Nothing like rebuilding laptops

Over the last week I’ve been a laptop setup fool.  In less then 8 days I have set up three different laptops: a brand new one for my friend, a new one for my sister, and then a used one for my other sister.  Two of them came with Windows Vista, and the other one was re-imaged with Windows XP.  Since then I have made multiple visits to NewEgg to pick up additional parts (2.5 GB of RAM, a replacement CD/DVD Burner, a Bluetooth dongle, a WebCam).  With all of that, I came to some realizations:

  • I learned a lot about Windows Vista.  It’s really pretty, and I think most people will enjoy it.  I personally hated navigating through it, since the XP keyboard commands are second nature to me.  Vista changes all of that.  The constant access requests pissed me off too – try making changes to your Start Menu with those stupid alerts one.  Moving a freaking shortcut around gave me two separate alerts (let alone deleting the folder).
  • You’d be surprised how some extra RAM and a re-formatted hard drive can make your computer feel as good as new.  This Dell Inspiron 5100 is pretty fast.
  • I can rebuild a machine and get all of the necessary software back on in about a 1/2 day (that is if the machine is accessible to you the whole time).
  • A 500GB external hard drive is your best friend during this process
  • XXCopy is a great utility for backing up your hard drive
  • It’s ridiculous that I had to install 82 Windows Updates on an XP-SP2 reformat – I hate how it turned a 2 gig Windows installation into a 4 gig windows installation.

There are some great utilities that I initially installed on my sisters’ machines.  I love FileHippo for downloading all of these:

I’m about Laptop’ed out at this point, but I have one more to go.  Part of the deal with my sister’s new laptop was that I would get her old laptop to fix and get to my mom.  Luckily I’ll have a few weeks to wait for it to come in.