I just purchased a new computer from Dell with Vista 64-bit. I’ve heard that the transition to 64-bit is often a rough one, so I’ll be keeping track of my progress here. To start, I visited the Windows Vista Compatability Center and checked that my major hardware will still work with the OS. This included my laser printer, scanner, and of less importance a card reader, Bluetooth adapter and a new TV tuner. The existing hardware was 1-3 years old and all of it will work just fine.

I opted to go with Vista Home Premium and I’ll save my money until Windows 7 comes out later this year and upgrade to the highest level then. With the exception of remote desktop, there’s nothing that I’ll be missing out on by having Home Premium.

I didn’t go with top of the line components but close. I do a bit of video editing, a lot of photo editing, and not much gaming. Here are the specs:

  • Dell Studio XPS 435MT
  • Core i7-920 processor, 2.66GHz, quad core
  • 6GB DDR3 1067MHz
  • 22″ Widescreen Full HD LCD Dell monitor
  • ATI Radeon HD4670 with 512MB memory
  • 640GB SATA Hard drive, 7200 RPM
  • Vista Home Premium 64-bit
  • 2-16X DVD+/-RW Drives

This is a major step up from my current 7+ year old system (frequently updated) that I built myself. Current specs are:

  • AMD Athlon 1.2GHz
  • 1GB PC133
  • 17″ 4:3 LCD Dell Monitor
  • ATI Radeon All-In-Wonder 7500 64MB
  • 500GB PATA hard drive, 72oo RPM
  • XP Pro 32-bit
  • 16X DVD+/-RW Drive
  • 52X CD-RW/-RW Drive
  • Unidentified burning smell (main reason for upgrade)

Look for my new 64-bit M@’s Picks, and anything else that I learn about taking the step to 64-bit in the next month or two.

VideoLan Client (VLC) is a media player that works with many OS’s. Unlike Windows Media Player, and many others, VLC has all of the codecs that you might need built in. So if you’re having trouble playing a particular file, give it a try. Also, there are several advanced features of the software that allow you to do transcoding, live streaming, and video capture.

KeePass Password Safe is a password management program. Passwords are stored encrypted in a file, and are listed in a simple spreadsheet style interface within the program. In addition to user names and passwords, you can store additional notes and information about the service that they’re used for. It also has some nice features, such as creating strong a password for you automatically when you add a new password to your safe. KeePass will allow you to copy any password from the program to the clipboard, and it will then automatically clear the clipboard after 10 seconds, helping to keep your password secure.

Working with multiple monitors and can’t get your windows to line up with the edges of them very well? I use AllSnap to do this for me. It makes the edges of all windows and monitors sticky so as you drag the border of a window to resize it, when you get close to another window or screen edge, it will stick to it, making easy to line things up. This also works very nicely when Window’s default tiling of windows doesn’t leave you with an arrangement you like, just do it yourself and leave a narrow sliver for one window, and make the other take up the whole screen.