I recently purchased a Seagate 1TB Gaming SSHD SATA 8GB NAND SATA 6Gb/s 2.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive (ST1000LM014) (FYI:  this is an Amazon affiliate link) in hopes to provide my wife’s old Gateway NV79 laptop a new lease on life.

Here’s some background:

  1. The existing drive was still functional and served as the root drive (drive C).
  2. It had a capacity of 500GB but was short on space due to the massive amount of photos my wife was saving on her existing desktop.
  3. These photos are priceless.  I can’t imagine losing these pictures as they are irreplaceable.

Here’s what I planned in order to get the new drive to take over without having to redo everything (from re-installing the operating system and re-installing all her existing applications):

  1. Do a backup of her profile, along with all her files, create a recovery image of the system, and create a system repair disk
  2. Remove the old disk drive, then install the new larger disk drive
  3. Boot of the recovery/repair disk and restore the system image
  4. Done

Backing Up User Profile/Create System Image/Create System Repair disk

Using Windows 7’s built-in backup and restore utility, I proceeded to do three things:

  1. Backup my wife’s user files
  2. Create a System Image
  3. Create a System Repair Disk

Backup My Wife’s User Files

Of utmost importance is to first ensure my wife’s priceless photographs are safe.  To do this, I purchased a Seagate Expansion 5TB Desktop External Hard Drive USB 3.0 (STEB5000100) (FYI:  This is an affiliate link).  This should serve me well for storing file backups as well as the system image I will be creating in the next section.

To launch Windows 7 Backup and Restore utility, click START, then in the search field enter “backup and restore” and this will show the Backup and Restore utility.  Select it to open.  You should see this simple utility interface pop up:

Backup and Restore Utility

Backup and Restore Utility

Now click Set up backup and follow the prompts.  You should see a screen just like below.  In the image, you see arrows pointing to potential backup destinations.  In this particular example, my 5TB USB drive isn’t connected, but if it was, it would show up as another disk drive with over 4.5 TB of free space.  That was the drive I actually selected for my backup destination.

Target Backup Destination Drive

Target Backup Destination Drive

In general, you will want to select the target drive with sufficient space to take on large backups.  After you select the destination drive, click Next and follow the prompts.  At a certain point, you will have the opportunity to change any default settings, but in general, unless you really know what you are doing, you can leave default settings as they are.  Then invoke the backup now.  Depending how much data you have, it could take anywhere from several minutes to a few hours.  Mine took a few hours (around 3 hours I think).

Create a System Image

During the backup process, you will have the option to select to have a system image made.  Make sure to set that.  I did this to save myself a lot of time doing software and driver re-installs.  Believe me, it is worth it.

Note that I had problems creating a system image.  I figured that this was due to not having enough disk space left on the root drive (drive C) as my wife’s photos used up most of the disk drive space.  Having backed up the photos, I proceeded to delete all her photo folders.  This was a scary thing because at this point, I am putting my trust in Microsoft’s backup utility to save me should something go south with this process.  After doing this, I was able to build a system image.

Create a System Repair Disk

When the system finishes creating both the user file backups and the system image, it will prompt you about creating a system repair disk.  I opted to do this.  I readied my DVD-R disc; it takes one.

Remove Old Disk Drive and Install New One

At this point in time, I turned off the computer and removed the old disk drive and placed the new one.

Use System Repair Disk to Restore the Saved System Image

This is where the actual recovery process begins.  Before I using the system repair disk, I configured the system BIOS to seek the DVD drive first as the boot device, then pressed F10 to save and exit the BIOS setup. I placed my system repair disk in the DVD drive my Gateway NV79, then restarted the computer by simply turning it OFF then turning it ON.

The laptop began to boot from the DVD and determined that I will be doing an image restore.  At this point, I still had my 5TB external USB drive connected to the laptop.  After the utility gets started, you will opt to restore from an image.

