I had been warned that FedEx was on the way. The package arrived yesterday. I waited until both of us were present to open it find a Lenovo ThinkCentre M90Z, from a benefactor (I don’t know whether he wants to be named–I will leave that to him). So I was up until much later than I am used to setting it up.
I love setting up a new computer and I had been wondering for some time what strategy to adopt to learn Windows 7 without spending gobs of money, so this was double the fun.
I took it up to my computer corner and dug out a hub and couple of cables, since the existing hub was full; the box has built-in wireless, but I prefer cables when I can use them. I moved the printer to another location to make room on the walnut desk I inherited from my father, then set to work exploring.
I must say, this is a nice box. You can see the tech specs here.
One thing I noticed is that, underneath the glitzy desktop, Windows 7 looks and acts a lot like Windows XP. I understand now why persons say that it is what Vista should have been. The main difference I have found is that C:\Documents and Settings has been replaced by C:\Users. C:\Documents and Settings still exists in name, but my research indicates that it’s a dummy location for backwards compatility. (See Note Below.)
It’s inaccessible through normal means. Instead, the crucial directories for storing a user’s settings are in C:\Users. If, for example, I wanted to find my Opera mail store, I would look in
I see that, in Windows Explorer, certain directories show as “Libraries.” This is sheer marketese and nothing else. As this picture shows, underneath, they are still “directories” accessible from the command line with standard commands.
The first thing I did was download a HOSTS file and put it in place in C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc. This blocks most advertising pop-ups; unlike browser add-ons, it does not place extra load on the processor. (I recommend this HOSTS file.) CLick for a larger image.
Next, I removed the jerkware. Since this computer was designed for a business market, there was a lot less bloat than there would have been on a machine for the home market (I have seen home machines come with three different DVD/CD burning programs). I removed everything Bing! and everything Apple, since I know I will never use them; I’m reserving judgment on some other programs.
Then I set my view options to show file extensions and hidden files by opening Windows Explorer and going to Organize–>Folder and search options. I don’t like working with files unless we’re properly introduced with both first and last names.
After I saved my changes, I clicked “Apply to Folders” to make the settings global.
Now it was time to install the programs I knew I wanted to use in addition to the default load:
The LibreOffice office suite.
Real Alternative media player, to use with real media formats. Unlike Real Player, it doesn’t phone home and doesn’t put hidden programs in place.
The Winamp Media Player.
The Foxit PDF reader, a small, fast PDF reader which lacks the bloat of Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Pegasus Mail, because I could.
7-zip, a free and open source compression utility that, in addition to zip, handles several other widely used compression formats, including formats common in my Linux world.
Finally, because the screen is so big–22 inches diagonal–I moved the taskbar from the bottom to the right side; it seemed a better use of the real estate.
I know I’ll do more tinkering, but the box is pretty much set up to use.
I look forward to more exploring.
Note Below: I do not know why the backslashes are not displaying in the path statements below; they are showing in the editing panel.