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(tech vanity) Upgrading a PC with minimal system disruption
11/27/08 | marty_f

Posted on 11/27/2008 8:44:51 AM PST by martin_fierro

I'm considering upgrading an older PC to a faster PC -- faster CPU, more RAM -- but with minimal disruption to my installed programs and without having to "upgrade" from XP to Vista.

Current PC uses include:

Current system specs:

 CPU: AMD Athlon 2600+  http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41XZVZWWMCL._SL500_AA280_.jpg
 Graphics card: ATI All In Wonder 9000 Pro (64MB DDR AGP)
 The image “http://02b5f5a.netsolstores.com/ProductImages/1024-2176-U%20copy.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
 HD: Western Digital WD1200AB 120 GB
 http://images.ciao.com/iuk/images/products/normal/988/product-5405988.jpg
 

Am also considering getting a Mac, but for this thread I seek feedback on whether I can just migrate my current HD and Graphics Card over to a faster mobo/cpu (do they even make AGP slots anymore? Will this HD slow down system performance?)


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Computers/Internet
KEYWORDS: pc; upgrade
Heck yeah I'm logged on.

Feedback appreciated.

1 posted on 11/27/2008 8:44:51 AM PST by martin_fierro
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To: ShadowAce

Tech Ping


2 posted on 11/27/2008 8:45:58 AM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: martin_fierro

How much are you expecting to spend on this upgrade?


3 posted on 11/27/2008 8:53:11 AM PST by frogjerk (Welcome|Goodbye to|from Free|Fairness Doctrine Republic!)
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To: martin_fierro

Yes, many motherboards come with one AGP slot but they also come with graphics capability already built into the MB, making the card unneeded. Your hard drive would be better off as a slave drive because doing a fresh install on a new hard drive will give you a lot less headaches.


4 posted on 11/27/2008 8:53:57 AM PST by Oshkalaboomboom
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To: martin_fierro

====whether I can just migrate my current HD and Graphics Card over to a faster mobo/cpu====

If you’re starting over, I highly recommend you start with a new or freshly formatted HD. Take all of the critical data off the current HD and put it on another HD. Once you get up and running, you can grab the data again.

The vid card needs a driver/software and it should work on any new computer if you have the correct slot.

Bottom line....build it from the ground up.


5 posted on 11/27/2008 8:54:00 AM PST by Doug TX
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To: martin_fierro

Consider buying a new box, and disk-copying your current drive into the new drive C:. I understand there is a disk- or partition-copying capability on the Vista CDs that can be accessed without actually installing Vista, or installing anything else on your disk drive. FRmail me if you’d like a link to that.


6 posted on 11/27/2008 8:56:21 AM PST by Tax Government
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To: martin_fierro
yep...all doable, and with minimum effort,

here's a decent article, emphasis on changing IDE controller to Standard. (Saves a lot of headaches with XP finding\installing drivers for your new hardware)

http://www.raymond.cc/blog/archives/2008/07/09/move-windows-xp-hard-drive-or-change-motherboard-without-getting-blue-screen-of-death/

Here's also decent “how to”

http://www.theeldergeek.com/move_harddrive.htm

Good luck...when in doubt...dont! ask someone

7 posted on 11/27/2008 8:56:25 AM PST by stylin19a ( Real Men don't declare unplayable lies)
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To: martin_fierro

Many new Mother boards come with raid built in. This allows you to use multiple drives like they are just one drive and with make your response time faster. I have 3 80GB sata drives on this machine. The smaller sata are cheep now. This set up and plenty of ram helps with video editing.


8 posted on 11/27/2008 9:04:07 AM PST by ThomasThomas (Those who live by the sword get shot.)
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To: martin_fierro; rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; GodGunsandGuts; CyberCowboy777; Salo; Bobsat; JosephW; ...

9 posted on 11/27/2008 9:04:46 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: martin_fierro

I’ve done this dozens of times. Among the things you have to consider are whether you are replacing the motherboard and whether your copy of XP is retail or OEM.

If you aren’t replacing the motherboard there is nothing to be concerned about. If you are, you need to consider whether you are switching to another brand of CPU. I’ve done both scenarios, and switching from Intel to AMD, or vice versa, is a pain, but it can be done.

