In mid-2022, I managed to get a hold of a free Motion Computing M1400 tablet PC. It seems like it hadn’t been used since 2005, and judging by the hard drive’s statistics, it barely got any use overall!
The stock specs on my unit were: Intel Pentium M 733 1.1GHz, 256MB DDR RAM, 30GB 4200 RPM hard drive.
The hard drive wasn’t very happy though. When it would run, but especially after maybe a bit more than half of any bootup attempt, it would make a loud grinding noise! I thought it was the fan, but as it turns out, this tablet doesn’t even have a fan! I pulled the hard drive out, and it was completely silent. So I managed to make a disk image of the old, original XP install, and cloned it to a replacement drive. In my case, that was an IBM 40GB 4200 RPM drive. Although it booted up, sadly I was getting random BSODs.
Seemingly, a fresh install didn’t do this anymore, but it didn’t have any of the drivers either. So, I figured the XP install was bust. I then decided I wanted to make practical use of the tablet for practicing art. I’d need to put Windows 7 onto it though, to run my preferred app – FireAlpaca.
This proved to be quite complicated. But, I did manage to get it all working! An old article from 2011 covered this topic, but it didn’t have all the information I was hoping. He couldn’t figure out how to get the graphics driver working, and I almost couldn’t, either – key word ‘almost!’
What I had to do was install this Intel graphics driver known by its filename
855gm_vista_driver.zip, which is hard to find. But also, here’s the big gotcha – you have to disable the bootup animation in
msconfig, or else you will get stuck in a BSOD loop! It isn’t going to work any other way. So I hear, this is because Windows 7 forces a specific screen mode that this particular display driver really doesn’t like. I have never once seen this behavior on any other video chip installation adventure I’ve had!
Just open up
msconfig, and check off
OS Boot Information After doing this, every bootup shows drivers loading up like safe mode, and – imagine this – doesn’t crash! Huzzah! Now I get all 1024×768 pixels of my screen. You’re not gonna get Windows Aero, but who expected that? I’m just glad it works at all!
Pen support works out of the box, but to make it better I used Wacom’s tablet driver version 5.2.4-6 (2/15/11), found on their site here (click ‘Older Versions’ under ‘Just looking for drivers?). Now I get pressure sensitivity, too! I tried Lenovo’s driver 7wge69ww, as well as HP’s SP51088 driver, but I found Wacom’s to be the best & most reliable. It works fantastic! I don’t think it could possibly be any better.
For all other devices, such as the fingerprint reader, I headed over to DriversCollection.com’s page for the device. This site and DriverGuide are my go-to sites – they have a large database full of even very old drivers – and as long as you’re paying attention, you don’t easily get duped by fake utilities, malware & other unwanted junk. Remember – the world’s best antivirus is being cautious of what you click!
Altogether, with the above tweaks & installing 2GB of RAM (probably overkill), it actually does quite a satisfactory job at being a drawing tablet! Yes – even with the 4200 RPM hard drive. I prefer it over my 2021 HP Spectre 13! Using Syncthing, I have it sync my FireAlpaca project files automatically to my main PC, which is very convenient.
Here’s to hoping that this article can help someone!