I've been using Windows 8 Pro since it came out in October. There has been much bad press about it even to comparing it to Vista. Sadly, the press has a very short memory. The true comparison is Windows 95 and 8. There was much hype and ads about 95's introduction in attempt to foster sales and move people from Windows 3.1 to 95. Like 95, 8 is a hybrid of sorts. It is part Windows 7 and part a new design that owes its concept to phones & tablets. In using it, I've found that performance is better than in 7. It will take time for more apps to become available as developers ramp up. Not much different than under previous OS's. What makes 8 unique is that it has been setup so that it can run oh a phone, tablet, or PC. This is what will make it most successful in the long run.
I've found out that my Acer will under no circumstances accept 2-2 Gb RAM Sticks. I got a matched pair and still they wouldn't work together. Oh well, so I returned them & got a new external disk that was on sale. It is a G-Drive by Hitachi & 500 Gb. So far it works very well. I can at least take the old IDE drive I've been using externally out of service.
Turns out that old (2004) IDE drive is in much worse shape than I thought. :( I use a program called HDSentinel which uses SMART info to determine your drive's health. Of the 4 IDE's I have, this one rates the worst. :) So now I have 2 160 Gb in my 2002 Compaq. The boot drive, a Western Digital is OK, but this Hitachi has had a complete surface wipe, so hopefully the reinitialization will hold it out a while longer. The original 60 Gb for this system doesn't rate quite as bad, but it does have several weak sectors. It is weird since in the 90's using IDE's, I rarely had bad drives, but I didn't have drives quite that old since IDE hadn't been around that long yet. At least my SATA drives are all healthy. I figure worse case scenario is that I can put one of the older laptop SATA's in this desktop using a PCI SATA controller or a SATA to IDE convertor.
In the meantime, I finally have plenty of drive space. :) Now, I have 320 Gb in my Acer Aspire, and a 500 Gb external mobile drive. I did find that the external was originally formatted in GPT format (for a MAC), so I had to not only create a new partition, but completely reinitialize the drive in MBR so that my old Compaq could use it as well.
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I haven't had to file a tax return since 2000, so I'm a bit out of practice. I used TurboTax software and eFile when they first came out. Of course state eFiling didn't exist then. Sadly over 12 years later, not much has changed. You can file state returns electronically, but you still need new software every year which costs about the same $20+ depending on which brand you choose.
This time I picked TaxACT because it was the only one to give you the State return & eFiling included for around $25. Plus I got a 10% discount because of my job. All the other brand programs require you to pay an additional amount for the state portion. At least this time I don't have local tax for the town, but I may have county tax. :) So, this should be an interesting experience.
Recently got sister's old Compaq from 2002. She had so many programs loading on start up that saying it was slow is an understatement. The original hard drive in it is in poor health and its replacement probably only has a few years left. But it can have more memory than the older HP (1 Gb) and if necessary I still have a 160 Gb & a 40 Gb I can install. I can install Linux and see how well it will work from remote.
Who says you can't use a 12 year old computer for something? I got a USB 2.0 PCI card for my old HP Pavilion desktop, so I could connect a USB Wireless adapter to it. Using the MyWiFi hotspot capability of my Intel 6235 in my Acer Aspire laptop I can get the HP to connect using wireless. Then using VNC or Remote Desktop, I can log in. Plus I can share the 40 Gb drive in the HP and store music & video there. So, the HP has become a media center of sorts. :) Now if I can find a larger IDE drive that still works, I could give it a little more space.
Amazingly, it all works pretty well except that MyWiFi insists on using channel 10 which is in use by one of my routers. :) So, I have to sometimes disable and then re-enable hotspot to get the HP to connect.
I won an auction and recently got an AverMedia HC82U NanoExpress TV Tuner. It is in ExpressCard/54 format and has its own antenna, but is missing the A/V inputs cable. It works with Windows 8 & Media Center and I can pick up most of the near digital stations except CBS for whatever reason. It turns out that this is the Dell OEM version, so I'm not sure if it is supposed to be able to operate in Analog as well like it's more general cousin. So far I can only get the digital part operational. No analog FM radio or TV at all. I hope I can at least track down the A/V cable.
