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Woohoo new laptop!! (but a few questions too)

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Shoeless, May 1, 2006.

  1. Shoeless

    Shoeless Gun Totin' Girl

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    Well I finally did it! Last week I bit the bullet and bought a new computer to replace my old Computersaurus, which was running Win98, had a whopping nine (count 'em NINE) gig hard drive, and 192 megs of RAM.

    I am now in possession of a lovely new laptop running WinXP (I had Win98 for so long that I actually missed THREE operating systems... LOL)

    I now have a gig of RAM, 60 gig hard drive, CD/DVD writer, and I also bought an external hard drive for backing up data and such. I am using the laptop as the computer and monitor only, and have plugged in my old curved full size keyboard and optical trackball mouse because I LOVE them both so much. When I travel, I'll have to suck it up and use the silly flat touch pad mouse and the little laptop keyboard, but that's okay. At least I'll be able to take my computer with me wherever I go! Woohoo!

    Just thought I'd share my happy news. Thanks to all who advised me before when I was hemming and hawing around the issue.

    My two questions are:

    1. How do I safely and completely format my old hard drive (the one that is still in the old desktop computer) so I can safely give the computer away for someone else to use?

    2. If I do format the old hard drive, will someone have to have an operating system CD? In other words, when I format, I'm wiping EVERYTHING off, including the OS, so they'd have to have hard copies of an OS yes?

    Thanks!!

    Shoeless
     
  2. grokdesigns

    grokdesigns

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    Congrats on your new purchase
    http://www.killdisk.com/ The free version should be sufficient for your needs, it's what my company uses when disposing of/donating computers.

    Yes, they will. Or you could put a Linux distribution on there for them.
     

  3. prism

    prism more ammo

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    congratulations on the new toy!


    you can get a spare mouse for travelling.


    after the format, everything should be gone, including the OS.


    There are several formatting utilities out there, several should work from a floppy. if you have only one partition on the old machine, it should be simple. I'll let some other folks give you a particular recommendation, as I only use those programs for playing around / testing, not for serious use.
     
  4. grokdesigns

    grokdesigns

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  5. srhoades

    srhoades

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    If you didn't already, buy a spare battery, one which you will only use when traveling. If you leave the laptop plugged in all the time, the battery life will suffer greatly.
     
  6. Shoeless

    Shoeless Gun Totin' Girl

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    It will!?!?! I've been leaving it plugged in all the time since I got it. How does that kill the battery?

    Thanks for the other replies too everyone!

    Shoeless
     
  7. kAr

    kAr Netware Rocks!

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    Your laptop has Lithium Ion Polymer batteries. These batteries continuosly lose some of their capacity whether you use them or not. Leaving the batteries on the charger constantly will accellerate this process because of the trickle charge, as will leaving the batteries in a hot environment. The battery probably will not last more than three years, however, aftermarket companies like BatteryTech will supply compatible batteries long after the manufacturer no longer carries them. I try to discharge my laptop battery at least monthly, to help prolong it's life.

    In exchange for the relatively short lifespan of the battery, you do recieve one important benefit. The Lithium Ion batteries hold more electrical energy per pound of battery than any other commercially produced batteries.
     
  8. Shoeless

    Shoeless Gun Totin' Girl

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    Sooooooo does this mean I should always be running the laptop off the battery and then only plug it in when the battery gets reeeeeally low (like it is now)?? It's easy enough to do, I just want to know if that's the best way to prolong my battery life.

    Thanks SO MUCH for your input here guys, I appreciate it!

    Shoeless
     
  9. HAVOC

    HAVOC Remember CLM Millennium Member

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    Couple articles on Lithium Ion battery packs...

    http://dansdata.com/gz042.htm
    http://www.dansdata.com/danletters017.htm

    Short version, leaving them to trickle all the time can be very bad if the charger isn't perfect, but otherwise it shouldn't be a problem. Deep cycling isn't the best bet either. Just make a habit of running on battery regularly, and plug it in when you're done. Try not to leave it plugged in 24/7. When you walk away from it for the day, try to leave it unplugged.

    The Dell laptops I've been using and working on lately seem smart enough to not try to force a charge into a full battery if I plug it in, so I don't worry about it much, but then again I also have quite a bit of battery time, so it could be I'm avoiding trouble by default.
     
