Saturday, July 18, 2009

VAIO Upgrade – Passing it On

First weekend in a very, very, very long time that I’ve been able to come up for both air and mental harmony to allow myself a chance to drop a few blog posts.

Thanks for your patience.  I assure you my “To Blog” hopper is quite full.

A Sony branded Gift Horse

About a month ago, by brother decided to upgrade his laptop to a more powerful version.

That left his previous Sony VAIO laptop out on the street looking for a good home.

He offered it to us but with one desktop system and three pretty current, x64 supported laptops (two of which are dual-core), I really couldn’t justify adopting it for our family.

Luckily I recalled an earlier conversation with a couple from Lavie & I’s younger days who were visiting our church.

They lead a ministry supporting families living in some of the poorest villages in Mexico by bringing and distributing household goods and staples that most Americans wouldn’t think twice about tossing in their shopping carts; feminine products for the ladies, shoes for the kids, TP, shampoos and soaps, stuff like that.

They had mentioned how they were looking for a laptop to help organize their ministry efforts.  It needed to be modern enough to be useful, but nothing they would regret if it got battered in the process.

I mentioned this need and bro. enthusiastically OK’ed the hand-off to them.

So the passing-on-of-kindness operation ensued.

Plan XP

It is a Sony VAIO PCG-792L model. 1.0 GB RAM, a 1.73 GHz Intel Centrino processor, a 90 GB HHD, and both Ethernet and Wi-Fi support.  Not a bad system.  Only things of note were a stain of sorts around the edges of the LCD display…but no dead/busted pixels so it is almost not noticeable.  Also, the power-cord plug is a bit cat-nibbled.  Other than that is is good as new.

Bro had already data-wiped the drive.

The system had the OEM XP Home key on a MS sticker on the bottom.

I used a slipstreamed XP Home SP3 setup disk to get it going.  It’s been a while since I did a scratch-install of XP so I forgot how long it took—even with a slipstreamed disk.

All was well except for one issue: no NIC drivers.  I spent the day scouring Sony’s site, the Internet, and even trying other model drivers from other VIAO systems.  No dice.  Bro couldn’t find the OEM driver disk (may have been purged) so it looked like the XP load was scrubbed.

Plan 7

So for an alternative solution I tossed on a Windows 7 RC (x32) load.

I wish I could provide you an exciting, tooth-and-nail technical troubleshooting story filled with excitement and cleverness working around near insurmountable issues.

No such luck this time.

In about twenty minutes the system was up and fully updated from the Internet.  No driver issues at all.  Again the driver support (out of the box) for Windows 7 continues to amaze me; particularly on laptops.

I tossed on the Microsoft Security Essentials beta release, Open Office, Safari 4, Firefox 3.5.1, and Foxit Reader just to get them rolling.

I installed Flash Player and Java for good measure.

It really was remarkably fast (the system on Windows 7).  I should have run a Windows performance rating test on it, but I was in a hurry to start my blogging work.  I’ll update this post later when I do.

So this OS should keep them happy until March when it starts to do the auto-shutdowns.  I figure by that time they will have likely picked up a retail version of Windows 7 and will be good to go.

So a used system is kept out of the landfill for a bit longer and finds new life spreading love and compassion in the world.

Something all to often it seems, is in short supply.

Claus V.

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