At least I can watch & record TV on my Acer Aspire now. It requires about 5+ Gb to record one hour, so unless I get a bigger drive I will be limited in how much I can use it like a DVR. The other downside is that it gets pretty warm when in use, but I haven't seen it affect the rest of the system as yet.
Got this upgrade in the 32-bit version to upgrade Windows Vista. Everything has gone fairly smoothly and well, except for where I caused the partition table to be corrupted & had to reinstall. :) Most of my hardware is properly detected and working.
The only non-functionality seems to be the Bluetooth audio connection to my Droid 3 phone. Windows 8 has some native Bluetooth functionality, so Intel is claiming that it's Microsoft's responsibility for this while MS implies it's Intel's. I can see from several online forum discussions that I am not the only one having Bluetooth problems. It boils down to the fact that while there is the native BT in Windows 8, it still falls on Intel and any other Bluetooth adapter manufacturer to ensure their hardware will work properly with Windows 8 especially current hardware as my 6235 WiFi/BT adapter is.
I also found a site that allows you to reinstall the gadget sidebar that isn't in Windows 8 anymore. If MS had this kind of functionality on the Start Screen, I'd be fine with that, but the Start Screen apps are very anemic at the moment and will have to wait for some folks to develop much better versions. And there are very little in the way of System Info type apps for the Start Screen which I like to have. I have gadgets of this sort I use to monitor my laptop at a glance. Then I can see RAM, CPU, Network usage and temperature values & the battery & volume levels.
On a positive note, Win 8 does have some nice features over Vista. My Droid 3 when connected via USB now shows up with info on calls, voice mail, texts, battery, etc. Also, all my other USB devices plug and play for real. Namely the external Hard drives, thumb drives, DVD-ROM, etc. I don't miss the Start Menu really as I just place shortcuts in a folder on the desktop for much of what I use and the others are either pinned to the taskbar, Start Screen, or available by clicking on an associated file. The speech recognition does work fairly well. I like the background setup for the desktop also.
I would recommend that anyone intending to use Windows 8 have at least two screens. This way one can show the desktop at all times while you use the Start Screen on the other. Also a touch screen would add more functionality, but I don't have one as yet. :)
Performance-wise it does seem peppier than Vista and does boot & shutdown fairly quickly. The Performance Index doesn't finish the testing on my installation, but I suspect that it has something to do with the Intel drivers for my onboard graphics. Not much can help this except maybe a driver upgrade to WDDM 1.2. This doesn't seem likely given the age of the graphics chipset.
So, overall I am very happy with the upgrade and already have done a backup, system image, & restore disk creation.
The hardware that Windows 8 is running on is as follows:
Acer Aspire 5315-2698 with latest BIOS update 1.45
T7300 2 Ghz Core 2 Duo (replaces Stock CPU)
3 Gb RAM (1 Gb A-Data PC-6400 slot 0, 2 Gb Kingston PC-5300 Value RAM slot 1) both DDR2
160 Gb Hitachi Travelstar (replaces stock drive)
Samsung 19" LCD 2nd screen
Intel 6235 WiFi/Bluetooth miniPCIexpress adapter (replaces stock WiFI)
external 160 Gb IDE drive in generic USB 2 case
external DVDROM/CDRW combo drive
Microsoft Wireless Desktop 2000 series Keyboard & Mouse
Just installed this. Everything went well, but will have to wait 25 hrs or so to see if my thermal compound job is good enough. :) It is a better performer than the original CPU by far. More testing is definitely needed to see how much better. Also, now I know, the 5315 is a GL960 chipset, so 3 Gb is the most RAM possible. Oh well.
