Preloaded Software and OS Restoration
Normally I dread doing this part of a review because most manufacturers like loading their systems full of pre-installed software and I’d have to pick through them looking for something decent sort of like searching for a wedding ring in a dumpster (not that I’ve done that recently).
The Eee 1201N is actually not quite as bad as some other systems I have reviewed. Some of the software you may want to keep on your system to play with for a while, but there is still some useless fluff.
Asus Vibe may be interesting. Streamed full albums is a nice touch.
Eee Dock is like a drop-down docking bar that gives you access to the Eee exclusive suite of software. The Eee suite breaks down as follows:
- Asus Vibe: An interesting media portal that grants you access to full albums, magazines, and other content directly. May be worth keeping around as the content updates regularly.
- Game Park Console:A game portal similar offering time restricted trial versions of casual games. I didn’t see anything interesting here and probably isn’t worth your time.
- Asus WebStorage: Web storage integrated offering 500GB of storage, and a 5GB limit per day. You can set up folders to synchronize and restore download at any time.
- Cyberlink YouCam: A webcam software that allows you to record video or take snap shots. Possibly useful.
- Eee Splendid: Allows you to switch between pre-packaged colour settings. As discussed earlier in the Video section of this article, this software isn’t as good as using NVIDIA’s control panel.
- SRS Premium Sound: Adjust the way the speakers sound… but there’s only so much you can so with such small speakers.
- Voice Command (aka. “Dr. Eee”): A rather amusing voice-activated application that does currency conversion, weather reports, play media, and does Skype calls. The voice-activated Media Player integration is actually quite nice.
- Font Resizer: Not exactly sure how this is useful since Windows 7 already has similar functionality.
- Trend Micro Security: Trial version of the popular virus scanner and firewall.
- Office 2007 60-day Trial
- Skype 4.1
- Acrobat Reader
- ArcSoft Total Media Theater 3: A rather complete media player that supports NVIDIA’s video acceleration.
- Microsoft Works: seriously?
- Boingo Wireless client: Client for a wireless service offered in North America. Make sure you understand the terms of service if you’re thinking of subscribing.
- Windows Live Essentials: Microsoft’s free set of tools for video recording, photos, IM, and more.
- Super Hybrid Engine: Asus’ power profile switcher. Detailed earlier in the Battery Life section in the review.
In this part of the review, we go through the experience of restoring the OS using Asus’ restoration disc. The catch here is that the Eee 1201N does not come with an optical drive and the restore disc comes on a DVD. An external optical drive is pretty much essential equipment for a netbook user, so be sure to have at least access to one if you’re going to restore your OS.
Since the Eee 1201N has a fast boot feature, you’re going to have to be quick and hit ESC during the boot-up sequence so you can boot from the restore DVD, or hit F2 to enter into the BIOS and configure the boot disc to the attached USB optical drive.
Once the disc prompts you for the destination for restoring the files, the whole process takes an hour from start to finish with only a single interruption to select the region / language.
All drivers are reinstalled along and some of the preinstalled software. You’d be interested to know that the following software was not installed after restoration:
- Asus Keyboard Filter
- MS Works
- MS Office 2007 Trial
- Boingo Wireless Client
- Asus Eee Dock
- Asus Voice Command
- Free Chicken Invaders game
- Skype 4.1
- Windows Live Essentials
So by reinstalling your Eee 1201N using the restore disc, you actually get it in a cleaner state than it was when it was shipped to you. I would recommend installing the Asus Keyboard Filter (located under driversKBFilter) as the onscreen visuals helps figure out if you’ve enabled/disabled certain features like the WiFi antenna. All other missing programs can be found under the software* directory on the reinstall CD
A fairly clean desktop after restoration.