I upgraded to a Core I5 based PC to get better performance for picture editing and to be able to run CAD software that my Pentium 4 machine just could not handle. Since there is no out-of-the-box migration solution from XP to Windows 7, I approached this as a complete rebuild. This is a diary of of the build, including moving hardware, installing programs, and upgrading drivers. Over time, if I am good :-) then I will keep this up to date as I continue to make changes.
The new machine
After research on the web, I decided that what best matched my needs was a Core I5-750 based machine running Windows 7 Home Premium. Core I5-750 is an Intel Nehalem architecture quad core processor with hyperthreading turned off. The best deal I found that did not add a bunch of stuff I did not need was an Hewlett-Packard HPE-150t with minimal upgrades:
- Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-750 quad-core processor 2.66GHz, 1MB L2 + 8MB shared L3 cache
- 6GB DDR3-1333MHz SDRAM 3 DIMMs free upgrade from 4GB (one DIMM slot remaining)
- 640GB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s hard drive
- 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4350 DVI, HDMI, VGA adapter
- LightScribe 16X max. DVD+/-R/RW SuperMulti drive
- Integrated 10/100/1000 (Gigabit) Ethernet, No wireless LAN
- 15-in-1 memory card reader, 1 USB, 1394, audio
Being happy with my two Samsung 21 inch monitors, I did not buy a monitor.
I also did not buy any audio stuff, because I am happy with my Cambridge SoundWorks sound system.
The motherboard information is at this HP page
The Radeon video card has DVI and VGA connectors, which is exactly what I used with the old machine to connect to my two SyncMaster 213T monitors. Each monitor has both connectors and a "source" button to select between them, so I left the old machine connected and connected the new one to the unused connectors on the monitors. Note that cables did not come with the machine for this, but I had some that had come with the monitors.
After plugging in the Keyboard, mouse, ethernet and audio, I turned on the system and let it run the Windows 7 installation sequence. Everything worked right out of the box. Some comments
- Both monitors were properly set up as a full width desktop with no user intervention.
- The system came with a 400+ day subscription to Norton internet security. I decided to keep this until it expires, and then I will install Avast open source.
- update: I decided to pay for a license and keep using Norton Internet Security. The license covers three computers, so I also put in on my laptop.
I set this machine up as ejbdesk1 (the old one is ejbdesk) on a fixed IP of 192.168.1.8
The workgroup is AMR, left over from when I worked at Intel and found it convenient for my home workgroup to be the same as the Americas domain name at Intel.
I turned off the Homegroup functionality by disabling the HomeGroup Listener and HomeGroup Provider system services. I learned about this later in the game through web research. Homegroup functionality is only useful with multiple Windows 7 machines on the network.
I left the Norton and Windows Firewall settings alone, and so far, have not had a need to change them.
Removal of stuff I did not need
As usual, lots of extras came installed, and most of them could be uninstalled easily. This mostly consisted of HP fluff and some free and crippled video tools. Since I have good licensed tools, I don't need these. HP Odometer doesn't want to go; maybe later. There are more there that will probably get uninstalled as I learn more about them and decide that they are not useful.
At this point, everything was running and it was time to connect peripherals and additional storage...
Moving the 1TB striped volume
All of my photos and videos are on a 1TB NTFS dynamic striped volume made up of two 500GB SATA drives. This had to be moved over from the old system. After making sure all of the content was backed up in more than one place, I removed the drives from the old system, keeping track of which cable went to which SATA port. On the old system, the ports were 0, 1, 2, 3. on the new one, they are 1, 2, 3, 4, with 3 and 4 available. Mechanically, the new machine had only one place available for an additional drive, but there is only one optical drive, so it was possible to put the third one there with an appropriate mechanical adapter. Once I got the cabinet open, though, I found that the removable frame that holds the hard drive does not take up anywhere near the available space, so it was possible to piggyback a third drive with a little metal work. In my computer spare parts I found a mount for a 3.5 inch drive that was designed to be screwed onto a flat surface. I was easy to attach this solidly to the existing drive frame so all three drives could be together. I had power adapter cables from the old computer and SATA cables, so the installation was simple.
The moment of truth was booting up with the new drives and getting Windows 7 to recognize the striped volume. This turned out to be very easy. The BIOS recognized and connected the drives automatically, so I didn't have to make any BIOS changes. Using the disk manager in Windows 7 (same as in XP) the partitions of the two drives were listed as "Healthy (Unknown Partition)." The partition context menu in Disk Manager has an "Import" function. When I used this on these partitions, it immediately recognized the striped volume, its name, and even its disk letter assignment from the old machine, and it was ready to go.
This stuff is explained this Microsoft TechNet page.
