May 25, 2012

How to Manually Setup the IP Address of your Vista Laptop

By default, your Vista laptop is setup to request IP address from a DHCP server in your network. However, this automatic IP address assignment sometimes does not work correctly resulting in lost connection to your network and thereby not having connection to the Internet. Manually setting up your IP address gives your Vista laptop a correct IP address to be able to communicate effectively with the rest of the computers in your network. However, it requires some knowledge of the operation of the Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). That your Vista laptop failed to receive an IP address from your router is represented with a yellow triangle with an exclamation point between your computer and your router in your control panel's Network and Sharing diagram.

If you're using a wired or wireless router in your home, then what you have is a local area network and you need to use an addressing scheme that uses the private network address range established under TCP/IP. You define an address range of consecutive IP addresses that starts with the address of your network and ends with the broadcast address of your network. Except the first and the last address in the range, any of the included addresses can be assigned to computers in your network. The valid IP addresses that may be used in your network is determined by your network's subnet mask. Routers perform a mathematical operation on the computer's IP address and its subnet mask to determine as to which network that computer belongs.

To find out what IP address to assign to your Vista laptop, it is of utmost importance that you know the IP address range that your network is using. If you did not use a customized address scheme for your network, then you would most probably be using the default network address range provided by your router. This range typically includes more than 250 consecutive addresses that starts with zero and ends with 255. By using a customized IP address scheme, you can limit the number of computers that can participate in your network by using a unique subnet mask. By doing this, you can have more networks with fewer computers in each network rather than having one big network.

To know what IP address range your network is using, you have to check what the IP address and subnet mask your router is using in your local area network (LAN). If your router is using the default IP address and subnet mask provided by its manufacturer, then probably your subnet mask ends in 0 which means that the range of IP address your network is using consists of 255 consecutive network addresses that starts with 0 and ends with 255 of which the first and the last ones are not normally assigned to any computer.

The IP addresses are constructed with the same first three numbers and varying only with the last number starting from 1 to 254 which are considered the valid IP addresses for your network. You router is typically assigned the first available IP address. So for example if your network's IP address range is 192.168.0.1 through 192.168.0.254 with a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0, then 192.168.0.1 is assigned to your router and the rest are assigned to the other computers in the network. If such is your situation, you can choose one address high above the range, say 192.168.0.251 with a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0 as the IP address that you will set manually for your Vista laptop.

Before you manually setup your Vista laptop's IP address, you need to make sure that your laptop is not being reserved a particular IP address by the router in your network. If your laptop is using a reserved IP address, you need to access your router and remove the MAC address of your laptop from the reservation list of the DHCP server in your router. You can simply disable the line where your laptop's MAC address is given rather than deleting the whole line.

Next, you should free a few addresses high above your IP address range for assigning manually to a few computers. To do this, you have to access your router and modify the address range that your router is set to distribute among the computers in your network. Following on the above example, you should subtract a few numbers from the high end of the range, say you can specify that the address range that your router should assign to computers in your network should be from 192.168.0.2 up to 192.168.0.250. Don't forget to save the changes that you have made to your router's settings.

Logon to your Vista laptop as Administrator, open your Vista control panel, and click on Network and Internet. Click on Network and Sharing Center and on the left panel, click on Manage network connections. Right click the network adapter that you're using to connect to your network, then click on Internet Protocol Version 4. Click on the Properties button then click the small circle that says Use the following IP address. Enter the IP address that you have chosen to use for your Vista laptop and enter the same subnet mask that your router is using. In the Default gateway and the Preferred DNS server, enter the IP address of your router. Click on the OK button then close all open control panel windows.

Your Vista laptop will then reconnect with your network using the new IP address and every time that you turn on your laptop, it won't request for an IP address anymore since it has one already manually set for it. Now when you go to another place where IP addresses are assigned by the router, you have to revert back to your laptop's original setup by repeating the procedure outlined above and by clicking on Obtain an IP address automatically and then clicking the OK button.



May 22, 2012

What To Do with your Old Vista Home Computer

Times have changed. It used to be that your Vista laptop was top of the line. It did serve you well, yes it did. But now, it has grown old and sluggish. It has become bloated with large and sometimes unnecessary software. There were too many corrections on the original version of the operating system. It seemed that it was shipped with too many vulnerabilities that were not addressed during the development process. Perhaps there were some fatal flaw in its basic design, we don't know.

It takes too long to boot and it makes too much use of your laptop's hard disk. With Vista in your laptop, your hard disk may soon give up and break down. Its network connection leaves so much to be desired. It breaks down so easily even if you have a router that uses its firewall to flag undesirable connections. You can't stay long in the Internet without something happening to your connection. Now, you're thinking of replacing your Vista laptop with something better, something that boots faster, more agile, takes care of the hard disk, and provides a more stable network connection.

But don't throw out your Vista laptop yet. Because it is possible to breathe new life on it. You can revive your aging laptop with a new and better operating system. And guess what: that new operating system is Linux.

