Inspiron has arrived.

My new Dell Inspiron arrived this afternoon at work so I spent a few minutes unpacking the machine. I’m still undecided as to use Windows2008, Vista or XP on the machine – I have licence’s for all three OS’s but because of the nature of this machine being a virtual/test server I’ll be rebuilding it several times in virtual and physical modes so I’m still debating this decision.

Out of the box it looks pretty nice – the case has white sides and a silver front top – I’m used to the dell machines being black boxes so this is a pleasant change.  On boot up I’ve confirmed that my Norwood Micro monitor IS weird – it doesn’t like to stay switched on when a machine is booted up and switches itself off either at POST or at the actual reboot stage which means that I rarely get to see the POST screen and the F1 to continue buttons. This happened on the previous machine but I had never really had a chance to try it on another machine to see if it was the monitor or the computer – it’s definitely the monitor!

Anyway, the machine booted up into XP (at a poor 800*600 default) and it was time to remove America Online, AOL Coach, AOL Connectivity Services, Browser Address Error Redirector, Earthlink Setup Files, Google Desktop, Google Toolbar, Internet Service Offers Launcher, MusicMatch, NetZeroInstallers, Realplayer Basic, SearchAssist and finally Viewpoint Media Player. Note that I wasn’t given the option to optout of this preinstall – I’d already declined Works and trial versions of Symantec Antivirus. First stop was PCDecrapifier to remove most of these and the rest were manually removed. Then it was time to run Windows Updates – all 39 of them. Come on Dell – you really should have a machine that is patched *reasonably* up to date before it shipping it to customers.

Update Interestingly the “500gb” drive ends up as 453 usable by the time you take the Mb marketing rounding, 39mb FAT partition for the Diagnostics tools and 3.3gb for the system image partition.

After two reboots the Dell support center software came up and asked me if I wanted to periodically sendmy data to Dell – I don’t think so! However this led to a page to download various drivers and updates etc. I was pleased to see that the BIOS didn’t need updating – mine was shipped with 1.0.12 (that came out on 3/17/2008). At a quick glance it doesn’t look like anything else needs updating – however about 20 minutes later the Dell alerts gave me tips about turning on the firewall (already was), deleting the temp files etc etc. One of the links was the Vista Readiness test. This machine failed due to the graphics – it only has the built in graphics card so no surprises there really.

At this point I installed synergy so I only had to use one mouse and keyboard to update the computer and post this blog entry

The Flash player was next to be updated, again this was prompted in the Dell alerts, but no alerts about the old version of Quicktime or Adobe Reader that was preinstalled.



    Ummm…..not sure if you knew this but I believe your RSS feed is broken. I don’t see anything after the 23rd when you upgraded MT.

  2. Philip Elder

    As per your comment on our own blog, go for all three (or four for Core)!
    Once you have your base install the way you like it:
    XP Pro
    Server 2008
    Server Core
    Boot into the ShadowProtect ISO and backup those configs to a USB HDD.
    From there, it is a matter of minutes instead of hours to start from one of the images.
    We do this for both our lab systems and the training systems we use in house.
    One of the other options that we use for Vista, and soon for W2K8 is to store WIM images in WDS thus providing us the ability to image the 7-9 lab systems in short order. This can be done via a network share too.
    ShadowProtect can authenticate to domain shares too. So, you have plenty of options.
    Philip E.

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