Aug 06

Screen brightness issues

I noticed today my laptop’s brightness could not be adjusted any more, I wasn’t sure what was causing this as I disabled some services and startup programs to conserve cpu/ram. But in the end that didn’t seem to be the cause of this issue. I googled for a couple of minutes and quickly came to a thread on the Microsoft Social boards which had numerous posts by people who have the same problem.

– These people have a wide variety of laptop brands and types
– The symptoms are the same
– There seems to be no fix yet

The problem is as follows:

Whenever you have your laptop go to standby (Windows XP) or  Sleep (Windows Vista/7) brightness adjustments won’t actually change your screen’s brightness any more, even though the slider graphic appears. I have just tested with hibernation and it does not happen with this mode. This seems to be a Windows 7 problem as I’ve seen that people who are complaining about this all have 7.

The only “fix” at the moment is rebooting your laptop. Again a problem Microsoft should fix some time.

Aug 04

New laptop: first impressions

Last week’s Wednesday I ordered a new laptop on the Dell website, used their webchat to get a better setup for a smaller price. After about 3 hours (the Dell person was VERY SLOW with responding) I got myself a nice laptop:

Dell Studio 1558
Intel i7 720QM Quadcore with hyperthreading
ATI Radeon 5470HD
4GB DDR3 1333Mhz
500 GB 7200RPM HDD
9Cel Li-ion battery (around 4 hours on idle I noticed)

Anyways, as I got a free Windows 7 Professional x64 license through the MSDN Academic Alliance I formatted the disk and installed that. After getting all Windows Updates there are a few things I’ve noticed:

– Gadgets do not want to install anymore (Windows Sidebar). I googled a bit and the solutions given do not help. (Turn UAC back on, add a DWORD in the registry, uninstall a particular hotfix, …). Not sure what’s up with that.

– Whenever you create a new folder the following message appears: “This is no longer located in [PATH]. Verify the item’s location and try again.” I read it’s because of some hotfix Microsoft released a couple of days ago.

I hope Microsoft fixes both issues as they’re kind of annoying.

All in all I’m very happy with this laptop, it’s blazing fast in comparison with my old one, as well as only half the weight and a lot smaller and less noisy. Not sure what I’m going to do with my old laptop yet but for now my physical desktop has 2 laptops, 2 mice and an external screen which both laptops are hooked up with (DVI and VGA).


I have found a fix for the gadgets. You can check out the following page or follow my step-by-step guide:

1. Open up your [GadgetName].gadget with your favourite unpacking software (e.g. WinRAR)
2. Open up Windows Explorer and go to  C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets
3. Create a new folder called [GadgetName].gadget
4. Extract the files you have open in your unpacking software into this folder
5. Your gadget will now appear in the Gadget Library

Note: Change [GadgetName] to the name of the gadget you wish to install, change [USERNAME] to your username. If you don’t see the AppData folder, you’ll need to change the Folder Options so it shows system files.