Friday, February 23, 2007

hd/memory upgrade, hp soft grip case, and dual booting my tc1100

so yea... me and my dang upgrades.. hehe. anywho.. got a hold of a nice ole wd 80gb hd and threw it in my tc1100. i had a heck of a time getting a few of the screws loose on the hd cage, i swear they painted the screws so it made it hard to get off. arg! after using my 'macgyver'-like skills, i got the cage off and on my new 80gb.

hd cage area

after getting that in, i upgraded my memory to 1.5gb total. i haven't seen much of a boost yet in vista but xp tablet did seem to run quicker.

after creating my partitions, then decided to use my good ole Ghost boot cd and just reimage the drive since i have my already configured XP Tablet Ed 2005 from my image i made (i love disk images, makes life so much easier! hehe) and thought i'd dual boot xp tablet 2005 and vista. makes it easier for when i need pure stability and all of my devices working.  somehow by messing w/my mbr and bootsector, each OS shows up as the C: partition in each's respective OS, crazy eh?

i tell ya.. i'm in love w/my tablet so far.  here's a quick size comparison w/a cd and the latter my Compaq N800c laptop (almost looks like the n800c is about to eat my tc1100)..

tablet size comparison to cd

my tc and n800

i also got my HP Soft Grip case too. i haven't really used it much since i prefer keeping the keyboard on (i still type a ton faster than writing, i like the ability to be able to scribble mind maps and diagrams w/it).  it goes on easy, you have to cut the pc/sd card slot area (very easy, just use a utility knife, i left one end on so its like the other covers). here are a few pics of it.

grip case 1

soft grip case2

next up... getting quicklook to work (didn't work w/any of my 1gb sd cards) in XP and Vista. i'm hoping that if i sync my outlook data in xp (when i can see my sd) and then boot to vista and power down and try running quicklook it will read the sd card (on a bios level it sees the stick). or i hope. :)


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

me and multi-pc outlook 2007

i've used outlook for my emails since outlook 97, however if there has been one thing i've never really been able to conquer in outlook is the ability to use a centralized PST mailbox file that all of my pc's and user accounts on pcs can use.  i know that this would not be a problem if i were to run my own Exchange server but to me that is overkill for a simple task that should have been made easier.  however, i finally sat down this last weekend and did some thinking and tinkering and think i finally got it work.  i also realized that i could have done this prob w/XP and 2000 but had given up for awhile on it (since i had to learn more about networking stuff and sharing ; man, i know a ton about sharing media files in Vista and Media Center).

so here's my situation:

i have two computers that i want to share my Outlook PST file to, however on each of those pc's (my main htpc and tablet) i am also dual booting XP and Vista (so my htpc has vista and xp sp2, while my tablet has xp tablet ed 2005 and vista).  I have all OS's running Office 2007 and in turn Outlook 2007.  My current pst mailbox files is about 300mb in size and is located on my main PC.  My tablet connects via 802.11g to my network.

finally, what i want to be able to do is to use my Outlook pst file on both my tablet and main pc and the most recently updated copy would then be sync.  also, i would want to be able to have access to it on my tablet before i leave in the mornings and use it offline and then sync back so at night i could read my emails on my main pc in front of the 24" beauty.. (i have NO regrets on my Dell 24" monitor purchse 1 1/2 ago; the most rewarding upgrade of mine ever besides my si and lcd hdtv).  oh yea, there must be security so that only authorized accounts on my main pc can access the files (since it is my personal emails!).  so, lets explain how i did this using just basic Network shared folder and the Sync center / offline files option in Windows. 

