New PC

It always surprises and frustrates me when shopping for computers how vastly and quickly the prices fluctuate. I’ve been comparing spec’s and prices since January. I’m patient. After all, there’s nothing wrong (precisely) with our old computers except that they are old. They still have the original stickers proclaiming that they are proudly running Windows Vista. I upgraded to them so Richard and I could play Unreal Tournament 2004. They still run browsers, Outlook and Word. They are serviceable but no longer practical. Everything takes fifteen to thirty seconds to load. And we hardly dare run multiple programs at once. It was time to upgrade. Pricing on i5 gen8 based towers kept fluctuating from $450 to $750 depending on memory and hard drive capacity. I’d watch the pricing every weekend. A couple of times I almost pulled the card out. But I kept waiting for a definite bargain. Finally last weekend, I committed. BestBuy had their Dell Inspiron 3670, 12Gb RAM, 1 TB HDD on sale, down from $649 to $579. I called and verified that they had two of them at the store near me, and Thea and I were off to pick them up.

Once we got them home, I was eager to set mine up and start using it. But changing PC’s is never easy and it just keeps getting worse. There used to be a backup/restore feature built into Windows. Then Microsoft moved it to an app within the Windows framework. Then it was an application that they offered on as an extra from their website. Now, it’s a recommendation that you visit their forum and ask other users what they use. I tried backing up my user to USB storage with the Windows 7 legacy backup/restore feature. But I have migrated through so many different Windows versions that some of my permissions and links are hopelessly screwed. Instead, I wound up going another direction.

Before going in that other direction, I was going to need the new computer running. It took three tries registering it before Microsoft let me set my user as a local user instead of a Microsoft connected user. They really wanted me to know that I wasn’t being kind when I opted out of sharing my user-data and experiences. I only had to remove four CandyCrush type games that I didn’t want. There’s a new term that I learned that loosely applies. These can be called PUPs; potentially unwanted programs. I also removed McAfee without prejudice. That gave me a base computer that I could start loading with programs I did want. Chrome and Firefox were my first two. Then VLC media player. I loaded LibreOffice with the thought that I would try to abstain from loading too many Microsoft products. I started setting up the Mail app since it came free with Windows. That led me down the path of which emails do I want to keep and do I want to try to transfer all my archived emails over. I decided that I never look back at emails anyway. So they were unimportant to me. But I also rediscovered that I have an onMicrosoft account from work. And that account allows me to have the full Microsoft Office Suite at work and at home. So, I loaded the MSOffice Suite as well.

Once the new computer was up and running, I removed my old hard drive from my old computer and connected it to the new computer via a USB adapter. This still left me with the problem of moving files that didn’t want to be moved because their permissions and rights were in an unknown state. Fortunately the command line interface came to the rescue. Yes, Virginia, there is a CLI. And it has a host of useful commands like “takeown”. Which, as it implies, takes ownership of a file or folder and replaces those unknown states with known ones. There’s a process that you can use with the GUI to do the same thing. But it has a lot of right-clicking and warnings and errors to overcome. This was run and done. Once I ran it recursively through my old user folders, I was able to grab everything and copy it to the new computer. 

I’m still not done. Although I have all the files for Unreal Tournament 4, it’s not installed on the PC. So it doesn’t run. The same goes for e-reader books and a few other formats that are proprietary to certain programs. As I look through my files and find things I want to keep, I have to download and install the program to access them. In some cases, I know that I’ll need to convert the data or lose it.

And I’ll have to go through this all again in fifteen years.

Footnote: I started out saying I was waiting for a bargain. That same PC this week is back up to $649 on Dell and BestBuy’s websites.

 

1 Comment

  1. Wil C. Fry

    “…set my user as a local user instead of a Microsoft connected user…”

    Oh, I wish I had known how to do that! When I set up my Windows 10 machine, I could find no way to get through the initial setup without connecting to Microsoft. Ugh. At least I did find a way to make it boot up without requiring my password each time.

    I too have been looking (not very seriously) at new computers, knowing mine won’t last forever. I sadly realized that my next machine will be the first time I ever paid more than the previous one. In the past, each PC cost less than the one before it. But prices are now rising instead of decreasing.

    I assume this is because more people are using exclusively phones and tablets for personal computing…

    Reply

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