Thursday, September 01, 2005

Mobile Computing [Tips for a Faster Startup - 09/01/2005]

Mobile Computing
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September 1st, 2005
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PC World Contributing Editor James A. Martin helps you make the most
of your computing on the go with tools, tips, and product
recommendations about handhelds and notebooks and more. This is the
newsletter of PC World's Laptops and PDAs & Cell Phones Info Centers.

* Laptops Info Center:
http://www.pcworld.com/resource/infocenter/0,ctrid,5,ic,Laptops,tk,mc,00.asp

* PDAs & Cell Phones Info Center:
http://www.pcworld.com/resource/infocenter/0,ctrid,18,ic,PDAsCellPhones,tk,mc,00.asp

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September 1st, 2005

In This Issue:

- Feature: Tips for Supersonic Startup
- Mobile Computing News, Reviews, & Tips: Dell's Lightweight X1;
ChemBook USA's Playful Portable; IPod Alarm Clock; Car Makers Include
Ways to Park Your IPod; Motorola's Razr-Inspired Smart Phone; Sky-High
Wi-Fi Entertainment

* Feature: Tips for Supersonic Startup *

Here's one thing I love about my PDA: I push the On button, and
boom--it's on.

As for my notebook, I push the On button and wait for all the little
programs to start up. And I wait. And wait.

When you're in a hurry and want to check e-mail, cooling your heels
while your notebook starts up is a real drag. Here are some ways to
minimize--and even avoid--those interminable delays.

Put Your Notebook Into Stand By Mode

Starting up from a complete shutdown takes so long because the
operating system has to reload numerous files into memory. Antivirus,
WinZip compression, and PDA synchronization utilities are among the
files automatically loaded during a Windows startup. Then you've still
got to launch the applications you need, such as your e-mail program.

To get going faster, put your notebook into Stand By mode instead of
shutting it down. In Stand By, your display and hard drive are shut
down, but all open applications and files are stored in memory. The
result: Your computer awakens from Stand By mode almost as quickly as
a PDA turns on. And all the applications and files you were working on
are open and ready for duty.

Stand By uses a low level of battery power, however. So if you'll be
traveling all day and need every bit of juice available, use Hibernate
mode instead.

Hibernate stores the contents of the notebook's memory in a file on
your hard drive (instead of in RAM), sets your notebook to load that
file's contents back into RAM at the next startup, and then shuts down
your notebook. Hibernate uses less power than Stand By, and returns
you to open files just like Stand By, but it takes longer to resume.

To go into Stand By, go to Start, Turn Off Computer and select Stand
By. For Hibernate, select Start, Turn Off Computer, hold down the
Shift key to see the Stand By option change to Hibernate, and click
Hibernate.

Banish Spyware and Adware

Spyware and adware can significantly slow startup--not to mention your
PC's performance overall. If your notebook is taking for-ev-er to
launch, it could be because of spyware or adware.

If you're not running an anti-spyware/adware program yet, it's time
you did. In PC World's August issue, Mary Landesman chose Sunbelt
Software's CounterSpy 1.5 ($20) as her top anti-spyware pick. Mary
liked CounterSpy's robust spyware and adware detection, easy-to-use
protection, and affordable price. Here's her review:
http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,121411,tk,mcx,00.asp

For more anti-spyware options, read Mary's lengthier feature, "Spyware
Stoppers":
http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,119572,tk,mcx,00.asp

Do Some Housecleaning

Here's another possible reason your notebook startup is s-l-o-w:
You've got too many programs on it, many of which have components that
must be launched at startup. Removing unwanted programs will help
improve startup performance.

To remove a program in Windows XP, select Start, Control Panel, Add or
Remove Programs, select the program you want to ditch, and click
Remove. Unfortunately, programs must be removed one at a time. If in
doubt, don't delete.

Stop Some Programs From Loading

Your Windows system tray, located in the bottom right-hand corner of
your screen, contains small icons for programs that automatically
start with the OS and run in the background. Chances are you don't
need all these programs running all the time; and cumulatively, they
slow your notebook's startup.

Some system-tray-resident programs let you disable their automatic
startup routine. Place your cursor over a program icon you don't think
you need to start up automatically and right-click. Select Open,
Options, Preferences, or something similar and look for an option that
enables the program to automatically start with Windows. Disable the
option. The changes should take effect when you restart. And don't
worry; you can still launch these programs from the Start menu when
they're needed.

Remove Programs From the Startup Folder

Some applications automatically place a shortcut icon in the Startup
folder to ensure they launch with Windows. But you can put a stop to
that.

Right-click the Start button and click Explore. Windows Explorer
launches with the Start Menu selected by default. Click the plus sign
next to Programs and click Startup. Shortcut icons will be listed in
the right-hand pane. If you're sure you don't need any of the programs
to launch automatically, cut and paste the shortcuts to the desktop,
then restart your notebook. If it turns out you did need one of the
programs to launch automatically, click and drag the shortcut back to
the Startup folder. Otherwise, delete it from the desktop.

Turn Off Automatic Program Launches

Not all programs install an icon in the system tray and run in the
background--and yet, they still start up automatically with Windows.
You can use Windows' System Configuration Utility to stop programs and
tasks from starting up automatically.

