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upgrade from xp to 8.1 -- CPU, memory, etc ?

Posted on 2013-10-25
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Last Modified: 2013-11-12
I have 100 "DOMAIN" PCs and want to upgrade from windows xp to windows 8.1

What is the EASIEST way to get a list of all PC CPU, memory, etc so I can make sure windows 8.1 will run on these 10 year old, LOW end machines ?
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Question by:finance_teacher
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by:rindi
rindi earned 167 total points
ID: 39600944
On 10 year old PC's Windows 8.1 will almost certainly not run. Even if you could install it on a few of them, it would be slow and not worth the time. Get new hardware, Windows 7, or install Linux on those PC's...

Use the Windows 7 upgrade Advisor to find out if your PC's will run with it:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/downloads/upgrade-advisor

For Windows 8 there is the upgrade assistant:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/upgrade-assistant-download-online-faq
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 166 total points
ID: 39600959
If these are actually 10 years old, then 8.1 will likely not work.  Vista MIGHT, but even that is a MAYBE.  Even if the CPU and RAM would seemingly allow them to, you have to worry about DRIVERS.  It's quite likely that drivers for the Network cards and/or graphics cards won't exist for the newer OS.

There's two programs you can look into (that I know of) to determine if your computers can handle 8.1.  First, a third party product called Network Detective which will give you an analysis of your entire network.  The trial version is $50 (otherwise, it's $1000 to buy for 1 year).  The reports it gives are quite extensive. http://www.rapidfiretools.com/nd_overview.shtml

The other solution is a Microsoft free tool - the Assessment and Deployment Toolkit - ADK - http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30652

And to be clear, you won't be able to "upgrade" - you'll end up confirming the hardware is good enough (or not) and having to wipe and reload - there is no upgrade path from XP to Windows 7, 8, or 8.1
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by:Alan Henderson
ID: 39601050
To answer your initial question, if you just want to check specs one of these free utilities will do the job:

SIW:
http://www.gtopala.com/#axzz2ikvKqnoX

PC Wizard:
(The installer is bundled with the "Ask Toolbar" which you don't want. Installation of the toolbar is optional.)
http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/pc-wizard.html
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39601285
Checking specs will not cut it if drivers don't exist.

SIW is a GREAT utility - but it's not free for commercial use.  You have to buy it (I bought a tech license - DEFINITELY worth it).
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by:Alan Henderson
ID: 39601678
"SIW is a GREAT utility - but it's not free for commercial use…"

Good point. Thanks leew.
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by:garycase
ID: 39601944
"... so I can make sure windows 8.1 will run on these 10 year old, LOW end machines ..."  ==>  As already noted, "10 year old, LOW end machines" already says "won't run" !!

Without even knowing the specifications of the systems, it's almost certain that's the case.

It's time to budget for replacement machines :-)
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by:rindi
ID: 39602308
Just as a rule of thumb, Intel Pentium IV CPU's that use the 478 socket won't allow the installation of Windows 8 (and of course also 8.1). That was the socket mainly used 10 years ago. Socket A AMD CPU's also won't allow the installation of that OS.

Windows 7 on the other hand (which is far better than windows 8 and 8.1 anyway) will install fine on those PC's, and run better than XP.
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garycase earned 167 total points
ID: 39602338
"... Windows 7 on the other hand (which is far better than windows 8 and 8.1 anyway ..."  ==>   :-)  :-)    

I won't comment on whether or not I actually agree with that ... but I will note that I bought 3 Windows 8 Pro upgrades in January when they were $40 to be sure I took advantage of that "deal" ==> and only ONE of those has been installed :-)    [The other two aren't likely to be installed anytime soon - if ever.]

Notwithstanding that, I don't actually think '7 is "better" than '8 => I think '8 is simply too much different  ==>  it's far too touch-centric and tried to be "all things to all people" ... i.e. both a PC OS and a tablet OS -- and consequently failed to be really good at either.    I know several folks who bought a Surface, but use their Android or Apple tablets instead for tablet-based functions; and use their desktop PCs (typically with '7) for PC-related functions.     8.1 hasn't really fixed the GUI issues, which are the main irritant for most folks with new '8 PCs.    The simple $5 utility, Start8, makes a HUGE difference in the "look and feel" of a new Windows 8 system -- and is what I always suggest for folks with new computers that didn't have a choice of the OS.

Having said all that (which is a big digression from this question) ... it IS true that Windows 7 can run "reasonably" well on a Pentium IV as long as long as it's at least 2.8GHz and has a minimum of 1.5GB of RAM => I've installed it on several systems of that vintage, and it's not a bad system for basic use.   In fact, for most things, it actually runs better than XP on the same hardware !!

With 100 PC's to deal with, you need to get started pretty quickly to determine what you're going to do if your goal is to transition befor the EOL date for XP.    If the budget doesn't allow simply replacing all the systems; then I'd get a copy of Windows 7 and load it on one of the PCs to see what you think.    I have no idea whether or not you can still get educational bulk licensing deals for '7 ... but it's worth checking out => but first TRY this on one of the PCs, to be sure it's an option.

Another option, if these are simply educational workstations tied to a domain server, and are NOT on the internet (or have a very robust domain access control and end point protection), is to simply leave XP installed on them.
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by:McKnife
ID: 39604342
As anybody would tell you: the performance would not be good, not to mention that ten year-old hardware is quite likely to fail in the near future.
About compatibility: for the best answer, download and use the freeware ACT5.6 by Microsoft. It is meant for this purpose.
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