For switching motherboards it is best to keep the old hard drive, until you get the new systen XP activated. XP will usually activate without a call to Microsoft if you don’t swap the hard drive. You will need the motherboard driver CD after the swap.

If you change brands of CPU, you need to do a repair/reinstall, which is a pain, but I’ve done it several times.

Did I mention that even if you are keeping your old hard drive, you should first clone it. Once you start down this road you need complete backup of the entire system. Preferabley done before you damage anything.

Once you have replaced a motherboard and gotten XP activatd you can upgrade the hard drive. Trying to do both at the same time will be interpreted as an attempt to install XP on two computers.


10 posted on 11/27/2008 9:07:29 AM PST by js1138
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To: martin_fierro
I think you're gonna spend way to much time and money trying to upgrade your old machine. Go ahead and bite the bullet and get a new computer (or better yet, build your own). You can always run Microsoft Virtual Machine if any of your old programs won't work with Vista.

You can still get Windows XP pro from Newegg.com for $140.00
You will just have to buy a motherboard, processor, HDD, video card or some system componet at the same time.

11 posted on 11/27/2008 9:08:00 AM PST by smokingfrog (If it's to be a bloodbath, let it be now. Appeasement is not the answer. - Ronald Reagan)
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To: martin_fierro
Why not shop the Black Friday ads a little? Yeah, you'll have to go to Vista and reload some of your programs, but some of the deals are really worthwhile like this one at BestBuy ...
eMachines EL1210-01e Desktop with 18.5" LCD Monitor, Photo Printer & Antivirus $619.96 $299.96
12 posted on 11/27/2008 9:10:02 AM PST by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: frogjerk
How much are you expecting to spend on this upgrade?

Less than a Mac Pro. < |:)~

13 posted on 11/27/2008 9:10:36 AM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: martin_fierro

Finding a MB that has an AGP slot shouldn’t be too difficult, but your selection may be limited to older stock. Same goes for CPU and memory, but you might get lucky and find a board that has an AGP slot and an AM2 or LGA775 cpu socket.

The best bet for using the same hard drive without disturbing apps and data is to do a repair installation of windows with the new computer. This strips out the old system files and allows proper base driver selection for the new equipment. Alternately you could strip out the IDE drivers (delete when booted from the current system) then assemble the new setup and see if windows can recover on boot (can always do a repair install afterward if it fails).


14 posted on 11/27/2008 9:10:52 AM PST by Kolb (Use wisely your power of choice)
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To: martin_fierro
Current PC uses include:

Internet surfing

That I can believe.

15 posted on 11/27/2008 9:12:45 AM PST by Tijeras_Slim
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To: martin_fierro

I have to say your request is really quite odd. You’re considering a Mac, spending at least $1K, but you’re also trying to save as much money as possible by salvaging both your outdated graphics card and your outdated HDD.

Newegg has exactly three Intel motherboards with AGP slots and two AMD mptherboards with AGP slots. All are low-end by today’s standards, so I would recommend a new PCI-X motherboard (or, as others have suggested, getting a motherboard with integrated graphics). You won’t be able to do much, if any, “modern” gaming with an integrated graphics controller but it is useful for less demanding or older games.

As far as the HDD goes, every motherboard I can think of has IDE capability. Most drives these days are SATA, though. Still, no matter which route you take you will be able to use that drive.

Another thing to consider is your copy of XP - if it’s retail you’ll be fine, but if it’s OEM you might have to call Microsoft to activate. It shouldn’t be a major issue. Note that you can get a copy of Vista for 70 bucks on Newegg, and I assure you it’s at least as good as XP. It’s worth considering if you’re upgrading as today’s most popular processors (like the Intel Core 2 series) are 64-bit processors. 64-bit Vista versions are easy to find and give you options for more memory and generally faster applications (64-bit IE is much faster than 32-bit IE, for example).


16 posted on 11/27/2008 9:19:39 AM PST by flintsilver7
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To: js1138
Among the things you have to consider are whether you are replacing the motherboard and whether your copy of XP is retail or OEM.

