I Did It

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yogi
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I Did It

Post by yogi »

You have read about my opinions regarding Windows ever since you came to this forum. It's been apparent to me at least that Windows 7 is the best Operating System ever to come out of Redmond, WA. It certainly isn't perfect, but I did not swap it out when they released Windows 10 or Windows 11. The tower can't run Windows 11 anyway. The laptops do indeed run Windows 11 - or did.

That old broken laptop had the beta version of Windows 11 on it and everything worked well. I was surprised by how well it did work considering it was the lowest tier processor that Microsoft blessed for its newest brainchild. But, alas, it had two intermittent keys that bugged me. That is why I got a new laptop and installed Windows 11 on there too. That is now the official Windows Beta computer.

The old laptop, one from MSI, still has a lot of punch if you don't need the "l" key too often. So, I thought that maybe there would be some desperate soul out there who would take it off my hands for a small token fee. Being the paranoid dude which I am, I wiped out Windows on that machine and installed Linux Mint 20.2 in it's stead. It's now listed in the neighborhood newsletter as being for sale. 24 hours have passed, and no takers yet. I don't think it's because of Mint, but it might be. Regardless, I'm also supplying a memory stick that can install Windows 11 if the buyer so chooses. Seriously I don't expect to sell it that way, but there is always a chance.

The last part of my mission here was to update the Windows 7 ASUS tower to Windows 10. It doesn't have the required hardware to run Windows 11, unfortunately. Lately there have been too many BSOD's crossing my screen, plus a few of my favored programs no longer are being maintained on Windows 7. So, instead of enjoying what I have left, I did the upgrade to Windows 10 this morning. I'm feeling pretty comfortable with it in that I did all that Beta testing for several years now. I was uncertain about what would transfer and what would be lost, but as it happens nothing significant was lost. Even the desktop wallpaper was retained. I've not checked all my critical programs yet, but they all are available and the ones I did check work fine. I'll be doing more verification as the day wears on and hope I don't regret what I did. I made all the backups necessary to recover, but hopefully that will not be necessary. Stay tuned for possible future rants. :mrgreen:
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Kellemora
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Re: I Did It

Post by Kellemora »

Sorry you had no takers on your old laptop. Did the keys start working after you installed Linux Mint?

I see quite a few comments made by lifelong Windows users, and they are none to happy with Windows 11.
I don't bother to read why though. Some went right back to Windows 10 for now.

Since you love Windows, I hope it keeps shining for you, and you can get it to do the things you want it to do.
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yogi
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Re: I Did It

Post by yogi »

One of the first troubleshooting methods I used on the keyboard was to boot into the two Linux operating systems installed alongside Windows. The truth is that the problem was worse because I used the command line a lot and the letter "l" cannot be replaced with an upper case "L". That was the main reason I decided a new computer was necessary if I was not going to have the old one fixed. The failure is a bit odd in that it doesn't work intermittently. The "l" key works fine or it doesn't work at all. What I have been able to do is coax the lower case key to work by using the upper case instead. Doing that a few times seemed to get the lower case function to start working. When I removed Windows from that laptop to install Mint I also removed the other two versions of Linux. So, now it's a fantastic Linux notebook, which apparently nobody wants so far. It's been two days and I don't expect much from the newsletter. If it's still there by Christmas, I'll have to find another use for that Linux computer. Maybe I'll get a boat and use it for an anchor.

I had a lot of reservations about dumping Windows 7 and migrating over to Windows 10. My first concern was whether or not Microsoft would give me a fee upgrade. They stopped support last January and took down the upgrade site. However, I've been reading stories about people still getting free upgrades if they go to the regular download site. That's what I did and so far the system is activated with a valid product key.

In a similar fashion to the laptop, this tower had two versions of Linux installed on a separate hard drive from Windows. What really had me concerned was the fact that I read stories similar to the one you like to tell where "Windows likes to play God." Well, I know that isn't true. The last operating system installed is the one that gets to control the boot process. Plus, if you don't like the standard rule, there is always the priority settings in UEFI/BIOS. You can select whatever you like to be the default bootloader, and that is what I did many moons ago. I overrode the Windows boot manager and trashed Grub. They don't always get along with each other, but I got around that by installing rEFInd as the primary bootloader. Never had a problem after I did that, but now Windows was going to be the most recent OS installed.

