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Upgrading office computer to Windows 8?


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#1 saluqi

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 01:54 PM

Having decided to upgrade our office system to Win 8 from present Win XP SP3, I ran the Win 8 Upgrade Assistant to see what we would have to do.  Most of the existing software is compatible.  Apple QuickTime is not compatible, but I don't know what we use that for anyway.  There are other media players/viewers, such as VLC.  There are updates or solutions available for most of the other "question mark" items.  The report says "Secure Boot isn't compatible" with your PC" and "Your PC's firmware doesn't support Secure Boot ... "

 

The MOBO is Micro-Star MS-7577 with 4 GB memory installed (the most that XP can recognize?).  Processor is AMD Phenom II X4 945.  Looks to me that with a 64-bit OS installed the MOBO could take 16 GB of RAM.  BIOS is AMI 4.1 dated 7/2/2009.  Would updating the BIOS solve the "firmware" problem mentioned above?

 

If it would be helpful I can run Speccy on that system, and/or attach the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant report.  What I am trying to find out is a) whether it will be reasonable to run Win 8 on that hardware, and if so, what hardware upgrades would be desirable or necessary?

 

Thanks for enlightenment!


Edited by Chris Cosgrove, 12 March 2014 - 07:11 PM.
Moved to Advice on Buying a New Computer


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#2 Kilroy

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 03:24 PM

I doubt that updating the firmware will do anything for Secure Boot and Secure Boot isn't something that you need.  You probably should do a firmware update prior to installing Windows 8.

 

Crucial says your board will go to 16GB, but for $200 you'd be better putting it towards a new machine.



#3 saluqi

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 04:48 PM

Crucial is where I got the 16 GB figure.

 

Dunno about new machine - that one cost $7000, five years ago.  Turns out that was because our now ex bookkeeper wanted to use it for online games and gambling ... so that machine was decidedly overkill for business use.  It has an ATI Radeon graphics card and other goodies.

 

It's a rather short time frame to figure out what we really need for an office machine, starting from scratch.  We are a domestic water utility.  We have one "custom" software package that will run on Win 7 or Win 8, no problem.  Everything else is pretty mainstream - Quickbooks, E-mail, MS Office and so on.



#4 cmptrgy

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 09:30 PM

Consider running the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor also and compare the results

--- If you decide going with Windows 8, get 8.1 right off the bat

------ If you go with 8.0, don’t reinstall your 3rd party apps until after upgrading to 8.1

 

Following is a summary of how I understand your concerns

 

You want to find out whether or not you can realistically upgrade the office system to Win 8 from present Win XP SP3

--- It’s a pretty expensive machine so you probably would like to continue using it and spend only what you need for the upgrade software and you are running short on time to make that happen

--- The Win 8 Upgrade Assistant reports most of the existing software is compatible.  

--- You need to know if Win 8 will run on that hardware and if hardware upgrades might be necessary

--- You are willing to attach the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant report

--- You are willing to attach a Speccy report

--- You have custom software package that will run ok on Windows 7 or 8 and software such as Quickbooks, MS Office, do e-mail etc.

 

“There are updates or solutions available for most of the other "question mark" items”

--- I would verify what those available solutions are before hand

 

“There are other media players/viewers, such as VLC”

--- Are they compatible and do you them?  

 

Secure Boot isn't compatible with your PC

Your PC's firmware doesn't support Secure Boot

--- Does this mean you want Secure Boot?

 

The MOBO is Micro-Star MS-7577 with 4 GB memory installed (the most that XP can recognize

--- If it’s a 64-biy system, XP can handle more than 4 GB

--- What counts is what can the MOBO handle

--- In your case its been determined to be 16GB

Refer to http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa366778(v=vs.85).aspx#physical_memory_limits_windows_xp for memory limits  

 

The processor is AMD Phenom II X4 945.  

If your system is running in 32-bit mode, it looks like it will run in 64-bit mode

http://products.amd.com/en-us/DesktopCPUDetail.aspx?id=534

BIOS is AMI 4.1 dated 7/2/2009.  

Would updating the BIOS solve the "firmware" problem mentioned above?

--- Go to the manufacturers website and see if there is a BIOS update for Windows 8



#5 saluqi

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 05:53 PM

I have now written three replies, all of which vanished into limbo before I could post them.

 

I had already planned to run the Win 7 Advisor and compare.

