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Author Topic: Pimping My Dell Inspiron Mini  (Read 2502 times)


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Pimping My Dell Inspiron Mini
« on: January 10, 2010, 12:23:01 PM »
I got a shiny new Dell Inspiron Mini 10 for Christmas from my girlfriend.

I knew it would be a time-sink the first day I opened the box, so I have waited until today to do so.


  • Intel®Atom®Processor Z530 (1.6GHz/533MHz FSB/512K Cache)
  • 1GB RAM (fixed size on CPU/Memory daughter board)
  • 10.1" Widescreen Display (1024x600)
  • 160GB, 2.5inch, 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • 56WHr Lithium-Ion Battery (6-cell) (optional upgrade that can have up to 8-hours w/o WiFi or much HDD I/O)
  • Dell Wireless 1520 802.11n Half Mini-Card
  • Windows® 7 Starter for Small Notebook PCs, 32bit, English

So today's task is to determine the best way to configure my new toy. So far I have just begun brainstorming about what software will go on it as "Levels 1-3".

Level 1 is the stuff used to keep the machine backuped up and sandboxed.
Level 1
If I don't use an Acronis product for backup and recovery, I also have full licenses to...
Other items I could add to Level 1, but I am not sure about (and I would like to hear you opinions on.)
  • FirstDefense-ISR as I have a purchased version of the origional professional workstation version that supports "Freeze". Not sure if I can run this when Acronis recovery is installed.
  • RollBack Rx is also an option because I purchased a license as an upgrade when FD-ISR was discontinued in is origional form.
  • Returnil Virtual System 2010 Home Free because it's free and I haven't taken a look at it in a long time.
Level 1a is online backup and recovery.
Level 1a
  • SpiderOak.com for online backup and secure file sync that is cross-platform.
Level 2 is the security level, including anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-rootkit, firewall, etc. I don't plan on running any of these items fulltime. Realtime scanning just slows a machine down needlessly for any advanced used that remains conscious of what they are doing. I will only use on-demand scanning nightly and anytime I download a file. I won't use a personal firewall most of the time as I will be inside private LANs. When I am using public WiFi I will run a firewall.

I haven't made any decisions on what software I plan to use here.

Level 2
Software I have licenses for...
  • Norton Internet Security 2010 - My girlfriend uses this as she is familiar with it and it has gotten good reviews from the trade press. She has a 3-license pack. I have used it recently to try, but the realtime stuff (as I fully expected) slows my other laptop to a crawl. I may install this suite and turn off all the realtime features and only use the stuff I need on-demand.
  • On a whim I purchased a 3-pack of VIPRE Antivirus because it was dirt cheap and it claims to be fast. I have yet to try it and might try this to see how fast it really is.
  • The computer comes from Dell with an 15-month license to McAfee software, but I despise McAfee and won't use it.
Other viable options are Comodo's AntiVirus and Firewall products. I have used both in the past and was reasonably happy with them. And I see they have added a Anti Malware software product to their lineup.

Level 3 is the utility level where I map drives by various means -- SMB, SFTP, SSH, online storage, etc.
Level 3
I am very interested to learn what ideas for changes or tweaks on levels 1-3 you have.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2010, 01:04:55 PM by tinjaw »


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Re: Pimping My Dell Inspiron Mini
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2010, 08:44:07 PM »
1GB RAM (fixed size on CPU/Memory daughter board)
Aww, that's a bit on the low end, even though Win7 is somewhat less hungry than Vista. Might be sufficient if it's only going to be used for light work, though... guess you won't be running heavy stuff anyway with that CPU :)

I won't use a personal firewall most of the time as I will be inside private LANs. When I am using public WiFi I will run a firewall.
Why bother? Just keep Windows' built-in firewall enabled (doubt you can feel a resource hit from it, even on that hardware) - it's fine for not getting exploited, which is what you should be worried about :)

I'd stay away from the Norton stuff - don't have personal experience with NIS 2010, but experience with previous products have been less-than-stellar. High resource consumption, not that good detection rate, and a b!tch to uninstall when you get tired of it. Might have changed, but somehow I doubt it - do they still use HTML for the interface, rendered with the IE engine? Very bad choice for a security product :)

PerfectDisk for real-time disk defragmentation.
Good choice :) - it's the best defragger I've come around since the venerable Nuts&Bolts for Win9x (gosh, that software was fast; seemed to do much more extensive pre-planning (resulting in less data shuffled around) than any defragger I've seen since). The user interface has become perpetually heavier and uglier for every new major release though, which is a shame.
- carpe noctem