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Readying my relic for Windows 8


There is a difference between cheap and broke. Yes, I am using a vintage 2004 PC running Windows XP, but that’s not by choice. Actually, right now I have no choice. My life was turned upside down in 2006, and things really turned to crap in 2009, followed by gut punches in 2010 and 2011. So, while I have tried to maintain my tech savvyness (ok, so maybe that’s not a real word) since the very beginning, Windows Vista and 7 sort of passed me by. Which OS I was running on my various machines was honestly the least of my concerns these past six years.

So while I may be broke and definitely can’t even imagine picking up a new Windows 8 box, with a top of the line processor, goads of RAM, an SSD, etc, etc. (I can’t even look at bargain brand – 12/18 month life PCs), the thought of spending $39.95 to get Windows 8 on my relic sounds like a good idea. I had Win8 RTM dual booting on my mini-relic Fujitsu P7010 for a couple months and Jimmy liked it. A world of difference from XP, but I have always been one for challenges. What does this have to do with mobility? Well, Win8 is expected to talk fluently with the rest of the Microsoft eco-system; Win8RT (hope to own one on launch day), WP8, XBox, etc., and I need to be a part of that.


Technically, my MPC Millennia 920i appears to be up for the challenge, but I am a bit worried about the BOIS requirement that kept my Fujitsu from getting the latest Win8 preview. Failed miserably (scam site promising, but not delivering) trying to find an updated BIOS for my now unsupported P7010 and don’t expect the experience to be much different for my extinct MPC. Been too lazy to plug a wired keyboard (the MS wireless KB won’t let me F2 on bootup) into the desktop to check things out. But as October 26th approaches, it’s on my list of things to do.

The machine still works fine, although it admittedly gets bogged down at times without all those fancy cores. But IE8 is becoming a problem. After clearing my Internet history last week, I was faced with needing to log in to Diskus when I visited one of the many tech sites using that service. After clicking login, a dialog box popped up but then shrunk down to a mere sliver, making it (nearly) impossible to use. I finally figured out that by zooming down to 30%, I could see the first field for user name. After clicking the field and barely seeing the cursor blink, typing at about 2pt size, I was able to enter my user name, press tab to enter a password and then tab again followed by enter which registered my login credentials. I can now sort of appreciate what it’s like to be blind. When I tried using compatibility mode on the site, Diskus suggested that I upgrade to a "modern" web browser, like IE9, Chrome, etc. The nerve of those guys. Ok, IE6 I understand. But IE8. Come on now.

Assuming my desktop is capable of installing Win8, the next challenge will be gathering all of the stuff I have installed these past eight years to make certain I can do it again. Things like Office 10 (not upgrading unless it’s cheap, really cheap) are simple. As are a large handful of programs I readily have discs and keys for. But then there are all those tools, free and paid, I have downloaded directly for converting audio & video, capturing video, etc. Like I have done with my OneNote WP7 app list, in preparation for the big day I will need to scour the Start menu and Programs applet to list everything on my machine. Then find the EXE file, and a key if needed. Not a lot of fun, but necessary. At least I don’t have to deal with the dozens and dozens of WinMobile apps, along with ActiveSync, that are installed on my "just as old" MPC TransPort T2200 Laptop. Say what you may about Windows Marketplace, but that method of downloading/installing apps have really simplified my life. The laptop is currently grazing out at pasture (only turn it on occasionally) and don’t think I will bother trying to upgrade. It served me well.

Backing up personal stuff and data will be simple as copying to my external drive, and a thumb drive – always have two backup sources, always. It’s everything else that builds up the reluctance and anxiety in me. I have never been one for change, simply for the sake of change. I don’t paint a room because I have grown tired of a color. I paint because the room needs to be painted. But this is different. I have fallen behind in the PC tech world and it’s time to do some catching up. Just hoping my dual 80GB SATA Raid Controller drives don’t decide to fail the day after I finish the upgrade. Now that would really piss me off.

So what about you. Anyone going to try this kind of drastic Marty McFly kind of jump? Or are you heading over to Best Buy to take the easy way out?

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