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Notebook setup for music server?

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I have an old Gateway ZH7 notebook that I want to use as my music server. It is running Window Vista Premium (32-bit). I will be running JRiver for music only. It will access all of my music wirelessly saved on a 2TB WD MyCloud external hard drive. I may upgrade the internal hard drive to a solid state and up the RAM from 2gb to 4gb, but that may be down the road.

A few of questions I have:

1. Should I do a clean install of Windows to eliminate the programs/software I don't need.

2. If so, which programs should I NOT mess with and/or remove.

3. Is there a special power supply I should use or can I just use the one that came with the notebook.

4. Any other recommended upgrades or tweaks I can do for this system (links welcome)?


Thanks in advance for any help.

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After some research, I found out that I cannot upgrade the RAM from 2gb to 4gb without also upgrading the Windows from 32bit to 64bit. Not sure if it will be worth it yet.


Only partially right - the 32bit OS will address something like 3.5GB of the 4GB. Every little bit helps


Seeing as how your laptop is running Vista, it might not be able to run a 64bit OS well due to lack of drivers. If you have the time to play with it, and you have a spare hard drive, it can't hurt to try if it's what you have to try. In general, I typically recommend a fresh install of the OS regardless of what you're using it for. You never know what gremlins might be lurking in an older, used OS.


I've been sold that older machines might actually *sound* better because they don't have as much noise as a newer, faster machine. I don't know if that's true, but I've read several articles where audiophiles preferred their old IBM/Lenovo laptops to newer machines (all things being equal - meaning, not a souped up, audiophile built modern PC vs old laptop).


I've got a couple IBM/Lenovo laptops that are Win 7 capable and I found them to be pretty respectable, budget media players. In fact, I might just post some for sale here in the forums for those on a budget looking for something reliable to play with.

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I did a fresh install of Windows last night and started getting rid of some of the bloatware that comes installed. I decided to order a solid state hard drive and put that in.

Would it be ok to up the RAM from 2gb to 3gb? Right now it has 1gb x2. So, if I remove 1gb and replace it with 2gb, is that going to work.

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Some systems run better if the memory is matching between the two slots (not sure if yours is one), and memory is cheap. Just get 2X2GB and be happy.


I wouldn't put much more money than that into it (I wouldn't bother with a linear PSU unless you happen to have one already or can get one stupid cheap). For critical listening, you might try just unplugging the power brick and run off batteries to see if you hear any difference - that is assuming the old battery still holds a decent charge.

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