Windows 10 Finally! – Upgraded Computer

XPS 8900

Subject: Dell XPS 8900 Desktop | Intel Core i7 | 4GB Graphics | 32 GB Memory

It took me three years to finally get my new computer configured the way I wanted it. I purchased a Dell computer from Costco a few years back, with every intention of switching over from my old Windows 7 machine to this newer one. Well, that was the plan anyways.

So, what took me so long?

First off, I never felt the need to get onto the new machine, plus I was not looking forward to getting all the programs moved over to the new computer. I had other computers and laptops that I had been using for work and personal use, and this project kept being pushed onto the back burner. I would venture to say there are many out there that have been in the same boat.

Why did I do it?

Microsoft Windows 7 support ended in January 2020. That right there was the main reason I changed over when I did.

So, what did I do and how did I do it?

Before I switched over, I wanted to install a fast Solid State Drive (SSD) drive in the new computer. With the price of SSDs dropping in recent years, I purchased a 1 TB SSD drive in place of the mechanical disk drive to begin with. Well, that didn’t work out as planned because I already had 900 GB of files and programs on my old computer that I did not want to give up or archive. So then, I decided that I was going to go to a super duper upgrade for a very fast speed and install a Sabrent 2TB Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 Internal SSD High Performance Solid State Drive (SB-ROCKET-2TB). The idea here was that the onboard plugin socket for a PCIe M.2 device would be the fastest access for a relatively low price.

The installation of the Sabrent 2TB Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 Internal SSD High Performance Solid State Drive (SB-ROCKET-2TB) was wrought with technical issues. I could never get the BIOS to recognize the M.2 drive as the system drive. I was pulling my hair out on this one! I finally gave up with that idea, and sent the drive back.

The next idea was to install a 2 TB SSD drive as an additional drive to the 1 TB SSD drive I first installed. I picked the following: Samsung 860 QVO SSD 2TB – 2.5 Inch SATA 3 Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-76Q2T0B/AM). This drive installation and being able to make it the boot drive went relatively easily. I did a completely clean install of the Windows 10 software and all the updates. I was happy with that and the machine was fast!

Next steps:

Now, I had to figure on the best way of getting all my programs and files over to the new computer. I was resigned to the fact that I was going to have to update a number of the programs regardless. Such is life with computers. So, I did do some research out there to find out the best way to transfer the programs and files from the old computer to the new one. I ended up purchasing PCTransfer Professional Software from EaseUS.

The PCTransfer Professional program worked great over the network. I was able to get all my programs and files moved over. However, even with the successful transfer of most of the programs, there were a few that still did not function properly. I found out that some of the programs needed to be installed fresh no matter what. Once again, this is par for the course of computer upgrades.

How do I like Windows 10?

As far as my like or dislike of Windows 10, that really isn’t an issue with me. It’s all about getting familiar with where everything is located. I have been using Windows computers, Apple Macs and Chromebooks for ages. So, each operating system has its strength and weaknesses. There are some things I prefer to do on the Windows machine and some things I like to use the Mac for. However, for my everyday computer for Internet use, I rely on using a Google Pixelbook Chromebook. The portability aspect and the ease of use come in second nature on a Chromebook.

What are the next steps on the desktop computer equation?

Real estate on the computer monitor is what I am looking at next. I’m looking for high resolution and a BIG screen!

What should I get? That is the question. Suggestions are welcome.

Installed 1 TB Hard Drive on My PC

After nearly two months of having the hard drive in the box, I finally got around to installing the hard drive in the PC computer yesterday.

The hard drive I purchased is the Hitachi Deskstar 3.5 Inch 1 TB 7200 RPM SATA II 32 MB Cache Internal Hard Drive 0S02860

Using my SATA and PATA to USB internal hard drive desktop adapter, I was able to do a complete clone of my old 400 GB internal HD with the new drive hooked up to the adapter and a USB port. Prior to cloning the HD using the backup software Acronis, I first formatted the new drive using the administrative tools, in the control panel, and navigated to the computer management, disk management area to format the hard drive. Note that the hard drive is a virgin drive and will not be seen properly by the operating system until it is mounted and formatted.

Once the hard drive is completely formatted (which I think took more than an hour and a half),I  then used Acronis backup and cloning software to make a complete image backup. When doing a clone of a HD, everything is exactly the same as the original, expect for an increase in the storage capacity from the old to the new.

The version of the cloning and backup software I am using is: True Image Home 2011 Plus

Acronis Product Features Include:

  • PC Backup and Recovery of Systems, Applications, and Files – Have you ever accidentally deleted a file, had a virus corrupt your files, or had a disk fail?
  • Fast and Easy Backup and Recovery – Acronis True Image Home 2011 provides complete system image backup and recovery of your home PC’s operating system, applications, settings, and personal files.
  • New Windows 7 Integration – True Image Home 2011 scales to the needs of novices and advanced users alike
  • New Graphical User Interface – We have redesigned our recognized user-friendly interface with new features like Drag and Drop for faster navigation.
  • Continuous Data Protection – Acronis Nonstop Backup automatically creates incremental backups every five minutes allowing users to roll back their systems, files, and folders to any point in time in the past.

After the cloning process was finished, I then shut down the computer, pulled the old drive out and installed the new, turned the computer back on, and voila, the computer had 1 TB of HD storage space instead of the 400 GB and all my programs were as they should be.