Bringing up USB and Firewire devices
I had four external hard drives attached to the old system, totally about 1.5 TB. They are mostly used for backup. Also, a scanner and two printers. I decided to see if windows 7 could handle it by itself, so I turned off the system and plugged them all it. When I restarted the system, all but one of the devices were recognized and installed with no additional effort. The Epson Perfection V500 scanner needed some help because it gets its drivers from installed software, which I had on the old machine. After downloading the latest version and installing it, the scanner installed with no more issues. It turned out the oldest firewire drive was already failing, so I just unplugged it from the firewire daisychain. The second oldest was only 250GB and partially used, so I moved its data to the system drive in the new system, leaving two 750GB external drives for backup.
Sharing the printers
The printers on this system are served to the other computers in the house, including an XP laptop, and Win7 netbook an iMAC, a Linux machine, and the computer this one replaced for as long as it lasts. I had a lot of trouble making this work until I learned how to set up shares manually. Then it was easy and I got everything working. Look here for details.
I re-installed all of the software still wanted, sometimes upgrading to 64 bit versions. I have kept copies of installation kits for years in a Kits directory on an external drive, but most of what is there is old, and from three or four generations of machines back. On this machine, I copied the old Kits directory to the system drive as part of the copy of the old external K: drive. This directory has all of my license data with unlock keys. As I built the new machine, I created a new c:\kits directory with two subdirectories, c:\kits\installed-software for the stuff that is actually installed, and c:\kits\software-kits for the stuff that is not installed. This directory has shortcuts over to the installed kits so there is a complete list here. I am adding to this as I add software.
The software that has been migrated, along with things I have added, is
- 7-zip - an archiving tool that uses 7z format for archive and compression (GNU LGPL free software)
- LabView - National Instruments software platform used by FIRST Robotics for programming robots. Very powerful system used a lot in automation, robotics, etc. I use a FIRST Robotics license (commercial - educational license)
- acritum rename 3 - a powerful renaming tool from Russia (purchased shareware)
no longer installed
- active perl - windows perl environment (open source)
- Ad-Aware - spyware scanning tool (commercial free version)
no longer installed. This function covered by Norton Internet Security
- audacity- audio file editor (open source)
- Autodesk Inventor Professional 2012 - Mechanical CAD software. Part of the reason I got this machine was to run this (Commercial watermarked education version)
- AVS Video Tools - I use AVS Video Converter (commercial)
- Better File Rename Handy batch renamer. Upgraded to the latest version because the old one did not run on windows 7. (purchases shareware)
- BitTorrent client (open source)
- Calibre Ebooks management software. Catalogs ebooks and interfaces with my Kindle book reader. It also converts ebook formats and gathers news sources to send to the Kindle (open source)
- CD Burner XP - for dealing with optical disks; burning, extracting, compiling, etc (open source)
no longer installed. Using Nero Burning ROM.
- Crash Plan client - for online backup. This will replace MOZY when the initial backup is complete. (subscription software)
- Default Programs Editor - for managing default actions on files base on extension (open source)
- Dynupdater - DNS client that keeps ejbdesk1.dyndns-at-home.com DNS address pointing at my network. The dynamic DNS server is at dyndns.com (free commercial)
- Epson Scanner software, including the scanner drivers and the scanner front end GUI (free commercial)
- exiftool is a set of tools for manipulating picture file metadata. I use it for time shifting and renaming my photos (free university software)
- FastPictureViewerCodecPack provides codecs to allow the Windows Imaging Component (WIC) to display images from a wide variety of file formats. In particular, this supports thumbnails for Nikon RAW files (NEF,) which I use for photo editing. (commercial)
- FastStone Image Viewer is a good general purpose viewing tool that supports camera RAW files (open source)
- ffmpeg2theora v0.28 is a command line program for creating theora (ogv) video files. This is video counterpart to Ogg Vorbis. More information at Xiph.org. Click here for usage instructions
- FileZilla FTP client (shareware)
- Firefox Web browser
- Foobar 2000 - audio files tool. With the addition of the Foobar 2000 APE Plug-in, it can play and convert APE files. This is what I use it for.
- Free audio to flash converter - converts common audio files to flash, including generation of HTML code and addition of a player. Mostly this is a convenient way of preparing mp3 files for the web (open source)
- FreeRipMP3 - Audio CD ripper (open source)
- Free video to flash converter - converts common video files to flash, including generation of HTML code and addition of a player (open source)
- Gallery Remote is a Java application I use to upload pictures to my Gallery2 installation on my web site. (open source)
No longer working and I don't use it because I upgraded to Gallery3, which does not need it.
- Google Talk chat client. (commercial but free)
- HP LaserJet 2200 drivers Windows 7 does these driver installs automatically, but I find it useful to have the drivers handy
- Internet Explorer 9. I use this to test compatibility of my web site with IE.