Finally took the plunge and ordered a used T7300 Dual Core to replace the Celeron in my laptop. It was only $10 with shipping, so couldn't resist. Now of course I'll see how much I remember on CPU replacements. :) I've done plenty of changes on desktops over the years, but never a CPU on a laptop. Luckily, I found an online instruction for my brand & model. It looks fairly straightforward. You open the same panel you would to access the RAM, remove the fan (3 screws), the heatsink/heatpipe (4 screws), then you can change out the CPU. Of course, I'll have to clean off any thermal compound residue and reapply. I purchased a tube of Arctic Silver for just that purpose. Plus I can finally see whether the board inside is a GM965 or GL960 chipset since the heatsink extends over the chipset as well.
The nice thing is this CPU is a front-side bus 800Mhz instead of the existing 533Mhz of the Celeron. So, everything else should see a speed improvement as well. From what I have read about the Acer Aspire 5315 series, the T7300 is a common replacement for the stock CPUs and while the FSB is 800Mhz, the RAM will only top out at 667Mhz. This is OK since the 2Gb SODIMM is only that fast.
On another note, I found that even though I acquired an extra Kingston 2Gb SODIMM, same speed to match the existing one. They would not work together because either the laptop doesn't support 4Gb only 3Gb (maybe, depends on chipset) or the fact that the old is Kingston Value RAM and the new is Kingston Platinum Retail has significance in how each operate electrically. I've experienced similar finickiness on the part of RAM & motherboards before when I had a dual CPU Tyan Tomcat III board years ago. It had 8 SIMM slots and could only have RAM in certain configurations if you wanted to fully populate all the slots. Now it is possible, I'm experiencing a similar occurrence. The KVR will work with the 1 Gb A-Data 800Mhz, but only with the 1 Gb in slot 0. The KPR will work with neither and only works by itself in slot 0. Not sure why, but can only speculate that it has to do with how it is recognized electrically by the system. I'll wait and see what chipset is really under the heatsink when I change CPUs and if there is really a GM965 under there then I'll just have to hunt for another KVR 2 Gb and hope they work together.
Got this yesterday, and it works Ok with Win8 drivers and all. Of course, since Intel is annoying it doesn't officially have drivers for Windows Vista. So, I installed the version meant for Windows 7. Weirdly, they do work although Intel's WiFi software won't work (different versions 14.3.x software, 15.1.1. drivers) and the drivers make Windows a bit unstable. It does work though. Now, I just have to wait out Windows 8 release and get it.
Update: I downloaded openSUSE 12.2 64-bit and installed it in place of version 12.1 and it detects and uses the Intel 6235 just fine. I even got to test out the Bluetooth connection to my phone today since the Internet service was down half the day, so while in Windows Vista, I synced the Acer to my phone and used it's 3G connection for Internet service to check on why the main cable service was down. Slow, but it did work. Of course if my phone supported a Bluetooth version higher than 2.1 it would have been faster. :)
Well, I thought I canceled the order for the 6235 & then ordered a 6230 on Friday evening. About 2 hrs later both had shipped. :) I guess the first seller after waiting 5 business days saw my cancellation request & decided to ship. Weirdly I got the Intel 6230 first on the next Monday. It's now Wednesday & am still waiting on the 6235 to arrive. Not sure what I'll do with 2 adapters. Chances of returning either are slim w/o restocking fees, or maybe at all.
I've got the Intel 6230 installed in my laptop. After a little tweaking everything is working in both Win Vista & openSUSE Linux. After looking on Intel's support site I've determined a few things. One, there adapters require that WMM be enabled on the router to connect at N-class speeds. And two, that they claim that unless your adapter is OEM installed they will not support it. So, the question is what is different between a USB or PCI adapters & a mini PCIe or PCI internal one WRT FCC regulations when anyone can connect a USB or PCI adapter to their desktop or USB to their laptop. I remember the issues between FCC Class A & B equipment from years ago (A for business, B for home use). The reality is that the router puts out more interference than any adapter, so the FCC regs would be WRT them more so. Also, they won't confirm or deny the hardware similarities between the 6230 & 6235 adapters. There are no Vista drivers online for the 6235, but I suspect the 6230 Vista drivers will work with the 6235 until Windows 8 is released & I can upgrade.
