Good laptop purchase–and optimisations.

by Captain Walker

Categories: Humanities

Recently purchased this Dell Inspiron 7737. I was aiming to purchase a 15-inch screen laptop but this 17-inch screen laptop deal turned out to be better than any 15-inch laptop I could find (at the time).

[AND – this does NOT mean I like DELL or any particular brand. Read Disclaimer at the end.]

Important good purchase features:

  1. Nice large touchscreen with bright (adjustable) display.
  2. Generous HDD of 1TB.
  3. RAM 6GB – very good for most people’s computing needs (geeks excluded).
  4. Modern 4th gen mobile Intel I5 processor.
  5. Four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI socket.
  6. Battery is replaceable by user (by taking off base panel with a screw-driver – checked with Dell and the user manual)
  7. Price (without extras and including VAT): £579 – very competitive price for a 17-inch touchscreen laptop.
  8. Sleek metallic looking finish.
  9. Very quiet – so good – you hardly ever notice that the cooling fan is on.
  10. Does not overheat – no feeling of warmth from any part of the computer in normal use.

Less desirable:

  1. Weighs about 3kg – whaddaya expect for what is is a portable desktop – get real. If you need a small computer and eyestrain, why are you here?!! Leave.. now!
  2. Should be used with power adaptor most of the time – as should most laptops.
  3. Comes with windows 8.0 x64 – which can be automatically upgraded to W8.1 x64 for free – a bit of hassle but easily achievable.
  4. Slowish full boot up time of about 70 s – but is fast boot up time the big thing for computers? Most laptops these days are put into sleep or hibernate mode when not in use, instead of being shutdown. I dare say only idiots regularly shutdown completely and unnecessarily their computers.

List of optimisations and other stuff done on this computer after receipt:
[This is not a set of instructions therefore I’m not going to mention things like restarting computer at various stages etc. The following is the ideal sequence for me.]

  1. Immediately uninstall junk like McAfee Antivirus.
  2. Install BitDefender Total Security 2014.
  3. Uninstall other junk software but kept Dell support software.
  4. Carry out Acronis True Image Premium 2014 backup (to get a snapshot of computer at this stage in case I need to revert to this point).
  5. Upgrade (free) to W8.1. via Microsoft website.
  6. Flash BIOS with latest for this model sourced from Dell website.
  7. Update all Drivers via Dell Website.
  8. Carry out Microsoft Updates via Windows updates.
  9. Install all commonly used software e.g. Microsoft Office 2013.
  10. Check and update Microsoft software via Windows updates (yes, again).
  11. Uninstall all nonsensical Microsoft Surface Apps.
  12. Perform full clean-up of system – deleting all old-installation files and other junk.
  13. Run Winzip System Utilities especially to clean out further junk and optimise registry.
  14. Defrag computer hard drive with PerfectDisk Pro for SMARTplacement Optimisation. [At this stage: Boot up time has improved from 70 seconds to 50 seconds].
  15. Carry out Acronis True Image Premium 2014 backup (again, so now there is a second separate backup of about 45GB).

Sure – all of this has taken hours to do and cost extra. However, the system is now set up far more efficiently than if just used as sold, from Dell. It makes for a good start and paves the way for less complications in routine use.

[Disclaimer :  Undertaking the above sequence of instructions carries some risks of destabilising a system if not carried out correctly. This article is my diary of a script of operations and is not intended to assist anyone avoid risk. If any reader of the above decides to attempt one or more of the above, you do so at your own risk. What that means is that if you screw up your or somebody else’s computer, sue yourself. Dell is not a recommended brand, nor is the computer. Any reader is advised to seek expert independent advice on selecting or optimising their computer.]

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