Yes times have changed. Game changing major developments have occurred in the Linux community recently. Internet's search behemoth Google has supported the development of a Linux derivative in the form of Android, a powerful and versatile operating system for mobile devices. There was a blossoming of Linux distributions that cater to anyone's unique and particular taste, from the tiny ones that run from a floppy disk to the full blown types that are capable of slogging it out with the much maligned Windows operating system.

Ubuntu was one of the first distributions that have won acceptance in the business community and gained wide following among computer enthusiasts.  Then came Puppy Linux and Parted Magic but the most outstanding and very much suited for use in home computers is Linux Mint. It's hard to believe that a group of committed and passionate open source developers supported only with donations could come up with such an excellent output. Linux Mint is to say the least simply phenomenal.

With Linux Mint you can say goodbye to the long time that you have to wait before your Vista laptop can boot up and is ready for use. Say hello to a clean and attractive Mac like desktop that can work as fast as you can. Bid adieu to the valuable time you have wasted finding out why you lost your Internet connection. Welcome to the ease of use and flawless design that wouldn't send you calling technical support for the rest of your working life. But most of all, feel the excitement of having extra cash in your pocket and why so? Because Linux Mint is totally and absolutely free.

Switching from Windows Vista to Linux Mint won't take a leap of faith on your part for as your children would say it's very much Windows like. You wouldn't miss a thing from your old Windows environment because what you did have in Windows are amply provided for with a more thought of and better alternative. Home computers are meant to do just simple things and don't need to have a software environment full of things that are nice to have but are never used. Linux Mint is the best alternative for the Windows Vista that is now installed in your laptop.

And so my recommendation is for you to download the latest Linux Mint installation file and burn it to a blank DVD disc using the BurnCDCC software. Reboot your laptop and setup your BIOS to boot from your DVD drive. Linux Mint will run as a live DVD installation. Test drive it and if you like it, you can dual boot your Vista laptop with Linux Mint. Then if you think you're ready to part ways with  your Vista, remove Vista and replace it entirely with Linux Mint.



May 21, 2012

Give your Old Vista Laptop a New Lease of Life with Linux Mint

You have been using your old Vista laptop for several years already and for a while you notice that it is exhibiting symptoms of old age. No longer does it look classy and grand but it has gotten more difficult to work with. It takes some time to boot and you notice that it has become more and more sluggish. It uses your laptop's hard disk too much that you worry of again suffering from a broken hard disk. You wait until your hard disk is no longer busy before starting any work, fearing that your hard disk may break down again.

Worry no more for there's a solution to your problem. Software developers from the Linux community has come up with a new operating system that can pose a big challenge to the Windows dominance in the market for home computers. It is known as Linux Mint and you can use it to replace your aging Vista and breathe new life to your  old laptop.

Home computers do not need expensive and full featured operating systems similar to those found in government and business offices. They have no need for sophisticated software programs for the service that they render are simple and straightforward. Linux Mint happens to provide this exact fit for the software requirements of a home computer. It is undoubtedly more superior to your aging Vista in more ways than one but its most astonishing feature is that it won't cost you a penny to use it. Yes, the operating system is free an you can simply download it from the Internet and install it in your laptop.

But before you can use it, you need to make a bootable DVD first. For this, you have to do a relatively large file download. I suggest that you use a Torrent client to download the Linux Mint installation image. To create the Linux Mint boot disc, download the BurnCDCC software and use it to make a boot DVD disc with the Linux Mint installation file as the input. Then you can restart your laptop and during the startup set your BIOS to boot from the DVD ROM drive.

You can test drive first how it will work with your old laptop by running it live from the DVD drive of your laptop. Once convinced of its usefulness and  its fitness to respond to your home computing needs, you can either dual boot Linux Mint with your Windows Vista on your laptop or replace your old Vista totally with Linux Mint. Dual booting allows you to run two operating systems on your laptop by giving you a choice as to which operating system to start when you turn on your laptop. It allows you to accomplish tasks that can only be done on Vista and at the same time gives you a chance to experience a new way of home computing with Linux Mint.

You won't find it difficult to switch from Windows Vista to Linux Mint because the Linux Mint desktop works just like how it is done in Vista with windows representing running applications in your laptop. However, you will certainly feel a taste of Mac like elegance in the way how windows are drawn and the crispness in the way text is displayed on the desktop. You don't need to buy additional software since it comes to you complete and ready to go. You can install additional software from the Linux Mint software repository if you want to include a specific functionality that suits your particular needs.

You also save much needed cash firstly since you may decide not to buy a new laptop and then you get to extend the useful life of your old laptop. And if you really need to buy a new one for your home, you can buy one that has no operating system installed and install Linux Mint on it. You thus generate cash savings that you can use for other important purposes. The savings could be substantial if you think of additional software that you need to buy if you go with a new Windows laptop.

We are grateful to the committed and passionate software developers in the Linux community for giving us an outstanding product that enables us to perform our home computing tasks more easily and more effectively and at the same time enabling us to save some cash that can greatly help us in these times of serious financial crisis. Once you have experience using Linux Mint in your old Vista laptop, perhaps you'll agree with me that Linux Mint is not only astonishing. In one word, it's phenomenal.