So, compared to the onboard Atheros G-class WiFi my Acer had, the Intel 6230 is much better. It regularly connects to the E1200 Linksys at 130-144 Mbps. This router isn't the most sophisticated N-class router for sure, but performance is good. I need to obtain a decent dual-band one eventually, since going to 5 Ghz would make a serious performance improvement overall. The Intel operates the WiFi light, but does not bl
Next, I'll have to see how the 6235 will work once it gets here. If it will work properly, I'll use it since it is newer & supports Bluetooth 4.0 while the 6230 only supports 3.0. I'll just have to see & then determine what to do with the extra one.
Now I know why I needed to read the fine print on ExpressCards. :) A PC Card & a Express Card are not the same thing. Duh, I should have known that. Luckily, the D-Link didn't cost me anything. Weirdly, my Mom's newer Sony laptop has neither type slot. So, I decided to treat myself & just buy an internal card. Now, I ordered both an Intel 6235 (WiFi N-class & Bluetooth 4.0) and the bracket to convert half-mini PCIe to full size mini PCIe. I got the bracket already. The other place hasn't even shipped yet. When I asked them in an e-mail, it was "will ship & Meet Amazon's estimated arrival time." Question is why wouldn't you ship something when you don't get paid until you ship? If it is on backorder, then just say so. If your personnel are overwhelmed with orders, then say so. Either possibility is understandable, but if the first then I'd cancel and go with the older model 6230 which only has Bluetooth 3.0 capability. Not that I have 4.0 devices or 3.0 for that matter, but why not get the best when it is the same price. So, I'll wait until tomorrow and see what happens.
Next will be a CPU upgrade for the laptop, but that may have to wait unless I see a really good deal on a T7300. They are about $30 w/shipping right now, but I'll wait until I finish with the WiFi upgrade. I figure a CPU upgrade may require an OS reinstall so I might as well wait until after Windows 8's release since I'll be doing a reinstall anyway.
I finally came across a PC-Card N-class WiFi adapter. It's an older D-Link model, but has Linux support, so I could use it in my Acer Aspire. Maybe one day I'll get a hold of a new internal one, but I'm not willing to shell out any money as yet, when I can still come across 2nd hand stuff for free. This means I can retire the USB N-class I've got hooked in now. It works fine in Windows Vista, but Linux has no native support, so one must use the NDIS wrapper method which means on reboot it locks up in Windows w/o a full shutdown. Not surprising since XP drivers are all that work under Linux & methods of access are different from Vista to XP.
So, I'll have to wait until the D-Link arrives and uninstall the AE2500 Linksys.
I recently won one of the last PCI video cards in an auction, a FX 5500 with dual VGA capability. It will be a perfect replacement for the old Diamond Stealth 3D in an old HP. Now I just need to find an older P4 to newer system that has at least one PCI slot, can take at least 4 Gb RAM, has PCI Express slots, and SATA & IDE. I want to replace my old HP P3, but w/o much expense hopefully. Unfortunately a new case will probably be necessary since the HP only has a 185 watt power supply. Woefully insufficient for almost anything P4 or better. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for any good deals on barebones systems.
Previous PostsWindows 8, posted March 19th, 2013
Pesky Memory, posted February 16th, 2013
Hard Disk, Too Fast? :), posted February 14th, 2013
Taxes - It has been a while. :), posted January 25th, 2013
Old Compaq, posted January 16th, 2013
Ancient HP, posted November 20th, 2012
ExpressCard TV Tuner, posted November 20th, 2012
Windows 8 Pro, posted October 30th, 2012
T7300 Installed, posted October 22nd, 2012
CPU Upgrade, posted October 17th, 2012
Intel 6235 WiFi, posted October 5th, 2012
WiFi (2 adapters, Not what I Intended :) ), posted October 3rd, 2012
Newer WiFi - Update, posted September 27th, 2012
Newer WiFi, posted September 19th, 2012
Computer Resurrections, posted September 19th, 2012
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