Laptop! (20th November 2011)
Here she is, a 2nd hand Dell Inspiron 17R which was originally purchased for Xmas 2010.
- Big screen with 1600×900 pixels.
- Full keyboard.
- Lovely touchpad.
- Quiet fans…in fact it’s usually silent.
- Lots of useful ports.
- 64-bit Windows 7.
- Fast spec all round!
My previous (and enormous) CRT had 1600×1200 and was also 17″ viewable area.
- Dell Inspiron N7010
- Intel i5-460M(2.53GHz) Mobile CPU
- 17.3in High Definition+ (1600X900) WLED TrueLife
- Graphics: 1GB ATi Mobility Radeon HD 5470
- Camera: Integrated 1.3 Mega Pixel
- LCD Back Cover: Peacock Blue
- Memory: 4096MB (2x2048) 1333MHz DDR3 Dual Channel
- Hard Drive: 500GB Serial ATA (5400RPM)
- Optical Drive: 8X DVD+/-RW Drive including software
- Dell Wireless 1501 (802.11g/n) Mini Card ROW
- Europe Dell Bluetooth 365 Card
- 7-in-1 Flash Memory card reader (SD, SDHC, MMC, xD-Picture Card, SDHD, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro)
- Inspiron 90W AC Adapter
- Power Cord UK 1M
- Battery: Primary 6-cell 48W/HR LI-ION
- Internal UK/Irish Qwerty Keyboard
- Operating System: English Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit)
- Resource DVD:
- Inspiron N7010 Diagnostics and Drivers
- Ship Accessory English Docs
- MS Office 2010 Starter (Word Starter, Excel Starter)
- Dell Dock 1.0
- Datasafe Local 2.3 Basic
- Dell Download Store (UK, France, Germany)
- Ebay Automatic Homepage
- Skype for Windows
- Dell Support Center 3.0
- AntiVirus: McAfee SecurityCenter 15 Month Subscription
- 1 year of Collect & Return coverage included with your PC
- 3× USB 2.0
- 1× USB 2.0/eSata combined
- 1× HDMI
- 1× VGA
- 1× RJ45 ethernet connector
- 1× headphones out
- 1× microphone in
- 1× power
Microsoft Office Installed (25th December 2011)
Spent quite a while nit-picking which components to add and which to make unavailable. The custom install I ended up with was just a few percent bigger than the standard one.
A few Word GUI defaults are impossible for me to abide by, so I changed them. Firstly, the way menus only show a few items:
- Right-click any menu or toolbar at the top.
- Click Customize.
- This shows the Customize window.
- Change to the Options tab and tick Always show full menus.
- (Also took a moment to tick Show shortcut keys in ScreenTips.)
- Click Close.
Next is managing multiple documents. I’m happier to use the Window menu than having tiny 3-letter items for everything I’ve got open in the taskbar. Here’s how to do that:
- Click the Tools menu and click Options.
- This displays the Options window.
- Untick Windows in Taskbar, top right of first section.
Tragically, Ctrl+Tab and Shift+Ctrl+Tab don’t work in Office. WHAT?! You can create custom shortcuts but it doesn’t allow either of those to be custom shortcuts. WHAT?! So I added Alt+1 and Alt+2 as PrevWindow and NextWindow, respectively.
Tragically, this still navigations in their last used order instead of their logical order. So after a while of working with multiple documents, it’s a total lottery which is the next window and which is the previous window. The order given, logically and visibly, by the Window menu itself is totally ignored. WHAT?!
That makes these commands almost useless. Alt+W followed by the single-digit number of the document are better. That’s perfectly predictable which makes it many times faster than getting lost in the last used order.
The toolbar for Reviewing was always showing. Here’s how to turn it off:
- Right-click any menu or toolbar at the top.
- Click Reviewing to untick that item and hide the toolbar.
