Author Topic: Adventures with a 10 Year Old Desktop.  (Read 1316 times)

Offline buster

  • Posting Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 632
  • Karma: +2/-0
    • View Profile
Adventures with a 10 Year Old Desktop.
« on: July 13, 2019, 02:26:55 pm »
Chapter One

After being unsuccessful with speeding up an old Compaq desktop running win 7 (Look around at our club next meeting. If we all ran a 1 km race with the computer included, the Compaq would come dead last ), I took my in-law with me shopping, doing research, comparing prices and warranties, and finally buying one a week later. Most of you don’t remember how long it takes to set up a Windows machine, get rid of junk, get updates, set up email ...... She is very pleased with the result if you are curious.

So she gave me here entire old system, excellent flat screen 4:3 monitor, keyboard, and nice 10 year old computer – 3 gig ram, 500 gig hd, dvd burner, lots of usb ports, very stylish case. No hdmi port yet.

Biggest task: installing the factory win 7 from the extra partition. I’ve done this before on a laptop, but got misdirected this time by what looked like reputable sites who made it far harder than it need be. Found an easy method, and spent a good part of the morning getting updates and downloading programs I wanted. Still had lots of junk to get rid of.

Biggest surprise: The quickness! Of course, this hardware was designed for win 7, and it showed. Wired into fibe, the Internet pages came up fast. Except for first call on software, programs opened pretty quickly. Could have a few windows open at the same time with no problem.

Biggest lesson for any system: Suit the  distro to the hardware you are blessed with, and dig and get rid of memory/chip hogs running in the background. We all know this, but I for one, often neglect it in the quest for convenience.

And for all you Windows haters – this is an amazing system. Quite a surprise for me – I was going to install Kubuntu, but, having an open mind as I do..... :)

Chapter Two will be about Linux virtual machines inside this win 7, and how they work. Pretty exciting, eh?
"With all due respect John I am head of IT and I have it on good authority if you type 'Google' into Google you can break the internet, so please no one try it, even for a joke." ( Jen on 'The IT Crowd' )

Offline Jason Wallwork

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2033
  • Karma: +5/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Adventures with a 10 Year Old Desktop.
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2019, 02:47:28 pm »
But what processor and speed? Dual core, quad core?

Also, Win7 reaches end-of-life next Spring. Not that you can't use it after that but it'll be at your own risk.


Quote
Most of you don’t remember how long it takes to set up a Windows machine...

And that, right there, is why Linux is better. Sorry, couldn't resist.  :D But honestly, I still set up Windows and remember well how long it takes.

Looking forward to Chapter 2, be interesting to see you running VMs with only 3 GB of RAM. I know it's possible but you'll definitely be using some light desktop environments, I predict.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 02:49:28 pm by Jason Wallwork »
Primary: Desktop w/ Kubuntu 19.04 on i5@3.2 GHz w/ 12 GB RAM, 480 GB SSD main + 2x2 TB RAID 10 array

Secondary/Test: Toshiba Satellite Ultrabook w/ Win10/Linux Du Jour  (i3@1.4 GHz, 4GB RAM, 128GB SDD)

Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra ( Android 8 )
Huawei MediaPad T3 10 ( Android 7 )

Offline buster

  • Posting Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 632
  • Karma: +2/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Adventures with a 10 Year Old Desktop.
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2019, 03:20:22 pm »
'But what processor and speed? Dual core, quad core?'

Athlon 240, 2 core, 4 threads, 3.5 GH

'Also, Win7 reaches end-of-life next Spring. '

Ummmm. When's the last time any of us installed with a 'forever after' feeling?

'And that, right there, is why Linux is better. '

The profound bitterness of a person who didn't get an absolutely, totally, completely FREE computer system like the one his friend did.
"With all due respect John I am head of IT and I have it on good authority if you type 'Google' into Google you can break the internet, so please no one try it, even for a joke." ( Jen on 'The IT Crowd' )

Offline Jason Wallwork

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2033
  • Karma: +5/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Adventures with a 10 Year Old Desktop.
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2019, 03:41:47 pm »
'And that, right there, is why Linux is better. '

The profound bitterness of a person who didn't get an absolutely, totally, completely FREE computer system like the one his friend did.

Totally wrong. Bzzzzt. My i5 3.2 Ghz with 12 GB of RAM was given to me. Also, my comment had nothing to do with it being a free system. You could have put a Linux distro on it with updates and all the software you would have needed in a fraction of the time. Same point regarding the end-of-life. Why put an OS on a system that is almost retired when you could pick one of many Linux distros that would be supported for 3-5 years, at least? These are not unreasonable questions.