Far be it from me to know what actually happened, but what I did was an upgrade and not a clean install. This worked so well that I am still in shock that nothing was lost. Not only that, but Windows ceded control to rEFInd. Nothing changed there as well. I've always had trouble with upgrades when I experiment with Linux. They say it can be done but all the times I've tried it never worked well for me. Thus when I need to change versions of Linux it's generally a clean install. I expected something like that to be necessary with Windows. I made backups galore with the intention of having to restore a broken system. Fortunately I've not had to fix anything, and a few things even work better. I will tell you that Windows 10 does indeed take up a bit more disk space and the system response isn't as snappy as Windows 7. That's not to say it's slow by any means, but I can see a fraction of a second delay time executing certain commands, or opening certain windows. If I did not have Windows 7 as a reference, I'd never notice it.

There were a lot of complaints about Windows 11 when it first hit the streets. Given all the time I've evaluated it for Microsoft I can see now how much better it is than Windows 10. A lot of it is pure cosmetics, but that's important when you spend all day at the keyboard. There are quite a few similarities between the two which makes it obvious that they took large chunks of Windows 10 for use in Windows 11. The complaint many people have is with the GUI. Windows 11 now looks a lot like Apple's iOS with a dock for the apps along the bottom. Performance is not affected one bit by that, but you would have to change some working habits to feel comfortable with it. And, I guess some people just can't adapt to change.
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Kellemora
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Re: I Did It

Post by Kellemora »

I just heard of a little trick in a post on Farcebook.
In their case, it was the letters A and and T that quit working in lower case.
The trick is, turn on Caps Lock, then to get the lower case letter use Shift-A or Shift-T for the lower case, then turn the caps lock back off again. A pain, but worked.

Another person chimed in to just keep tapping the key, not hard, but fast, and that might clear it up too.

You are much smarter about getting things to work than the average Joe.

On the Linux forums I used to visit eons ago, the key word back then was Never Use Wobi to install Linux with Windows.
And of course, ALWAYS install Windows FIRST, no exceptions, unless you were a seasoned computer geek, hi hi.

With Linux, I can have Panels at the top or bottom, and with some Distro's on each side too.
Or I can go with the Schmartz-Fonz look and have a cluttered desktop like Windows.

I like the MATE desktop environment myself!

And NO I don't want to change from that layout, hi hi.
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yogi
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Re: I Did It

Post by yogi »

I can understand why you are attracted to the Mate desktop. There were a few times I had to use XFCE in order to get it to boot. That desktop was even more retro than Mate, but that's why it booted. No Python driven Plasma or Gnome crap to deal with didn't tax the video generator excessively. Fortunately enough guys like me must have complained and the forward thinking developers over in the Debian corner decided maybe Nvidia cards are not the bad guys after all. They bent the rules regarding FOSS and now support something else too.

Yes, I've experienced the same thing with rapid stroking the dead key. I never thought about putting the Cap Lock on and reversing its function because the Linux CLI is case sensitive. But, if I were anywhere else besides Bash, that might be a good idea. I'm not exactly worried yet but nobody has inquired about the Linux Mint computer I offered for sale. It could be the broken key that they don't want to deal with and not the fact that Windows is missing. I guess it would take a special interest person to even think about owning it. I'll give it a couple more weeks before I decide what to do with it.
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Kellemora
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Re: I Did It

Post by Kellemora »

On Linux Mint, you might want to go into the Drivers Manager and see if they have other keyboard drivers available.
Sometimes, changing or reinstalling a particular driver can fix things.
Of course, if the problem is physical with the keyboard itself, that may not work.

The keyboard is basically the reason I had to retire my early Apple II and Apple II+ computers.
Besides, I also had to open the case and pull the cards and clean the contacts more and more often as they aged.
But when the keyboards died, there wasn't much more I could do for them.
I even had rubber o-rings under some of the keys because they wouldn't come back up again, hi hi.

