I am finishing up some vacation time here on the east coast (self evident from those following my tweets), but one of the items on the list is doing a top to-bottom IT check up of my Dad and his wife’s computer systems.
They have two machines – a Dell that we picked up new last year with a 24” Acer display, and a Toshiba “schleptop” with a 17” display, and two printers, both HP scanner/combo units. Linksys 802.11g router.
Job #1 was to upgrade the Dell from the Windows 7 RC from last year to a full retail Windows 7 Home Edition copy. The RC had already timed out such that the background wallpaper was black it shut down every two hours. Given that this PC is used mainly for email this was not that big of a deal, but it’s annoying and you could potentially lose your work if it shutdown while you had files open. I was offered to do an in-line upgrade but I went with a clean install after moving the files off using Windows Easy Transfer. WET is a great tool for a complete move, although it is pretty dang slow. Install went without a hitch.
The notebook is running XP SP3. I thought about doing a 7 upgrade on it but it’s chugging along just fine and I would rather not potentially break something that is working well. It’s an older notebook (circa 2005), likely with some funky Toshiba drivers, so better to leave that alone. I did do some file cleanup and desktop clean up, and installed Microsoft Security Essentials with a full Windows Update. I also ran msconfig to remove a bunch of startup stuff that had appeared there.
I downloaded the Windows Live Essentials pack, and downloaded the beta to the Windows 7 machine, so the Windows Photo Gallery was fully set up and easily accessible. WPG has really come along, especially the new beta (too bad the beta is for Vista and 7 only). I am keeping all of the images on the Toshiba upstairs, but I am sharing the folder so it shows up in the Pictures Library of the 7 machine. One area for all pictures with WPG pointing to it on each machine. One gripe on WPG is that there is no clear way to upload pix to get printed. You can “share share share” but what about plug-ins to upload to a printing service? At least Kodak?
They also have a DSL connection with Verizon and this is the biggest issue for them. This connection is rated at 768Kb/sec and using Speedtest I am luck to get 500Kb/sec. That is dog slow. Barely passable for one PC but terrible if both are accessing it. Pretty much kills the vid con scenario. My brother had his iPad here and it slogged for the whole week. Faster speeds cost more, so that is something to look into, but 768Kb/sec these days is just ridiculous for Verizon to even charge for – they should bring that up to a minimum 5Mb/sec as a baseline offering. Might make sense to go to Comcast.
I also set up Windows Remote Assistance on both machines so they can send me a ticket code in case I need to log in remotely. Done until next year!