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Upgrade Desktop

Posted on 2015-01-30
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Last Modified: 2015-03-30
I want to upgrade my Desktop- its 4 years old, assembled by me.
Over the years I upgraded with SSD drive, 2GB graphics card, etc.
I want to upgrade again. So that it can take more memory, fast graphics card, without re-installing Windows.
I cannot buy All in One PC's as they are not upgradeable as far as I know. Otherwise this is my best preference.
I don't want to buy a motherboard and CPU because I want now a small foot print. I don't want a big box, but something smaller, powerful, upgradeable in future and use my existing drives and Windows installation.
Can you suggest me my options?
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Question by:vakils
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by:rindi
ID: 40580668
As long as you aren't using an OEM version of Windows, which is bound to the mainboard, You can use Paragon's "Drivecopy Professional" which includes a restore to different hardware option. You will of course have to reactivate the OS again, and not use the same OS on your "old" hardware. If you live in the EU or Switzerland, you can do that with an OEM OS too (reactivate by phone). Bit if you live elsewhere and are using an OEM version of Windows, you'll have to install fresh and apply a new key, and also install your other software.
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by:vakils
ID: 40581019
I am planning on All in One, unless I get better option from someone. I am not bound to O/S right now, I have system builders DVD. Changing motherboard will creates problems, If I go that route I can use your solution. My requirement is Small footprint PC, performance and upgradeability of O/S and hardware.
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John Hurst earned 350 total points
ID: 40581072
I cannot buy All in One PC's as they are not upgradeable as far as I know.
I want to upgrade again..... without re-installing Windows
I want now a small foot print.
I am planning on All in One
I am not bound to O/S right now,


Some contradictions here.

May I suggest a Lenovo Small Form Factor which has some limited ability to change

http://shop.lenovo.com/ca/en/workstations/thinkstation/p-series/p300-sff/

And move up from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 on the way. Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for you when it comes out.
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Author Comment

by:vakils
ID: 40581118
Hi John,
Sorry for confusion.
My first choice is a PC which I can upgrade over the time with newer processors, graphics card,  memory etc. I built my last desktop 4 years ago and did all of above over the time and recently added an SSD drive. I can't upgrade this anymore without a new M/B.
Now, I don't want a another tower case PC which I have right now but something compact.
So All in One PC would be next choice, but since that cannot be upgradeable as freely as tower PC made from barebones, I am hesitant.
So my priority in order are
1. Compact
2. Upgradeable
3. Keep O/S, however Windows 10 is a great idea, so I am OK with re-installing O/S.
Your link to thinkstation is a tower PC, which I don't want.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 150 total points
ID: 40581162
>>   a PC which I can upgrade over the time with newer processors, graphics card,  memory   <<  that does not exist, afaik
everytime new devices come out, they are implemented on new motherboard models - stuffed with the latest cpu, + bus speed controllers, an d ram models
the only way for upgrading is a new mobo + cpu + ram set for me

what i recommend several customers like you, is buying a decent PC case with room for drives and cards, and a good PS for the video cards you think will be needed

that way, you only need to buy the above mentioned set
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Author Comment

by:vakils
ID: 40581197
In that case a loaded AIO PC is only option as small footprint is top priority.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40581318
The Small Form Factor I showed you is not a tower, it is very compact little machine (I have one at a client).

Also look a Lenovo Mini, Smaller again. but some flexibility.

http://shop.lenovo.com/ca/en/desktops/thinkcentre/m-series-tiny/

And there is nothing wrong with an All-in-one if that is what you want.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40581352
There is another way to look at this.

You have a machine you built yourself that is 4 years old, and to refurbish, you need a motherboard to increase bus and memory speeds and take a faster CPU.

A good commercial machine will easily last 5 years. All my Lenovo machines go 5 years. One (my ThinkPad T61p) go a new hard drive and I upgraded from Vista Business to Windows 7 Pro. My M90p Desktop came with Windows 7 Pro in 2010 and works fine.