Sometimes, I can't believe some of the intensive things I see folks using laptops for.
I know they have got more powerful, but some things need more than they have, I would think.
One of the donation places here where you can go in and buy stuff.
The owner is running the place from his laptop. Which included two cash registers, the POS system, and the inventory database linked to the cash registers.
After they close and he gets done backing up the days stuff, when he unplugs it, nothing in the store works.
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yogi
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Re: I Did It

Post by yogi »

You might recall me complaining about the new laptop from ASUS. The numeric keypad doubled as a touch pad pointer at the press of a button. Well, in Windows that did not happen. It did work as intended in Linux. Then, too, I have the beta version of Windows 11 in that computer which could have been the source of the problem. It was not. ASUS and I had some words and they send down a keyboard driver for me to update. The update did not fix the keypad plus it broke the Caps Lock key. After more complaints from me they told me the fix was to go back to Windows 10. Eventually they pushed a new SDK, which you and I seem to have two different experiences with. Anyway, that SDK fixed all the keyboard problems. The issue looked as if it were OS related, but in reality it was the poor design of ASUS developers that was the problem. They simply did not keep up with the new release of Windows and refuse to have anything to do with Linux.

I'm thinking that the old broken MSI laptop has similar issues as did the ASUS. I did not create a trouble ticket because I read about the exact same problem in the MSI forums. Quite a few people had keyboard failures such as mine, but with different keys. In the final analysis the only fix was to send the laptop to MSI for repairs where they replace the keyboard and the chip set built into it. I decided not to give them any more of my money because of their incompetency. Besides, it's an interesting experiment to see if any disgruntled Windows users will be interested in my Linux Mint laptop.

And, by the way, I did plug in an external keyboard. That worked fine for the short amount of time I tested it. Thus I'm fairly convinced the MSI keyboard problem is in the firmware of the keyboard.
Last edited by yogi on 06 Dec 2021, 01:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Kellemora
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Re: I Did It

Post by Kellemora »

One would think, with the high price of laptops, they would make the keyboard easy to replace.
I've seen a few video's on how to do this on different brands of laptops, and on some you can replace individual keys, which surprised me, because you can't find anyplace to buy individual keys, hi hi.

When I bought my case of 6 keyboards because I like their touch and key pressure. They were only 19 bucks or 19.95, but because I bought an entire case, I got them for like 16 bucks each.
Now they only make wireless ones that look like it for 49.95 each.

I don't understand what it is with everything going wireless. Logitech's wireless thumbball mouse is no where near the quality of their original hard wired unit. I'm using it and it is a pain in the arse and uncomfortable too.
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yogi
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Re: I Did It

Post by yogi »

Wireless does seem to be the trend, but there certainly are enough old school wired devices to be had. You just aren't looking in the right places because of the cost involved. The quality you are looking for still exists, but as you point out the prices are out of this world.

I've taken apart a few laptops and never found a keyboard that was easy to replace. You seem to be able to wear out keypads quicker than the average bear which is a problem. Usually the keyboard will last as long as the computer, which you tend to keep longer than the average bear. LOL Some mechanical keyboards have keys that are easy enough to replace. Those using MX switches are very serviceable and easy to buy replacement switches. But, there too MX is high end quality. Given that you are so hard on keyboards you are doing the right thing by buying cheap ones in bulk. I think all those years in the rehab business must have turned your fingertips into something like emery or sand paper. Maybe you should wear finger cots or gloves when you type. :lol:
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Kellemora
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Re: I Did It

Post by Kellemora »

I found some of the Logitech hard wired Thumballs on eBay a few times, most were used, and yes they wanted a fortune for them.
I may have found an off-brand that fit my hand just right, but at the time I bought it, I didn't know none of them were SP2 compatible anymore, so I sent it back for that reason.
Then I bought the wireless Logitech, only to find it is not the same shape as their wired model, it is shallower for one, the buttons are narrower, because they added to more buttons on the left side I don't use, and the scroll wheel is much higher than it should be which makes it get spun when you don't want it spun.
As far as I'm concerned, it is a poor design all the way around. Even the sensor for the ball does not have a glass over it, so lint gets down into the opening where you can't remove it easily. The original has a glass here, so a q-tip and you are ready to go in a second.