For example, the utility's Selective Startup lets you choose which
programs will be launched automatically with Windows. Before a plane
trip, for instance, you might use Selective Startup to stop antivirus,
firewall, Bluetooth, and other utilities you might not need in the air
from launching. Back on the ground, you can use the System
Configuration Utility to resume Normal startups, with all programs
loading automatically.

Here's how: Click Start, Run. In the Open field, type msconfig and
click OK to launch the System Configuration Utility. On the General
tab, click Selective Startup and then choose the Startup tab. Remove
the checks from any tasks you want to prevent from automatically
launching. Click OK. You'll need to restart for changes to take
effect.

To resume your regular startup routine, open the System Configuration
Utility again and choose Normal as the startup option.

Many of the tasks listed in the Startup tab will likely seem foreign
to you. To find out what the heck they are, you can look them up at
the Windows Startup Online Search page:
http://windowsstartup.com/wso/search.php

Use a Third-Party Utility

A number of utilities add more control over the startup process than
what's available in Windows.

For example, with Startup Organizer's Controlled Startup feature, you
can create a list of programs you don't want to load at startup.
Holding down the Shift key when booting up your notebook keeps those
programs from launching. In my informal tests of Startup Organizer,
I've found the program takes some getting used to but does what it
promises. The $25 program from MetaProducts is available as a 30-day
free trial, downloadable from PC World:
http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,25147,tk,mcx,00.asp

You can read more about it in Laura Blackwell's May "Download This"
column:
http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,121015,tk,mcx,00.asp

Your Tips

How do you make your notebook start up fast? Tell me about it:
james_martin@pcworld.com

* Mobile Computing News, Reviews & Tips *

Notebook Review: Dell's Lightweight X1

Weighing only 2.5 pounds, Dell's Latitude X1 is an ultralight notebook
for business travelers who don't mind the lack of an integrated
optical drive or the high price ($2051 for our test unit), says PC
World reviewer Carla Thornton. Its battery life is a bit weak, so
spring for the extra-cost, longer-life battery. Here's Carla's review:
http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,122039,tk,mcx,00.asp

Notebook Review: Chem USA's Playful Portable

Chem USA's ChemBook 2070 ($1769 for our test unit) is an easygoing
entertainment system with well-designed media buttons that make
playing DVDs and CDs effortless--even when the notebook is turned off.
The portable has a 15.4-inch wide-aspect screen and weighs 6.7 pounds,
excluding the power adapter. Carla Thornton's review of the ChemBook
2070 is at:
http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,122038,tk,mcx,00.asp

Gadget News: IPod Alarm Clock

The software in Apple's IPod music players includes an alarm-clock
function. But unless the IPod is connected to speakers--or you sleep
with earphones on--how are you going to wake up to your tunes?

The new IHome IH5 promises to answer this vexing quandary. The IHome
is an alarm clock FM/AM radio with a built-in IPod cradle and external
speakers. Plug in your Pod, and the alarm clock will awaken you to the
sounds of your music. The IHome also recharges your IPod. And if
you've left your music player in your workout bag, don't lose sleep
over it--the clock will still awaken you with a buzzer or AM/FM radio.
The IHome lists for $130, but I've seen it for $95 at Best Buy's Web
site:
http://find.pcworld.com/49430

For more info, go to the IHome site:
http://www.ihomeaudio.com

Gadget News: Car Makers Include Ways to Park Your IPod

Coming next year: More cars with stereos that include IPod hookups,
according to Apple. Among the auto makers soon to offer or currently
offering the IPod-friendly stereos are Alfa Romeo, BMW, Daihatsu,
Mazda, Mini, Nissan, and Smart. More info:
http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,122122,tk,mcx,00.asp

For more on the latest electronics, visit PC World's Digital
Entertainment Info Center:
http://www.pcworld.com/resource/infocenter/0,ctrid,10,ic,DigitalEntertainment,tk,mcx,00.asp

Wireless Gadget News: Motorola's Razr-Inspired Smart Phone

Motorola recently announced the Q, a sleek-looking, skinny Windows
Mobile 5.0-based smart phone with a QWERTY keyboard. The Q's look is
inspired by Motorola's popular and slim Razr clamshell phone. The
device, expected early next year, will include Bluetooth, a one-handed
navigation thumbwheel, and a 1.3-megapixel camera with flash. More
info:
http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,121972,tk,mcx,00.asp

Travel News: Sky-High Wi-Fi Entertainment

Boeing's Connexion high-speed Internet service now offers streaming
television for in-flight viewing on wireless notebooks. The service
will debut on Singapore Airlines, allowing passengers to view BBC,
CNBC, Eurosportnews, and MSNBC while in the United States, or EuroNews
when abroad.

Cathy Lu tested the service, noting that the streaming TV was
"definitely jumpy," but audio was stable. E-mail and instant messaging
worked well. Read "Wi-Fi in the Sky" for Cathy's report:
http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,121900,tk,mcx,00.asp

* Pass It On *

Know someone who needs to stay current on the latest mobile computing
news, reviews, and tips? They can sign up for this newsletter at the
PC World newsletter subscriptions page:
http://www.pcworld.com/resource/newsletters

* Suggestion Box *

Is there a particularly cool mobile computing product or service I've
missed? Contact me at:
james_martin@pcworld.com

I regret that, due to the volume of e-mail I receive, I'm unable to
respond to tech-support questions.

* See James Martin's previous Mobile Computing Features at:
http://www.pcworld.com/resource/columnist/0,colid,21,00.asp

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