Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Building my new computer–Day 4 Time Windows 8 here I come

After the mechanical construction getting the Software on was pretty straightforward. Windows 8 does seem to want a Microsoft login, I have one, but it is my Hotmail Account and not my more recent Outlook.com user name.  Which means I end up logging into Windows 8 on my Desktop using an out of date email address – nice one Microsoft. At the time their help page indicated that they had suspended renaming the Hotmail account and a dig on the web indicated they were going the way of aliases to deal with the issue.

I do want to change it – keeping old email addresses around is a bit of a cludge. It means that my Outlook address, the main one is treated as a sub-address of my Hotmail account. I can see that I might have to fiddle around with my account settings on the PC and my email client, confusingly also called Outlook (2013).

Not quite the clarity of how I use my various Google apps.

Having said that the installation was easy. I basically followed by Haynes Manual and the instructions on the screen. This was a clean (OEM) install and it was intended to go on the SSD (not the HDD).  It did, it was fast, I didn’t have to wander off, and wait for hours, as I did when I re-installed Windows 7.

Once it was up and running I logged in – phew that’s different(Windows 8) Apps. However having spent a small amount of time getting to grips with the OS I am impressed. The computer –restarts are really fast. That might be due in part to the SSD, but it doesn’t hang around. It discovered my network printer and NAS, more or less fuss free.

After logging in it downloaded 33 updates (698.1Mb) and reported three ”Action Center” Issues. (Updates, Defender and “Trusting the PC”).  Also although the BIOS knows about the HDD I can’t see it.

If you look closely you can see a Windows Screen on monitor in the picture.

Windows 8 Running on my Newly Built Computer

The computer showing what is what. I forgot to mention the LED showing disk activity is also flashing (with disk activity) – another good thing.  After doing the Update-install it re-started and the screen resolution improved and I was offered a browser choice. I went for Chrome – which is my browser of choice. The only challenge with Chrome is that you can eat up loads of memory with open pages. A bit later on it turned out that this have given me the normal version of Chrome, whereas I use the slightly more advanced, but perhaps not so reliable Beta version.

I then loaded the AUS drivers. Starting with the Intel chipset, Realtek (Audio and Lan), APRP and Norton. Because I loaded them in one go I got a 60 day Norton trial. I didn’t bother and uninstalled it straight away. I had some issues in the past with Norton and since I wasn’t planning on using it this time didn’t need for it to start. The AUSU Mobo comes with quite a lot of stuff, including tools to overclock the machine – I’ll save them for a rainy day. (Two other programs on the disk needed to be installed separately – Intel SmartConnect Technology (interesting – it wakes you computer up from time to time so that various programs can download their stuff – such as email)  and Rapid Start Technology (Wake up from a deep-sleep – I could do with that!).

I then tried to load the Samsung CD that came with the SSD, the software was out of date and wouldn’t install on NT6.1 or later. So I downloaded the Samsung Magician software (4.0) of the web. It seems to allow tweaking of the SSD for speed, reliability or amount of data stored.

Finally I loaded the stuff that cam with the ASUS Blu-Ray – which included cut-down Burner program. (I have since created a Recovery Disk, so I know that the Blu-ray drive will burn CDs.)

The uninstall of Norton required a re-start – fortunately it re-starts so quickly I don’t really mind. (I haven’t time it -  but 10-15s and there are ways to speed it up more I believe.)

Somewhere along the line I also ran Disk management to format the HDD and make it available. In this case I initialised the disk, and formatted as an MBR disk. (Since it was less than 2.0TB).

I also loaded Office 2013 – I did consider switching to an alternative – but I have a lot of email and stuff than I want to maintain access to.  It was pretty straightforward. I didn’t use Microsoft’s Easy Transfer as I wanted to restructure things.

I have used the Microsoft Librarys structure to maintain my HDD as a “data store”. This helps maintain some separation between the programs disk (SSD) and data disk (HDD). In addition I have added a new HDD to my system, a 3TB SATA 2.0 disk which I call Backup and have used it to store a System Image and made it the target of File History. It automatically backs up files in libraries, contacts, favourites and my Desktop. Every hour it also stores files that have been changed.

This does not replace my backups onto my NAS drive, I still back up data there as well.

I have also moved all my Picasa pictures over, I have a minor issue with pictures as I didn’t move the Contacts file across at the same time. I did it after moving my pictures and then starting Picasa, when it discovered a set of unknown Albums. I stopped it moved the Contacts.xml file and then re-started it. Then at the end if named the unknown albums to their rightful names and it all worked.

I also manually transferred my outlook data. I have left the Outlook.pst on the SSD for speed, but archive and additional .pst files sit on the HDD (in a Library). Outlook now opens really, really quickly. Someone rang me to confirm a meeting and whereas in the past I would have to make inane conversation whilst waiting for Outlook to open the Calendar, it was there in a matter of seconds.

I was impressed with my Garmin setup. I loaded and installed Garmin Training Centre, which started talking to my GPS as soon as it was plugged in . I used GTC’s backup on my old machine and restore on my new machine and there it was. I then uninstalled my UK maps data from my old machine and reinstalled it on my new machine. The only problem was tracking the CD case with the key. It looks as if I will have to move on to Garmin Connect as GTC development has been discontinued. That is the trouble with Data that you want to keep they keep mucking about with the ways of using it. (My Garmin data goes back to 21st October 2008.) Oh well, the trouble is when I am cycling in remote parts you can’t always get web access.

HDRSoft also deserve a mention – I emailed them for a licence key reminder, got it, installed the 64-bit version of their software on my new machine enabled it and once again I could process my HDR pictures. One license entitles me to install and register Photomatix Pro on other computers I use.

Having gotten everything across it was time to stick the panels on the computer and stick it under the desk and get back to normal life.

Windows 8 Running on my Newly Built Computer

Before sticking every thing together I used zip-ties to tidy up some cables and re-routed some cable runs. Here it is ready to go under the desk.

Newly Built Computer

I have now moved my world across, the next steps are to clean up my old computer and then run it in parallel for a while, just in case. It is also running form a UPS, not so much to keep working during power cuts as to ensure that I can shot it down properly.

I have also hooked it up to two monitors (I have a spare).

My first impressions are:

  1. It is fast
  2. I like Windows 8
  3. There have been a few s/w glitches on the way, but for the most part it has been painless. (I had some problems with a WD app to access my NAS disk – sorted now though.)
  4. It runs cool
  5. I’m pleased I did it – now back to cycling


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