If you’re anything like me, you’ve got more disk drives than you have installed in your systems at any given moment. Until recently, I accessed these drives using an Antec MX-1 Hard Drive Enclosure with its top off for quick’n’dirty access to various SATA drives. Then I happened upon the Thermaltake BlackX ST0005U, a plain and simple SATA drive dock that accommodates both 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives.
When I started developing problems with a couple of SP1 Vista installs recently—application crashes, system instability, system software components shutting down—I started my troubleshooting by eliminating potential hardware-related causes. Once those were behind me, I encountered some issues with the accretion of application installs and uninstalls over time.
The Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service exists to produce clean snapshots of disk volumes, and to create shadow copies of data or files that are consistent, readable, and associated with some specific timestamp. Microsoft abbreviates this service as VSS, for some odd reason or another omitting the C, as in the command line program that manages its behavior: vssadmin.
Now that the high-definition DVD options available to home theater and PC users have narrowed to Blu-ray only, it might be worth posing the question as to whether or not Blu-ray has any relevance to your entertainment and computing situation.
If you’ve run Vista for a while, you probably know you can get to many programs by looking them up in Help and Support. This typically produces a list of help pages, among which you can usually find a link to launch the program you want. Take this infrequent but common Windows task, for instance: partitioning and formatting a new hard disk.
Why would you — or should you — consider a solid state drive (SSD) for your notebook PC? Most important, an SSD can save time and stretch battery life nicely. For some, those benefits may outweigh the high cost of acquiring one.
Sysinternals has long been renowned as one of the best sources for Windows tools and utilities. You can still see it at work under the Microsoft umbrella by typing www.microsoft.com/sysinternals into your favorite browser.
I’m in the process of upgrading my 14-month-old Dell D620 Latitude notebook. As shipped from the factory, it included 1.0 GB of RAM (2 x 512 MB DDR2-667 SO-DIMMs), a 40 GB HD, and a T2300E 1.66 GHz Mobile Core Duo CPU. This was adequate for running Windows XP, but I quickly upgraded the SO-DIMM slot underneath the machine to 1.0 GB, increasing memory to a more workable 1.5 GB total.
Before I jump into this topic, let me explain its title. In keeping with some no-doubt hoary and outdated Windows terminology, I like to call entries that appear within the Windows Vista Control Panel “applets” (as in miniature applications).
From time to time, I want to share experiences building Vista systems with our readers. In the last month, I’ve built (and rebuilt) at least three Vista systems, one an upgrade on my Dell Latitude D620 notebook from Windows XP SP3 to Vista Business SP1, another a brand-new build on a QX9650 quad-core system in a very nice Antec 900 case (they call it a gaming case, but I still like it anyway), and another in imaging (then re-imaging) an HP tx2000z tablet PC.