Thursday, October 25, 2012

My New Laptop & Learning Windows 7

My new laptop arrived at the end of last week.  It's an HP Pavilion dv7t model, with i5-3210M 2.5GHz Intel processors.  It has 8 GB of RAM and a 750 GB hard drive.  I bought it online from Costco, who extends the warranty from 1 year to 2 years and offers help through their Concierge service group.  It took 3 full weeks to arrive but I wasn't in a hurry.

Yesterday I finally finished transitioning over from the old machine to the new one.  It's official, I'm using it for my main computer now.

I really like the new 17" monitor on my new laptop, and the nearly full size keyboard with number pad.  I'm still getting used to using Windows 7, having had Vista on my old laptop for so many years.

Some of the things that are new in Windows 7 are actually cool and I do like them, but they do take some getting used to.  For example, the task bar now has a transparent "box" around the icon of any app that you are currently using.  It appears to be layered if you have multiple windows open of that app (like multiple spreadsheets).  I like that I can mouse over the task bar icon and it will show me a mini view of each window, so I can more easily choose which window I want to open.  I also like how I can right click on any task bar icon and it will display a list of recent files so that I can open one directly.  I can easily "pin" any program to either the start menu or task bar by right clicking on it, which is also very helpful.

Windows Explorer is different and I'm not sure if I like it yet.  The "My documents" folder shows now under a group called Libraries, along with Pictures, Music, and others.  You can still see the folder structure if you click on Libraries and expand each level, but I'm sure I like having that extra layer.

I have definitely noticed an improvement in the speed to start up and also to open applications.  I've tried all of my applications and they all seem to work fine.  I'm even able to use my old outdated copy of Family Tree Maker, in spite of it having compatibility issues (mainly with PDF drivers).  When installing all of my applications, I was able to use the list that I created in a spreadsheet and import all of the program (.exe) files from my "downloads" folder.  In just a couple of cases I had to get a new download due to needing the 64 bit version (iTunes and Nitro PDF).  Once I had the 64 bit version it installed just fine.

Transferring my data was a simple matter of copying my entire "my documents" and "tepato" folder off my old machine's C: drive, onto an external drive, and then copying all of it into my new C: drive.  I did a little cleanup during that process.  Unfortunately I did not see a simple or quick way to do this using my backups created by Norton Ghost.  The user interface for ghost is really geared towards restoring an entire machine, not transferring data files.  I could retrieve a single file by searching for the name, but not move an entire folder or folders (over 30 GB of data all together).  There may be a way to do this using Ghost but I got frustrated and did it the old fashioned way.  It's a very good thing that I have an extra external hard drive that could handle that much data at once.  I can remember the last time I had to transfer data (about 5 years ago) and having to use a flash drive in multiple sessions to get all of my stuff.  It's amazing how the capacity of both flash drives and external hard drives have multiplied in the last five years.

The only thing I have left to do on my new laptop is to review my "Guide to Windows 7" one more time and try out some of the recommended utilities.  Stay tuned for more on that topic...


  1. I agree. Windows 7 is more user-friendly than the previous versions. Though Windows Explorer looks and feels more organized, it is a little bit confusing. It’s sub-folder after sub-folder. Anyway, congratulations on the HP Pavilion dv7t, by the way.

    Lakendra Wiltse

  2. Windows 7 has become the staple OS for a lot of PC users. If you ask me, though, it doesn’t really matter what OS we use. After all, it’s simply a matter of user-interface and program compatibility. For me, your computer hardware matters just the same as your software or your OS.

    Benita Bolland