The only differences should be any updates between 2009 & 2011. I would just run the Microsoft (or Windows) Update tool to get the latest updates.
FYI, the Windows Home editions are not supported by SolidWorks. I believe SW will install & run but I recommend getting the Win 7 Pro edition if possible.
What graphics adaptor/card & driver does the laptop have? You may be wasting your time if it's a crappy card.
Thanks for the reply.
It's a Dell M6400 with an NVIDIA Quadro FX 2700M grapics card and Windows 7 Home Premium. The Update sounds like a winner, I'm going to check out the "Windows Anytime Upgrade" for getting Professional, too. (For readers that don't know about that, Left-click the START icon and type in: Windows Anytime Upgrade.)
The irony is that my current laptop has Windows 7 Professional, but with a 1377x768 screen, it won't show the verrryyy bottom of the Solidworks screen if the Windows Taskbar is visible.. Somewhere on this Forum I found the "cure" to Auto-hide the Taskbar, but you'll note I put "cure" in quotation marks. I just checked, sure enough the "Auto-hide" feature is enabled, and my Taskbar is still there, staring me in the face. It was gone earlier, now it's back...Why...why...why? (I spend more time trying to solve these dilemas than doing anything in Solidworks. Argh!)
I was lamenting the fact that the Taskbar Auto-Hide feature was not working. I found the cure in an old post on a Windows forum. Apparently I had an icon on the left side of the Taskbar for a software update. By putting the cursor over that icon, there is a little box that pops up above the taskbar and it has an "X" on the right side. Left-click that "X" and it moves the icon to the right side of the Taskbar, and the Auto-Hide feature works! (For a 768 tall screen to work for Solidworks, you need to hide or reposition the Windows Taskbar, normally found on the bottom of the screen...it has the Windows START icon... because if you don't hide or reposition it, it will be hiding menus or commands behind it that you will need. To reposition or hide the Taskbar, place your cursor on the Taskbar in a space empty of an icon and Right-Click. A menu box will appear, Left-Click on Properties in that box and you open up the menu to manipulate the Taskbar properties. My choices: Check the Auto-Hide box and select Bottom for "Taskbar position on screen". Then you may have to put the cursor on the blue box label and Left-Click and drag the box up a little to select the "Apply" or "OK" button. The Taskbar will disappear, but can be brought back by moving the cursor to the bottom of the page, and it will pop back up, then disappear again when the cursor is moved away.)