Brain Transplant – Day One

Well, since I spent pretty much my entire day off in front of my laptop installing things, let’s talk about that! Not the most interesting topic, I’m willing to admit, but my brain is kinda fried and I’m not sure how much good I am for anything else at this point.

The day started early. I’m blaming Daylight Saving Time. It’s made me paranoid, and I’m waking up feeling far too rested for as early as work drags me out of bed. Seriously, waking up an hour later feels suspiciously like missing the alarm. But, seeing as the bed was warm and the room was cold, I managed to fight the urge to get up and tinker until my girlfriend’s alarm went off.

Once I got up, I spent a few minutes puttering around my computer, making sure everything was backed up satisfactorily. Think of it as taking one last look around a well-loved apartment, touching nooks and crannies where treasured belongings once sat. I was even able to get a second opinion on my drive’s health: Ubuntu said failure was imminent as well. Finally, I buckled down and started planning out my partition table. My new SSD was smaller than my failing hard drive, so I knew I was going to have to make some compromises.

Annoyingly, even though I knew this would be an issue, an advertized gigabyte is not necessarily a computing gigabyte. Most drives are advertized rated in gigabytes that are 10^9 bytes, which makes sense in a Base 10 system. Computers, however, use a Base 2 system, and in that case a gigabyte is 2^30 bytes. Which means that my “250 GB SSD” had only 232 GB usable. Oh well, such is life.

So I shut down my computer, unplugged it, and took out the battery. I removed the old hard drive with a touch of regret. As I inserted the new SSD, I was stuck by how much lighter it felt. Since there were no moving parts, it felt almost hollow. It went in simply enough (aside from missing the connections the first try because it was thinner than the old drive, and the computer was upside-down), and I set about the task of reinstalling Windows.

It went smoothly, aside from a small scare when it wouldn’t take my product key. But then I remembered: my Windows 7 was an “upgrade disc,” so it was looking for a previous installation of Windows Vista (ugh) that wasn’t there. Luckily a quick registry edit cleared that up with no problems.

The rest of the morning was spent downloading Windows updates, how many of which I eventually lost track. Luckily I had Netflix to keep me company; my queue is (finally) that much shorter. Once those were complete I started downloading my essential programs like Firefox (one of the few things Internet Explorer is good for), Avast! Antivirus, and LibreOffice. Once these were complete, I got around to re-installing some games, notably Minecraft and Team Fortress 2. I haven’t had much time to play yet, but here’s hoping there’s not too much to do over the next few days.

You know, when I write it out like that, my day sounds really boring. But in a way it was exciting: the thrill of a fresh OS install is like a crystal clear day after a snow, where the world is quiet and there are no tracks to be seen. You tramp through it soon enough, but for a while you can blaze your own path in whatever direction you may choose.

And how are things performing so far? You know, the question I set out to answer when I started writing this entry? Well, I will say that the SSD made the multiple restarts after updates and installations much speedier. A lot of the annoying quirks from before are also gone; whether that’s because of the new hardware or less OS cruft (there are a lot of programs I just dn’t need to reinstall) remains to be seen. Things do seem to be faster, though I haven’t done much in the way of gaming yet. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

You know, when they’re not needed on the keyboard.