Setting up the new laptop

Saturday 31 December 2005This is over 17 years old. Be careful.

A few days ago I moaned about the difficulty of getting a new machine set up. Since then, I’ve been working through the process, trying to document it fully. At this point I have a usable laptop, in fact, I’m producing this blog post with it. Here’s what I did (so far):

  • Work through the Windows first-time power-on screens.
  • Deal with the McAfee anti-virus UI that insists on registering.
  • Get the wireless to work. Windows won’t find my wireless network, but the Intel software does. Whatever...
  • Windows Update pulls down two updates. Install them and reboot.
  • Windows Update pulls down 25 more updates! Install them and reboot.
  • Install the extra 1GB of memory I ordered. I saved about $200 by installing it myself. After the fourth nearly microscopic screw I had to remove to get to the memory slot, I’m beginning to wonder if it was worth it. The installation goes fine, though.
  • Remove some of the systray icons (CD/DVD drive acoustic silencer, echo canceller, modem control, zooming utility). Finding all of the control panels to turn each of these off is a real challenge.
  • Remove “special offer” icons from the desktop (AOL, AT&T Free Internet, AT&T WorldNet, ToshibaDirect) and other icons I don’t need in my face (User’s Guide, Windows Media Player, etc).
  • Uninstall software I don’t want:
    • The control panel says I have America Online installed, and it’s occupying 68MB. When I click Change/Remove, an AOL-branded uninstaller opens, and tells me that no installed versions of America Online could be found. Nice. I did manage to uninstall AOL Coach and AOL Connectvitiy Services.
    • AT&T Connection Services Manager.
    • Napster.
  • Activate Microsoft Office.
  • Adjust the trackpad settings to turn down the psycho zippy cursor. Turn off the systray icon for the Dual Pointing device.
  • Change the Windows theme: everything should be Verdana 10.
  • Customize the Start menu: control panel, my computer and my documents as a menu; my music and my pictures not displayed, and so on.
  • Customize the explorer: Show hidden files, don’t hide extensions of known file types, and so on.
  • Install:
    • Firefox 1.5
    • Python 2.4.1
    • SpaceMonger (it’s never too early to start worrying about where your disk space is going).
    • Subversion 1.2.3
    • TextPad 4.7.3
    • BeyondCompare 2.3.1
    • SpyBot 1.4
    • AdAware Personal Edition 1.06
    • ICEOWS 4.20b
    • MySQL 4.0.26
    • Apache 2.0.55
    • Sysinternals essentials: Autoruns 8.43 and Process Explorer 9.25
    • iTunes
    • cygwin
    • .NET 1.1 SDK
    • FreeLaunchBar
  • Copy my startup files (env.cmd, start.cmd), and my bin directory. Create a command prompt shortcut, green text, Lucida Console 14, 9999 lines of screen buffer. Command is
    %SystemRoot%\system32\cmd.exe /k c:\ned\start.cmd
  • Modify settings so I can run Python scripts as native commands:
    • Add “.pyc;.pyo;.pyw;.py;.pys” to the end of the PATHEXT environment variable.
    • Register the .py etc file extensions in the registry.
  • Install Python modules:
    • PyXML 0.8.4
    • Pyana 0.9.2
    • PIL 1.1.5
    • Silvercity
    • pygame 1.7.1
    • MySQL-python 1.2.0
  • Install Picasa 2.1.0, and copy over my photos (4.8Gb!), and the Picasa settings from the old machine by copying Google directories out of Documents and Settings.

After all that, I’m able to do real work on it. I haven’t migrated my email yet, but I think everything else is on there.

BTW: Naturally, I was going to make all of those software and package names above links to the home pages, but screw it, that’s a lot of links to paste in. You know where Google is, use it!



check also PSPad text editor, its free and supports python and lots of other languages(syntax highlighting, code completion(sucky) and code explorer). Also has integrated FTP client which can be very useful.
Um, sorry, you can find it here :)
Sound's like my setup routine, except replace Phython with PHP. I'm bookmarking it as a checklist. :)

That AOL problem is insane. I'm having the same issue. I've never used AOL. Having it installed on my machine is an embarrasment.

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