 1 gig of ram works great for me. It amazes me on how this laptop can take so much punishment. I wouldn’t dare take my normal i7 laptop over there, it would be stolen, or destroyed..

  11. Has anyone else had a problem that the hotkey driver gets blocked by windows 7 after installing updates? The video trick works great. Thanks for writing this

  12. ive got same issue win 7 blocked hotkey how do you repair this anybody know im running cf-29 mk3 win 7 pro everything else installed and worked fine

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