Installing Windows 7 on our Driver Netbook

My team has just started to configure our driver station, but we loathe the out-of-date XP interface.

Would it be allowed by this year’s FRC rules if I use one of my own Windows 7 keys to install Windows 7 on our team’s driver netbook?

heh…I went to some trouble to get a netbook with XP instead of that silly new 7 interface.

If there is nothing in the rules, you should have your team representative ask on the FIRST Q&A. Suggest you carefully read the ROBOT rules first though

<R60> The control system is designed to allow wireless control of the ROBOTS. The Classmate PC, FirstTouch I/O module, cRIO-FRC, speed controllers, relay modules, wireless bridge, batteries, and battery charger shall not be tampered with, modified, or adjusted in any way with the following exceptions:
A. User programmable “dashboard” code in the Classmate PC may be customized. (tampering includes drilling, cutting, machining, gluing, rewiring, disassembling, etc.),
B. User programmable code in the cRIO-FRC may be customized.
C. Dip switches on the cRIO-FRC may be set.
D. Speed controllers may be calibrated as described in owner’s manuals.
E. The supplied fans attached to the Victor speed controllers may be powered from the Victor power input terminals.
F. The fuse on the Spike relays may be replaced with a 20 Amp Snap-Action circuit breaker.
G. The alligator clips on the battery charger leads may be replaced with Anderson Power Pole connectors (note: this is a recommended modification).
H. Wires, cables, and signal lines may be connected via the standard connection points provided on the devices.
I. Fasteners may be used to attach the device to the OPERATOR CONSOLE or ROBOT.
J. Labeling may be applied to indicate device purpose, connectivity, functional performance, etc.
K. Brake/Coast jumpers on speed controllers may be changed from their default location.
L. If CAN-bus functionality is used, limit switch jumpers may be removed from a Jaguar speed controller and a custom limit switch circuit may be substituted (so that the cRIO-FRC may read the status of the limit switches).
M. If CAN-bus functionality is used, the Jaguar firmware must be updated as required by FIRST (see Rule ).
N. If the FirstTouch I/O module is not used as part of the OPERTOR CONSOLE, the embedded software may be modified. If the First Touch I/O module is used as part of the OPERATOR CONSOLE, the default software image must be used.

To my understanding, no and I think it’s pretty clear the driver station is treated as sacred.

If you use the classmate as a driver station only, you never see the “out-of-date” XP interface.

According to the Control System Manual, Chapter 2: “Getting Started”:

2.3.2 Installation Requirements
The installation has been tested on Windows XP operating system. National Instruments and WindRiver have not finished their compatibility testing with Windows Vista or Windows 7, and thus won’t be supporting it for the 2010 FRC season. We don’t know of any reasons why it wouldn’t work, but wanted to let you know that if you use the development software on Windows Vista or Windows 7, you do so at your own risk.

(emphasis mine)

For me, that is reason enough not to install an updated version of Windows. However, I don’t recall seeing any specific rules against it.

Personally I think that the “out of date” interface should be the absolute least of your worries at this point.

I don’t think the risk is worth the result. As they say “don’t fix it if it isn’t broken”.

As you have highlighted, it is says development software. IE. Software for writing code. You also must have completely ignored my post.

While I do not know the specifics of how the Classmate’s install, I know it is very custom and when you boot into the Driver Station mode, it’s scripted very specifically.This may not work in Windows 7. I personally wouldn’t take the risk but I’m not your team.

I’ll add my 2 cents as well…

It is not worth the risk to install 7. When you go to a competition and the driver station does not work, my gut tells me you will have a hard time getting FTA support. It has been stressed on a number of occasions to NOT mess with the software on the Classmate except to write code for yoru robot.

Your call.

I wouldn’t do it.

Windows 7 32 bit requirements
1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

Windows XP 32 bit requirements
300 megahertz or higher processor clock speed recommended;
233 MHz minimum required (single or dual processor system)
128 megabytes (MB) of RAM or higher recommended (64 MB minimum supported; may limit performance and some features)
1.5 gigabytes (GB) of available hard disk space*

Now I don’t know about you guys but I’d like to have that extra performance just in case. I however do not know the classmate specs off of the top of my head. Anywho I know it uses and Intel ATOM processor and I would not trust running Windows 7 with an ATOM.

Seven works fine on my Acer netbook with a 1.6g Atom and 1g ram, although I do have a big hard drive.

The thing about it being against the rules (apparently) would be enough to dissuade me.

My personal netbook uses a Atom Processor and Windows 7 works just fine on it.

One thing i would recomend is (Something that’s most likely against the rules) to upgrade the RAM. most likely the Classmate PC has 512MB - 1GB of RAM. I would look into upgrading that to 2GB (most netbooks can’t go any higher than that) and then go ahead and install 7

just my $0.02

I think I’m not understanding the reasoning for wanting 7 on it? It’s not going to run Aero. And are you really going to record TV or watch movies on it, with the tiny hard drive? Yes, 7 is pretty, but for something like this, I don’t see any additional features it provides that you actually need.

But Windows 7 looks so much better than this!

I can’t really see why it would be necessary. As far as I’m concerned, XP is still the best Microsoft OS (granted my experience with Windows 7 is limited). It seems like too big of a risk, especially when the techies at FIRST seem to have done some pretty serious programming to make XP behave the way they want it to. As for LabView not working on Vista or 7, I think that refers more to other team computers or personal computers. I think not changing the operating system on the Classmate is a given.

I would also caution against updating the the Classmate to Windows 7, or even using for development purposes on a regular basis.

The unit is both underpowered for realistic engineering use, and the utility of a clean OS environment to interface to the cRio system is significant.

I wouldn’t want to risk some odd driver or program incompatibility that arose at an awkwaard moment, like at 2AM the night before you ship the robot during a manic debugging session.