  10. HAVOC

    HAVOC Remember CLM Millennium Member

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    Or, alternatively, if you're really paranoid about it, and spend ALL your time anchored to a desk (then why'd you buy a laptop..?) you can just pop the battery out of it and run off the adapter, unfortunately losing that built in UPS function.
     
  11. Shoeless

    Shoeless Gun Totin' Girl

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    I'm mostly working at my desk, but I do take the laptop out to Caribou maybe once a week and of course, I'll take it on any trips I go on, too. That's why I got it, so I could be totally portable at a moment's notice.

    So if I'm understanding you correctly, I can safely run it on the battery when I'm at home and then plug it back in when it gets to about half-down instead of waiting until it's totally run out? And are you also saying that at night if when I turn the machine completely off, I should unplug it from the AC source? (reason I ask is because the battery only lasts about four hours, so I'm afraid if I leave the machine on stand-by overnight on battery power, it would be dead in the morning)

    Just clarifying.

    Thanks!!

    Shoes
     
  12. HAVOC

    HAVOC Remember CLM Millennium Member

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    OK, first... Standby??!??!?! ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Hibernate is your friend if you don't want to shut down.

    Second, no need to make this so hard. Chances are you can safely run it on any power source you like any time you like for any length you like. Ideally I'd find a reason to run it on battery for a while every day. Take it to bed at bedtime and just play on the net instead of watching TV, take it in the kitchen at breakfast, whatever, but if you can't, it most likely won't be an issue.

    The idea is to limit the time it tries to trickle-charge a full battery. These days any decent charging system SHOULD be smart enough to not kill it's own battery, but everything is pretty much lowest bidder(and that's CHINESE lowest bidder), so the minor paranoia about Li+ packs has developed to account for Monday and Friday parts.

    The whole thing is (or at least generally is) mostly myth, with a shred of truth to it. Not much call to get all worked up about it. It's a PC, not a cat. Use it as it suits you, not vice-versa.
     
  13. Shoeless

    Shoeless Gun Totin' Girl

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    Havoc,
    I so appreciate your advice. And I'm just worked up about it because I've never owned a laptop before and I spent a bunch of money on it, so I don't want to do anything to reduce its functionality.

    Another question... HIBERNATE? What's the diff between that and standby? And how do I know which one it's doing at any given moment?

    Thanks!!
    Shoes
     
  14. HAVOC

    HAVOC Remember CLM Millennium Member

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    Oh I understand WHY you would worry, so that's why I'm recommending that you stop... I spend something like 90-100 hours a week on a few different laptops, and I don't worry about the battery longevity issue at all. Out of habit and normal use, I generally have some time off grid, but some weeks my main work laptop will spend every minute it's turned on plugged into an outlet. *shrug* Had it most of a year with no worries, and my main personal laptop has like 20 months on it, and the battery is still about, ohh... 80% at a guess.

    Simply put, if your laptop eats it's battery in 6mo from staying plugged in, then it was broken when you got it.

    Point is, if you think about it, try to spend some time disconnected, but if you don't get around to it, don't sweat it.

    As for hibernate vs. standby, standby suspends some of the parts; CPU, hard drive, video system, and saves the current system state to RAM, which it keeps powered and functioning. You get a significant power savings, and very rapid transitions into and out of standby, but you still have parts energized, and generating heat, and a power blip can still kill everything you thought was saved. Most systems flash the power light or have it change color to indicate standby. I've also found that Windows manages a standby start very badly, especially if you change things while it's asleep, like closing the screen, plugging/unplugging a peripheral or giving it a dirty look.

    Hibernate takes all this a step further, it takes all that state info and puts it in a file on the hard drive, and then the system is completely off. It takes longer to go into and out of hibernation than standby, but restart is significantly faster than a cold boot. You get the exact same power savings as having the system off, and the system looks the same as it does when it's off (because, well... it IS off). I've also had FAR better luck on hibernate restarts than standby, which is the main reason I prefer it.

    If you have had luck with Standby (Windows installed on a laptop enables Standby by default, so if you haven't changed anything, it's likely going into Standby when you walk away for a while) feel free to keep using it, but I never, ever use it.