Rescuing my Laptop!

From my days at BITS, when did a fresh install of the OS almost every month, to the post BITS era, where a fresh install was almost unheard of, it has been some transition. From someone who would install Linux (pre-Ubuntu days) and then hunt for drivers, to someone who would not trust himself with a Windows install.

However, I still like trying new stuff, and I did end up installing a beta of the Windows 7 SP1. Big mistake! It changed my Windows copy to a RC and started giving me weird messages about only a few days remaining for me to upgrade. So when the SP1 was formally released, I tried to upgrade. But the stupid system wouldn’t let me. Big FAIL, Microsoft. Anyway, after some Googling around, I discovered that I had to reinstall the OS. And there begins the story.

ISB had provided us a licensed copy of Windows 7 Professional but as a nrg image. And almost all tools needed me to either have a DVD or a iso file.

Step 1: Install Daemon tools. It allows you to mount the image files (nrg, iso, etc). Also, it will allow you to convert them into ISO files 🙂

Step 2: Download and install Windows 7 USB/DVD tool. This will help you create a bootable USB drive from the ISO.

Step 3: If you need any special drivers, download them and keep them handy. Also, I downloaded the Windows 7 SP1 RC. Unfortunately, unlike nLite, the tool for slipstreaming Windows 7 just sucks! So you can’t build a custom install.

Step 4: Boot up from the USB and there you go!

Step 5: License key and activation. Now for some reason Windows 7 wouldn’t accept the key we got from ISB and kept calling it invalid. After some searching on the ISB alum mails (GMail search rocks! Thanks for using it for the alum mail ISB), I saw that it needed to be activated by phone. So I followed the instructions and for the first time ever I activated my copy of Windows over a phone. Also the first time I actually own a licensed copy of the OS 😛

Step 6: Customize it. Now to get Windows 7 back to the state it was in with all the apps and settings I wanted. Step in Ninite. This super tool lets you install most free softwares in one click. Select online the apps you want and download the (really small) Ninite installer. Run it, leave you laptop connected to the internet for an hour or so (depending on your connection and the tools you want) and Ninite will install everything by itself. Bingo! Here is a list of all the apps I selected.

  1. Google Chrome – the best browser there is, period. Also, the sync function allowed me to get all the extensions, plugins, passwords from my office laptop in a jiffy! Such joy!!
  2. Firefox – the version 4 is out, and need it to download House 😛
  3. Windows Live – just for fun.
  4. Google Talk
  5. Skype
  6. VLC
  7. Winamp
  8. MPlayer
  9. K-Lite Codecs
  10. Flash
  11. Picasa – the tonnes of snaps I have on my laptop. Wow!
  12. GIMP
  13. Foxit Reader
  14. CutePDF
  15. MS Security Essentials – the best antivirus there is today.
  16. uTorrent – obvious!
  17. Dropbox – another must have.
  18. CCleaner
  19. 7-Zip
  20. Notepad ++

Other than these I installed the SP1 for Windows 7, IE9, Office 2007, and all updates needed. Also installed (and used till way past midnight) was the hugely addictive Angry Birds.

A number of extensions for Chrome were also installed – GMail checker, URL Shortener, Cricinfo, Reader, Adblock, Google Translate, ToDo Camp, Tweetdeck, and some more.

All in all, a day well spent. My laptop now works faster, is cleaner, more updated, and less prone to crashing, though frankly speaking Windows 7 has crashed only a few times over the past year and it has surely become my favorite Windows OS of all times over taking Win XP.

Random Notes #171

** Correctly predicted 4 of 5 major Oscar awards this year. Not too bad, or as Sudeep put it, Oscars were just too predictable. Just too point out a small thing. The Social Network, while being a really good movie, is not an Oscar material. And I personally think its a little hyped. Eisenberg and Garfield were really good though.

** As I think more about it Black Swan grows more on me. The entire movie revolves around Natalie Portman, and she carries it off really well. Leon, V for Vendetta, and Black Swan all feature her starting off really unsure of herself, and discovering herself with the help of someone else.

** Watched The Inside Job finally, and I feel that it is one hard hitting documentary. It makes no bones about pointing fingers and pointing them at big and important people and institutions. Good job!

** Also, there was a discussion on the BITS alum mailing list over The Inside Job, Rajat Gupta, and the financial meltdown and the role the Wall Street played in the crisis. Though some really good points were made, I really did not see anyone come out in support of the financial industry. Maybe its just not fashionable. Though I am myself not a huge fan of the industry and its bonus system, I would still like to point out a few things. The financial industry still remains the place to be in for people who want to be close to the action and make shit loads of money. Someone said they don’t make anything, but I do believe that a number of products they create are really innovative and require as much technical inputs as say designing a search algorithm. And as for greed, its the same across industries. The pharmaceutical industry is no stranger to not such smart decision making. J&J (they have a case study in BSchool on them and they ethos) has had more recalls than probably the entire industry together, and that is almost in the last year or so. I guess the BP fiasco is still fresh in people’s memory. Intel, and its anti-competitive practices are well known, and so are the mistakes made with user data by Facebook. The energy industry, the mineral industry, the diamond industry, the automobile industry. You name it, and they have made some very stupid mistakes. People praise successful people and deride ones who aren’t. I am pretty sure that most of us would have given anything (and most would still do) to work for Dick Fuld, and now we wouldn’t touch him with a 10 feet pole. Hindsight, as the say, is always 20/20. To make the call in real time, while the shit is happening, is what it is about. May be one day we will stop the shit before it hits the fan.

** The post number is England’s score for the match today, and as the Gods would have it, yet again, SA have… well, choked!

Oscars 2011

The ones that I have watched, rating, and some comments.

  1. Black Swan – (8/10) – Natalie Portman deserves the Best Actress Oscar for this one. Awesome performance! Mila Kunis was good too. Also, Darren Aronofsky should get the Best Director.
  2. The Fighter – (8/10) – Christian Bale so deserves the Best Supporting Actor for this one. Mark Whalberg is good too.
  3. Inception – (9/10) – Wow! Nolan and DiCaprio weave magic. But won’t win. Too nerdy for its own good!
  4. The Kids Are Alright – (7.5/10) – Good watch. The dude looks and acts like Abhay Deol 😛
  5. The King’s Speech – (8.5/10) – Brilliant!! Colin Firth is in line for the Best Actor.
  6. Toy Story 3 – (9/10) – One of the best trilogies, ever! Did you eyes not become moist towards the end?
  7. True Grit (7/10) – Good watch, not Oscar material though. Hailee Steinfeld is good and might bag the Best Supporting Actress.

My choice for Best Movie so far would be Inception or Toy Story 3. But Inception is old, and Toy Story 3, well, animated, so they won’t get it. Black Swan would be my bet so far.

The ones I haven’t watched, but should over the weekend.

  1. 127 Hours
  2. The Social Network
  3. Winter’s Bone.