It was at this point that I encountered the error that the system could not restore the image because the system repair disk says “No disk that can be used for recovering the system disk can be found.”  After seeing this, I thought perhaps I needed to match the partition configuration of the original drive, so I ran diskpart.exe and tried this.  It didn’t work.  After trying a few things that didn’t work, I finally gave in by doing a search on google.  I found the answer at  It turns out, all I needed to do on the disk drive was to run diskpart.exe, select the drive, and invoke CLEAR on it.

After I did this, the image restore process worked as it should have in the first place.

Everything that was on the original disk drive was restored, less the photos.

To fix this, I simply invoked the file/folder restore within the backup and restore utility and selected the photo folders to be restored.


What I thought was going to be a routine process turned out to be one heck of an effort.  What really screwed me up was Windows 7 image restore now working the way it should in the first place without having to execute the DISKPART utility’s CLEAR command on the new drive.


I’ve been looking for a nice but cost effective gaming laptop for some time now.  After over a month of searching, I found  the ASUS ROG G751JL-DS71 17.3-Inch Gaming Laptop which my wife purchased for me at  At the time of purchase, the unit cost $1199.  For this price I got an awesome ASUS gaming laptop with the following specs:

  • 17.3″ display screen
  • 1TB of 7400 RPM hard disk drive
  • 16GB of RAM
  • Intel i7 processor
  • NVIDIA 965M with 2GB of video RAM

At the time of this writing, I’ve had the laptop for a period of over one month.  To date, I’ve used it to play awesome games like Guild Wars 2, The Witcher: Wild Hunt, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Minecraft, and Grand Theft Auto V.  My experience with the unit and the games has been great to say the least.

The laptop performed extremely well.  Specifically, I didn’t perceive any lag in any of the games I’ve played.  Even with the graphics settings set to maximum, the laptop ran and displayed the games smoothly.  In addition, the fast 7400 RPM 1TB hard disk drive really showed off ASUS ROG G751JS’s speed in terms of boot time.  I could really perceive its fast boot speed having used a solid state drive on a work laptop.

I could easily run a benchmark test on the unit, but my own senses really could really tell that this unit is a computing and gaming workhorse.  At the price my wife purchased this for, $1199 is well worth the price.  Depending on supply and demand, the price for this awesome gaming laptop could go up or down.

I highly recommend this laptop, especially if you are looking for a cost effective entry level gaming laptop.  Note that the only “entry level” about this laptop is its price.

If you have the same laptop, please share your experience by commenting below.

Acer Iconia A500

Acer Iconia A500

This is a a true story about how my Acer Iconia Tab A500 stopped charging, and how I chalked it up to battery life, when it actually turned out to be a charger issue.   If you wish to delved deeper into my experience with the issue, read on, but below is the quick synopsis of the problem, symptoms, and solution so you can down to fixing your Acer Iconia A500 tablet battery charging problem.

  • Problem:  My Acer Iconia Tab A500 is no loner charging
  • Symptoms:  power light indicator flashes white and tablet doesn’t charge
  • Solution:  Purchase a replacement charger.


About two years ago, I purchased an Acer Iconia T500 tablet–my very first tablet.  About 6 months ago, I found that it wasn’t charging any more.  The symptoms began when I plugged in the charger and noticed that the charging indicator on the power button was lit and was flashing.  Normally, when it is charging, the color would be amber, and it would just be lit; but this time it was white and flashing on and off.  I thought maybe it is still charging, so I left it plugged in over night.  The following morning, I checked to see if I could turn the tablet on, but much to my dismay I would turn it on then quickly shutdown.

In Search for a Solution

Computer batteries typically have a life of about two years.  So I thought since I’ve had the tablet for over two years now, it was overdue.  I chalked it up to battery failure, and never really thought much about it until I had the urge to do further investigation just several weeks ago.

