Once the ThinkPad T43p with a bad fan was in working shape again, I restored the preloaded software on it. Which meant Windows XP (this is a system from 2005).
It didn’t take long for me to establish that XP is really hard to use these days. Even Firefox doesn’t support it. Getting any kind of halfway modern software running on XP is simply a no go. After reading about fairly good experience with installing Windows 7 on T43/T43p, I decided to go the same route.
I happened to have a burned DVD with Windows 7 Ultimate lying around, so I tried that. After installation, there was no WiFi, but there was wired Ethernet—good enough. Windows Update successfully installed drivers for WiFi, graphics, and a number of other devices. The rest (power management, fingerprint software, hotkey OSD) I grabbed from Lenovo.
Once I was done, I had a reasonably functioning laptop (surprisingly well functioning for a 13-year old machine) with just one small problem—no Windows 7 license. The T43p obviously came with an XP Pro license. And I would probably be able to scrounge a Windows 7 Pro license, but I installed Windows 7 Ultimate without thinking much about the problem. Is it even possible to buy a Windows 7 license these days?
As it turns out, it is. All “better” Windows 10 licenses generally come with downgrade rights. For example Windows 10 Pro, even OEM versions, can be downgraded to Windows 7 Pro. Commercially purchased licenses even give downgrade rights for Windows Vista, XP, and all the way down to Windows 9x/NT!
Well, that still didn’t help me because there’s no license that can be downgraded to Windows 7 Ultimate. After a bit of searching I found a Windows 7 Ultimate offered for mere 28.99 Euro on lizengo. After reading a few horror stories about that and similar sites, I had serious doubts that it would work, but thought I’d give it a try.
To my great surprise, a license key arrived via e-mail within a few business hours and Microsoft actually accepted it, successfully activating my Windows 7 Ultimate install.
Posted from a ThinkPad T43p