Saturday, February 17, 2007

making life easy: custom live boot cds for ghosting, cleaning pc

so, as many of you may notice, i change the OS on my system or clean install it quite often.  most of the times, i prefer to do my system rebuilds manually (backup files, format patitions, reinstall from cds/dvds, reload all applications); however there are times when i just want to get my system back up and running.   to make my life easier, i've created my own custom ghost boot cds from bart's preinstalled environment utility (  His utility basically allows one to make their own 'live' cd (fully bootable cd that contains its own os, in this case a basic/slim version of windows xp).  most people i know do not have a clue on how to create or even use such a disk so today i'll explain the following:

-what is a live/pe boot cd
-what or how to use one
-how do you create one
What is a live/pe boot cd?

a live/pe boot cd is basically a cd that contains a super slim OS on the disk itself. usually these type of cds have utilities to allow a user to view files on the pc they are booting the cd on or to fix the pc.  the requirements for making a boot cd via bart's utility requires his download and your Windows XP install cd copied to your harddrive.   a live/pe boot cd will also contain generic drivers to allow you to use the most basic of your devices such as keyboard, mouse, usb harddrives, and some basic networking (this isn't guaranteed since there are a ton of network adapters out there and bart's utility only handles a select few chipsets such as realtek, intel, etc).  i mainly use my live cd to recover files from a pc that won't boot (os corrupted/infected) and then copy them to my usb harddrive or to make images of a harddrive with. 

Why or what do you use one for?

you can use a live/pe cd to backup files from you pc (if you can't boot to it or your xp installation gets corrupted), run adaware/spyware checks on it, make a ghost image of your harddrive, boot a computer that has no OS on it, etc.  however i will be focusing more on using it to make a ghost image of your harddrive. if you wanted to, you could setup a pc at home so that there is no OS on it however it could be used via a live cd (you could setup the live cd to have firefox and nero and even bittorrent).  might not run that fast or look nice but secure and does the trick.

Making your own boot cd

-Bart's PE Builder  (
-copy of your windows xp installation disk on your harddrive (just copy the whole disk to a new folder called 'C:\XPinstall')
-Adaware installed on your pc and definitions updated (recommended)
-Ghost 8.0 installed on your pc (yes, it does require you to have a real copy installed to pull the files for the plugin)

1.  Download bart's utility and install it.  Remember where you install it too, default location is to the C:\ drive, not the program files folder like most applications.  I installed mine to a seperate partition (i've built several live cds in the past and really hate it when i redo my system and my bart setup is not).

2. Open up PE Builder, it will ask you if you want to search for XP install files, choose no.  We will set this up manually (faster).  At the top, click the browse button by Source and choose the folder we copied the entire XP install cd contents to (ie C:\XPinstall )

bartpeinstall xp files

3.  Now, click on the Plugin button at bottom.  We will go in and see what we need to do to get Ghost8 and Adaware working. 

bartpe plugins1

if you select the plugin, and hit the Help button, it will tell us what we need to do to get Ghost and Adaware to work on our boot cd.

for adaware, we will need to do the following:

 -Install Adaware on your PC. Update your definitions (that way the cd will have the latest). 

adaware files

Then browse to the adaware program files folder on your PC (ie C:\Program Files\Lavasoft\Adaware) and copy the adaware.exe and defs.ref file to bart's plugin folder for adaware (located where we installed bart's preinstalled utility \ plugin \ adawarese \ files \ )

adaware plugin folder

We will do the same thing w/the ghost files too.  Again, you have to have Ghost 8.0 installed onto your pc to get the appropriate files.

ghost files

For Ghost, we will need to copy ALL of the files in the C:\Program Files\Symantec\Ghost folder to bart's plugin folder for ghost8.

Finally, after we have the files for adaware and ghost8 moved into bart's plugin folders, we will need to enable the option in PE Builder utility.  Go back to the plugins screen (if its not still up) and click Adaware and then the enable button and do the same for Ghost8.  Also enable any other plugins you may want (ie network support) on the disk.

4.  Back at the main PE Builder screen, if you want to copy additional files to the boot cd make a folder and put the files you want copied in there and then click on the browse button under Custom:

These files/applications may not be runnable but can be copied to the computer you are booting w/the boot cd we are making.

Finally, choose how you want to output the boot cd (to an image file for later burning or to a cd/dvd) and then hit Build.  it will go through its steps and once your done, you should have a fully bootable ghost/adaware boot cd!  now you can create an image of your harddrive and make restoring your system a cinch!  this cd will support usb drives so you can connect a nice external usb drive to burn the image too (most of my hd images are about 6gbs in size).

