Saturday

Pondering Our Home PC Swap

So, I am on the cusp of embarking on a dangerous and hazard-filled undertaking; replacing our home PC. When I say "home PC" I mean the desktop my wife uses on a daily basis.

Currently, it's a classic, custom-built machine (i.e. I cobbled it together years ago), and while it still serves my wife's relatively light use, I have the ability to provide a "free" upgrade. My wife basically surfs, and plays those little Flash games from Big Fish, etc. So, nothing demanding a lot of storage, CPU or GPU power.

The specs are an old Intel DUO quad core processor, 4GB of RAM and a 240GB SSD drive (a relatively recent upgrade, which really boosted performance). The system also runs Windows 7, and this is one of the points of contention.

Image courtesy Extreme Tech


Windows 7 is fine; I actually prefer using it to Windows 10, but 7 only has another 18 months or so of support from Microsoft, and I have to admit that Windows 10 is (at this point in it's development) a better performing and more secure OS than Windows 7.

The "free" hardware I alluded to before is actually a refurbished Dell box I got for one of my cryptocurrency mining setups. It looks better than the current home PC, is much quieter, and has a faster Intel i3 CPU, 8GB of RAM and Windows 10. Plus it has been running without issues for about 4 months!

In my way of thinking, the upgrade is "free" because I will just swap them out (the home PC and the Dell). I don't need much "oomph" for the mining setup, other than the video card which I will keep for that purpose - so the old home PC will work for that. I also have a spare, basic graphics card (a GTX 1030) that we can use in the Dell.

My only two remaining points to consider are: a) the actual move to Windows 10, and b) whether to stick with the 500GB traditional drive in the Dell, or clone the OS to the 240GB SSD from our current home box.

I think I can ease the transition by using the former "Classic Shell" software, to make Windows 10 look and feel more similar to Windows 7. In researching, I saw that the original project was abandoned in 2017 by it's creator, but that it was continued on Github and is now known as "Open Shell".

To save time, I plan to leave the traditional hard drive on the Dell for now and wait a little to pick up a larger SSD drive (Microcenter has a 480GB "house brand" SSD for around $70!). The newer Dell hardware with Windows 10 and an SSD should be a nice, relatively future-proof upgrade.

Unfortunately, I can't readily use Windows Easy Transfer to copy the user profile from one PC to another, since it's not available in Windows 10 anymore, but I can just manually copy that data over - less automated, but largely the same end result.

Now, just to find the few hours needed to do it...

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