1st December 2011
Yippee! First that I didn’t have to do any setup, migration or troubleshooting! This new laptop now feels like it’s my machine. It’s a good feeling.
Installed Foxit Reader (9th December 2011)
Used it on my old XP machine for ages and never had problems. So decided to download Foxit Reader for Windows 7.
It advertises itself as being “lightweight”. First thing I notice is the installer is even more full of bloatware than before. WHAT?!
At least I can untick the stuff I don’t want. That includes unticking the following options:
- Install Fixit PDF Creator Toolbar and make Ask my browser default search provider.
Ask.comas my homepage.
- Shell Extensions.
- Create a desktop icon
- Create a Quick Launch icon
- Launch Foxit Reader
It popped up a window about registration. I clicked the Not Now button.
Then I double-clicked a PDF from the Downloads window of Firefox. It opened, after quite a lot of lag, in Foxit Reader. It showed me a first-run wizard to do some settings. OK.
Now the PDF is open, so I maximise the screen. There is now an A4 portrait document filling about 1900 pixels of my screen. With no zoom controls in the top-level GUI. WHAT?!
I now remembered how senseless the defaults were for the toolbars and how I spent several minutes turning off all the pointless buttons. And that much time again turning on the useful buttons. Why aren’t the useful buttons turned on by default?!
As I’m in a hurry I just right-click the toolbar and guess View is the toolbar I want. It is. But it’s shown as a floating toolwindow instead of being added to the toolbar. WHAT?! So I drag it onto the toolbar, it predictably drops into a new row by itself. I drag it again, pixel by pixel, and it snaps into the correct row. Urgh.
I right-click again and untick the Basic toolbar, since it only has features which are useless to me. I drag the View toolbar into the gap. Why did it leave a gap behind? FAIL.
Installed WinRAR x64 4.10 Beta 5 (18th December 2011)
It’s the only compression program I like. It balances adequate features, preferences and shell integration with a native feeling to the interface, sensible task flows and a happy lack of bloatware.
A window called WinRAR Setup is part of the installer. In the Shell integration section I click Context menu items, then did the following:
- Unticked Extra files
- Unticked Extract to
- Unticked Extract each archive to separate folder
- Unticked Open with WinRAR (for SFX archives)
- Unticked Compress to <archive name> and email
- Unticked Compress and email
Clicked OK to both windows. It finished the installer, so I clicked Done. It then displayed the Start Menu folder where it had installed shortcuts.
I double-clicked the WinRAR shortcut and the program loaded right away. After some rummaging I found Tools > Settings had a Toolbar section. (It should just be View > Toolbars.) I clicked the Toolbars button, which displayed the Select toolbars window:
- Untick View main toolbar
- Untick View "up one level" button
Clicked OK to both windows. That’s a lot neater.
Zip files are easier for people to open in the Windows world, so that’s the type of compression I nearly always use. By changing the ‘default profile’ I can create
.zip files straight from the cut-down context menu:
- Start WinRAR, such as by opening an existing
- Select Options > Settings from the menu. (Should be Tools > Options.)
- This opens a window called Settings. (Should be called Options.)
- Switch to the Compression tab.
- In the Compression profiles section, click Create default.
- That opens the Set default compression options window.
- In the Archive format section of the General tab, click ZIP.
- Click the OK button, which confirms and closes that window.
- Click the OK button to confirm and close the Settings window.
- Close WinRAR
When I right-click uncompressed files or folders, the context menu now has the item I want. Its exact name changes but always has the format Add to "filename.zip where filename is the existing file or folder name. Yay.
- Laptop: Received It!
- Laptop: File Transfers with USB Stick
- Laptop: Full Administrator Account!
- Laptop: Installing Firefox
- Laptop: Installing Games
- Laptop: Reducing Processes
- Laptop: WiFi Gaming
- Laptop: E-mail
- Laptop: Backups, Old & New
- Laptop: Desk Arrangements
- Laptop: Migrating Music