First night 640m / Vista Business

Discussion in 'Dell' started by journey, Feb 20, 2007.

  1. journey

    journey Guest

    I received the Inspiron 640m tonight and thought I'd post my
    experiences. Mostly positive.


    - Much neater than from past Dell computers. Everything packed
    nicely. Reinstall CD for Vista Business. Reinstall CD for
    MediaDirect 3 which I was glad to see.


    - Core 2 Duo T7200 (4MB/2.00GHz/667MHz), 2G Shared RAM, Integrated
    Graphics 950, 100G 7200rpm SATA hard drive. Relatively high-end. I
    went for speed with the 100G 7200 hard drive giving up the additional
    60G I would have had with the slower one.

    Initial setup of Vista:

    - It went relatively well. Not nearly as much garbage on this PC as
    on previous ones. Some of the software is installed as a trial but
    you don't know it until you get into setup. Office 2003 Small
    Business trial was installed, so I uninstalled and installed my
    licensed version. Uninstalled Norton.

    - No problem connecting to the Internet through my wireless router.
    Had that going within about 2 minutes. Very straightforward.

    - Remote desktop took only about a minute to set up. No glitches
    there from Vista to XP (I have not tried the reverse yet).

    - None of the uninstalls caused problems on reboot like on prior Dell
    XP systems (I think something had to be cleaned up with the Windows
    Install Clean Up for prior notebooks I purchased for some

    - There wasn't enough garbage installed to warrant a fresh install
    (very glad about that).

    - At one point my screen got corrupted with horizontal lines.
    Fortunately that didn't recur. This is my only worry after all the
    installs tonight. I don't cope well with intermittent hardware
    problems that cause things like this which is similar to the blue
    screen of death.

    Setup of software -- 80/20 rule or in this case 95/5 rule:

    - As stated, uninstalls of things I didn't want went well.

    - Installed my "bread and butter apps". Office Apps including
    Publisher, Project, Visio all went fine. Notepad replacement (NoteTab
    Pro went fine).

    - Bread and butter apps: Info Select (, my favorite
    program), amd Mind Manager Pro 6 ( went fine.

    PROBLEM WILL ROBINSON (dating myself)...

    - Installed Palm software to sync with Palm Desktop from Treo 680 CD.
    Install went fine, but Palm Desktop would always hang on the spash
    screen when I tried to start it. I went to Palm's support area, and
    according to Palm, everything should go OK. (Idiots.). So, I racked
    my brains trying uninstalls, reinstalls, and all the permutations that
    I could think of (the mindless brute force approach).

    - Only through searching of web threads did I find many others had
    the same problem, with various attempts to resolve it. Some poor
    unfortunate souls went so far as reinstalling Vista! As is often the
    case, I found a thread with an easy solution. The software on the
    Treo 680 CD (at least his and mine) cause the hang. Installing a
    prior version of Palm Desktop that is still Treo 680 compatible
    resolved the program.

    (oh... guess what... I did need the Windows Install Clean Up utility
    after all, to fix this problem).

    Apparently Palm Support, rather than documenting the problem on their
    support site, was handling it as people phoned in for support. Maybe
    they didn't document the problem because they didn't want to affect
    sales through negative publicity. Well guess what -- I hope Palm
    falls flat on its face and someday when more of the Palm apps I like
    are transferred to the Pocket PC platform (getting very close now to
    the most important ones), I am going to gladly jump ship when it's
    time for a smartphone upgrade. I hate Palm now almost as much as I
    hate AOL.

    I'd say I had most of the computer up and running with all of the
    software except the Palm stuff within an hour or so. The Palm stuff
    took another 2-3 hours.


    - Bluetooth surprisingly made sense! And it installed without a
    hitch. In the past to get a Palm to sync with it I had to check an
    arcane checkbox. No headaches this time, and finally an interface
    that is good. Kudos on that.

    Boot times seemed very fast. The whole computer is fast. Office 2003
    apps like Word, Excel came up in an instant. Dialog boxes that used
    to trudge along zipped along. I obviously can't do a compare of the
    slower hard drive because I don't have it, but if I had it to do over
    again I'd get the same hardware config.

    One other thing:

    - I would not have a Vista PC as my primary PC at this point. There
    are still too many programs and especially utility programs that need
    to be updated. I haven't checked into hardware drivers, but I would
    imagine that's the case with those too. I use my laptop for limited
    things, and my desktop XP (Media Center) is what I rely mostly on, and
    I wouldn't touch Vista for a long time as my primary PC OS. No iPod /
    iTunes, Paper Port / Scanner, Camera, Digital Voice Recorder, or
    anything like that on this laptop for a loooong time.