If you aren’t replacing the motherboard there is nothing to be concerned about. If you are, you need to consider whether you are switching to another brand of CPU. I’ve done both scenarios, and switching from Intel to AMD, or vice versa, is a pain, but it can be done.

For switching motherboards it is best to keep the old hard drive, until you get the new systen XP activated. XP will usually activate without a call to Microsoft if you don’t swap the hard drive. You will need the motherboard driver CD after the swap.

Did I mention that even if you are keeping your old hard drive, you should first clone it. Once you start down this road you need complete backup of the entire system. Preferabley done before you damage anything.

Once you have replaced a motherboard and gotten XP activatd you can upgrade the hard drive. Trying to do both at the same time will be interpreted as an attempt to install XP on two computers.


17 posted on 11/27/2008 9:19:51 AM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: Tijeras_Slim
Get your a55 out into that nice, bright NM sunshine and take some Flat Stanley pix.


18 posted on 11/27/2008 9:21:57 AM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: martin_fierro
Seems to me a critical issue is the AGP slot required by your current All in wonder card,

What about moving to a Hauppage Video capture card....then you can get more recent motherboards with Mobo base Display drivers for your monitor.,

19 posted on 11/27/2008 9:22:01 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (No Burkas for my Grandaughters!)
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To: martin_fierro
whether I can just migrate my current HD and Graphics Card over to a faster mobo/cpu

Yes.

Get a new motherboard with a SATA II chipset & connectors on it [Tyan or ASUS is the best bet].

Go to Storage Review to find the fastest and quietest SATA II hard drive you can afford:

http://www.storagereview.com

Once you get your new motherboard, attach your old ATA drive on the ATA connector, and it will be your "C:" drive.

Then attach your new SATA II drive on the SATA II connector, and it will be your "D:" drive [this requires that you create a partition and format it - and note that formatting one of these 500GB SATA II drives can take an hour or more, so don't be in a hurry that day].

After you have established the ATA drive as the "C:" drive, and the SATA II drive as the "D:" drive, then go here for instructions on how to seamlessly move all of your "Documents and Settings" and "Program Files" over to the new, fast SATA II drive [so that they still appear to be on the old "C:" drive, but are actually physically residing on the new, faster "D:" drive]:

http://www.tumfatig.net/docs/01_os/windows/How%20to%20move%20Program%20Files%20and%20Documents%20and%20Settings.html
In line with those instructions, I use "JUNCTION.EXE", which is now available for free from Microsoft [since they purchased SysInternals]:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896768.aspx

20 posted on 11/27/2008 9:24:04 AM PST by KayEyeDoubleDee
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To: martin_fierro

It’s raining today.


21 posted on 11/27/2008 9:24:24 AM PST by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Tijeras_Slim
Get your a55 out into that nice, bright NM sunshine  5hit5torm and take some Flat Stanley pix, you pu55y.
22 posted on 11/27/2008 9:27:25 AM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: martin_fierro

A few days reading at this site, and you’ll be one of the world’s foremost authorities on the latest in upgrading pc’s:

http://www.tomshardware.com/us/#redir


23 posted on 11/27/2008 9:29:25 AM PST by krogers58
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To: martin_fierro

I think changing the motherboard will trigger awareness in the MS checking routines and likely may cause a new install and all the headache that goes with that.

Others might be more knowledgable...since I rarely run any MS stuff.


24 posted on 11/27/2008 9:30:28 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (No Burkas for my Grandaughters!)
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To: Gondring

ping for later reference


25 posted on 11/27/2008 9:32:59 AM PST by Gondring (Paul Revere would have been flamed as a naysayer troll and told to go back to Boston.)
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To: KayEyeDoubleDee
Let me emphasize a couple of points which I had assumed tacitly, but which I guess I ought to make explicit:

1) I was thinking in terms of preserving all of your old data and your old installed programs and your old registry settings, etc etc etc. The thing you want to avoid is having to start with a blank SATA II drive and then re-install all of your old programs and move all of your old passwords and try to remember all of your old registry settings, and if you're starting with a brand new hard drive, that nonsense can take a week or more [LITERALLY!!!]. The instructions I posted will quickly move all of your stuff over to a new, modern, very fast hard drive, and will preserve all of your old settings [plus you can get the redundancy of a "C:" drive which is physically separate from your "D:" drive by leaving copies of a file on both drives - assuming, of course, that you are not using a directory which was "junctioned" off of one drive and onto the other].