I do one heck of a lot of typing in a day. Besides writing, I'm also doing genealogy work, e-mails, and forums. And as you can readily see, I get quite windy all too often, hi hi.
Plastic is soft, and ironically, it is the space bar that I usually wear a hole into first, and then it is sharp and cuts the side of your thumb like a meat slicer.
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Kellemora
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Re: I Did It

Post by Kellemora »

I found some of the Logitech hard wired Thumballs on eBay a few times, most were used, and yes they wanted a fortune for them.
I may have found an off-brand that fit my hand just right, but at the time I bought it, I didn't know none of them were SP2 compatible anymore, so I sent it back for that reason.
Then I bought the wireless Logitech, only to find it is not the same shape as their wired model, it is shallower for one, the buttons are narrower, because they added to more buttons on the left side I don't use, and the scroll wheel is much higher than it should be which makes it get spun when you don't want it spun.
As far as I'm concerned, it is a poor design all the way around. Even the sensor for the ball does not have a glass over it, so lint gets down into the opening where you can't remove it easily. The original has a glass here, so a q-tip and you are ready to go in a second.

I do one heck of a lot of typing in a day. Besides writing, I'm also doing genealogy work, e-mails, and forums. And as you can readily see, I get quite windy all too often, hi hi.
Plastic is soft, and ironically, it is the space bar that I usually wear a hole into first, and then it is sharp and cuts the side of your thumb like a meat slicer.
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yogi
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Re: I Did It

Post by yogi »

I've quite a few years experience using all manner of input devices on computers. It's possible to get a keyboard that fits my style and the shape of my fingers. The gaming boards tend to lean in that direction. When it comes to mouses, it's a lost cause. There is no standard, and frankly I don't see how there could be. Given all the different sizes of hands out there in the wild it would be impossible to make a single style that fits everybody's needs. I would be surprised if there is nothing that matches your particular hand and habits. It's out there. Unfortunately it's like finding a needle in a haystack. There probably is a store downtown Hong Kong that has dozens of Thumballs to fit your hand and needs perfectly. All you need to do is learn how to read Chinese so that you can browse their website. LOL Actually much of what we have access to comes from Taiwan, and some of their websites can be read in English. The only problem there is that they ship by boat, and from what I can tell it now takes months to unload a single cargo ship on the West Coast.
Last edited by yogi on 07 Dec 2021, 20:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Kellemora
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Re: I Did It

Post by Kellemora »

How I selected my first Logitech Thumball was easy. I was at a place like Best Buy or similar, who had a whole massive computer department. They must have had over 50 different meeces on display on a slightly tilted shelf running over the top of all the different brands of computers they had in boxes. The display computers were on another shelf as high as the meeces shelf.
I spent a good deal of time letting my hand sit on each of the ones I was interested in. They had fingerball meeces, meeces with a big ball in the center, and several brands of thumb ball meeces. The Logitech not only fit my hand, but it was also comfortable to use. I bought my first one from them, and then ordered either 4 or 6 of them on-line a few months later when I knew that was the mouse for me. I still have two on my desk besides the new wireless, and they look well used visually, hi hi.

I also had dozens of the normal meeces with either the roller ball on the bottom, or the later ones used a light on the bottom.
But I don't like using them when I have a lot of work to do that requires many mouse movements, or clicks for that matter.
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yogi
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Re: I Did It

Post by yogi »

I worked with a guy at Motorola that did desktop support. His main duty was to install new images on trashed systems but he did all the other normal diagnostic things as well. This guy was a master at the keyboard. He never used a mouse. Everything he did was off the keyboard. It proved to be a valuable skill because there were many situations where using a mouse was not physically convenient. Apparently if you know all the keyboard shortcuts a mouse or other pointing device is unnecessary.