 

Your summary of my concerns is pretty much on target.

 

Most of the "update required" items are graphics stuff used for online gaming/gambling.  We don't plan to do any more of that - especially not with company money :)

 

Video players: VLC is compatible and will play just about anything.  Also, see previous item :)

 

Do we need Secure Boot?

 

I'd think 16 GB is more than enough to run Win 8 satisfactorily.  I am typing this on a Win 8 laptop with 4 GB installed.  I doubt we would need the full 16 GB.  I don't anticipate any problems finding and installing the appropriate memory modules.  I've done it many times before.  Worked for years in a systems house building computers, designing, installing and setting up networks and writing custom software ... that was a while back but one doesn't forget simple things like installing or upgrading memory, and anyway I've kept my hand in a bit.

 

I think the existing Win XP is probably 32 bit (the Speccy report should tell us) and yes I know 64 bit systems can access more memory :)

 

Will go look for a BIOS update.



#6 cmptrgy

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 06:43 PM

I think you have a good handle on what you want to do

One item I'd like to repeat is once you have installed 8.0, I think it would be a good idea to upgrade to 8.1 before installing 3rd party programs; from what I've read it's possible some AV programs and 3rd party programs can be affected where they have to be reinstalled afterward

On the memory, if you install Windows 8 32-bit, it has a 4GB limitation

However I suspect you do have 64-bit capability but please verify

On whether or not you need Secure Boot, I don't know; hopefully someone else can chime in on that



#7 Kilroy

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 02:33 PM

Any time you're talking about business use you should be looking at a manufactured system, for stability if nothing else.

 

The fact that this machine cost $7,000 five years ago doesn't count for much, especially since a lot of that purchase is probably in the video card.  Computers double in ability every 18 to 24 months, a five year old machine is now less than 25% of a new machine when it comes to performance.  Count that $7,000 as a lesson learned and purchase a new Windows 8 machine.  I can recommend the HP Elite business line as they come with a three year warranty. 



#8 saluqi

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 05:31 PM

I agree that what this system cost five years ago is essentially irrelevant.  I also agree that expenditure was unnecessary and indeed inappropriate.  Note that none of  those involved in that transaction is now in our employ or on our Board :)  I would never have authorized spending that amount on a business desktop.  I'll take a look at the line you mention - there is much to be said in favor of buying a ready-built machine on which it would then be necessary only to install our software (which is nothing exotic) and migrate the data.  I  dare say the man-hours saved would come close to paying for the computer :) .

 

Having been involved with computers for more than 60 years (yes, before electronics) I am well aware of Moore's Law and its implications.

 

If anybody is curious, the Speccy report on that computer is published at http://speccy.piriform.com/results/v4aWKWMUnYXxAxskwzaWmoB



#9 cmptrgy

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 06:38 PM

saluqi you bring up a good point about man hours so I'd like to make the following comments

Note: I am not trying to discourage you from buying a new computer but if you feel confident you can upgrade the XP PC to Windows 7 consider the following

 

First item: Cost

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Operating System Software - 32bit, DVD for about $134.99

--- I didn't look up the cost for a 64bit system

------ If I remember correctly, your Speccy reports you are working as a 32bit system

------ You could buy a Windows 32bit/64bit DVD but you'd have to look up that cost

On a brand new computer for business needs, I would imagine it will cost at least $600.00

 

Then man-hours

On upgrading to Windows 7, I don't know how long that takes, I would guess 2 hours, maybe 3 three from what I've read

On buying a new computer, it's only as long as you take to make that decision at the store

 

Then there's the updates

On the updated Windows 7 Windows Updates, they will need to be done

On a brand new Windows 8 computer, the Windows Updates will need to be done and I recommend 8.1 also before you install any 3rd party programs

--- Naturally if you buy a Windows 8.1 computer, that's even better

--- I would suspect the time difference isn't very much

 

Then there's the local business program to install

--- The time difference is probably minimal

 

Then there's the learning curve

I don't know how many others use that computer but take that into consideration

 

Last but not least just FYI; I volunteer at a non-profit organization that has 4 XP machines and 3 Vista machines

The decision makers are hesitant to make any changes and that's out of my hands

But I have a plan ready with the comparable costs & time similar to what I entered

Unfortunately I don't have the experience yet for updating to Windows 7 but I know once I do the first one, I believe I'll be able to do the other XP's quickly enough



#10 saluqi

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 09:34 PM

Yes, the office computer is currently running 32 bit Windows XP.  I think it is almost certainly 64 bit capable but will try to find that out for sure.  The fellow who built it is a friend and runs a computer consulting business 20 miles from here.

