The Reinstallation Diaries Episode III: Apps and Drivers
Ok. We’ve got a solid Tablet PC built with SP2. Everything seems to be working as it should and there have even been a few positive surprises. Now it is time to take the next step on the journey.
Here comes that fork in the road again. In the past I wouldn’t dare take the next step without installing security apps. This time I’m taking a different approach. A bit risky, but I’m going there and I’m going to travel a few more miles down the road before I go there.
So, what is my next step? I install all of the updated Toshiba drivers. There are a slew of them. Many updated after SP2 especially to address SP2 concerns. Interesting paradox here, that I never noticed a problem with the older drivers before these were released.
Most OEM’s release updates periodically and Toshiba is no different. They actually include a Software Update service on the original install that pings the support site for new updates. This is one app you can and should get rid of on any new install on a Toshiba system. It pops up and pings the site, but I noticed long ago that it tends to hang and slow the system down and is unruly if it is running when you hibernate or suspend. In my opinion, it is one of those good ideas poorly implemented. Instead I subscribe to Toshiba’s update bulletins which come out via email periodically. I also check the download site every week or ten days for any new updates.
In addition I keep downloaded copies of all drivers in a directory in my archive. I also use OneNote to keep a log of what I’ve installed and what I haven’t. Depending on the date of each new driver’s release the install routine can be confusing at best and just plain wrong at worst. It has been my experience that you should uninstall the older driver before installing the new one. Some of the install routines take care of this for you, some don’t. The newer drivers will unzip the files to a directory in your root directory and then uninstall the older driver. You then have to run the install routine again to install the newer driver. Confusing to say the least, and there are no prompts guiding you to this step. Quite honestly I discovered it when I thought I had updated a driver long ago and found out that new install had failed. Toshiba should address this issue in the future as I’m sure it will leave some folks scratching their heads. The old ones just plow ahead and overwrite the older drivers for the most part.
I mentioned earlier that this haphazard method of refreshing drivers can be harmful. One such case is with the ACPI Module that is necessary for many of the utilities to work. If you’ve missed the fact that you have to run the installation process twice and proceed to install the dependent drivers you could be heading for a mess.
Should you reboot after installing drivers? Call me old fashioned. Call me paranoid, but after I install each new driver I reboot the machine whether it calls for it or not. I test each driver out after rebooting and make sure everything is working. In the M200 FAQ on Tablet PC Buzz there is published guide of the install order for these drivers. I’m just asking here, but doesn’t it make too much common sense to make that information freely available for most machines?
Ok, the drivers are all in. I’ve noticed no new problems. For those keeping count we are still at 48 processes but we’ve jumped up to 212M of memory after refreshing all the drivers. Now it’s time to make my first image. I install Norton Ghost. (Which by they way takes one trip to Live Update to bring it up to date.) Once installed, I create an image of what I now have, a clean, bare bones system. This will be archived in case of an emergency.
Now it is time to add my key applications. One of the benefits of a fresh install is that you discover things along the way that you no longer need and you can jettison them. It also helps you learn what apps you rely on for getting things done.
Here’s my list of key apps that are first up in the install order.
- Microsoft Office 2003 Professional Edition
- Tablet Enhancements for Outlook
- OneNote (and the SP1 update)
- One Note Powertoys
- Tablet PC Powertoys
- Onfolio 2.0
- The Tablet Experience Pack (primarily for the Snipping Tool)
- Active Words and the Active Words Tablet Input Beta
Here’s the second tier. Good to have but not essential for each and every workday.
- Apricorn's EZ Gig Software
- Snag It
- Orange Guava Desktop
- MSN Messenger
- XThink Calculator
- Microsoft Producer for Powerpoint
- A Search Engine
Ok, that search engine thing. Which one to choose? Lots of choices. Stay tuned for Episode IV: The Search Engine Query.