Since my first gut feel told me that it was the battery, why not buy a battery? has everything, so I checked there and found this:  Geniune Acer Iconia A500 Tablet Battery ($14.99).  I have prime membership on, so I received this battery within a couple of days.  I didn’t know how to open the tablet and get the battery replaced, so I browsed through YouTube and found a good video which shows how it’s done:

Anyway, I was able to change the battery with the help of this video.  Upon replacing the battery, I was able to turn on the tablet.  The new battery had about 24% charge on it. It continued to discharge upon use, and unfortunately, even when plugged into the charger, the battery still didn’t charge.  The power indicator continued to flash white.  It wasn’t the battery!

I searched for other possible solutions on the web, but no luck.  There was nothing out there that really matched the symptoms my tablet was experiencing.  I finally thought that there is only one possible answer to this, why not just try replacing the charger.  It may be just inexpensive enough to try this.

Again, I went back to my trustee source–  I found this adapter:  Pwr+ 6.5 ft Rapid 2amp charger.  It only costs $13.90.  Not bad.

Pwr+ 2amp charger

Pwr+ 2amp charger

Again, I received the order within two days.  Upon receiving it, I plugged in my Acer Iconia A500 tablet and low and behold it began charging.

Finally, problem solve!


Although the solution to my Acer Iconia A500 tablet charging problem was solved by replacing the charger, I still show the process I went through and the other solutions I tried just in case the problem you are experiencing is battery related.  Hopefully this has been helpful to you.  If so, please let me know.  If not, and you found another solution, just let me know by commenting below.

Q1 2012 PC Vendor Market Share

Q1 2012 PC Vendor Market Share (credit: Apple Outsider)

Since the introduction of the Apple iPad in April 2010, then the entry of the extremely affordable Kindle Firein November 2011, the sales of traditional computers like laptops and desktops have slowly dwindled.

Check out the graph which clearly shows the trend in sales for the Apple iPad.  Notice Q1/2010.  This is when the iPad was released.  With the exception of Lenovo, all PC vendor market shares were trending down.

Look at Q4/2011. Notice that the Lenovo market share begins to show a hint of a downward trend.  Q4/2011 was when the Kindle Fire was introduced by  For $199 a pop, the Kindle Fire quickly moved up second to the iPad in the tablet computer market.

I work in the IT (Information Technology) field.  My general bias is to people who happen to have the traditional personal computer.  But, based on recent conversations with people considering a new purchase of a computing platform, most see themselves as buying a tablet computer.  The reason being is that most users have really been using computers to do one or more of the following activities:

  1. Check e-mail
  2. Stay connected via social networking
  3. Shop online
  4. Read the latest news and gossip
  5. Watch movies
  6. Listen to music

If I missed one, let me know, but based on what I’ve heard directly from people who aren’t that computer savvy, these are pretty much all they do!  If that is so, then the tablet computer is the new paradigm of personal computing.

With Microsoft joining the bandwagon of tablet computing, there is no going back.  I bet you, when the next holiday season comes a long, the tablet computer will be the number one purchase.  There will be so many tablet vendors clamoring for consumer attention that tablet features will be full while at the same time prices will be amazingly low!

This is just on the consumer side of the fence.  I’ve noticed a strong trend on the business side as well.  Where I work, the standard computing device is a Windows-based computer.  However, within the last 3 or 4 months, the strong demand for tablet computers has forced iPads into our business environment.  Note that this is an IT department who is a strong Windows proponent.  This is simply amazing.

This technological revolution can certainly be attributed to the following things:

  • The tablet operating system is extremely easy to use that even a two or three-year old could operate it.
  • The battery life of these devices blow away those of laptops.  Tablet battery lasts anywhere from 8 to 10 hours.
  • Tablet prices have been going down; for $199, anyone can have one.
  • Tablet applications are plenty and extremely cheap.  In the good old days of PC software, $20 or higher software prices were typical.  Today there are many free apps; and for those you buy, the price ranges from $0.99 to $9.99.  Most are only $0.99!

Enough of my ramblings.  The tablet trend is definitely here, and there is now getting around that.

What do you think?  Is the tablet the new personal computer?