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  1. #1
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Installing Windows 8 on your old PC could turn it into Greased Lightning

    If You have enough memory that is.

    http://www.zdnet.com/installing-wind...ng-7000002903/

    Jerry

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    ruirib (2012-08-21)

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    Well, I don't really like that author, actually I think ZDNet has only a few of people who write decent articles (Ed Bott and Mary Jo Foley being the most interesting). I am actually quite surprised that he wrote such a clear article extolling the obvious performance improvements that Windows 8 brings and that show immediately when you start using it. I am using Windows 8 on a 3 year old Core 2 Duo laptop and my experience has been similar to that of Mr. Perlow.

    Thanks for the link, Jerry.

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    Interesting find Jerry.

    Reading the article, I have a word of caution for the "casual upgrader": I would hardly call 3 to 4 year old machines vintage. I regularly see examples of 5, 6, 7 or more years old XP machines. The danger for those machines is that Windows 8 requires features in the CPU that may not be available.

    There isn't going to be a separate Upgrade Adviser program (as there was for Win 7 for example) - it will be built into the installation process. Which means that you may not find out that your really old PC turns out to be incompatible until you have spent your hard earned money on the upgrade media.

    The best advice I can give for owners of old machines is to do your homework and seek advice where necessary.

    That said, I installed Windows 8 on a machine that enjoys a 2007-vintage Q6600 CPU and just 2GB RAM. It runs just fine.
    In God we trust; all others must bring data.

    - William Edwards Deming. 1900 - 1993

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinto Tech View Post
    Interesting find Jerry.

    Reading the article, I have a word of caution for the "casual upgrader": I would hardly call 3 to 4 year old machines vintage. I regularly see examples of 5, 6, 7 or more years old XP machines. The danger for those machines is that Windows 8 requires features in the CPU that may not be available.

    The best advice I can give for owners of old machines is to do your homework and seek advice where necessary.
    That is an abbreviated quote, but the advice you might be able to give us yourself, as author of the post, is 'Precisely what features in the CPU do you have in mind?'

    I have a Toshiba Satellite A110 which is about six years old, with an Intel CPU, 2 GB RAM, and 320 GB drive. I have already clean-installed Windows 8 Pro_x86 RTM with a healthy collection of software, all of which appears to be running very well indeed. I have allowed 16-bit programs, to accommodate Adobe Type Manager to help manage an extensive collection of Type 1 fonts, and since it's included in Windows 8, I am also running ReadyBoost, with the usual result i.e. no perceptible difference. I have not attempted virtualization.

    Yes, it's underpowered for the heavy lifting, but that computer was running Win 7 Ultimate before I replaced it with Win 8 and it's unstoppable. I can learn Win 8 with it, and when I spot a more modern computer that I can afford to replace it with, I'll just physically swap the drive into the new computer (and start installing drivers and confirming serial numbers).

    Old computers do have uses, and this is one of them. It's obviously not my primary computer, the battery won't hold a charge, but Win 8 is running very smoothly indeed.

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    That's great dogberry. A clean install of Windows 8 can put new life into an old machine.

    The specific feature that I had in mind for old machines is NX (No Execute in Intel processors), or Xd (Execute Disable in AMD processors). This is a requirement of Windows 8, but was not in earlier versions of Windows, nor indeed of early versions of the previews (Developer preview or Consumer preview). If the feature was present, older versions of Windows enabled Data Execution Prevention, but it was not a prerequisite for installation - one could install the OS if NX/Xd was not enabled. Now, it must be enabled or the OS will not install.

    NX enforces data and program space separation and is a significant security improvement. Some older CPU's have the NX/Xd capability according to the datasheet, but it is not enabled in the BIOS. In those machines, the manufacturer may not have a BIOS update to enable NX, even if it is available on the CPU.

    I think you may have been lucky with the Satellite A110. Some versions of that model have processors that do have NX (this one for example), while other versions (such as this one) do not.

    There are other prerequisites, such as PAE and SSE2, but most older CPU's have these, or can be enabled in the BIOS.
    In God we trust; all others must bring data.

    - William Edwards Deming. 1900 - 1993

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    This is one that threw a curve for a lot of people. Win 8 CP was working and Win 8 RP would not install. It did take a while to figure out that MS decided to enforce this security item beginning with Win 8 RP

    There are many sites showing how to enable NX in your Bios. A Google search shows many such. For some this will involve a Bios flash update. Be advised that if something goes wrong with this Bios flash update you could end up with a paper weight instead of a PC. Be very careful in deciding to do this Bios flash update.