So a good commercial machine now with Windows 8.1 (time to move on) and Windows 10 soon will easily go 5 years.
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by:nobus
ID: 40581453
i always wonder why the small footprint is so needed?? (a larger desk is also very useful)
if ican avoid it,  it never use it; the smaller they get, the more heat problems, and higher cost / performance ratio
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40581779
@vakils - Thanks and I was happy to help.
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by:davorin
ID: 40582337
@rindi: Can you please give me more info about:
"If you live in the EU or Switzerland, you can do that with an OEM OS too"
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by:rindi
ID: 40582351
There was a court case in Germany some years ago, and based on the results of that case m$ can't tie an OS to hardware. So if you live in the EU or countries like Switzerland which are closely tied to the EU and it's laws, you are allowed to move an OEM OS from one PC to a different motherboard. M$ has to activate it.
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Author Comment

by:vakils
ID: 40587326
Hi All,
I got AIO PC, Acer 27", I7 8GB from Costco. I also got barebones AMD kit from TigerDirect. I will build over the weekend and install Windows 10. This satisfies my family (AIO)  and me (barebones). I will update when I build the PC.
Thanks All.
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by:nobus
ID: 40588024
tx fo feedback; vakils
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by:vakils
ID: 40613647
I assembled PC from barebones kit. I installed Win7 from System builder kit and it activated. I installed Windows 10 which is pretty dry at this stage. I will now clone my working Win7 SSD drive and then put in new system and re-activate. I think there is something that I don't understand, after cloning I need to remove source drive otherwise Windows just hangs. This is tricky part I need to tread carefully. I hope you guys can explain me this particular behavior of Windows.
Thanks!
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by:_
ID: 40614017
>> ...after cloning I need to remove source drive otherwise Windows just hangs.

This is correct. Windows gets confused if you don't remove the original drive, for the first boot.
Both drives "look" the same to it, and it can't figure out which one to use.
After that, you can add the drive back. You also might need to check the BIOS, and make sure the cloned drive is listed as the first hard drive.
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by:vakils
ID: 40615045
Thanks! That explains.
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by:vakils
ID: 40672175
Update;
Here is where I am stuck.
1. I got a bigger SSD, Samsung EVO 500 GB for $189 and cloned older drive to it.
2. When I booted, I got activation message from Windows, I clicked online activation and it activated. This is surprising as
I had installed Windows 7 from OEM System Builder disk which is tied to hardware AFAIK.
All went well till I decided to go for Windows 8.1 Pro cheap way.
3. I bought Windows 8 pro licence key(no media) from Amazon for $70. It would upgrade Win7  to Win 8 Pro and then Win 8 Pro to Win 8.1 Pro.
4. The first phase went smoothly, Win 7 upgraded to Win 8 Pro. It kept all my settings and programs. The second phase upgrading to Windows 8.1 Pro via Windows store required that I install updates. I am not able to do so, it only installed partially  and rolled back other changes. So there I am stuck with Windows 8 pro. I would like to know which updates are required and which are optional and how would Windows know that all updates are installed. There are 160 updates. I am thinking of installing them in parts. The good thing is that my apps are working fine. I can even roll back to Win7 (as I have cloned it), but I don't want to give up.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40672206
Windows 8 is old now and long ago surpassed by Windows 8.1

See if you can see updates up to around October 2013. See if these will install. Assuming so, go to the Microsoft Store and look for Windows 8.1. Install Windows 8.1 (new OS and takes a while). Once Windows 8.1 is installed, then proceed with all the remaining updates.
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by:vakils
ID: 40695177
After two weeks of torture, exhausting  MS KB articles and your post, I gave up. Good that I had cloned before upgrading. I just re-cloned back and am at peace with Win 7. I will try again, with fresh install keeping just settings, no programs.
I suspect some service or software is culprit. Windows should give me a specific list of must required updates to move to 8.1. Instead it gives me about 165 updates to install before I can move on. It does not even tell me which upgrade failed and why.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40695183
You need to upgrade in batches at this point. Pick a number of early ones and try such a batch. As soon as it tells you that you can upgrade to Windows 8.1 (new OS) do so, and then update from there.
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by:vakils
ID: 40695355
Yes, that would help. But, how do I troubleshoot if an update fails?
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by:rindi
ID: 40695490
By updating in smaller chunks, it is less likely to fail, and if it does, you know which update didn't work and then you can look at that particular patch and what it fixes, and possibly also search for known problems with that particular update.
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