The gaming mouses I've used come in a wide variety of styles and functions. The most impressive part about it all is that there are so many details that can be programmed. It's not just the dpi for sensitivity that can be programmed. There are other things such as how high you can lift the mouse off it's pad before it stops functioning. I'm sure that kind of thing is useful to somebody. Probably. I can't imagine why.
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Kellemora
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Re: I Did It

Post by Kellemora »

I know some of the things I used a keyboard shortcut for instead of the mouse. But on some programs, it seems you can't get buy doing it from the keyboard. Today's rolling meeces are just to sensitive. Every time I try using one, it takes me several tries to click on something. Especially things you have to double click. Move that mouse 1 pixel between clicks and it don't click and/or open the file or program you clicked on. And my having the shakes now don't help matters either.

Back when I was running Windows XP, I bought a 9 button programmable mouse. It was probably made for gaming, but I used the extra buttons for making the blueprints I was working on. I set two buttons for line size up and down, and one to open a text box, and another to set the dimension lines between the two points I selected after hitting that button. Don't remember what I used the other buttons for anymore.
But when I was writing, I set one button to delete an entire word, and I could hit it more than once to delete one word after the other. I had it do other things for me too, like check spelling, etc.
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yogi
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Re: I Did It

Post by yogi »

The mouse I'm using at the moment is from Steelseries. It has a lot of programmable features that can be saved as individual profiles. This is useful for games that use different buttons for the same action. I can make any one of the mouse buttons do anything the computer has to offer, and assign a macro if it takes more than a keystroke. While this mouse isn't the best one I've ever used it has one feature I like and that you would probably find useful. The mouse can store two sensitivity settings that are selectable by the push of a button behind the scrolling wheel. I have one setting for high sensitivity and one for very low sensitivity. That low sensitivity can be set to make you move the mouse a few inches just to move a few pixels across the monitor screen. One of the games I play makes use of that switchable sensitivity, but even my day to day activities find me switching to suit a given situation. On the other hand the laptop mouse is a small version of a Logitech critter, but has only one sensitivity. That can be adjusted in the system settings, but doing that is a pain in the drain to set up several times during a computing session. I never thought I'd have a need or use for such flexibility, but now that I have it, the benefits are obvious.
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Kellemora
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Re: I Did It

Post by Kellemora »

Back when I was playing a lot of different types of games, I kept a mouse icon in my upper panel.
I could click on it and there were some buttons you could set to do certain things.
I had one button set to Dead Slow, which was handy when I was doing drawings, or playing some games.
Hit it again for normal, had another button that would force the mouse to either up/down or left/right, or diagonal.
A drawing program has this feature if you hold down the control key and one other key, but then you didn't have both hands free to control the mouse.
I don't remember the name of that program, and don't know if it is still in the repositories or not. This was back when I was using Ubuntu and learning Linux again.
I had another little widget in my panel that when in a drawing program, all you had to do was click the mouse at the location you wanted to make a circle, them move the mouse to the edge of the size circle you wanted, then click there and a circle was made for you. It was faster than using the circle tool in the drawing program too.
Then when I bought that drawing pad I talked about previously, it had all those features built in. squares, rectangles, circles, ovals, and even diamond shapes. Plus various line widths you could select at the touch of a spot on the drawing pad.
I'm sure you've seen those types of pads many times.
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yogi
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Re: I Did It

Post by yogi »

I spent A LOT of time doing nothing yesterday and today just to accomplish a simple task on my ASUS Tower. That is my go-to machine while the laptop is more or less for experimentation. Back in the old days, before solid state drives, I had Windows on a partition all by itself. I don't recall the size Vista or Windows 7 needed, but essentially an entire single disk was dedicated to Windows. Pretty much what the rest of the world was doing.

Along came SSD's and their ability to wear out if used too much. The good news, as you know, is that the access time is dramatically improved over the mechanical drives. So, one day in my Windows 7 prime I decided to move on up to SSD for Windows. About the same time I took a more or less serious interest in performance and gaming. That interest dramatically increased the R/W operations on the hard drive, and thereby threatened to cut down the life expectancy of the SSD. My next move was to install a second drive; a mechanical one. That second drive would become drive D:\ which worked hand in hand with the operating system drive C:\ and was intended to reduce the load on the SSD R/W cycles. There was no noticeable degradation in performance, and in theory it all seemed like a good idea to split Windows between two different drives.

