Qosmio F60 Revisited

About four years ago I acquired a Toshiba Qosmio F60 – an i7 based laptop with a 640Gb drive, 4Gb memory, running Win 7. It was a beautiful, quick, multimedia-orientated machine. It did, however, have numerous “issues” that lead to a post entitled “Housebraking a Qosmio F60”.

It has served well over the years but my propensity for trialing software gradually turned it into a dog. Of note is the progressive deterioration of reliability of integral hardware, particularly the TV tuner. The tuner has always been the flakiest part of the Qosmio – I had a lot of trouble with it in the beginning and by the end it was a non-goer.

Not so long ago I gutted my main desktop machine and started fresh – what a difference! Doing the same to a proprietary machine is a little more daunting – I have never hit the “Restore to Factory Experience” button ([Zero] while starting up) and proceeded with much trepidation.

First task was to ensure that everything I might care about was suitably copied off. Theoretically there’s nothing on any of my machines that isn’t also somewhere else, but it’s convenient to have the stuff sort of as it was last seen, so I have a “Qosmio” folder on another machine now, with the 170Gb or so of user data stashed away until I can go through and cull it at my leisure.

And then “Splat!”. All that had gone before was gone and there sat a virgin Qosmio. The splat wasn’t quite that quick – it spent most of a day rebuilding itself, with numerous restarts and silly questions. Then came the updates. Four years of Windows updates takes quite a long time, particularly as many are dependent on others, so many reiterations of the Win Update process are necessary.

Finding all the basic utilities that make life pleasant is the next step. Antivirus is the first essential. The Qosmio comes with a version of Norton Antivirus – one of the most ghastly system hogs and performance killers in the known universe – removed before it even had a chance to get its hooks in. I used to like AVG free, but it has turned into a behemoth too, so I have settled on Microsoft’s own security suite plus occasional manual scans with Trend’s HouseCall – seems to do the job just fine, having had zero malware events in the time I’ve been using this combo, in spite of what can only be called promiscuous software downloading.

So the Qosmio spent last night finishing itself off and it now awaits applications. Having a decent size desktop machine with everything I ever use on it, I have decided to keep the Qosmio light – only installing what I am actually using at the moment. That amounts to MuLab and Mux with a nice collection of VSTs, MindWorkstation, Netbeans with JavaFX and SceneBuilder, Audacity and the proprietary drivers/software for some of my AVS hardware.

I like Chrome as a browser, although I usually have several browsers available for testing things – particularly now that I’m mainly writing in Java – it’s great to be able to write an app to run in a browser, knowing it will probably run on pretty much anything that supports Java, which is just about everything.

At this stage everything works superbly. Startup is gratifyingly quick and it feels like a high end computer again. With the latest updates, obviously addressing everything that has arisen over the years, there has been no need for talent or creativity on my part – just go through the steps and it will work.

If the scale of the task of a complete rebuild can be faced, there’s nothing that restores the usefulness of a PC quite like a clean build. It’s a good time to install any multi-boot OS variations too – I have Linux Mint on most of my machines as well as Windows, but I decided to keep the Qosmio simple – an out-of-the-box Win 7 machine with as little personality as possible.

It’s worth noting that of the searches that lead people to this blog, the Qosmio has been one of the most persistent – obviously the Qosmio isn’t the easiest piece of gear to get along with, but I can assure you that it is worth the trouble to get it right – it’s a great machine.

Happy computing!


P.S. 28 Feb 14  I can confirm that 32-bit versions of all the applications mentioned above work fine after a full 32-bit “Restore to Factory” plus two-zillion MS updates (less than when they dribbled over the previous four years). Having done the whole thing over with the 64-bit Win 7 option selected, I can confirm that all that is 64-bit works well in its environment. The TV Tuner, non-workingness of which being a prime reason for the the decision to rebuild, may need to have the TV Tuner driver updated from the very findable genuine Toshiba website (I have come to hate driver aggregation sites – and the hoops and/or financial hurdles they demand be be passed). I can also confirm after a bit more use, the time put into a “cleanup with extreme sanction” helps a lot.

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