(output screen)

bartpe output

-always run a defrag on your pc's harddrive prior to making an image
-there are more plugins such as a bittorrent and firefox browser one, just head to bart's site ( )
-if you can't boot to the cd, be sure to check your BIOS settings and that CD-ROM is listed as the first boot device (prob will be under Boot Options/Order)
-if you have your pc's harddrive broken up into several partitions, you can make an image of a partition and save the image to a different partition on the same harddrive. (ie C: = xp install, D: = folders partition; i could make a partition of C: and have ghost save it to my D: )
-to edit the background photo for your cd, go to Bart's PE Builder utility folder (where we installed it) and replace the bartpe.bmp w/your own 800x600 bmp file.  just rename to be bartpe.bmp (file is a bmp, 16bit)
-for more network adapter support you can check over here for additional drivers or info on making your own:

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Vista Business Ed and my HP TC1100

update: well, after being able to use my sd card fine for a day, i've mysteriously lost it in vista??? wtf? i did update my wifi and got 802.11g working finally.. :) but i wonder if that messed up or if i just got lucky and seeing/writing to the sd was a fluke? drivers show as installed.. more investigating indeed.. 

well, as previously blogged, i received my latest gadget/toy last week and only two nights ago clean installed Vista Business Ed on my pc.   many people have had some problems getting the Q Menu and tablet pc buttons to work by just upgrading from XP to Vista so i decided to go the clean way.  here are a few tips on geting ALL hardware to install/detect/work.  again, my HP TC1100 specs are as follows: Pentium M 1ghz, 1gb ram, 60gb hd, bluetooth, wifi b, sd card, external hp multibay w/cdrw-dvd combo drive. 

after the intial vista install, the only network adapters that were installed automatically was my LAN connection.  so i had to just plug in my TC1100 to my network and i was off and connected.  i then proceeded to run Windows Update to get all of the latest updates and to see if i'd get my wireless drivers, however my adapter was not available. 

now that we have vista all up and ready, lets install those other unknown devices (bt, tablet pc buttons, sd card, wireless, brightness control, q menu).  these were not found by me originally rather are like most of my things; a guide from info i've found on the web and personal experience.

here's a link to HP's driver download page for the  TC1100:

i used the Tablet PC Ed. drivers for Vista and did the hardware buttons/q menu last.  Basically to get the other devices to work, you will need to download the drivers from HP, then right-click on each .exe installer and go to Properties > Compatibility.  Then check the box to make it compatible for XP SP2/2000.  Now run the installer, it should go through and may complete w/o a comfirmation window (happened on a few of the drivers for me at least, fluke?). finally, i would go to Start Menu > Control Panel > Device Manager.  Then right click on the uninstalled devices > update driver software.   then choose "Browse my computer for the driver software".  Now click on the browse button and navigate to C:\SWSetup and click OK.  Also be sure to check the "Include subfolders".  This makes installing the drivers a cinch since all of the drivers we installed previously reside under the C:\SWSetup folder (HP's default unzipping folder for updates/softpaqs) 

i also used the tablet ed video drivers (seems to allow you to do the brightness control and rotation w/o probs, however nview desktop manager bsod my vista when i tried it) from HP.

finally, i installed the q menu software first, then tablet pc buttons (via device manager, manually after running the .exe from HPs site), and then re-installed q menu; rebooting after each install (3 reboots).   after your finall reboot, go to the Tablet PC Settings and you should have a buttons tab.  go ahead and setup your Q Menu link to be to the qmenu.exe in program files (by default vista will launch your homepage).  i setup like to setup my start menu button for when i hold the Q Menu button. very handy!

also, you can add shortcut to the Mobility Center in Q Menu by going to Q Menu settings, click the Add button, then Display Name: Mobility Center, File Name: mblctr.exe  . 

as for the SD Card reader, my experience was weird.... i tried to install it manually like the other drivers but was not able to get it to consistently show/detect it.  so i then went to windows update and downloaded the suggested driver update.  that has seemed to fix my problem, nice having that 1GB SD to backup docs to.

on the downside, here are a few issues i've been experiencing and plan to tackle tonight:

-my HP WLAN driver does not connect to 802.11g speeds, only b speeds (may be a prob w/my setup on my router since i had to underclock it to get my Wii and DS to work properly and its SO OLD.. ) NOTE! went to windows update and installed the HP WLAN update and i believe that seemed to resolve my wireless connecting issues. :)

