11-08-2018 10:28 AM
An associate asked me to find out whether he can image his Windows 7 x64 system from a ThinkStation SFF E32 to a ThinkStation SFF P330. He knows he will have to resolve/re-purchase OS/software licenses if this is successful. He installed drivers for a laser CNC machine on the E32 a few years ago and apparently it was so difficult and time consuming that he does not want to attempt it again. He also fears Windows 10 does not fully support the CNC machine. He nevertheless wants newer hardware and zeroed in on the P330 as a system resembling the E32. The P330 however does not have any downloads for Windows 7. How likely is it that he will succeed in his mission? Are there any Windows 7 storage controller drivers for the P330, assuming he has a way to slipstream them into his image?
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11-08-2018 12:10 PM
At a high level, this will be very difficult to do. The problem is Intel has dropped win7 support for several components used in the P330 platform, namely onboard graphics and USB3 if I recall correctly. This is why you don't see win7 listed as supported anywhere for the P330 platform.
Simply trying to move an existing E32 image to a P330 probably isn't going to work out very well because the architecture between those systems have changed enough such that the drivers are simply going to be a mess. Some you'll be able to manually update, but others (such as onboard graphics and USB3) won't have any viable option. The USB3 part is killer because without that, you have no mouse/kb to go work on the rest of the driver stack.
I'm not saying it's impossible...but it would take some serious effort to get it to work correctly. You'd have to have fairly extensive knowledge of drivers, and would likely have to add additional hardware to make up for the components that Intel simply doesn't have win7 driver support for. This would mean adding a discrete GPU instead of using onboard graphics, and some kind of controller to help win7 natively drive whatever mouse/kb you plan to use.
These items aren't unique to P330 either...it's likely industry wide with any similar platform since it was Intel dropping support for win7 for certain components.