Alienware 17 Quirks and Tweaks

In the past ten years, I’ve used now five different laptops. The first one I did not own, but was provided by my employer so I could work from home as needed. When I retired, I was by then used to having two computers in the house (using the work laptop) and missed having it so, I bought my first laptop. Ever since having two computers in the house has been the norm.

One advantage of having and using several different laptops is realizing each one has unique features. Most prominent is the keyboard layout. I’ve not done any research to discover why each manufacturer seems to believe they have a better idea for keyboard layout, but I suspect it has to do with functions and efficiency.

The central portion of every keyboard I’ve owned has been largely the same with QWERTY layout and standard function keys. Some have included the 10-key number pad on the right side (if the screen size permits a wider keyboard) and others did not.

Where they have differed has been in placement of special keys such as ‘Home’, ‘End’, and ‘Delete’ and the size of certain keys, especially the ‘Backspace’ key. Also, the gaming computers have extra macro keys. For example, my Alienware 17 has a column of macro keys on the far left of the standard keyboard keys as well as a short row of four keys above the number pad. So far, I have not programmed any macro keys or used any of them, but some day might explore what value they may have in my uses of the computer.

I am finally getting use to the specific layout of this keyboard, but it will always be a work in progress because the desktop has just a standard keyboard and that means I often need to look at the keyboard for certain functions.

As with all new computers, special software comes standard with the hardware. I immediately uninstall all the apps I know I will never use to free up some space on the operating system hard drive. Some apps, however, are very useful.

One of the special software packages that comes with Alienware computers is the Alienware Command Center. It was exploring this app where I learned how to customize one of the cool features of gaming computers – the back lighting of the keyboard, as well as side and cover lighting. It took me a while to learn just how to make changes and create new lighting themes, but I now have my preferences set as the default. One aspect of the lighting I have not yet figured out is why sometimes when gaming the back lighting will randomly change color or go dark. Still some trouble-shooting to do on that issue.

It has taken some adjustment, but I am gradually settling in to enjoying this laptop as much as any other I’ve owned.

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