- Irfanview is a fast image viewer that works very well as a pop-up double click tool. (open source)
- Input Directoris a client-server keyboard/mouse service that lets me use the EJBDESK1 mouse and keyboard to control EJBDESK. I use the monitor source buttons to switch the video manually. (open source)
no longer using because EJBDESK is offline.
- JAlbum is the main tool I use for creating photo albums on my web site. It uses the JAVA runtime. (open source)
- Java SDK is the Java development platform from Oracle (open source)
- Labview 2011 for FRC is a version of the Labview programming package for FIRST Robotics teams. (Commercial software license through FIRST)
- Mobipocket Creator Publisher Edition is an ebook publishing package. I use it to create documents to read on my Kindle. (Free software with GNU licensed components)
- Moo0 TimeStamp is a freeware program for changing timestamps on files. I originally downloaded it to set the dates on radio show podcasts to their air dates. (Freeware for non-commercial use)
- MovieMaker 2.6 is a version of Windows Movie Maker released by Microsoft for certain Vista users. It is a free download from Microsoft. Windows 7 does not come with Movie Maker, so this takes it place.
- Mozy Backup is the client software for my Mozy account on the old machine. Mozy has a specific procedure for moving an account to a new machine, which I followed. I just had to download the client, start it up, and log in. It automatically discovered the new system and gave me to choice to migrate my backups to the it. Since I moved the disks over to the new machine with the same drive letters, it only took a day or so to re-sync. With the addition of a new 1 TB external drive 6/23/10, I am also getting a local copy of the backup (subscription software)
- mp3tag is software for editing and creating metadata in mp3 music files. (GNU free software)
- MuseScore - Music score editor with midi playback (open source)
- Nero 9 free version for burning CDs and DVDs. I just re-installed the latest version. Marginally useful and I may uninstall it (commercial free version)
- Netbeans is a free Integrated Development Environment I use for playing with Java. (open source)
- Netdrive is a client for a WEBDAV server. This allows me to mount web-based files on the local machine. (commercial free use)
- Nikon Capture NX2 is my main photo editing software. I just installed it and ran the most recent update using my original license. (commercial)
- Open Office is the open source office suite from Sun Microsystems. I just downloaded the latest version and installed it (open source)
- PDFCreator is mostly a printer driver that creates a PDF file instead of physically printing. (open source)
- Photoshop Elements 5 is my secondary photo editor. I just used the license from the old machine. (commercial)
- PHPMyAdmin is used for managing MySQL databases on my computer. It is part of my overall web development toolkit (open source)
- Picasa - Google's picture editor and publisher. I use it mostly to interface with my Google picture galleries. I use these galleries for some photo sharing (commercial but free)
- python - python language interpreter (open source)
- Quicktime is downloaded from Apple. I'm not sure I need it because VLC Media Viewer will play quicktime and MP4 files. (commercial free)
- Sony Video Tools includes Vegas Movie Studio and DVD Architect Studio, which I could not get to work on the old machine. It works fine on this machine. The license is from the old machine. (commercial)
- Switch User Shortcutis a shortcut to tsdiscon.exe in the c:\windows\system32 folder. tsdiscon.exe does not come with Windows 7 Home Premium, so I downloaded it from 
- Thunderbird email client is my main email interface. Just downloaded the latest version to start. To move over my emails, server settings, and address book, I used mozbackup, and open source tool that makes a file containing all of that information and allows you to restore it on the new machine. The instructions are on ((http://mozbackup.jasnapaka.com/%7Con the mozbackup web site.)) Doing it more manually is too complex, and mozbackup worked well. (open source)
- Turbotax 2010 - tax software for tax year 2010 (commercial licensed)
- UltraEdit is my main text editor. The version I had on the old machine would not install, but after emailing the company (IDM) they sent me a pointer to a version that works. The latest version is $29.95 to upgrade, but I don't need it. (licensed shareware)
- uvnc - UltraVNC VNC server and client. (open source)
- VLC Media Viewer plays just about anything. I just downloaded the latest. (open source)
- VMware Player creates a virtual computer on the Windows 7 installation. I use this for running Ubuntu Linux on this machine. (commercial free software)
- WinDirStat is a disk space usage tool. I just downloaded the latest. (open source)
- Windows Live is a whole system for communication, etc, provided free by Microsoft. It has a video editor that replaces Movie Maker. Downloaded from Microsoft. I only use the Movie Maker part of it (commercial free)
- WindowPowerShell_English_Documentation is a separate download from Microsoft to document Power Shell, which in included with Windows 7 (Commercial free)
- WinRAR is an archiving system that packs and unpacks just about any archive format. I have a very old license, but was able to download the latest and still activate it. (licensed shareware)
- XAMPP is a package designed for local web development. It installs the Apache web server, MySql, the FileZilla FTP server, Mercury mail and Tomcat Java servlet container. I am using it work PHP/MySQL learning and development. (open source)