But kudos on getting a free system. It's always nice when that happens. It was also hard to get excited by a free computer that you hadn't mentioned the most important part of, the processor. Up until that point, it didn't seem all that great. No wonder it's speedy, it's like an over-clocked i3, probably partway between the performance of an i3 and an i5. Congrats.
Primary: Desktop w/ Kubuntu 19.04 on i5@3.2 GHz w/ 12 GB RAM, 480 GB SSD main + 2x2 TB RAID 10 array

Secondary/Test: Toshiba Satellite Ultrabook w/ Win10/Linux Du Jour  (i3@1.4 GHz, 4GB RAM, 128GB SDD)

Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra ( Android 8 )
Huawei MediaPad T3 10 ( Android 7 )

Offline Jason Wallwork

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2033
  • Karma: +5/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Adventures with a 10 Year Old Desktop.
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2019, 03:42:58 pm »
You should post a pic of the case for us. I love a case with lots of USB ports, especially on the front. I keep getting ones with only 2 USB ports on the front and that makes me sad.
Primary: Desktop w/ Kubuntu 19.04 on i5@3.2 GHz w/ 12 GB RAM, 480 GB SSD main + 2x2 TB RAID 10 array

Secondary/Test: Toshiba Satellite Ultrabook w/ Win10/Linux Du Jour  (i3@1.4 GHz, 4GB RAM, 128GB SDD)

Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra ( Android 8 )
Huawei MediaPad T3 10 ( Android 7 )

Offline buster

  • Posting Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 632
  • Karma: +2/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Adventures with a 10 Year Old Desktop.
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2019, 01:09:33 pm »
Chapter Two: Virtual Machines inside this Win7 system

Just noting that I have 1 fully installed Linux system, and 8 virtual Linux installs at the moment, to go with 3 Windows installs. All of this is spread over 4 computer cases. I'm in no rush to lose this opportunity to recreate part of my past life with this gift system.  :) It's an adventure.

Jason warned me about this, and I have to admit he is correct - the memory is insufficient for good vm performance. Kubuntu wouldn't even install.

But it doesn't end there. I did get Peppermint and MX to run well, but couldn't get drag and drop to work with MX from Windows to MX. And yes I installed the open tools. Even more annoying, Peppermint worked quite well, except the sound system seems determined not to work. This is true with MX too. In fact it shows as an error during boot.

One more try with the new Q4OS, based on Debian Buster, that was released today. Already in the Win 10 and works well.

So unless I steal memory from the other old computer, and find a sound card, there's not much to write about for virtual machines.

Chapter Three: Why You Shouldn't do this, and Why You Should. (I know - you can hardly wait.)
"With all due respect John I am head of IT and I have it on good authority if you type 'Google' into Google you can break the internet, so please no one try it, even for a joke." ( Jen on 'The IT Crowd' )

Offline fox

  • Posting Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1171
  • Karma: +3/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Adventures with a 10 Year Old Desktop.
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2019, 10:38:16 pm »
I know what it's like to have sound issues, and on considerably newer computers than the one you're working with. Neither Ubuntu nor Mint sees my late 2015 iMac speakers - had to install a cheap pair of usb speakers to get my sound to work on it. But even on my 2015 xps, if you switch from Linux to Windows or vice versa, you don't get sound until you reboot a second time.
Ubuntu 19.04 and openSUSE Leap on 2011 iMac
Linux Mint Cinnamon 19.2 on "late 2015" 5k iMac
Ubuntu 19.04 and 18.04 on Dell XPS 13 2 in 1

Offline buster

  • Posting Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 632
  • Karma: +2/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Adventures with a 10 Year Old Desktop.
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2019, 10:21:36 pm »
Chapter 3: Who Shouldn’t and Who Should Go Through all This

Who shouldn’t -

#1. Anyone who didn’t get given an old Win7 computer.
#2. Anyone who doesn’t have the patience of Job.
#3. Anyone who has only one or two computers.
#4. Anyone who despises Microsoft with every fibre of his or her being.
#5. Anyone who has a great, light Linux distro that keeps them awake all night with an insistent voice, “Install me! Install me!”
#6. Anyone who would rather be secure for the future rather than invest in a six month OS.

Who Should -

#1. Anyone who when told by Maria that she is going back to Italy to live in six months, would say, “Then let’s make it the best half year of our lives. Come back to bed Marie.”
#2. Anyone who wants to (sort of) recapture the work and effort of the 90’s with various old parts, that for many of us was the glory years of working with computers.
#3. Anyone subject to bouts of nostalgia.
#4. Anyone who is old, and feels that somehow old things are better.

