I purchased it in December 2009, and it has been used for intermittent CAD, gaming and general home computing ever since. I got a big (for the day) 1.5 Terabyte hard drive as it's my 'download everything' local backup for 800GB of OneDrive cloud stored documents, photos etc. On my mobile machines I just have the OneDrive folders I need set to off-line to reduce storage & sync data.
It's an old PB TECH Quad core Pentium i5 with a whopping 8GB RAM and (upgraded at some stage) NVIDIA GTX960 graphics card. This machine started out life with Windows 7 Pro but went through the 'free' Windows 8 Pro to the latest Windows 10 Pro 1909 with no problems. Although no powerhouse, dual monitors* made it great for WFH as I was effectively using the near new HP Z6, Quadro 5000, 64GB CAD workstation in the office.
TIP: Before opening the Remote Desktop .RDP file Right Click > Edit and tick Display > 'Use all my monitors for the remote session' to enable remote dual monitors.
And then I killed it
Yesterday I was listening to the May 27 TWiT Windows Weekly podcast and they were talking about the Windows 10 2004 (April 2020) update. Egged on by Paul & Leo's 'Seek', and Mary Jo's 'I can still not download it it even if I find it' (@ 0:10:00 onwards) I wondered if this update would support my ancient box, so I did.
'Seeking' is just going to Windows Settings and manually clicking 'Check for updates'. I clicked the button, Windows started scanning the hard drive (presume looking for installed updates etc) and BOOM, Instant Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD) error, both screens go blank and the machine reboots!
The restart got to the login screen, signed in OK but once the desktop appeared it all got very slow, 20 minutes to be able to do anything slow. Then it BSOD'ed again, and again, and eventually came up with the ominous 'Boot Disk Failure' error. Every repair/recovery method I tried (safe mode, disk scan, system file scan etc) failed.
It seems after over a decade of spinning the stress of that seek scan had overwhelmed the old 1.5TB hard drive.
Out with the old, in with the new
I wasn't worried about recovering data, all cloud and local backups, so it was off to get a new drive. I took the opportunity to update to SSD, no more spinning. To quote the PB Tech store team member, after showing him the old drive to ensure connector compatibility:
"Quite an upgrade!"
How painless is a Windows 10 install?
It's a long time since I installed Windows from scratch. I chose not to clone the old drive because it had no data I needed and seemed dumb for the new drive to 'inherit' a decade of crud. Wondered about the licensing as this meant the new install of Windows would not 'know' about the one on the old hard drive. Installed the new drive (literally two leads) and created a Windows 10 install USB from the Microsoft Site.
Plugged it in, booted from the USB and ran through the Windows installer. It asked if I had a Windows key, chose the 'No' option because only had the Windows 7 sticker on the box. Waited for that slightly longer than usual first boot and BAM!, done.
There was obviously enough of the old machine for the 'new' Windows to Authorise itself against my Microsoft Account, no license hassles! Then just had to install my own Office 365 and Autodesk Apps, a few Windows Store apps (all from the Internet) and it was all good. As I write OneDrive is syncing all that data and then it will be done.
One major difference is a massive reduction in start-up/restart time, a few seconds instead of a few minutes. It was a cumbersome, and more expensive, way to get 'free' Windows 10 2004 but got there in the end!
This blog is based on a Twitter trail posted as it happened:
Been WHF for 9± weeks with old desktop (on @windows 10-1909) Remote to CAD workstation no prob. Listening @TWiT @windowsweekly and seeked Win 10 2004 egged on by @maryjofoley 'just seek, just seek!'— Robin Capper (@robincapper) May 28, 2020
Instant BSOD, reboot!
cc @leolaporte @thurrott
Update 5/31/2020: "OneDrive can't sync right now. Please try again later" fixed
At about 80% done OneDrive stopped syncing to the new drive. There were lots of folders still showing the syncing in progress arrows, not the completed green tick, but no activity and a red X icon with "OneDrive can't sync right now. Please try again later" error message.
Restarting didn't help, the web connection was still OK, but nothing happening. After a bit of searching I found out there is a daily 'sync limit' on OneDrive and a fix thanks to:
ReignOfComputer Replied on March 2, 2019
Hi! Yes, there's a per-day limit which for some reason isn't publicized.
Close the OneDrive application [from the icon right click menu]
Go to: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneDrive\settings\Personal\ClientPolicy.ini
Change MaxClientMBTransferredPerDay from 537600 to something higher, such as 1537600.
Restart the Machine
After that it started syncing again until complete.
* How I got twin monitors at home is another tale of tech misadventure