I recently purchased a brand new System76 Lemur Ultra:
I plan to take my Educational Testing Service's Graduate Record Examination by September 30th, 2012. I plan to submit my completed graduate application to the Masters of Arts in English with Writing Studies concentration degree program at Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, New Jersey 07043 by September 30th, 2012. I expect to be accepted by the end of 2012. They have a rolling admissions deadline and it takes them 4 - 6 weeks to process graduate applications.
Montclair State University will only offer support for PCs running Microsoft Windows 7 32 and 64 bit Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise Editions along with Apple Macintosh iMacs, Mac Pros, MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros running OS X Snow Leopard and Lion 64 bit. They require the Bradford Dissolvable Agent to be downloaded and run as a part of their device registration process before new faculty, staff, and students can connect their devices to their Ethernet or 802.11 B/G/N networks. This checks for the presence of malware and it checks to ensure that an approved anti-malware software security application is installed prior to granting full access to their network.
I expect to graduate with my degree by December 31st, 2015. I plan to move on campus and attend my first January 2013 spring semester.
To be quite honest and truthful with you, I already dislike Microsoft Windows 7 64 bit Ultimate Edtion Service Pack 1. I purchased and installed it in an Oracle VM Virtualbox 64 bit guest virtual machine. It constantly gives me problems. Boot ups, restarts, and shut downs constantly don't work properly or they take too long especially when there is an update that needs to be applied. This causes Microsoft Windows 7 64 bit to just sit there and do nothing more often than not. The other problem is that Microsoft Windows 7 64 bit is slow even on my brand new System76 Lemur Ultra laptop PC. Downloading, installing, applying updates takes the longest period of time and it often winds up in an unresponsive state. I have to forcibly turn off the guest virtual machine pretty often. Another major source of problems are the 0 day vulnerabilities and exploit attack vectors. Last month, it was the Microsoft XML vulnerability. This month, it is the Microsoft sidebar and gadgets vulnerability. Who knows what next month will bring? I do not want to re-install Microsoft Windows 7 64 bit Ultimate Edition Service Pack 1 from scratch at least every six months to keep it fresh and running in tip top shape either. In fact, I plan to use Ubuntu and LibreOffice Writer and Impress along with Google Chrome to do the majority of my academic and scholarly research work. I know that there will be times when I need to run Microsoft Windows 7 64 bit Ultimate Edition Service Pack 1 while I am living and studying on campus at Montclair State University, but I will try to minimize those occasions as much as possible.
Montclair State University has no official plans to offer help and support for Microsoft Windows 8 when it will be launched sometime in late October 2012 worldwide. So, I am stuck with Microsoft Windows 7 64 bit for the next three and a half years from today.
What tips and tricks should I make as habits to keep Windows 7 64 bit running in good shape?
I have Symantec Norton 360 version 6, Macecraft Software jv16 PowerTools 2012, ReviverSoft Driver Reviver 2.1, Piriform CCleaner, Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, Super Anti-Spyware Professional, WinPatrol Plus, QFX Software KeyScrambler Premium, VS Group Revo Uninstaller Professional, File Hippo, Secunia PSI version 3.0, and Microsoft Office 2010 Professional Plus 32 bit Service Pack 1 along with other software applications. I try to check for device driver updates once per week using ReviverSoft Driver Reviver 2.1. I run Piriform's CCleaner daily. I download updates for Symantec Norton 360 version 6, Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, and Super Anti-Spyware Professional every day. I try to do anti-malware deep scans on Sundays on a regular basis. I check FileHippo and Secunia PSI version 3.0 for third-party software updates daily. I run jv16 PowerTools 2012 at least once per day to check for registry errors and I fix them along with making backups of my registry.
What else should I be doing?
I also have Acronis TrueHome Image 2012 with the Plus Pack. I have not used it yet to make any disk images or data backups since I use CrashPlan+ home unlimited plan to backup my /home folder in Ubuntu. This includes my Oracle VM Virtualbox folder and files. I also make a copy of this folder to my Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 128 GB USB 3.0 thumb drive on Microsoft Patch Tuesdays every month to ensure that I have a known good copy of my Microsoft Windows 7 64 bit guest virtual machine.
It is a lot of work to keep Microsoft Windows 7 64 bit in good working order. Most of the time, I leave the guest virtual machine turned off during the week except on Sundays when I have to perform updates and maintenance.
How do you guys maintain your Microsoft Windows operating system? What tips and tricks do you do to keep it running in good shape so as to avoid having to re-install it every six months?
Ubuntu is so much easier and simpler. There are far fewer things that can go horribly wrong with Ubuntu especially if you stick pretty closely to the default settings and configuration. Ubuntu gives me a lot less stress and headaches now that I purchased my System76 Lemur Ultra laptop PC. Almost everything works right out of the box with little fuss. It also consumes far fewer hardware resources especially if you switch to XFCE or LXDE desktop environments.
I am thinking and I am hoping that I can get away with using Ubuntu at Montclair State University on a daily basis. I am in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and I am in the Graduate English Department. The Graduate Advisor told me that the university is pretty agnostic when it comes to hardware and software requirements for my degree program. The only exception is the Bradford Dissolvable Agent requirement.
How many Ubuntu Forums members here completed either an undergraduate or graduate degree using Ubuntu? How did you do it?
Finally, I think that I am going to stick with Ubuntu 12.04 64 bit Long Term Support. The System76 forums usually provide up to date version stickies to help customers upgrade to future Ubuntu versions. I have found that something will almost always break or fail to work properly when users perform an operating system upgrade to a newer version. My System76 Lemur Ultra has got to keep working similar to a production environment every single day. I have two years of warranty and technical support from System76, but I do not plan to utilize that service very often because I plan to stick with Ubuntu 12.04 64 bit LTS until April 2014. In the past, I have found Ubuntu 10.04 64 bit LTS to be quite stable and reliable, but Ubuntu 10.10, 11.04, and 11.10 64 bit had teething issues especially as Canonical transitioned to the Unity desktop environment and they made it the default choice. Ubuntu 11.10 64 bit was particularly slow and it had a couple of known issues for Ubuntu users that upgraded from 11.04 64 bit. I don't want to repeat all of that nonsense with future non LTS releases while I am living and studying on campus.
Montclair State University has a software library for its faculty, staff, and students. Once I get accepted and I am assigned my own NetID credentials, I will check it out. For the most part, I already purchased the Microsoft Windows 7 software applications that I will need for school work. The Graduate English Department does not explicitly require specific hardware or software requirements on their home page. I am hoping that I really won't need to use Microsoft Windows 7 64 bit Ultimate Edition Service Pack 1 that much at all.
Microsoft Windows and Office demand so many updates and high maintenance. I don't have the desire to do the work every single day nor do I have the time. I already diverted at least one week away from studying for my GRE just to focus on Windows and Office. Fortunately, I have over two and a half months to buckle down and really study hard for my GREs by September 30th, 2012. Most of my work is done by now.