26 December 2011

Yes! ASUS Laptop Resolution Fixed [by me]

You may recall the last post about ASUS support saying that my laptop didn't support Windows 7 and there was no help available for changing the resolution or recognising the ATI card instead of some default PnP monitor...

... a colleague said 'just get the driver from ATI (now AMD). Tried that but still couldn't get Windows to recognise it and spent a while going round in circles. Then I had a look at an identical laptop that had been running Windows 7 fine for ages and I did know what graphics card it had and what to do with it. Diving into Display properties you can eventually find Driver details which lists all the files apparently required. I copied those from one machine to the other. The next time I hit Update Driver, instead of being told that I already had the most up-to-date driver for a PnP monitor, Windows proceeded to get what it reckoned I needed and a few moments later I see this screen.

So I'm afraid that ASUS support haven't exactly excelled themselves on this query and, presumably, have left a whole pile of customers languishing in XP or Vista land or with ovals where there should be circles.

I'm not quite sure whether my efforts actually helped or whether Windows just took its time realising the ATI card was there. Either way, job was done in time to give the youngest son his brother's previously ailing but now looking and working great laptop on Christmas morning. As few people will have more than one of these laptops, if you have a similar problem and need the driver file list just drop me an e-mail.

23 December 2011

ASUS: Is this problem solved? ME: No. Obviously not.

I have bought two ASUS F5V laptops in 2008. Both have done good service, one being carted everywhere with me and often used in class when the software I wanted wasn't available on College machines. The other started off with my daughter who passed it on to my son and now it's going to his younger brother. I'd put Windows 7 on mine, initially the trial version Microsoft issued and later an N version from work. That's been fine although I did have to fiddle around to get the web cam working again. So I thought I'd put a similar version on the younger son's to spruce it up a bit and, in the process, clear out all the rubbish that had accumulated as only a clean installation can achieve.

All went well, running like new except for a couple of minor-looking things. There were only two settings available for the screen resolution as Windows only puts on a PnP generic driver without the settings I need for the widescreen monitor. So I have oval icons instead of round ones. The other was the web cam again but otherwise no worries.

So I dropped ASUS suupport a line, having found nothing on their site of much use. Today I get this e-mail:

That can't be right. I know it's old but surely a driver for a screen display isn't that difficult to provide, especially as my other identical machine works OK. If anyone knows where I can find it on one machine then perhaps I can somehow copy it on to the other one.

I could also do with the registry amendments required to convince the machine that it has a DVD drive, not a CD drive. Having said that, it did just manage to read the installation DVD so that might be a dirty reader rather than a driver problem.

Suggestions welcome.

19 December 2011

"My Program Files Look Quite Lonely..."

A clean installation of Windows 7 left my son with just a few, lonely-looking applications in his Program Files folder. "What else do you think I should get?" he asked. I was tempted to say "Nothing - you can do everything on-line these days" but I just know he won't be capable of leaving half a terabyte of space empty so before he starts downloading this, that and probably the other too, I decided to list what I had lying around and which did actually get used. And why. And, by the way, they're all *free.

It may be a useful guide to others too so I thought I'd publish it here. That also saves me typing it in an e-mail. (I've omitted games which you'll know far more about than me!)

Security stuff:
CCleaner helps tidy drives up and remove rubbish
WinPatrol (Scotty) keeps an eye on changes you may not want applications to make
Microsoft Security Essentials (it may be there already) jolly good anti-virus and general protection from Microsoft getting it right for a change
Prey (for mobile phone protection link) activate a camera and GPS or shut down if you think it's stolen

Design / photos etc
Irfanview open anything, quickly.
Picasa Google's brilliant album and editing application
JAlbum Another excellent on-line album maker
Sketchup make shapes, be an architect or just have fun
ColorPix get exactly the colour you need
Rasterbator make huge pictures and cartoon effects
Serif DrawPlus design
SerifPhotoPlus edit
SerifWebPlus publish
ArtRage draw, paint, splash around

Windows MediaPlayer (if not there already)
Spotify one of the first in the on-line music field
VLC Media Player play anything
Total Recorder record anything

Nuance PDFReader better PDFs
Skype communicate
7Zip compress and extract
LibreOffice if you haven't got Microsoft Office

Rockmelt or just Chrome
Firefox (English UK) still useful to have around
(and ensure Internet Explorer updates automatically even if you never use it!)

*Serif offer free older versions but students can get the latest versions for about £10.
Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote are all freely available on-line via SkyDrive.