Saturday, December 28, 2013

Current Project - Don't bother reading if computers aren't interesting to you

Originally, we wanted to travel on the days off we have right now, but that didn't work out, so I made a "wish list" of things I'd like to finish.  One of the things on my list was to redo my laptop - that is, install a solid state disk drive, a fresh copy of windows, and organize my files.

I have given a lot of computers at work a new lease on life (and greatly enhanced speed) by installling SSDs. A person with some computer background can do this fairly easily.

I did most of this one yesterday. Of course, since I was taking the hard drive out of the laptop and replacing it, I could have put it in a hard drive enclosure and gotten my files that way.  However, I thought it was a good idea to copy all my files to a standalone drive that we use for my knitting stuff, just for a good backup, so I did that.

I made one smart decision - I copied all the device drivers in the Windows driver directories onto my expansion drive, which saved me some time later.

Next step was to replace the hard drive with the SSD.  I had already purchased it, and it was sitting here for several weeks, waiting for me to not need the laptop at my office and to find time to do the entire job.  Since SSDs are the right size for laptops, the bracket that came with it wasn't necessary.  You need the bracket if you're putting an SSD into a desktop computer.

SSDs are kind of expensive.  I watch for sales - I like to get a 256GB one for under $200.  I prefer at least that much space, and I like Samsung, Crucial, and Corsair brands.

Next job - reinstall Windows 7, and make sure all the devices have good drivers.  Several of mine didn't (this is a 2-year-old Sony), so did the "Update Driver" process, having the system look in that copy I made of the driver directories.  After that, I reinstalled all the other necessary software, including Adobe, Office, a virus checker, QuickBooks.  Finally, I copied my files over and organized them a little better.  QB took a long time to install, and Windows did a bunch of updates.

Important note:  If you have Design-A-Knit, you should check with your DAK reseller and get instructions on how to uninstall and reinstall it when you redo your computer.  If you don't do it correctly, I understand you can lose a "life," which is what they call your rights to use the copy, part of their copy-protection system for DAK. 

So - how'd I do?  It isn't booting faster yet, because it keeps installing Microsoft updates, but that should stop soon.  I am thrilled, though, with the improvement in QuickBooks, which was taking a few seconds to record each transaction before I installed the SSD - now, the wait is gone.


  1. Sounds fantastic! Once all of your updates are up-to-date, that SSD drive should make your computer boot instantaneously! I'm a bit jealous! I would love an SSD! For the holidays I got a new motherboard, CPU and memory (I still don't think it's enough memory, though) for my ancient desktop, the life of which we keep trying to prolong. In addition to knitting I'm also a gamer of sorts (yes, even at the ripe old age of 49 and a woman, to boot), hence the need for much, much more memory and a faster CPU. I bought a game a few months ago, and my computer couldn't run it. My graphics card was so old that new drivers weren't available, anymore. The new motherboard has an integrated graphics card, and I'm not too sure about that, either. Usually integrated chipsets aren't as good as stand-alone cards, but we'll have to see. I'm not looking forward to the process of backing up all of my software, then reinstalling it again, but it will be nice to have a vanilla install of Windows.

    As for DAK, I had to uninstall and reinstall numerous times while Matthew Bragg got it working for Windows 8 (that's on my laptop and new smartphone--also a holiday gift--my desktop is still Windows 7). The issues were exactly the copy protection they have on DAK. It was incompatible with Windows 8, and was a third-party problem. He didn't say anything about needing new "lives". I must have uninstalled/reinstalled at a minimum 10 times. I just had to do it again two weeks ago because when I tried to start it up, I got a run-time error and it wouldn't start. I think a file got corrupted with the Windows updates that don't want to work correctly on my laptop. I have DAK 8 installed on both my laptop and my desktop. There may be a limit to the number of devices on which you can have it installed, though, and that could be what they mean by "lose a life".

  2. My little Sony laptop sits on the kitchen table almost all the time. John and I both use it. It's just handy. For the past few weeks, I carried it to work everyday my volunteer worked so she could have a machine to use.

    In the knitting room, I have an older computer that runs DAK 7. I need to purchase DAK 8 but haven't done it yet. My DAK 7 only runs with the CD in the computer. Over the years, I've had several versions, which I have installed and uninstalled when I had to redo computers. I lost "lives" in the process, and at points got annoyed with the reseller. Best not to get into those nuisance discussions here, though; it's the only product that does so many things with so many machines, and I couldn't give it up. The copy protection misery is unpleasant, but I can sympathize now that I have my own hassles with people wanting to violate my copyrights. People just don't get it; some copyright decency is all that stands between knitting teachers and designers being able to go on in the business and having to give up due to financial strain.

    I purchased a fabulous Acer i7 for the knitting room for editing video. Video is just terribly hard to edit without a really whiz-bang computer. I would never attempt it on the laptop. The fast computer has many, many GBs of memory and I put an SSD in it, and it's fabulous for editing video; it's essentially built for demanding gamers, but I don't play them myself.. I could not have gotten 12 videos done last year without it. It had Win 8, but that was scrambled right out of the box and would barely run, so rather than return it, I put Win 7 on it since I was installing an SSD anyway..