Eventually the OS drive C:\ gave up the ghost. At that time I decided to keep the two separate drives because it would be exceptionally difficult to merge them back into one drive. However, when I replaced the SSD that broke I partitioned it so that both C:\ and D:\ were on the same physical SSD. By this point in time solid state drives were way more reliable than the original ones so that a lot of R/W operations was no big deal. The best part of merging them was an increase in performance.

So, here we are in 2021, and I decided to split Windows into two separate physical drives once again. LOL I have been installing all the new programs onto the second drive D:\ which essentially turned it into a data drive more than a system drive. Recently one of my rather large and resource intensive game programs came up with a free upgrade. The upgrade was about the size of the original game which means it took up a lot of disk space to install. Playing the game, and saving it at strategic points would take up even more space. It looked as if I would run out of disk space if I did any serious gaming. Thus the decision was made to put the D:\ drive back on a separate disk all by itself.

You know, I am sure, that this moving around of OS pieces involves a lot of very careful planning, backups, and patience while all 300 GB of data is being rearranged. I made system images before I did the move just in case I had to revert back. I also made recovery disks which were not images so that I can do a clean install on a dead machine if it came down to that. Then, finding a program that will do the clone job was not easy. Well, it was easy if I wanted to pay for that luxury. Since this is a once every 5 years project, I didn't want to fork over any licensing fees. So I found some free software and discovered that there is some imaging software still left in Windows 10.

The bottom line is that I must have moved around two or three terabytes of data during the last 48 hours. It's all rearranged and working perfectly as of this writing, and my brain is totally exhausted. To my great relief, I lost nothing in the process. Well, actually, I lost Linux Mint but that wasn't due to my moving Windows around. There is a whole story in itself to that situation and I won't bore you with it right now. My brain has been thoroughly exercised in spite of the fact I just sat around watching data move from one disk to another for most of the time. LOL
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Kellemora
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Re: I Did It

Post by Kellemora »

I spent a lot of time using CloneZilla to make images of an installed WinXP computer with all of it's programs I normally use.
The idea was, I could reinstall the OS and all of the programs with ease. Even move it to a new computer if I wanted to.
I bought a new larger hard drive for the computer and tried to install the image back on it.
Don't know what I did wrong in making the image, but it would start the install, and about half way through stop with an error I didn't understand. Nor could I find anything about the error on-line either.
So, I ended up starting from scratch and installing from the original CDs, then installing all the programs one at a time from CDs also.

I never did figure out what it was I did wrong, which was probably in making the image in the first place.
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yogi
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Re: I Did It

Post by yogi »

I owned and used a copy of Windows 7 from the day it was released to the day it lost all its support from Microsoft. That was about ten years. I made an image the very first time I installed Windows 7 and kept it for a long time. But then over the years so many updates and service packs were added that the original pristine image didn't represent what I was running. So I made system images on a regular basis which was generally once a year. Windows 7 has a utility built in for making images. That is the last time Microsoft offered that utility. None of the subsequent OS's have it. That seems a bit odd because that WIndows 7 Utility, labeled as such, has been included in Windows 10, and probably in Windows 11 as well. While it was convenient to have such a program integrated into the system, as you discovered it was not a perfect program. Things had to be done precisely in order to get a viable image. There was very little feedback if the image wasn't true for some reason. Plus they claimed you could restore a system from a network drive that had the image, but I was never able to do that. I did, however, restore Windows 7 from an image twice from a removable hard drive. I have a suspicion that the drive letter attached to the removable drive is what the recovery routine was looking for and that does not appear on the network drive. Regardless I did successfully restore Windows 7 from an image twice that I recall.

One crazy scenario that is related to images has to do with USB. Windows 7 came with USB 2 support, which is what was current at the time. By the time I actually had to perform a recovery, USB 2 was obsolete. All my peripherals were USB 3. Of course the live system had the USB 3 drivers installed, but the original CD's and early images I made did not. It took one hell of a long time to figure out why I could not use my mouse properly during the recovery process. LOL

I note that a few of the latest versions of Linux have a "snapshot" function built into them now. This is essentially an image that can be used to restore a failed system. Apple computers have been using that technique for many years, but it was not integrated into any Linux OS's that I ever evaluated until recently. Better late than never, I guess.
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