And coming soon: Chapter 4: Scrounging new hardware bits and pieces
« Last Edit: July 16, 2019, 10:26:42 pm by buster »
"With all due respect John I am head of IT and I have it on good authority if you type 'Google' into Google you can break the internet, so please no one try it, even for a joke." ( Jen on 'The IT Crowd' )

Offline dougal

  • Posting Member
  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 118
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Adventures with a 10 Year Old Desktop.
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2019, 01:22:18 am »
depending on what RAM modules you could use I likely have some..also I have this sound card if it's of use- xonar DG-D7YACM012773
you could  PM me with details etc.

Offline fox

  • Posting Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1171
  • Karma: +3/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Adventures with a 10 Year Old Desktop.
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2019, 07:38:46 am »
#4a (should)
Anyone who is old and has nothing better to do with their time.  :)
Ubuntu 19.04 and openSUSE Leap on 2011 iMac
Linux Mint Cinnamon 19.2 on "late 2015" 5k iMac
Ubuntu 19.04 and 18.04 on Dell XPS 13 2 in 1

Offline buster

  • Posting Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 632
  • Karma: +2/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Adventures with a 10 Year Old Desktop.
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2019, 12:43:41 pm »
Chapter 4: Scrounging for Better Hardware

Forgot to mention the 3 days the computer was unusable.  Since I used the method of installing the original 2010 ‘backup’ from the partition that comes with most Windows computers, there were one or two updates. Like 10 years worth. When it wasn’t downloading and installing, the hard drive was being scanned vigorously. So enthusiastic was the Updater, that really nothing else could be done. And some of the downloads were large – one I noticed was over a gig! So what I have now is pretty well a different OS.

Safety measure: Win 7 has a simple image making program included, so I used my external drive to back up the nicely running system.

The ram is relatively low at 3 gig, so I laid the two old computer boxes side by side and tried to swap bigger ram for the 2 + 1 sticks. (There are only two slots.) After 15 frustrating minutes of attempting this, I made the unpleasant discovery that the other computer didn’t have the needed DDR3. Quite a surprise actually. So far I’m living with 3 gig, maybe forever.

So on to the video. I have (a gift, or maybe junk, for other computer/technical work I did) a 21-22 inch tv set with a 1920x1080 screen. Is that cool or what?  So I took out the Radeon HD5570 from my other old machine and put it into the Win 7. And it puts out an hdmi feed which the nVidea doesn’t have. It worked sort of. Colours good and everything very large. Searching the device manager told me the card didn't exist. Playing in the bios didn’t reveal it after many changes and boots. Seriously looked like the end of the line for your intrepid computer warrior. Maybe a beer would clear my head.

Coming soon-

Chapter 5: The Big Gamble

"With all due respect John I am head of IT and I have it on good authority if you type 'Google' into Google you can break the internet, so please no one try it, even for a joke." ( Jen on 'The IT Crowd' )

Offline buster

  • Posting Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 632
  • Karma: +2/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Adventures with a 10 Year Old Desktop.
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2019, 08:09:54 am »
Chapter 5: The Big Gamble

Nothing I did with Win 7 would allow me to get the needed drivers. I didn’t even know the number of the card – the computer couldn’t see it, and I didn’t want to pull it out and try to read the tiny print with ancient eyes. So I drank another beer to sharpen my mind even more.

Earlier, I had done some investigation into moving the Win 7 up to Win 10. This had to be done carefully so as not to jeopardize the OEM license. Apparently, since a huge  percentage of Microsoft computers still use Win 7, a disaster is in the making, and though little known, the ability to upgrade to Win 10 is still left open on the Microsoft site. I half tested the procedure using their software with the original hardware. Everything was fine except for the nVidea card. Looked like a no-go.

When I got the new screen and video card in I didn’t want to go back, even though the resolution was totally wrong. The new screen is almost twice the size, and not 4:3. So.... I know the card is in the machine because there is a picture on my screen. And I reckon Win 10 should be better at picking up hardware like this. I can always go back to that old fashioned OS with the old fashioned monitor if everything fails – I have an image on an external drive.

“A life lived in fear is a life half lived.” (Australian movie – Strictly Ballroom)
“With 3 beers, anything seems possible.” (Harry, at about 6 o’clock most days)

So I started at this site and scanned down till I found an avenue into the Microsoft site:
https://www.zdnet.com/article/heres-how-you-can-still-get-a-free-windows-10-upgrade/

Pushing the start button was really easy, and the process started smoothly, and ran in a very friendly manner until an uncomfortable thing happened. There was a notice that read, “Video will be a problem using this  card in Win 10.” So does this always come up so people will purchase new Windows machines with new licenses? A sort of scam? Two principles competed in my mind:

Decisions made in haste can be regretted at leisure.
Faint heart never won the fair maiden. (My dad’s favourite.)

