For last 2 weeks, I’ve been observing a slow agony of my desktop machine running Windows XP - random restarts and freezes, BIOS settings resetting on every boot, etc. In Friday, these problems entered the final stage. In Sunday, my machine was dead. This is not a high quality computer but the only I have to run Windows operating system on it, and very important projects I’m working on under Windows system got suspended for a while. I really don’t like low cost desktops…
I decided to jump for shopping to find some new-old but stable machine to be able to continue my Windows work on it. So, I defined quite short list of requirements for new system: well-known brand, stability, no more desktops, plus good price but not a low-cost computer. Ah, I’ve for got about one: no Windows Vista - a hardware killer :-)
I decided to visit a notebooks reseller where I bought my first Dell Latitude D600 one year ago. After a year working on Dell laptops I felt in love in this computers and I completely confirm what you can read about Dell Latitude laptops brand on the Wikipedia - standardized parts are used throughout the line. For me, that means you can expect high stability and operability.
Finally, I found another piece of Dell Latitude D600 but a bit newer, manufactured in 2005 and equipped with newer CPU than my first Latitude model. Here is the specification overview:
CPU: Pentium M 1.8 GHz, 745 series, codename Dothan with 2 MB cache, 90nm process
RAM: 1024 MB
HDD: Hitachi Travelstar DK23FB-60, 60 GB, 5400 RPM, ATA-5
ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 with 32 MB memory
Screen: SXGA+ with 1400x1050 display resolution
My first D600 is almost the same, but it is equipped with older release of Pentium M CPU. So, I’d say I’ve got Dell twins now :-) . I know Latitude brand laptops well and they are very stable thus perfect for professionals.
Unfortunately, Windows installation didn’t go as smoothly as buying new laptop :-). I have Windows XP CD with Service Pack 1. I installed the Windows XP system, then I installed Visual Studio 2005 and a lot of other software I use every day. Next, I started the big task of Windows Update and after 3 hours of trying to a) download and b) install Service Pack 2 I gave up. The Service Pack 2 installation was hanging every time while collecting configuration details. Seems it was just too easy to be true so far.
Today morning I attempted to get Windows box working task again. I got newer Windows XP CD-ROM bundled with Service Pack 2. After 40 minutes the system was working on my laptop. After next ~1.5 hours I got Visual Studio 2005 on it too. After next 2 hours it was after the big Windows Update. Yes, big is a very appropriate word to describe the update because it needed to download ~500 MB of fixes, packs, and updates. Now, I’m going to copy all my projects and data from old disk drive what will surely take a few more hours ;-).
The main conclusion I’ve came to is that having a stable and long-lasting hardware and software environment is a bless. All spring-clean and re-installation is a real pain in the ass.