When you're looking for a laptop (or any type of screen), one of the things you should look at is the screen resolution. Some people care more about the size of the screen, but to me, it's both the size and the resolution that are important. The more pixels on the screen, the more stuff you can see at once.
TrueCrypt 5 was released yesterday, the long awaited (by some, anyway) version of the excellent TrueCrypt software. TrueCrypt allows you to encrypt sensitive data on your hard disk, like financial information, passwords, etc..., and the best part is that it's free and open source.
In addition to the already great ability to encrypt regular files, TC5 now supports full disk encryption, which allows your entire disk, including the operating system, to be encrypted. This is especially relevant for laptops which can easily be stolen. We've all heard the news about some government laptop with 1,000s of social security numbers on it getting stolen, and this feature of TC5 will go a long way in helping to prevent this type of data loss/theft.
This comes from a guide I posted at Notebook Review:
So you just got your shiny new RAM, and you can't wait to upgrade your computer. Congratulations! You've been through the decision making process, scraped up the cash, placed the order, eagerly followed the tracking number, and now it's finally in your hands! This is what you've been waiting for!
Before I get into it, I want to address this right off the bat. Too many people approach security issues with a "why bother" attitude. That sort of attitude will only come back to bite you in the end. Never EVER approach a security issue assuming that another person "will never figure it out", or "what are the chances someone will find this?", because eventually you will lose. You might get lucky and never have an issue, but real security does not rely on luck. The consequences of not protecting yourself FAR outweigh the "hassle". Once you see how easy it is to get real security, you won't have an excuse not to use it.
I've seen many questions, and even more incorrect or incomplete replies about missing disk space in Vista. You got a 160GB hard drive and you've only installed a few programs, but you're missing a LOT of disk space! Where did it go? There are numerous possible reasons why your disk is getting used up -- sometimes it's being used by useful services, and other times it's just being wasted.
So where does the space go?
Copied from my guide available here
If you're looking for Activation Backup & Restore (ABR) it has moved to it's own page, which you can find HERE.
This guide is relatively VENDOR NEUTRAL. It should work on all Vista installations that were preinstalled at the factory, for both laptops and desktops.
NOTE: This procedure may look long, but I'm just really wordy at writing these things. You should get through each step pretty quickly.