-standby issues; i am not able to use the pen or keyboard after waking from standby.  i plan to create a new pagefile to see if this resolves the problem and mess w/my power setups and see if i can figure that out.  if not, i may end up doing a full clean install of Vista again.

i'll post more updates as i go... :)

vista theme tc1100

Monday, February 12, 2007

my new (but used) geek toy! HP TC1100 tablet pc

well.. by now, you probably know that i'm a gadget whore.. i admit it. i've owned a ton of random gadgets/toys/useful technology.

however through all of them, i've always had a fascination w/tablets. dating back to the Apple Newton. hell, i almost picked up one last year but decided not too since the specs are so, so below what i want.  so one night i was on the web surfing around ebay and ces 2007 highlights and ran across the origami pc's. hmm. umpc are starting to begin manufacturing/development and tablets have been around now for a while. so i did my research and decided that an HP TC1100 was the best bet for my money and needs.  went online and got one on ebay gently used for around $550 (not bad eh? the 1ghz, 512mb, 60gb hd, wifi/irda/bt).  decided to try to perhaps load vista on it too and take it for a spin for a week. if not, i can go back to the ghost image i made of the harddrive before doing anything (had a fresh reload of the OS via the restore cds from HP, figure it lets me get it back to original factory state if needed or wanted).  plus, i may even go back and redo the OS to a dual boot config (30 gigs per partition for each os should be good, not going to be doing any major photoshop or video editing, just using OneNote and surfing and maybe some music). 

some geek porn..

 tc1100 on keyboard

my tc1100 rotated on side..

i've used my HP TC1100 w/Windows XP Tablet Ed 2005 for the past week and am getting more and more comfortable w/it each day.  my main issues was that i didn't have a screen protector and in turn am a bit.. cautious to use the pen w/it since i am so against scratching screens.  however, i got my new screen protector in today and have a very nice case made for the TC1100 coming later this week (i will prob post pics/review of it).

OneNote 2007 runs VERY well on it. i just received my 512mb memory (prev only had the base 512 + 256) and did notice a nice little boost in performance.  At first i didn't think mine had the bluetooth radio however after reinstalling drivers from HP my BT started working!   DVD playback is pretty decent on it (for only being a 1Ghz Pentium M, it seems to hold its own vs most of may pals bigger 1.6ghz+  celerons.  pretty quick considering the specs.

some people have complained about the base/keyboard being too cramped and i can see how that could be an issue, but for me that is not since again i am gifted w/a gadget/pda/tablet users anatomy (small hands/fingers, just overall small.. hehe) 

last night, i felt very ambitous and ended up creating a full Ghost image of my current XP Tablet Ed setup (fully setup w/all of my apps installed and drivers updated, gotta love those Bart Live Boot Disks).   i figure worst case scenario i can reload my Ghost image and not have to reload all of my settings/applications/updates.  i use Bart's Mod Boot site a ton and if you ever work on people's pcs, a custom XP Live boot cd is invaluable to retreive data or clean virus or spyware.  here's a link:

anywho, after making my full disk image i then decided to do a full clean install of Vista trial (since i am not sure if i want to purchas another key for my tablet).  install went fine and only took about an 1 1/2 hours. 

initially, i was missing drivers for: wireless drivers, tablet pc buttons, sd card reader, digitizer, graphics

windows update did find a few of them (sd card reader but failed to install it) but i decided to use HP's latest XP drivers for Vista.  I had to then extract the files to the usual HP location (C:\swsetup) and then in Vista manually installed the drivers by opening up Device Manager.  This worked great and installed all of my drivers! i even got the Q Menu working too (had to right click on the HP ServicePack and change the run for XP compatibility) to change my brightness and rotation.

so far things sem to be running fine; however i did freeze coming out of standby twice so i may need to revisit my event log to see what is cuasing that (most likely the Q Menu). 

also, it is amazing to see the cult following of this device.  i still do not understand why HP would kill such an attractive and successful Tablet lineup.  this tablet seems to perform just as good as most newer sub $600 laptops minus the uber geekiness of a tablet. 

so who knows, next up; automated home controller?? we'll see.