Friday, February 09, 2007

My New Toy

Now that Windows Vista is officially shipping, I decided it was time for a new laptop. It arrived yesterday, so I'm both excited (woohoo, a new toy!) and chagrined (goodbye three days of my life while I get this sucker set up). It's a Dell Inspiron 9400 loaded with:
  • Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 2.0 GHz processor
  • 17" widescreen WUXGA display with 256 MB ATI Radeon video card
  • 2 GB (667 MHz) RAM
  • 100 GB 7200 RPM drive
  • DVD burner
  • SD card reader and a bazillion other ports
  • Two 9-cell batteries
  • Vista Business
  • Some junk I don't want but Dell feels is necessary to install, like Norton Internet Security one-month trial subscription

I've been playing with Vista on my home system (which is also relatively new; I replaced my aging Compaq with a new Dell desktop a couple of months ago) for about a month and like it a lot (the subject of another posting).

I'm very anal about setting up a new system (those of you who know me would suggest I'm anal about everything), so I spent a couple of hours this morning documenting in great detail exactly how I'm going to set up the new system, with special attention to what comes off my old system and onto my new one. It isn't as easy as you think; obviously, I can simply move files from one to the other, but what about all of the little settings you've configured over the years, like:

  • Browser favorites
  • Demo themes
  • Windows Explorer settings, like whether to display file extensions (yes) and show hidden files (yes)
  • Desktop and Taskbar customization
  • Network and printer settings
  • File associations (I like to associate DLL and OCX files with RegSvr32 so I can just double-click to register them)

and a hundred others. Fortunately, I've been mostly documenting system customization as I go, so I just needed to update the document and go over the various folders on my old system to decide what to move, what to throw away, and what to archive and not move.

I'm also breaking Rick Schummer's law (which I adopted years ago) of never installing or otherwise changing your system a month before a conference. I'm planning on taking the new laptop to OzFox, which is only a couple of weeks away, and you can't get much more "changish" than to replace the whole freakin' system. Normally, I wouldn't do anything so foolhardy, but Rick and I are doing the keynote, part of which is to show the very cool Vista Toolkit Craig Boyd has been working on for Sedna, and it's kind of hard to show it without Vista. However, I do have a couple of ideas to make this work:

  • Test the hell out of the new machine, including every part of every presentation (which I would normally do anyway just before a conference) and how it works with a projector.
  • Bring my old laptop as well as the new one just in case.

After I finished the documentation, I started the actual configuration stuff. I had some trouble connecting to our domain until I remembered about that #%$^$ Norton Internet Security; disabling it took care of that. I then did all of the other settings stuff and started on the file transfer.

I'm copying files from the old one (which I'm typing this on) to the new one right now; the progress meter says it'll take another 5 hours (yikes, there are 73,063 files to copy), so I guess it's Miller time a little early today. Tomorrow, the really boring job starts: installing all the applications I need. I don't have 100 apps like Rick -- in fact, I have exactly 45 (thus proving the anal attribute) -- but it'll still take a couple of days because some of them, including SQL Server, Office, and Visual Studio, are real heavyweights.

No pain, no gain -- I'm really looking forward to getting this done so I can play with my new toy.

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