Accessories, Software, and OS

The Alienware m9700 comes with a small accessory package which some of you may see as a good attribute, while others may prefer more software and accessories.

Alienware Aurora m9700 Notebook with SLI and RAID - Mobile 78

In the box we received, a copy of Windows Media Center 2005, a set of DVDs used to restore the laptop to factory conditions (Alienware calls it the Respawn image), Nero Express with NeroVision, and documentation for the hardware. The documentation is very sparse which may be appropriate given the clientele of Alienware generally don’t need a manual telling them how to use their laptop.

Alienware Aurora m9700 Notebook with SLI and RAID - Mobile 79

There is a Media Center remote control with an IR blaster, an S-Video adapter, and phone and network cables. There’s also a black Alienware T-shirt you can wear around proudly if you choose.

Alienware Aurora m9700 Notebook with SLI and RAID - Mobile 80

A Logitech G5 laser mouse was included in our review package, and is an optional item you can get when configuring your own m9700 on the Alienware website.

Software

Perhaps one of the best things of the Alienware Aurora m9700 is the fact it does not come with any other extra software installed on the system. When you boot up the system for the first time all you have on your desktop is a icon which is a shortcut to the summary of the system you just purchased. Any extra software like firewalls and virus scanners will need to be installed seperately by you. The m9700 does come with Nero Burning ROM and NeroVision, so you’re not completely without software.

Alienware Aurora m9700 Notebook with SLI and RAID - Mobile 81

The above image shows you exactly what has been installed on the system. As you can see, there’s not much bloat software you have to uninstall yourself. The icon labelled “My Alienware” at the top-left corner is the only icon you see on your desktop. What a refreshing change from all the junk that gets loaded onto a system these days.

Installing your own OS

There’s a bit of a technicality when installing your own OS because of the NVIDIA RAID controller. If RAID is enabled and you attempt to install your own OS, the hard drives will not be identified because it lacks the drivers. So you will need an external floppy drive and the drivers on a diskette. You can see how this can be problem if you don’t have an external floppy drive.

Alienware Aurora m9700 Notebook with SLI and RAID - Mobile 82
No floppy drive. No service.

I’ve tried other ways of installing my own OS such as trying to install without RAID 0 functionality initially and then enable RAID in the BIOS and let the controller deal with the rest when the system restarts. This doesn’t work. The only way I managed to install my own OS is if I disabled RAID all together which may not be a bad idea since RAID 0 does not offer any data security.

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