Last Friday, I received my new laptop, a Toshiba M2, with a Centrino chip, 1.6GHz, 1GB RAM, DVD/CD-R, an 80GB laptop and the best feature by far, the 64MB nVidia video card.  My last laptop, a Toshiba Tecra 9100 had serious hardware issues. I had to replace two screens, had a broken fan and had lots of “unknown” driver issues.  The driver issues were so bad that I would blue screen (or randomly restart) on average every five days.  I have to give serious credit to the people who designed Windows Error Reporting. Why? Well, frankly I would have blamed Microsoft for my blue screens, but they turned out to be all hardware related.  Anyways, here's some helpful tools and tips for configuring your new machine.

  • Imaging: Acronis TrueImage - This software is great, *very* easy to use, you don't need to restart to use it, and you can even create an image on your image. I love this software...it makes the tedious process of backing up your machine completely painless.
  • Email/File Searching: X1 - simple and sweet
  • Organizing Links: OnFolio
  • RSS Reader: Newsgator - SharpReader is great, but you can't beat Outlook integration
  • Network Utilities: NetStumbler
  • Virtualization software: Virtual PC 2004
  • Image Editing: Digital Image Pro - Lots of great built in features to do cool things like smart-erase, blemish removal, and lots more. Take the product tour and enjoy

Laptop Best Practices

  • Buy a second hard drive (40GB) and a drive bay that you can swap out in your DVD drive bay. Copy all of your VPCs on the second hard drive and you'll notice dramatic perf improvements since the OS can spin on its own drive. You should also use differencing images so that you have one base image and multiple unique builds on top of those images. If you need more VPC tips, send a comment to Brian Keller, who happens to know more about VPCs then anyone I know.
  • If you travel a lot, or your laptop battery is subpar, you should definitely get an extra battery add on.  I bought the nCharge VNC-130 system and have been really happy with it. I get about 6 *additional* hours using the nCharge with my old, highly draining Tecra 9100.  I like the nCharge system because it can be used with any type of laptop (assuming you have an adapter) and it can, with the proper adapter, power anything with a car adapter like a cell phone, Pocket PC, etc
  • If you're running Windows XP, turn on ClearType. right click on your desktop and select properties, select appearance, click Effects, and change the “Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts” and select ClearType. You can configure ClearType here.
  • If you have a large hard drive (>30 GB), change the default recycle bin size from 10% (the default) to 1%.

That's all I can think of now, did I miss something? Are these valuable tips? Let me know