On this year�s images and especially with the tablet I want to make them as user friendly as possible. My secondary goal is to shrink the number of post image steps that Patrick or Keith must remember this summer.
To the first end I am installing almost all the little Toshiba utilities and applications. Historically I have resisted the utilities in images I have built, however this school year while watching students and faculty use the machines I realized how useful some of the utilities can be. One of the prime examples is making all the FN hotkeys work for things like LCD brightness and display modes. There are also extra tablet buttons, these allow shortcuts while the machine is in tablet mode and access to the keyboard is difficult. I am also going to go back and retrofit these utilities to the images for older machines. One of the downsides to these utilities is they all run in the background, using memory and CPU cycles. On the tablet upon boot there are approximately 40 running processes, this is almost nuts as I am more used to 10-15. 20 or so are either Toshiba utilities or special pieces of the Tablet edition of Windows XP.
For my second goal I have been doing a great bit of testing and research on how to make changes to the Default User registry. I am making changes to things like the My Music location and settings in Office. Each one of these I have to first find the registry location using tools like regmon and then determine what to change. Then I need to test each change to make sure I have done it right. There is one change in Word that I can�t narrow down sufficiently. There are TechNet articles on the problem for Word XP (2002), however not applying to 2003. I created an online support request with Microsoft, hopefully I will hear back by Monday.
The biggest problem I have with the tablet image is a time crunch of me versus Microsoft development. I had hoped to put both Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Office 2003 Service Pack 1 on the image. This would allow me to not have to re-image the machines at the end of the summer. O2K3 SP1 has not made an appearance at all yet so it is a no go. WXP SP2 is a little closer, I already have Release Candidate 1 and some post builds. I was hoping to get RC2 in time to put it on the image. RC2 was supposed to be out last week and is now hopeful for Monday. If it isn�t out by Monday night I will have to go with build 2142 and hope. I am testing it myself as best I can in 48 hours. There might be curiosity of why I am so intent on SP2 even at the risk of stability. SP2 include the new Tablet Edition 2005 or Lonestar bits in it, this dramatically improves how some of the tablet functions work.
The last piece of the puzzle is tablet specific applications and power toys. There isn�t a great deal of tablet specific applications yet, however they are growing rapidly. Many are still in Beta and don�t have costs yet which still further complicates things. The power toys are interesting, but are open to debate as to their usefulness. I am playing with some this weekend to see which I like.