Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Toshiba Portege M200 and Dell 2407WFP

Warning: This post has specific technical tips that you probably won't find interesting unless you have hardware similar to that mentioned in the title.

I just got a new 24" monitor (the Dell 2407WFP-HC), and I had to set it up as an external display for my Toshiba Portege M200 Tablet PC. Unfortunately, the video drivers on my laptop didn't support the native 1920x1200 resolution of the monitor, even though the video card (an NVIDIA GeForce FX Go 5200) could do so. Furthermore, Toshiba is quite lax about updating the official video drivers for the laptop, and NVIDIA artificially cripples their official drivers so they don't work on older cards by default.

Fortunately, there's a web site dedicated to solving these problems: Laptop Video 2 Go. The site provides various versions of NVIDIA drivers along with modified INF files to enable those drivers to work on older hardware. I got things working with driver version 97.44 and this INF file, following these installation instructions. My INF file differed from that provided by the site in two ways:
  1. I added the appropriate resolutions for the 24" monitor and for my laptop screen (1400x1050), as in this post.
  2. I added support for Tablet PC features like rotating the laptop screen, as in this post.
After updating the driver, I also disabled the NVIDIA Driver Helper Service, as suggested here. The service was causing constant 20% CPU utilization (mostly in the RPC service under svchost.exe), and it doesn't seem to do anything critical.

Anyway, things seem to be working nicely now. Hopefully this post will help others in a similar situation.
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