In honour of my dad, I confirmed that I recognized the problem, and continued. And soon:

Chapter 6: The Final Battle
"With all due respect John I am head of IT and I have it on good authority if you type 'Google' into Google you can break the internet, so please no one try it, even for a joke." ( Jen on 'The IT Crowd' )

Offline ssfc72

  • Posting Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 996
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Adventures with a 10 Year Old Desktop.
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2019, 09:43:19 am »
May I have the Rights to publish this wonderful story, as a book? :-)
Mint 18.3 on an HP Pavilion X360, 11" k120ca notebook
Tried Mint 19, but too many bugs. Went back to Mint 18.3
Cellphone ZTE Axon 7 Mini, PCMobile pay as you go

Offline Jason Wallwork

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2033
  • Karma: +5/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Adventures with a 10 Year Old Desktop.
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2019, 10:28:51 pm »
Your story is quite scintillating. Looking forward to the season finale although I hope they're be a season 2!
Primary: Desktop w/ Kubuntu 19.04 on i5@3.2 GHz w/ 12 GB RAM, 480 GB SSD main + 2x2 TB RAID 10 array

Secondary/Test: Toshiba Satellite Ultrabook w/ Win10/Linux Du Jour  (i3@1.4 GHz, 4GB RAM, 128GB SDD)

Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra ( Android 8 )
Huawei MediaPad T3 10 ( Android 7 )

Offline buster

  • Posting Member
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 632
  • Karma: +2/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Adventures with a 10 Year Old Desktop.
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2019, 09:26:01 am »
Chapter 6: The Final Battle

There is always a Linux distro waiting on the flank, to be called in if the battle starts to go badly. But still, after all these days of work, that would have to be considered a defeat.

This next part was just moving forward, covering ground. Time passed but there was no resistance. The Win 10 download accumulated on the hard drive until the installation started. It ran for quite awhile, and created some tension as the machine kept rebooting. The battle seemed won when Win 10 started asking typical ‘I want to be able to spy’ questions with very large print. I think I answered no to all of them. Final reboots and updates took me into beautiful colours and a screen that could not change resolution. One, I thought, minor skirmish to go.

Device Manager is pretty good. You find the hardware you’re looking for and right click it. Then select update drivers. No Radeon card of any sort showed. Win 10 knew nothing about the card. Which was about what I knew too.

Going on the Internet was like walking in deep mud. Because everything was too big for the screen, it took time and effort to get from one place to another, though in retrospect ctrl and – might have helped if I’d thought of it, but it’s hard to keep a clear mind in the heat of battle. I finally found the Radeon driver page, but with no name or number, I had to slide the page back and forth to find a downloadable piece of software that did a search for video cards. Even as I did this, I had a growing awareness that it might be difficult for the card to be found if the operating system couldn’t find it – a depressing thought.

After installing the software, I had to find where it had hidden itself. Searching C:, I uncovered it innocently disguised as a few file folders. Apparently I had to choose one the things in the folders to get it to do something. I remembered a scene from a movie – should we cut the green wire, or the red wire to defuse the bomb? I clicked. Nothing blew up, and after awhile I had some Radeon software on the screen, with very large print.

I found ‘scan’, and clicked, and waited. And waited some more, til I had to go away and do something else. If the whole week long process had been only an hour I wouldn’t care. Too late in the day for a beer. Maybe a bit of snacking.

When I finally got back to it, the Radeon app said, ‘Download this software’. Which I did. And I installed it. And nothing changed. But then it’s Windows right? So here is the moment. Buster vs computer, face to face. I rebooted.

The colour and clarity amazed me! The print was crystal clear. The picture I had with Linux systems and this video card, using default drivers, was good, but this was outstanding. The whole system works well even with its 3 gig of ram.

One last battlefield cleanup – The video card has sound capabilities for the TV speakers, carried through the HDMI cable.  So back to Device Manager, scroll to sound, find the AMD sound hardware listed, update drivers and Bob’s your uncle.

Boot and done.
Total cost - none.

So now I have a wonderful, quiet, up-to-date Win 10 computer sitting in a crowded, hardly ever used storage room, with a crystal clear monitor, and great sound, and that I probably wont  use a lot.

But it’s all about winning the battle, right?

Copyright © 2019 by H. Frederick Ellis
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, or unless you happen to be a friend of Buster, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below.
Bear Creek Beers Press
Plugintolinux
Peterborough, Ontario
www.bearcreekbeerspress.com








"With all due respect John I am head of IT and I have it on good authority if you type 'Google' into Google you can break the internet, so please no one try it, even for a joke." ( Jen on 'The IT Crowd' )