2) AGP is dead. Do NOT waste your time trying to fiddle with AGP at all [in either direction - if you have an old AGP card, then don't waste your time trying to find a new motherboard which will accept the card, and if you have an old motherboard with an AGP slot, then do not waste your time trying to find a new GPU which comes in an AGP form factor - again, AGP IS DEAD!!!].

26 posted on 11/27/2008 9:33:55 AM PST by KayEyeDoubleDee
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To: martin_fierro

I’ve got an ATI AiW 9K in the box I’m on right now.

The last time I was in the market for a new card, ATI had killed off the AiW line.

Sucks. I like having a TV tuner and graphics card in one package. :(

Anyway. Enough crying.

The hdd is probably PATA and your AiW is (?) AGP.

I’m almost sure you’ll need to upgrade your motherboard, before anything else.

Unless you’re particularly fond of your case, might as well build a new box from scratch.


27 posted on 11/27/2008 9:38:16 AM PST by CE2949BB (Fight.)
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To: martin_fierro

I’d plug my old hard drive into the new computer, set up the bios to boot first from the old one, leave the new hard drive in for additional storage. Should work without problems. I usually plug my old hard drive in as the secondary drive and boot from the factory drive, but that wouldn’t do what you want.

As for the video card, I’d check to see if it is really an improvement over what the factory sent.


28 posted on 11/27/2008 9:42:12 AM PST by PAR35
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To: martin_fierro
So keep the old HD as a slave to a new HD with a new install of XP?

Not exactly. First clone the old hard drive to a new one. Both WD and Seagate have free downloadable software for cloning drives.

Assuming the new computer or motherboard is ready, install the old hard drive as the one and only drive. If you are not switching CPU brands, it should boot up without trouble.

Next, you may run into the problem that the network card drivers are not available, so you can't immediately activate XP.

I've seen situations where no activation was necessary, ones where I was given the thirty days grace, and ones where I had to call Microsoft. This may depend on how many time a particular XP license has been moved. I do a lot of upgrades, and some systems have been upgraded more than once.

If the network works, you may sail through activation. If not, you will need to install the motherboard drivers first. If XP says you can't proceed, you will need to call MS and argue that you are repairing the computer. The fact that you haven't switched hard drives (yet) is in your favor. I've had to do this three times out of a couple dozen upgrades.

Something I forgot. I've seen Dell and Gateway machines that had XP installed with a CD key different from the one on the sticker on the side of the machine. There's a program called keyfinder that will tell you what the actual key is. The worst time I had with Microsoft involved one of these situations. I find that persistence on the phone pays off. They seem to have instructions that anyone who asserts they are not pirating the software will win. You need to know, however, that OEM versions of XP are not licensed to move to a new computer. So any discussion needs to involve a repair.

29 posted on 11/27/2008 9:53:02 AM PST by js1138
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To: martin_fierro
If I were you, I'd serially seriously consider ditching the idea of trying to preserve the programs installed on the old drive. Of course, you'll want that drive around, either as a 2nd HD or as an external drive in an enclosure; but, keeping the old software running may be more trouble than its worth.

First off, Windows may not be able to handle the sudden appearance of all the new hardware. I've seen Windows freak out in the past when a drive was moved to a new box that was too different from the old one. A fresh install will also get rid of a lot of "Windows rot" since you'll be getting (somewhat more) debugged updates from MSFT. (Instead of a collection of patches and bandaids that have accumulated over the years!)

Also, you may find that there's a lot of software on the old drive that you aren't using. I suggest that you install titles as you need them. This means less clutter and less potential for conflicts between programs.

Or you could just go out tomorrow and buy a Mac.

(Well... Someone had to say it!)

30 posted on 11/27/2008 10:12:54 AM PST by Redcloak ("Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: martin_fierro
Boy, I'm probably gonna get hammered for this, but some of these 'solutions' sound downright painful.

