2010-05-08

A new Laptop

I just got a bran new Sony Vaio VPCF11Z1E as part of a compensation of making the b2b web site for my family's company. It comes preloaded with Windows 7 that I intend to leave there just in case. I'll put any special instruction on getting it running with Gentoo, my Linux distribution of choice, but first I like to talk about the hands on experience with such a computer.

I decided to turn it on and let Windows 7 do its thing. After all, it has 500Gb of disk space and the goal is to replace my old broken laptop that served me for almost 10 years and that one had a 80Gb hard disk. So, if I leave windows with 100 Gb of disk space it should be more than sufficient.

After turning on the PC I decided to follow the guideline and let windows and Sony's update tools run. It took an amazing 4 hours to download and install everything. I have an ADSL connection that could do 24Mbit/s but since I'm far away from the phone box it only does 8Mbit/s. What Amazed me is that just for Sony's updates it had to download almost 1Gb of data. I mean, it is a brand new laptop couldn't be updated already?

After all these updates I decided I should also create the recovery disks. You see, way back when I bought my old laptop it came with recovery disks, recovery disks and a whole lot more things. Today the laptops don't have recovery disks but recovery partitions. The disks you have to create them your self (another 2 ours to the mix) or to order and pay for them.

I call this a bad user experience. I brand new top of the line computer and I needed to go by 4 dvds and invest over 6 hours just to get it to a point that it is ready for usage if you follow the guidelines.

On top of that these people are getting more stupid every day. I was going to use windows disk management tool to shrink the windows partition to say 100Gb and I found out some nice gems. First the recovery partition is in the beginning of the disk. I though the faster part of the hard drive was its beginning, but I must be wrong, the Internet and all those that discuss there must also be wrong. You see, someone at Sony decided to put the recovery partition in the beginning of the drive. Strange because all laptops I saw until today had this partition at the end of the hard drive. To make things worse there is another 100Mb partition after that one and then comes the rest of the disk. What is the 100Mb partition used for? Well, it is called the System Rescue partition and it is the one with the boot flag. I assume this has the software Sony uses to recover the computer.

To culminate my disappointment windows is reporting that it can only shrink the partition to 244G. I'll try shrinking it, then defrag it and then shrinking it again. If it doesn't work it seems I'll be putting the recovery partition to the test because I'm going to delete the partition and use the recovery to get windows to use only 100G or so. I mean, it has 49Gb of used disk space and it is a clean install with updates. What the hell is this thing doing? And 49Gb just for the operating system with a browser, demo of Office an little more? That is more than bloat!