    However, I am very happy with this for what I will be using it for.
    There wasn't any learning curve with Vista, however I want to find out
    to get my hierarchical program menu back, and I want to find out how
    to go up a level in Windows Explorer....
    journey, Feb 20, 2007
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  2. journey

    RnR Guest

    I like mine too except I'm not 100% satisfied (perhaps 90% happy) with
    the build quality of the laptop (actually I got 2 but one daughter has
    one of them and I need to see how her's is doing). The lid is
    slightly loose when closed and when open I notice one of the hinges
    has a little more free play than I would like (this is a judgmental
    thing tho). Fortunately I don't travel with mine but as mentioned in
    other posts, with the 640m, I think it would be VERY wise to have the
    extended warrantee if traveling with this laptop.

    That said, I did my homework before I bought this laptop and saw
    others were not completely happy with the build quality too especially
    compared to the 600m (I also own) so I knew this before I ordered.
    Other than that tho, the 640m is a nice unit (mine has xp) and I think
    for most the 640m is a wise choice.
    RnR, Feb 20, 2007
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  3. journey

    me Guest


    Some questions:

    Did you get BT module built in? The dell one?

    What wireless module did you get? Dell or Intel Pro?

    So you'd give Palm Treo OS up in a heartbeat huh? What
    would you go for as far as PPC hardware?
    me, Feb 20, 2007
  4. journey

    journey Guest

    I only have a sec. between appointments. Right now for me the Palm
    Treo 680 is the best smartphone given the software I like and the
    "crispness" of the Palm OS. The Windows Mobile Treos have less

    I'll post later have to run...
    journey, Feb 20, 2007
  5. journey

    journey Guest

    I have more time now. I got the Dell Bluetooth 2 module. As
    mentioned, it's the first non-kludgy bluetooth setup utility that I
    have seen.

    I went with Intel wireless. If I install Linux on it at some point I
    should be able to find a driver.

    Right now for my needs the Palm OS and software are better. Palm has
    been messing up strategically, and sitting on its laurels though. If
    I were a corporate client deploying a PDA-based app. or using it for
    corporate communication of whatever kind, Palm would have lost all

    Palm has been removing features from some of its devices. The Treo
    650 didn't have voice memos or notepad (scribbled notes) for example.

    Iambic just announced that Agendus Plus (PIM and contact manager) is
    available for the PPC platform. Natara has announced Daynotez is.
    Splash shopper is. As time goes on and my essential software goes to
    PPC I will move to that, unless Access (that bought the Palm OS) does
    something good with ALP. I think momentum is moving strongly towards
    PPC though.

    Palm has alienated me as a loyal customer. I only use it because it
    works best at this time. I will stay with my Treo for as long as it
    does what I need it to do. The Treo 650 was handicapped in a number
    of ways, such as memory for running apps. The Treo 680 isn't, so it
    should be useful for some time to come.

    Palm hasn't shown any interest yet in developing a standalone PDA. The
    benefit of standalones is that they usually have larger screen sizes
    and other specs. I think Palm couls sell a lot of Palm TX's with
    slight improvements -- add voice recording and more memory and they
    would sell a lot.

    Standalone device purchases have been declining though while
    Smartphone volume has been going up a lot.

    There have been rumors that Dell will abaondon the Axim. I hope not
    -- it's arguably the best-designed Pocket PC out there. Recently
    there have been rumors that Dell won't abaondon it but rather keep the
    existing design as the OS is updated to Version 6 which MS just
    announced. I hope that's the case.

    One benefit of Smartphones of course is that contact information is
    there and can be built up as you call new numbers or as people call
    you. After a while one gets quite a useful database. Also, with
    smartphones like my Treo, I can access the Internet from a variety of
    applications when I'm not in a hotspot (I can do it from anywhere,
    unlimited, anytime for $10 added to my cell plan). It's great for
    things like weather conditions and forecasts.

    Feel free to e-mail if you want any more info, jrny_of_life at
    journey, Feb 20, 2007
  6. journey

    journey Guest

    My 630m hinge got looser and looser over about 9 months until I
    decided to send it into Dell to get it fixed. The positive: I sent
    it in on a Monday and had it back by Thursday.

    There is variation in build quality. The one I have now is very good.
    However, they keyboard may have been changed because it's not as quiet
    as on my 630m. It doesn't seem like a show-stopper, but I use it in
    meetings and if it would distract people then I'll return it and
    splurge for a Lenovo (after checking them out in person -- I assume I
    can check one out locally but maybe that's not true).
    I have found Dells to be very durable. Several laptops survived 2
    year stints in my laptop backpack.
    If the keyboard is quiet enough and if the video glitch doesn't
    reoccur then I will be happy with it. There have been some minor
    video "fluctuations" which I only notice after having that one "system
    crash" as I was getting it set up. So far for the most part I'm very
    happy with it other than those few things.
    journey, Feb 20, 2007
  7. journey

    journey Guest

    journey, Feb 21, 2007
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