There comes a time that every technician looks forwards to - or dreads, depending on the mood - updating the family PC.
New technology, more speed more technology, more storage, and new challenges are waiting for you.
I had a single CPU core AMD 3500 Sempron Based PC with one Gigabyte of Ram, a TNT-64 AGP4x Nvdia based graphics card, and 500 Gigabytes of data storage.
So what I had was a machine that choked on Facebook games. Yep, like most machines, the Flash games soon outstripped the capacity of the machine.. Anime shows from Japan had to be downloaded at 480 pixel density format to play smoothly, and 720 was the standard.
I exchanged an old Dell classic Pentium II for a new motherboard, RAM and CPU. Not top of the line, but definitely a step up.
Funny, being a packrat has its benefits.
The ASUS P8 H67 motherboard supported no floppy, (Darn) No IDE Drives (Darn again), and a staggering 14 USB slots (yeah!) and 6 SATA ports.
I bought a USED Antec case for $10 and put the machine together. I bought a massive 2 TB Seagate Drive to hold the data.
Now what? How to get the data on the machine. This is the main issue. I had a valid XP serial number on the case. I did not want to upgrade. The OS would cost as much (or more) than the machine.
Luckily, I had access to an Acronis Backup and Recovery boot disk. Not installed, but part of my recovery tools bag of tricks.
I first booted Acronis and backed up the entire machine to an external hard drive.(Total of 160 Gigabytes.) On USB 2.0, it took about an hour to complete the backup.
Well, that was the easy part. I set the machine to one side and booted the same CD on the new machine into recovery mode.
Time for a little pause. My old machine had actually two hard drives. A laughable 6G drive and a massive 500 G drive.
I decided to combine the partitions on the single drive.
I restored C, from the first drive, then D from the second drive on the new SATA-600 drive.
Followed by logical partition E.
System was on F. I restored it. I didn't realize at the time that the Universal Recovery was further down the menu, so I used the standard recovery. I recovered the Master Boot Record to the new drive.
Tried to boot to the drive. A few lines and CRASH.
Undaunted, I changed the Boot.ini file on the C partition: that made it worse.
I fiddled with a technique called a Recovery install. That resulted in a new install with no programs and the needed documents in inaccessible directories.
Finally, I reloaded Acronis and found the Universal Recovery Option (I think that it is only available on Professional Licenses)
Reloaded F partition, and went back to the C partition and restored the Master Boot Record and the boot.ini .
Another reboot without the CD and the machine started XP.
A lot of missing drivers, but the machine was running!
Insert the Motherboard CD and start installing drivers.
About 30 minutes later, and I am on the Internet.
I look at the system layout on Windows Disk Manager, and I am informed that my Partitions are not aligned.
This is a recent phenomenon on drives at the Terabyte and above capacity, where the physical partitions do not line up cleanly to the logical boundaries. This causes a major performance hit, as the system has to locate where the data actually is through some programming gymnastics.
I had a copy of Western Digital's Drive Align, and it refused to act on a Seagate Drive. Seagate recommended a firmware update. No thanks. maybe later.
I remembered that GPARTED (www.gparted.org) would align the partitions, so I spent about 3 hours carefully moving and resizing partitions from back to front. But the C Drive refused to align. Finally, in frustration, I deleted C and re-created it with GPARTED. A quick restore from Acronis (the backup was still there) and I was done.
In retrospect, I should have laid out the partitions with GPARTED LIVE boot CD and then restored the data.
I had one game that refused to run due to a licensing issue, but a Google search of the problem quickly resolved that.
Windows XP Professional didn't even hiccup about the license.
The hard drive benchmarked at 159 Megabytes/Sec. (Si Sandra) 92.5 percentile.
A Blu-Ray Quality video ran beautifully. All of the old files and programs worked faster than the older machine, and all of the existing accounts and folders were still present, And the old machine in the corner was still available in the event of a disaster.
A current backup of the data was available and I had learned a new skill.