I like to start fresh whenever I upgrade. I keep a logbook of my latest computer settings (installed apps, hardware descriptions, network settings, etc.). I keep backups of data and documents on a network drive (I do a backup just before the upgrade). If I'm working with windows, I keep a copy of current drivers I'll need on a CD (I don't use anything later than Windows 2000 Pro, so I don't have to deal with activation). I assemble the hardware, wipe the drive (if I'm using the old one), and install the OS from scratch. I reinstall all the apps (getting the latest versions in the process), and transfer data over from the network drive. I don't get an exact copy of the previous machine, but I always get a better copy!

My latest upgrade (which I got carried away with, and it ended up being an entirely new machine) is a Shuttle SG31G2 Barebone, an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 CPU, a WD Caviar 500GB SATA drive, and 4GB Kingston RAM. It's running Ubuntu 8.04 64bit. The on-board video seems OK for me, but I can add a video card later if I want to. So far I've only used it for ripping DVD's, besides the usual net surfing. I like it.

31 posted on 11/27/2008 10:30:11 AM PST by shorty_harris
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To: martin_fierro

You can buy a better HD graphic card this week for under $30 delivered. check slickdeals.net
You can buy a mobo and cpu combo kit for under $120. microcenter.com and others
You can buy 2GB DDR2 RAM for under $35. buy.com slickdeals.net amazon.com and others
(optional) buy aftermarket cpu and/or gpu coolers.
You can download the mobo and cpu drivers for your new parts from driverpacks.net and install it on your current pc before opening the case. This way when you switch the hardware components, the drivers are already registered in the current windows XP install.
You can also on your current pc, run a small program from http://www.p2plife.com/forums/Guide_On_How_To_Circumvent_WGA_WPA_WGN_and_WGV-t714.html to bypass the WPA and avoid the BSD.
On your current pc before opening it up, create mobo BIOS flash floppy/thumbdrive disks if needed. (optional)

You post enough on FR that I know yuo can accomplish all of this in under 4 hours of labor from the point you receive all the hardware at your desk.


32 posted on 11/27/2008 11:02:22 AM PST by JerseyHighlander
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To: JerseyHighlander

As someone above said, to be safe, use your current ATA drive as the C drive when you install the new mobo/cpu.
Once you use the WPA workaround .exe in the link in the above post, you can then clone your ATA drive to your new SATA drive. I prefer Acronis trueimage, but norton ghost and others work just as well.
also note that antivirus software must be completely turned off when unzipping and running the WGA and WPA hacks on that website. i.e. if you use symantec, you have to manually turn off rtscan.exe and the rest of the symantec antivirus suite background programs before unzipping, otherwise the exe is seen as a virus and quarantined.

And I have no idea if the WGA and WPA hacks are viruses, but the source code has been peer reviewed for over 2 years each, and work well.


33 posted on 11/27/2008 11:08:36 AM PST by JerseyHighlander
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To: martin_fierro

dude- i dont know if you priced PC’s lately but you can get a complete system 10 times better than this for $400


34 posted on 11/27/2008 11:34:26 AM PST by Mr. K (Some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help)
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To: martin_fierro
Howdy Martin,

Others have responded more to your point, so I figured I'd go off on a tangent a little bit.

You might consider a Linux system rather than Windows or OSX. Let me describe for you my setup and how I do OS upgrades, as the process might appeal to you.

I'm currently running Fedora 8, which is a RedHat dirivatve. I have a separate hard drive for the OS and applications from my /home partition.

I upgraded about 6 months or so from Fedora 7. Here's the process:  DO A BACKUP FIRST! I generally do a fresh install of the OS because I've had issues in the past doing upgrades. Wen doing the upgrade, I tell it to ignore the disk that has /home on it. Then once the OS is in place,  and all the extra software is installed (audio/video codecs mostly), I simply login as myself. Because I didn't touch /home, I have my entire desktop still available including all preferences.

Being able to split things up that way sure makes life easier.

I don't know if OSX will let you do that, but I'm reasonably sure there is no way to get MS-Windows to be as quick and painless.

I've actually followed this procedure for the last 4 times I upgraded my OS, and it works great.