    One advantage of the 32 Bit Win 8 Pro installation is that many of the older 16 Bit apps seems to work well. This is not the case for the 64 Bit edition. You would most likely have to use Hyper V or another VM with an XP emulator.
    Last edited by Medico; 2012-08-26 at 08:05.
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    That's right Ted: one must be cautious about flashing the BIOS, especially in an older machine, where maybe the flashing utility is old or unsupported.

    The central theme to my first reply in the thread was to note that Windows 8 does not have an upgrade adviser program.

    Unless the user verifies that the CPU supports NX they might purchase Windows 8 to refresh an old workhorse, only later to find that it can't be installed. That's not an issue right now because nobody needs to spend money buying a copy. Anyone who wants to try it can download the 90 Trial version for free from MSDN, but after retail release we may see people wasting money buying Windows 8 for an old machine that can't support it.

    So to re-iterate my advice again: on an old machine check the CPU features (NX, SSE2 and PAE) before making a buying decision. One could check the BIOS, or use a utility such as CPU-z or SIW to check the CPU model and features and then cross check against the manufactures website, or if in doubt ask for advice (here in The Lounge would be a good place to start).
    In God we trust; all others must bring data.

    - William Edwards Deming. 1900 - 1993

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    I see why you say I'm lucky. Thank you both for the hi-tech explanations.

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    If anyone is contemplating buying Win 8 for an older PC, please try Win 8 RP first! This is almost a must. You have to know if Win 8 will install on your older PC. And even if it installs You might need to look at some upgrades, perhaps more Ram, etc. It's just not worth it is you only have, say 512Mb of Ram or whatever. The minimum requirements for Win 8 RTM can be found here.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  12. #10
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    This document details the processor support for the PAE/NX/SSE2 requirement in Windows 8, error cases and scenarios that customers encounter when machines fail to meet the requirement, and what to do to install Windows 8 on their PCs. It also points to a program that will tell you if you have NX/SSE2 support on your CPU.
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/libr.../hh975398.aspx

    Jerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medico View Post
    If anyone is contemplating buying Win 8 for an older PC, please try Win 8 RP first! This is almost a must. You have to know if Win 8 will install on your older PC. And even if it installs You might need to look at some upgrades, perhaps more Ram, etc. It's just not worth it is you only have, say 512Mb of Ram or whatever. The minimum requirements for Win 8 RTM can be found here.
    It's not worth it if you have to buy the memory, or the DVD-ROM, but if you already have them in a drawer, then that's a different matter.

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I sometimes have to wonder if it is worth having to upgrade H/W just to meet minimum requirements as well. At the prices of new PC's today, I just can't believe upgrading old H/W is worth it. You still have many old parts.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  16. #13
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    To buy a decent new desktop is going to run you around $500. Memory upgrades in a lot of PCs is relatively cheap. I can get a new dvd drive from Microcenter for less than $20. New hard drives are around $60. Just depends on the individual old PC.

    Jerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinto Tech View Post
    The specific feature that I had in mind for old machines is NX (No Execute in Intel processors), or Xd (Execute Disable in AMD processors). This is a requirement of Windows 8, but was not in earlier versions of Windows, nor indeed of early versions of the previews (Developer preview or Consumer preview). If the feature was present, older versions of Windows enabled Data Execution Prevention, but it was not a prerequisite for installation - one could install the OS if NX/Xd was not enabled. Now, it must be enabled or the OS will not install.

    NX enforces data and program space separation and is a significant security improvement. Some older CPU's have the NX/Xd capability according to the datasheet, but it is not enabled in the BIOS. In those machines, the manufacturer may not have a BIOS update to enable NX, even if it is available on the CPU.

    I think you may have been lucky with the Satellite A110. Some versions of that model have processors that do have NX (this one for example), while other versions (such as this one) do not.

    There are other prerequisites, such as PAE and SSE2, but most older CPU's have these, or can be enabled in the BIOS.
    I have been trying to install Windows 8 Enterprise Evaluation on an HP Compaq Evo D510 from a flash drive. It starts reading the flash drive, because it displayw the Windosw 8 Windows logo on the screen, but it never loads anything and after a long while the screen goes black and has a message saying to reboot the system. I reloaded the flash drive with Windows 8 CP, and it started loading. I didn't install it, but I let it go far enough to be sure that it was reading the flash drive properly. I went through the BIOS settings to see if their was a setting for NX, but there is not, but at least now I think I know what the problem is.

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    Jerry posted a link to a document above that tells you how you can Sysinternals Coreinfo to check if your CPU supports Windows 8 RTM.

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