 

Having now run the Win 7 upgrade advisor it looks to me as if there are more incompatibilities with Win 7 than with Win 8.  I can post both reports, or put them on a Web site, if anyone is interested.

 

I would always run all the available updates on any new Windows computer (or new install for that matter) before doing anything else.

 

I tend to look forward rather than backward and that to me seems another reason for going ahead with Windows 8 and a 64 bit architecture.  There are three other users in the office besides myself - and all of them are already at least somewhat familiar with Windows 8.  They are all young and computer savvy - probably more so than I am, at least as users.  I think they all already have Win 8 on their own machines, as I do also on the office laptop at least.  I have so far not found any real problems learning or using Windows 8.  I quickly abandoned the Metro interface and now use the desktop for nearly everything.  The laptop has a touch screen but I haven't used that feature in weeks now.  Wireless mouse works well for me (and saves smeary prints on the screen).  I installed the Classic Shell and find that a convenience too - not essential but it saves a bit of fiddling here and there.  The applications I use regularly are all pinned to the taskbar and so can be opened with a single click.  Our office work will be similarly simple in principle - QuikWater, Quickbooks, Outlook, Excel and Word - and Google - will account for 99% of the office requirements.  We have a timeclock and a payroll program that goes with it - used once each fortnight to print out paychecks through Quickbooks.  We record meetings as MP3 files (on a pocket-sized Sony voice recorder) and use VLC to listen to them and prepare minutes.  VLC is open-source and cross-platform so I don't expect problems there.  There is an NCH program I use to shrink the size of voice files by a factor of about 100 without noticeable loss of quality (convert MP3 to, for example, WMA, or a smaller MP3 file).  I don't doubt the latest version of that will run on Win 8.  NCH makes some other interesting toys as well.

 

We already have an office licence for MS Office 365 so there would be no additional cost there.

 

Looking at that HP site it seems I ought to be able to get a decidedly high end business tower for under $1000.  We already have a pretty good monitor but if I had to buy another that might be $350 or so.  Gotta say, that route looks tempting right now :)  Buy it with 4 GB installed, that is one 4GB module installed in one of four slots - easy to upgrade to 8 or 16 if one wanted to.  Not doing gaming or fancy graphics, we probably wouldn't need to.



#11 cmptrgy

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 09:57 PM

That HP site is great and going for Windows 8 looks to me like the better decision



#12 saluqi

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 11:00 PM

Looking at the specs of the MS-7577 MOBO it's apparent it can support a 64 bit system - it supports up to 16 GB memory, which a 32 bit system cannot address.  It is, however, apparently outdated (no wonder) and no longer available.  That AMD processor looks pretty feeble if compared with an Intel Core i7-4770K.

 

I'll discuss this with my office staff on Monday, but I think I know where we are going.  Have to think what to do with the old box - it's too good to become a doorstop.



#13 NickAu

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 11:23 PM

 

Have to think what to do with the old box - it's too good to become a doorstop

Install Linux on it. And learn something new... Unbuntu or Mint are a good .


Edited by NickAu1, 14 March 2014 - 11:25 PM.


#14 cmptrgy

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 05:23 AM

 

 

Have to think what to do with the old box - it's too good to become a doorstop

Install Linux on it. And learn something new... Unbuntu or Mint are a good .

 

That's what I'm going to do with my desktop XP computer

XP might be retiring but my computer isn't



#15 saluqi

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 02:15 PM

Sounds like a good idea (installing Linux) both for the office box and for my about-to-be-retired XP desktop at home.  Don't know how much time I will have to play with them ... being a water district manager in drought-ridden California is a full time job, and then some :) .  I am on call 24/7, and just now that is not theoretical!  Groundwater resources in this part of the state have been recklessly overexploited for about 60 years, and in this drought year the reckoning is finally coming due.

 

Maybe this comment belongs somewhere else, but casting around I found a lot of skepsis about NCH software.  I have used the free version of "Switch" - long ago on a now retired computer.  Didn't have any problems, that I can remember.  It did the job I wanted, quickly and efficiently.






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