Installing XP on the Zonbu

February 13, 2009

I would highly recommend you keep your original CF card around so you can try out the Zonbu update, but I’ve had a number of people ask about how to install XP on a new CF card.

Some people have suggested different sizes/speeds matter. I had no problem using a 133x 8GB card. I wouldn’t recommend anything smaller than 4GB.

Partition and format the card for FAT32 in a desktop PC using a card reader. Plug a USB CDROM in to the front of the unit and follow the prompts.

Originally I tried to use an XP install a friend loaned me, and it didn’t work. It wasn’t an official release. I used my official XP disc and it worked just fine, just a heads up.

So just make sure the (new) card is formatted for FAT32 and has one partition and then boot from the CD and you should be fine. I warn you now, its very slow. It is NOT a replacement for the Zonbu as a usable desktop, but you can use the Zonbu hardware as an appliance. A friend of mine is using his just to update his public IP so he can access his NAS when he travels. You’ll also need to hunt around for windows XP drivers for your sound and video. I can post later on where I found those if you’re interested.

If you want to surf the web and continute to do the things you enjoy on the Zonbu, you need the Zonbu OS, no questions.

-Mr. Zonbu


Zonbu Update – New OS Release in March

February 5, 2009

Gregoire of Zonbu recently posted an update to the Zonbu support site at

They are lowering the price to $10/month, waving cancellation fees and hoping to get out an OS update some time in March which will include FireFox 3 (finally).

Without quesiton, they are struggling.  The market has changed dramatically since they launched and we started tracking them.  There are now dozens of low cost/low power netbooks.  Linux and Windows XP are popular OS choices and the economy has contracted substantially.

On the positive side, the unit I put in our lobby for public use has given us not a single day of issue in almost an entire year.  Previously we had to re-do the windows box about every 90 days for various reasons, so it clearly makes a good kiosk for basic web browsing.  However, the low CPU power and poor video playback limits the viability for anything serious.  I have long said a board based on the AMD 780G with the strong built in graphics would completley change the game for Zonbu (although up the power consumption).  We’ll see if there is a new hardware generation coming.

Personally, I’m hanging on to my subscription because I want to see how they do. If the new release is as solid as the current one, it will be a welcome improvement and very usable. At the same time, I had to admit I have installed XP on a seperate compact flash card and I’m playing around with other uses for my quiet and low power hardware, in case the Zonbu thing doesn’t play out.

Here is the full update from the Zonbu site…

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