July 22, 2016: I'm up and running on a
new laptop after my old faithful Dell Studio 17 decided it was time to retire.
It still works but the case is cracked, internal fingerprint reader is dead, and
the last straw was when right shift button on the keypad died., I had
purchased it as a "refurb" in 2009 so it has served
The new laptop is an HP Envy 17t-n100 which meets my
specification requirements (17" screen, 2 internal SATA hard drives, fingerprint reader,
6 processor, and backlit keyboard). The current 17" Envy's do not have two
internal SATA drive ports, which I need because my OS drive is a relatively new
500GB SanDisk Extreme. The new Envy "refurb" n100 version
comes with two 2TB internal drives, I7-6700 CPU, 16GB memory, an NVidia GPU, etc. for
$950. I added the 3 year HP "Care Pack" warranty coverage with
on-site and accidental damage coverage for $200. I'd say that the price
In addition to having the features I wanted,
the system has:
Four USB 3.0 ports. old laptop had none.
SDXC Flash card support; old laptop had only SDHC (32GB
Room for a 3rd internal disk drive - M.2 SSD Flash
Two empty memory slots for expansion to 32GB, but I
not sure why I would.
Two-finger scrolling on the touchpad is a handy substitute for the
mouse-wheel on a desktop mouse.
cooler than the old Studio 17; so much so that I have also retired the lap
desk previously required. Envy bottom temperatures are barely above
It's slightly lighter (6.8 lbs, down from 7.2 lbs for the old Dell).
Keyboard keys are silver with a thin transparent
outline area for the key names. It's impossible to read key ids while reclining in my favorite chair
and viewing keys at a 45° angle . Touch typists might be OK with it, but I'm not one of those.
Touch pad has a large fancy "gesture" recognition
area which makes some areas
unavailable for tapping. Specifically the top area of the pad (where I've tapped for years) is dead to taps. I keep thinking that there must be a way
to solve this, but I haven't found it yet. (July 25 update: I found a "Smart
Sense" mouse option parameter which allows the active area to be enlarged to
include the full pad.)
Not to get too technical, the new disk drives are formatted as
GBT rather than the older MBA type. Cloning one was a pain.
There is a possible bug in keyboard driver with key status not being
updated on time See this month's project link:
Keypress Display Demo for more information.
Reasons to upgrade to Windows 10:
The main reason that to
upgrade is that it is inevitable. Free support is gone.
Even paid support from Microsoft will end at the end of 2019. If
you want to stick with Windows, learn to live with W10!
Scaling of text is claimed to
properly scale forms and other visual controls when the the
"Enlarge text" feature is used. That is not the case with previous
versions. High resolution screens and old eyes practically make
this a required option.
There is built-in "Microsoft
Print to PDF" printer. Very convenient for saving web pages.
Hmmm. I'll add more as
I find them. Performance is excellent, but the new hardware
probably gets most of the credit.
On the other hand....
Unfortunately it comes with
some things I do not
Essential programs (for me),
that ran in Windows 7 (Delphi 7
compiler, and FrontPage web site manager), sort of run under W10 in
compatibility mode with some problems still. They may have been
running in compatibility mode in W7, so I may have to go back to XP
compatibility mode - still testing. (July 25 update: After
two days of experimenting, I've concluded that FrontPage will never be
completely compatible with Windows 10. Pop-up windows for
selecting from or saving to another location will not select the current
website folders.) (July 28 update: I'm now running a
"Virtual Machine" with Windows 7 and FrontPage installed and working!)
intrusive: I do not want tiles, Cotana's "friendly" assistance,
Microsoft monitoring and tracking everything I read or write,
places I go, sharing with my friends, etc. even if it is all so that they
"provide better service"! All of that, and more, happens if you accept
recommended settings during initial startup.
The "OneDrive" cloud service is now mandatory and can't be removed.
Hiding it to minimize the bad effects is a 10 step process which removed things
like my Outlook email files (since the system had decided for me that they
should reside "in the cloud").
Uninstall-able (and perhaps unneeded) system updates cannot be
hidden. Update just keeps failing and reporting daily. Again,
there is a cumbersome work-around.
There is a major upgrade build for W10 which is also failing
daily because it "cannot be installed on a USB flash drive". Have no idea
yet what this is about. (July 25: Solved - a registry parameter specified that the
operating system was "mobile" - changing a 1 to a 0 let the update run
The new Edge web browser is not ready
for prime time. It does not accept "extensions" (add-ins).
I use the LastPass password manager for logging onto websites with strong unique
hpasswords and consider it to be mandatory, so Edge is out for now.
The Windows 10 Calculator
program is not as user friendly as the Windows 7 version, but again there
the W7 version is available elsewhere (I think).
All in all, I think I have a
keeper. Even an old dog has to learn a new trick or two sometimes.
(But I still hate that "Tile" interface!)
October 3,2016: After a few months, here's an update mode in
conjunction with our 3rd quarter newsletter. First one correction - I just
noticed that I had listed the price as $1950; it was actually $950.
The laptop is fast and stays so cool
that I really can work with it on my lap, but the keyboard has low travel keys
with the non-character keys arranged differently than the Dell keyboards I've
used for 20 years. Muscle memory is hard to retrain so keying productivity
has gone from slow to slower. Windows 10 has compatibility problems with
older programs like Delphi 7, my preferred comp and FrontPage 2003, my website
maintenance program, and MailList King the mailing list manager I've used for many years.
Special thanks to Nigel at
for helping get the list data transferred and working under Windows 10.
There is lots of "behind the screen" stuff required to handle list management and
the actual sending process and MLK handles it well.
Delphi 7 and FrontPage have no good
compatibility fixes and still require "workarounds" for some operations. Modern
alternatives are available, but changing is like giving up that comfortable old
pair of shoes for new, less comfortable, ones. In the case of FrontPage,
there is no modern replacement program that has as many user friendly features
so conversion will be time consuming and not at all on my list of fun