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Windows 10 upgrade–a bunch of thoughts and experiences

Filed under: infrastructure,software,Windows — 2015-11-29 by Richard L. Hess — Last Edit 2016-06-28 by Richard L. Hess

Here is a rambling discussion of my experiences and thoughts on the Windows 10 upgrade experience. I am now happy that I’ve done it. I’m still learning about it, but work is progressing with few (if any) glitches. Cutting to the chase: a worthwhile upgrade at the right price with few downsides.

Windows XP is now very peripheral to the vast majority of my work. I keep it around for my thermal transfer CD/DVD printer. Although I intended to switch to inkjet printable CDs, I haven’t had the need to place an order for the blanks yet…my usage of optical media has gone WAY down. I have been able to convince almost all my software…or find substitutes for it…to run on Windows 10. Remember, I’ve been running Windows 7 since early 2011, and I found that a far more difficult transition. All but one of the W7 and later machines I’m responsible for have been 64 bit. I was very conservative with one friend who does writing and editing, so her first post-XP machine was W7/32. Her second machine was W8.1/64.

We had 10 W7 and and 2 W8.1 machines in our family of four. The Historical Society I do IT work for has 4 W7 and 1 W8.1 machine and then there is the aforementioned friend with two machines. So, that brings me to 18 post XP machines to care for and worry about.

I have actually done 7 of the 12 machines here. My three towers and two laptops and the two oldest (now surplus) machines when the boys each got an 8.1 laptop as their original primary machine had issues. Issues fixed, older backup machines made surplus. One of those updated has the W10 install on a HD in a drawer and a new HD with Open SUSE Linux on it just for my amusement…I am easily amused.

To complete the picture, I have three “keeper” XP machines. The original 2003 XP machine I bought is the one doing the printer support in the studio. I have a later machine set up as an audio workstation that has been used for massive optical disk burning projects in the past and also for DAT ingest in the past with a second operator. A third machine is kept as a backup for the one in the studio. I have a crummy machine in a nice case and a nice 2004 laptop that was even too slow for Linux, so it stays XP. Those two machines are heading out the door someday soon. The tower probably to recycling and hopefully someone will take the laptop via Kijiji. I also have an HP 100 LX and HP 200 LX palmtop DOS computers which I rarely use now.

So, since Microsoft is offering free upgrades until July 29, 2016, I thought I should get started soonish.

I first upgraded my “good” laptop (4th gen i5, 8 GB, orig W7 Home Premium) to W10 and was able to use it without a hitch. I researched the drivers for most of my equipment and tried one particularly fussy piece (Nikon Super Coolscan 5000ED/LS5000) on the laptop. All was good.

So, I went ahead and over about a week upgraded the three towers and the workshop laptop. Then I upgraded the two older machines as described above. I was surprised that the little single-core “netbookish” PC ran surprisingly well, but don’t ask it to multitask! If you are familiar with the Passmark CPU ratings, the netbookish has a rating about 500 (the same as a Pentium IV 3.2 GHz machine) but the system seems faster (64 vs 32 bits?). The HP that became a Linux machine scores about 1400. The boys’ newer laptops and mine score around 4000 as does my ingest desktop. The two other desktops score around 6000 and the W8.1 machine at the Historical Society scores over 10,000 and has a boot SSD–it screams. Our other laptops are around 2500.

So with the two spares and my five done, my further deployment will be the boys’ pairs over Christmas and my wife’s and the five Historical Society machines and my other friend’s two in the late winter (Feb-Mar).

It works because we will no longer have the mix of 7 and 8.1 for different users/organizations.

Windows 10 plusses:

–boots faster

–resolves some driver/hardware/software issues
(one remains unresolved on one of two machines)

–A superior UI to W8.1 and more like W7 in some respects

–Improved UI functionality on many fronts

–quite compatible (I Had to install a new driver to get
expected results from a 8-9 year old HP laser printer
HP had the driver available (HP P2015dn)

Windows 10 minuses:

–you actually have to DO IT. Although the upgrade process is
automated you still need to go through all the functions and
see if anything is not working.

–A very few programs will not run. I can’t recall anything that
needed a paid-for license to run. I do recall buying a few things,
but don’t remember the reason…think it was “nice to have.”

–W7 gadgets won’t run, but the performance meters are available as
part of 8gadgetpak which runs fine on 10. I use a very cut-down
version of just the CPU on the netbook.
Seems safe
I have used the “suite” from which are included:
All CPU Meter, Drives Meter, Network Meter plus the Microsoft
analog clock, also included.

This is now one thing I don’t have to worry about until 2025 or so and I won’t have to spend money or needlessly dispose of W7 machines in 2020 due to the cost of upgrade then. I might want to, but most of our machines are pretty competent.

As to Microsoft Office, I have been using Libre Office for a while. It is not perfect, but it’s good and is being actively developed. We’ve been under a bunch of pressure to save money at the Historical Society (for good reasons) and I suggested one way to do that on the three new machines we purchased last year was to use Libre Office instead of Microsoft Office. People are adapting well, from what I hear. Unless the boys require an updated version of MS Office, I don’t see a reason to go beyond version 2010.

The replacement for Publisher and Visio is more difficult. The Libre Office Draw is a simple drawing program, not Visio, but can be used for many things. Maybe I need to learn it more.

Scribus is a full-featured desktop publishing application and having never been a fan of Publisher, I did a project last year in Scribus that worked fine. I don’t do enough DTP to warrant keeping InDesign current. I have old versions (pre-CS) and the free CS2 version, but opted for Scribus the last time I needed to do something to make certain that the licensing was valid. (CS2’s licensing is a bit iffy if you haven’t bought that version, which I hadn’t). I like InDesign CS2 better than Scribus, partially because I learned a bunch of things on InDesign. With that said, Publisher 2003 seems to at least open and load a template on W10.

There are Win 9x programs that were written for various digital multimeters and the like that sometimes ran under XP but balk at 64 bit OSs. I don’t have any post-XP 32-bit machines here.

The W7 XP 32 bit virtual machine is gone from Windows 10, although my CD printer software did not run under it. My old version of Visio did, but I stopped using that long ago so I wouldn’t create more documents that needed conversion. Libre Office spent a lot of time on importing Visio docs to their draw program and I thank them for that. Not perfect, but good.

That’s all I can think of…and now it’s a blog post, as well as a forum message.

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