Laptop: Received It! (22nd November 2011)

Re-arranged desk to make some more space yesterday. Today it arrived. That was speedy delivery.

First Impressions

The 16:9 aspect ration means it’s rather long but the bonus is it’s narrow. Slides nicely in a large trekking backpack, thus possible to cycle commute with it. Quite weighty but less silly than I feared.

Was a good spec for its time and still recent, so should stay relavant 5 years or more. Overheating is biggest killer of laptops and this is basically silent, still shifts lots of air, and when it starts working hard it goes “WUUUHHHEEEESSHHHHHHHH!” and lots of air falls out the side.

Runs GTA2 fine. It has a clever screen which puts it in a 4:3 letterbox and scales up to fill the slightly odd 900 vertical pixels. Haven’t tried any serious rendering duties so far. It has a 1GB ATi card. My current PC has a 128MB ATi card!

Price was great, imho. You can easily spend over £1,000 (or even £1,600!) on a laptop. That would have been rather upsetting for my bank account. From the start I £500 in mind as an arbitrary limit. This is much more machine than I expected to get.

And she’s blue on the top. My favourite colour.


  1. Received delivery from postman before 11am.
  2. Delicately unboxed.
  3. Had been carefully re-packaged in original box, with new-looking cables neatly coiled.
  4. Plugged power lead into mains.
  5. Put laptop on chair, then decided to move it to desk.
  6. Plugged in power and switched it on!
  7. Booted into Windows 7 after a reasonable time, loading straight to a desktop.
  8. Connected to the WiFi from our router.
  9. Told it this was the Home network location.
  10. Renamed the laptop from Whatever-PC to ben-laptop.
  11. Briefly checked te specification in Computer and it matches description.
  12. Only 3.86GB of the 4GB memory is “usable”?
  13. Restarted machine so the name change takes effect.
  14. Very glossy case, inside and out.
  15. Taskbar was double height, so resized it down by a row.
  16. Changed the taskbar from the stupid default of Always combine, hide labels to Never combine and ticked Use small icons.
  17. Dell Hardware Scan displayed a window with a countdown before it started.
  18. Estimated time was 10 minutes an that’s about what it took.
  19. Right-clicked notification area and selected Customise notification icons.
  20. Ticked Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar.
  21. For a time there were 12 icons!
  22. McAffee Anti-Virus started a scan at some point, which was now 25% complete.
  23. It later displayed a self-promoting window. At the bottom-right was an OK button. To its left was a dropdown list, with Act now as thecdefault choice. There was neither a Close button nor a Cancel button; noy even a control box. To close this windnow I had to select the 2nd item from the drop-down list (Close) and then click OK.
  24. This re-affirmed my long-time suspicion that McAffee insn’t great.
  25. Had a nose around the user interface for it.
  26. Like a website but leaf pages always use an accordion for their content and have no navigation.
  27. Didn’t change any settings so closed the window.
  28. Right-clicked the Synaptics Pointing Device icon, which brought the normal Mouse Properties window.
  29. Unticked Enhance pointer precision, aka mouse acceleration.
  30. Slid the pointer speed up to the penultimate setting.
  31. Selected Remove tray icon from taskbar since I can reach this standard window easily.
  32. The trackpad is slightly textured and very accurate, with scrollbar regions at the edges. Best one I’ve used!
  33. Turned off the Bluetooth adapter. The icon went away from notifications area.
  34. Bluetooth icon then re-appeared at the end of the notifications area, with stronger colours. Oh well.
  35. Right-clicked Intel® Rapid Storage Technology.
  36. Unticked Show the notification area icon.
  37. Left the other notification settings alone but it told me they won’t actually be available any more and it disabled them.
  38. Why? It could add the icon only when there is something to report, like Windows Update does.
  39. Somehow the scan had been paused. So I open the window and clicked Resume. Weird. It was at 92% and continued normally.
  40. Windows Update was displaying an icon and said there were 6 new updates.
  41. I opened the window and waited for the scan to finish.
  42. Left it to cook some vegetables. Came and it was turned off!
  43. I had clicked McAffee option to shutdown at the end of the scan. Was pretty certain I hadn’t confirmed the tick by pressing a button, so that made sense. But when I resumed the scan, that item wasn’t ticked.
  44. Plugged it back into the power, just in case, then turned it on again.
  45. Power button wouldn’t respond. Uh-oh…
  46. Pushed it again, more firmly, and now it started. Phew!
  47. Once on the desktop, battery life said 94% was available. 100% had been available, so that seems totally fine.
  48. Must have been another stupid user interface thing with McAffee, then. Suspicions confirmed again.
  49. Opened a new Windows Update window (it hadn’t returned from last time) and clicked Install updates.
  50. It started by creating a restore point. Made a mental note to disable System Restore after this.
  51. Updates finished but it had to restart, so clicked Restart now. It duely did so.
  52. Windows Update completed and listed what had been added.
  53. There were 2 optional updates. Both looked like sensible patches so set them download and install.
  54. These required a restart after installing them, so did that next.
  1. Laptop!
  2. Received It!
  3. File Transfers with USB Stick
  4. Full Administrator Account!
  5. Installing Firefox
  6. Installing Games
  7. Reducing Processes
  8. WiFi Gaming
  9. E-mail
  10. Backups, Old & New
  11. Desk Arrangements
  12. Migrating Music
  13. Mobile Phone Archive
  14. Web Developer Setup
  15. Printing
  16. Putting Old PC Out To Pasture
  17. Stopping the Magical Edges
  18. Disk Cleanup
  19. FTPuse Integrates Seamlessly
  20. Laptop Performance