Last month Dan wrote a post called “Getting the Most From Your Tosiiba NB205 Netbook” here. The information is so helpful I feel it’s worth repeating as I went through a similar process myself just this week with my new netbook and if many of you got new netbooks this holiday you might want to consider doing some of the same things.
I picked up a HP 110-1125NR netbook for myself a few days before Christmas. This particular model comes with Windows 7 Starter Edition, a 1.6 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM and an 160 GB Hard Drive.
So here’s what I did to get “more” out of my new netbook.
1. Upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium Edition. The upgrade, which is done right on the Netbook (no CDs, etc.) took about 15 minutes. With it comes themes, wallpaper, additional applications, additional media, improved navigation, and more.
2. Installed Rocket Dock. It’s no secret. I am not a fan of Windows. I’m a hardcore Mac user through and through. The new task bar in Windows 7 is nice but it’s still not as nice as the Apple dock. Rocket Dock comes very close though. It provides a theme enabled dock which you can move around your desktop, place icons in and helps you quickly access commonly used applications. No more Start Menu!
3. Upgraded the RAM to 2 GB. RAM is cheap! I picked up a 2 GB RAM chip at my local Radio Shack for only $34.99. Not only is RAM cheap, it’s also super-easy to install. You need virtually no technical skills to do it. It’s as easy as unscrewing two small screws from the back of the netbook, removing the cover, popping out the old RAM chip, inserting the new, and closing the cover back up. The whole process can be done in under a minute.
Watch the video below to see how it’s done.
4. Installed and used CCCleaner. The hard drive and RAM on most netbooks are limited. Anytime you install or uninstall programs to a Windows device chances are files get left behind. These files take up space. The same is true of web browsing, where cache is stored on your computer, taking up space. CCClear is a free utility which cleans your computer of these orphan files allowing Windows to run faster.
5. Installed AVG Free. My new netbook came with a trial virus protection package from one of the larger virus software companies. Often these trials are bloated and end up doing more harm than good by slowing down your machine. So I un-installed it and then I installed AVG Free, a totally free, virus protection application instead. Let’s face it. You need some sort of virus protection, but I want something that doesn’t slow me down.
6. Ordered an OttoSkin. My number one reason for getting a netbook was its size. It’s small and ultra-portable. I don’t want to make it bigger by sticking it in a case but I do want to protect it. I’m also not thrilled with the black color. I want to add some of my personal tastes to the device. So I ordered an OttosSkin. The skin, which covers the front of the device not only serves to protect it from scratches but allowed me to pick a design that fits my personality.
7. Disabled Internet Explorer and installed Firefox. Windows 7 has an really cool option which allows you to disable the things you do not use. It’s fast and easy and can be undone just as easily. Head here to see how it’s done. I turned off Internet Explorer and installed Firefox. I love the speed of Firefox but where it really wins me over is with its extensions. With X-Marks, for example, I can sync the same bookmarks that I’ve got on my Mac Book Pro over to the new netbook and keep them synchronized.
8. The keyboard on netbooks is small. I find myself constantly making errors when I’m typing. So I installed Dragon Naturally Speaking which allows for voice dictation on my netbook. Now instead of typing my e-mails, tweets etc. I simply say them and Dragon turns my speech into text.
If you got a new netbook this holiday season enjoy it! If you’re looking to speed it up a bit I hope you find some of the above tools helpful in doing do. If you’ve an old netbook laying around perhaps the tools mentioned above will breath some new life into the device as well.