It is interesting to note that the old hard drive was a IDE cable parallel ATA “PATA” type, and the new HD is a serial ATA “SATA” type. Since my motherboard on the computer had the capabilities of running either the old PATA or SATA HD, this was the first time since I had last built the computer that I was installing a larger hard drive. The old drive was actually out of my old last generation computer. Once the new hard drive was installed, I definitely noticed speed improvements to the system. I plan on using the 400 GB PATA drive in the old external HD case which has a USB port on it.

Speaking of computers, it is somewhat difficult to tell what generation of computer I am using at any given time. Here I am typing away using Windows Live Writer (which only runs on Windows operating system software), on my MacBook Pro, running VMware Fusion, running Windows 7 Ultimate, on the MAC OS X Snow Leopard operating system software, with 8 GB of RAM (which I just upgraded from 4GB to 8GB).

I am very impressed with VMware Fusion 3 for being able to run all the PC based programs that you can imagine. It is actually cool to be able to run both the Apple OS side and the Microsoft Windows side at the same time. I tend to run these programs in different spaces (Apple OS feature that lets you have multiple desktops in four different quadrants, with different programs and files open in each space). It can get a bit confusing when trying to remember which system I am using at any given moment. Windows updates just like on a PC, and Apple updates on the other side too. In fact, Windows 7 just came out with a major update in the form of “Service Pack 1.” This took a bit of time to download and install. It required turning off the virtual computer and then virtually rebooting. I did not have to reboot the whole MacBook Pro.

Once I had performed the updates on my MacBook Pro on the Windows side of the coin, I felt it was important to do a Time Machine backup on the Apple side of the coin. Any case, it is like having the best of both worlds on this computer.

OK, that is the computer story of the day. Now is the time to get your website found online. Professional Web Services provides Internet marketing services and SEO services for all types of B2B and B2C businesses on the web. Visit us today for your business solution.

Jim Warholic

Backup the Backup Hard Drive

The more things we have, the more things there are to break. At one time, there is no doubt about it, it was the simple life.

I went to do a backup today of my PC computer onto my external hard drive, and low and behold, the backup hard drive would not work. I only use the external hard drive to do complete backups, and hardly ever turn it on. However, when I turned it on this time, I heard a very strange loud motor noise. I turned the hard drive off, and noticed when I turned it side to side, there was a clunking sound coming from inside the drive itself. This obviously was not a very good sign. The external hard drive is basically an internal drive with an external case around it. The HD was a Seagate Barracuda, 500GB PATA IDE drive, inside a SimpleTech case.

When I pulled the hard drive out of the case, and then disassembled the HD itself, I found that the motor shaft had sheared off the platters section, and all the four platters were still locked together, but the spindle section itself was separated from the motor, and was loose.

Keep in mind, failures eventually will happen on any device, and the SimpleTech Seagate drive has been very dependable for three years or more. This can happen to any drive and I do have experience with other internal drives dying on me too.

So, I did not feel comfortable without having a backup of this computer, and ran over to Costco to get another HD drive. I got a pretty good deal on a 500GB Ultra Portable Hard Drive for $60.00 plus tax. Yes, I could have gotten a much bigger drive, but I wanted to do more research in this area of large hard drives before spending more money, and this drive provided a backup bridge so to speak.

The new external hard drive is actually pretty cool in that the drive comes with a desktop USB dock and a separate USB cable, along with a small protective soft case for storage. It also comes with backup software and other software that is both Apple Mac OS X operating system 10.4.11 or higher; 10.5.8; or 10.6.2 and PC Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 operating systems. The portability of the drive is nice in that it does not require a power cable. The drive gets all its power directly through the USB 2.0 plug.

I already had Acronis backup software [ Acronis Backup Software ] installed on my PC, and even as I write this from that PC, I am doing a complete backup to the new external hard drive. I will be feeling much better once that gets done.

I have come to the conclusion, you can never have too many backups. In fact, it is good to have a backup of the backup, and then if you want to go further, store it in a firesafe, or better yet, store one of those backups off site. I am still a bit reluctant to use online backup file storage at this time, though there are merits to doing that too.

01/20/2011 Update:

I am very happy to report that the computer is backed up. Now I am thinking I should upgrade the internal hard drive to a SATA 1 TB and remove the two old PATA drives (C and D drive), using one of them in the old SimpleTech enclosure, since that enclosure is set up for PATA IDE drives. Note, my computer MOB is new enough that it has the PATA connectors built into it. Maybe I might even consider changing from Windows XP and loading in Windows 7. Or, maybe I should get a 2TB drive and make it dual boot, or maybe a tri boot with Linux, or maybe even consider making it a quad boot to Google Chrome operating system. Oh my, the possibilities are endless!

01/21/2011 Update:

After I completed the backup, I started thinking about my wife’s computer, and the backup that was on the backup drive, which was no longer viable. I had some extra PATA drives, and decided to try installing one of the extra drives in the chassis of the SimpleTech box, even though I have a SATA and PATA to USB internal hard drive desktop adapter. I am happy to report, it worked. So, with that in mind, I now did a fresh backup of my wife’s computer. I would really be in trouble if something happened to hers. As I always say, you can never have too many backups.

Also, I took the plunge, and ordered a 1TB SATA internal drive from Amazon for my PC computer. I think I got a great deal on this Hitachi Deskstar SATA 2 HD. What do you think? Hitachi Deskstar 3.5 Inch 1 TB 7200 RPM SATA II 32 MB Cache Internal Hard Drive 0S02860

Jim