Laptop configuration and tools

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


Comments (15)

  1. How about

    * Turn off IE’s awful high res support, otherwise all your graphics look fuzzy

  2. Gianluca Varenni says:

    I would add

    – System utilities: all the stuff from, in particular PSTools, DebugView and Process Explorer. I cannot live without them 😉

  3. Euan Garden says:

    Its an awesome laptop, I’ve had mine for a month and I love it, I splurged and got it with the 2GB of RAM, that REALLY helps VPC as well.

  4. Take Outs for 11 May 2004

  5. I guess another option for increasing storage capacity is to buy an 3.5" external enclosure, install an HD on it and plug it to the notebook through USB or Firewire. What do you think about?

  6. SAWRABH RAJ says:


  7. andrew says:

    the usb harddrive is a good idea, and it will work on any machine.

  8. ravi says:

    i would like to buy a much will it cost(approx.)?what is the desired or best configuration?



  10. says:

    please send me laptop configiration.

    please tell me rate.

  11. shaiju says:


       i just want the information regarding the configuration for the laptop pls guide me

  12. jijesh says:

    i like to buy a lap top i have only 30000rs please tell me the configuration of lap top which coming under this cost

  13. I want to buy a laptop and my budget is nearly $900 I am looking for a good brand, but all seems to be nice. Could you suggest me which one would be better among Dell, compaq and lenovo and sony, coz these are among the most popular ones.

  14. onyeka says:

    i want to know the price of laptop

  15. Hi, nice article!

    Will it be possible for you to provide an update for today’s techs?