35 posted on 11/27/2008 11:49:40 AM PST by zeugma (Will it be nukes or aliens? Time will tell.)
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To: zeugma

OMG no`! i was wondering how long it would take before a Linux geek became totally irrelivant here.

They don’t seem to understand grandma does not live to maintain her computer (like they do) she just wantt so look at pictures her children send in the email.

So they ave no idea what “I’m currently running Fedora 8, which is a RedHat dirivatve. I have a separate hard drive for the OS and applications from my /home partition. I upgraded about 6 months or so from Fedora 7” means (i dont either and I do this stuff for a living

Linux geeks have wasted more of our company time and resources creating ‘open source’ free code for the masses! (while my company pays them to goof off)


36 posted on 11/27/2008 3:20:17 PM PST by Mr. K (Some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help)
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To: martin_fierro

Personally I can’t see the point. In fact I wouldn’t upgrade to another desktop, although I have two new ones. Just get a good laptop. It will do everything you will need to do and for good measure are actually easier to work on.

But if you want a desktop (or a laptop) I would advise anyone to go to the Dell Outlet Center and pick out one that fits your needs. I replaced my four year year old machines with new fully configured machines (yes, they were Vista) and sold my old XP machines for about for what I paid for the new machines. You can migrate most of the stuff over to the new machine easily enough and donate the old machine to charity or sell it if you are lucky. For reasons that elude me people don’t like Vista but it works fine for me and it doesn’t lock up at all. But I digress.

And for good measure, here is a tip for anyone. Just download free “Open Office” which will read Word and Excel documents just fine. I do see, however, that Office 2007 Home and School Edition (allowing for up to three installations) on sale for $69 if one is so inclined.

I just wouldn’t waste my time with the older machines. They aren’t worth it. I’ve owned perhaps 15 PCs in my life and I’ll not buy another desktop although I would have gotten a larger 17” screen laptop if I had to do it over. The Toshiba keyboard is top notch and they are practically giving them away these days. The screen resolution is about perfect. What is there not to like?


37 posted on 11/27/2008 3:48:50 PM PST by RichardW
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To: martin_fierro
Plenty of other replies here... and now for my $0.02.

You really might be better off just purchasing a new machine and migrating your data after reinstalling apps. But, if you insist on a motherboard swap, you will need to be prepared to hold XP's hand for a while, because you might be switching to a different underlying chipset; moving from an AMD processor to Intel complicates it even more.

Make sure you have all of your data backed up, and then go Googling for something like "XP motherboard swap". It's not trivial, but it can be done. Much will depend on your level of expertise and whether or not you have access to your Windows XP install CD.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that if you have installed XP service packs, your install CD might be considered outdated by the system and no longer useable. Then you might be looking at a clean install anyway, assuming your OEM license will permit it.

38 posted on 11/28/2008 5:43:33 AM PST by ken in texas (come fold with us - team #36120)
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To: Mr. K
They don’t seem to understand grandma does not live to maintain her computer (like they do) she just wantt so look at pictures her children send in the email.

Funny. After spending more time than I care to mention troubleshooting my mom's laptop with XP on it, I finally got sick of it, and installed Linux for her. Amazingly, for the next two years, I didn't get a single call from her for support. Everything just worked.

It also might be worth noting, that my earlier response on this thread was not to some mythical "grandma", but was in response to a query from a ppster here of long standing, who obviously knows a bit more about computers than your your average folk, because of the nature of his question.

(i dont either and I do this stuff for a living

Apparently the "stuff" you do for a living doesn't have anything to do with Unix, or what I'd said would be completely clear. Clicking buttons on a windows box does not an expert in computers make. Folks who know unix invariably have to deal with the slop microsoft push on the world. It would be better, the reverse were true as well, you might actually learn something about how computers actually work.

Linux geeks have wasted more of our company time and resources creating ‘open source’ free code for the masses! (while my company pays them to goof off)

Sounds like a management issue to me. Personally, I see much more money thrown down rat holes on the microsoft side of the house than elsewhere.

39 posted on 11/28/2008 9:59:11 AM PST by zeugma (Will it be nukes or aliens? Time will tell.)
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