Re: Is Vista "there" yet? And Which computer should I buy...

Subject: Re: Is Vista "there" yet? And Which computer should I buy...
From: Geoff Lane <geoff -at- gjctech -dot- co -dot- uk>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 29 May 2008 19:35:14 +0100

On Thursday, May 29, 2008, Hemstreet, Deborah wrote;

> And the end of the story? I ordered a Dell Vostro with True Color (or
> whatever)....

> People complained about service, but I received my laptop a week before
> the scheduled ship date,

I ordered mine (Dell Vostro 1710) on the 23rd with an anticipated
delivery date of 16 June. I was in two minds whether to forget Dell
this time round (this is my third Dell laptop) and just buy the
cheapest PC World had on the shelf. The laptop I lend to my accountant
to file the annual returns has finally expired, so I needed a new
laptop in a hurry.

Anyway, the sales bod told me he appreciated the urgency and he'd mark
my order as priority, although he couldn't guarantee I'd get the
computer before the scheduled date. The machine arrived yesterday and
I spent most of the day making a Ghost image of the Vista
installation, formatting the hard drive, and installing XP Pro. Like
Deborah, I can't complain about the service Dell provide - and it's
the service that keeps me coming back.

The Vostro is a cracker of a machine IMO. It's very quiet and it all
works at least as well as I expected. The machine feels like it should
have cost a lot more than I paid. The 17" screen has excellent
contrast and colour saturation, but it's not quite as intense as the
new "Truelife" breed. That said, unlike Truelife, the standard screen
is almost immune to reflections. The keyboard is a delight and has a
proper group of numeric keys. While the keys don't have the feel of a
decent desktop keyboard, they have as positive a feel to them, and I
suspect it would be difficult to do better given the short key travel
necessary in a laptop. The only downside I've found so far is the
shiny plastic on the outside of the casing, which shows up fingermarks
far too easily (although Dell have thoughtfully provided a cleaning

Returning to operating systems: It's not too difficult to swap from
Vista to XP Pro - provided you have a legitimate copy of XP to hand.
FWIW, I had two issues:
1. I needed to verify that I could restore Vista from the Ghost image.
The Ghost documentation told me I needed to run the Driver
Validation Tool, but didn't tell me how to do that. I struggled for
over an hour searching in every nook and crevice of the UI before
resorting to chatting with a technical support bod. It turned out
that the tool wasn't part of the application but a separate utility
you access via the autorun executable.

2. The machine has a SATA hard disk, for which XP Installer requires
an additional driver. You have to copy this to a floppy disk that
XP Installer uses during preparation to install. Unfortunately, the
Vostro doesn't have a floppy drive, and so a fifty-mile round trip
to PC World was needed to buy a USB floppy that I'll probably never
use again :(

I have a lot of software that won't run on Vista, so I didn't have the
option - it was XP or nothing.



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RE: Is Vista "there" yet? And Which computer should I buy...: From: Hemstreet, Deborah

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