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Thread: n00b question about laptops as carputers

  1. #1
    XJE
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    n00b question about laptops as carputers

    I tried searching for this topic for a bit, and I came up with a lot about using a laptop as a carputer, but I wasn't able to find the answer I needed. Since this is probably a common question, I'll apologise in advance.

    I've got a really nice laptop, an Alienware M7700. I thought about using a separate system for my carputer, but why waste the extra money, when I've got a better system right here, eh?

    Anyway, since it basically IS my desktop, and I'll just be unhooking it (takes just a few seconds with my setup) and sliding it into a docking station under the seat, I'm not sure what to do software-wise.

    Is it possible for me to set up a separate profile that'll activate when I put it in the car, or at least one I can select? I have an idea of how it could work, but a few experienced heads would really help point me in the right direction.

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate randomjohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XJE
    Is it possible for me to set up a separate profile that'll activate when I put it in the car, or at least one I can select? I have an idea of how it could work, but a few experienced heads would really help point me in the right direction.
    I assume you're running Windows XP (if you were running Linux you wouldn't be asking this question, and that's what your laptop shipped with anyway). If so, you can just create a separate user account with the different startup options you want. You'd have to pick (and enter the password) whichever account you wanted, but it's a fairly simple process. Tell us what differences you'd want between the two environments. The other end of the complexity spectrum is setting up dual boots, which is basically like having two entirely separate computers residing in one box. For example, I (like many people) have a computer that boots up giving me the choice of going into windows or linux, and neither really knows the other is there.
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    Constant Bitrate noreason's Avatar
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    I was going to suggest the same thing, but I dont think you have to use a password do you? It would make it alot easier assuming your not going to use a keyboard.
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  4. #4
    XJE
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    Quote Originally Posted by randomjohn
    I assume you're running Windows XP (if you were running Linux you wouldn't be asking this question, and that's what your laptop shipped with anyway). If so, you can just create a separate user account with the different startup options you want. You'd have to pick (and enter the password) whichever account you wanted, but it's a fairly simple process. Tell us what differences you'd want between the two environments. The other end of the complexity spectrum is setting up dual boots, which is basically like having two entirely separate computers residing in one box. For example, I (like many people) have a computer that boots up giving me the choice of going into windows or linux, and neither really knows the other is there.
    Yes, I am running Windows XP. I'm pretty sure I can setup a second account without a password.

    Really, what I'd just like is for that second environment to startup in, I guess, Carputer mode. I've seen a couple different programs around here that offer a visually-based frontend designed to be used with a touchscreen, but being pretty new to the process, I haven't dug very deeply. Would I just make a second account, and then install the frontend program so that it boots on startup? That just seems like it would be... well... too easy, you know?

    The way it'll be setup, all the extra jazz, such as the amp hookup, the gps system, and things of that ilk will hook directly into the dock, so the connection process is swift and painless. I just need a setup that will recognize that hardware, so that my regular setup doesn't always freak out over "missing hardware" when it's not in the car.

    Does that help?

    Thanks for answering, by the way.

  5. #5
    Constant Bitrate noreason's Avatar
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    Creating a second account will do all of this for you. Just install the hardware and software on the second account and put whatever front end your using in the auto start folder... Start>Programs>Startup.

    When the system boots you will be prompted with the user selection login screen where you just click the user account you want to load. Click the "Carputer" account and boom, windows will finish loading up and auto start centrafuse or whatever frontend you decide to go with.

    This is a simple and effective route, the only thing is that bootup wont be seamless you will have to touch the screen (or mouse) to click the user account to load it. But it really is no big deal, i have to do it too and it doesnt bother me at all, it lets me know my touchscreen is still working!
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  6. #6
    XJE
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    Wow, that's, um, really simple.

    Here I was, thinking there would be a lot more to it.

    Thanks a lot, guys!

    I'll be sure to post pictures once I get everything installed. Should look interesting mounted in a '69 El Camino.

  7. #7
    Constant Bitrate noreason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XJE
    Wow, that's, um, really simple.

    Here I was, thinking there would be a lot more to it.

    Thanks a lot, guys!

    I'll be sure to post pictures once I get everything installed. Should look interesting mounted in a '69 El Camino.
    Keep us posted
    1997 Saturn SL2 Car PC Status [..........] 0% Complete (Removed)
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