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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    Jan 2011
    Seattle, WA
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    Is it worthwhile to upgrade an XP-era PC?


    Is it worthwhile to upgrade an XP-era PC?

    By Fred Langa

    How practical is it to upgrade XP-era hardware with more modern components capable of running Windows 7 or 8? Plus: Preserving an XP setup as an .iso file; self-destructing cookies for Firefox, IE, and running Android as a native Windows app no virtual PC required!

    The full text of this column is posted at (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
    New Lounger
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    Dec 2009
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    Preserving XP for future installation.
    The best way is to use two programs: Wsus to download all the XP updates : nlite to integrate all the updates and your drivers into your XP installation CD.
    This will take a couple of hours. nlite can set-up an unattended installation as well. Once nlite has completed its job, simply burn the new XP installer to CD/DVD.
    Another good free disk imager is "aoemi backerupper" (site:‎). It creates either a Linux based bootable CD or
    a Win 7 PE based CD. The Linux one is fairly limited. To create the WinPE CD you will need a computer with at least Win 7 installed, and the Windows WAIK .
    This creates an exceptional "backer-upper" with a simple interface.

  3. #3
    4 Star Lounger
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    Jan 2010
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    Fred, your advice to don't bother upgrading a Windows XP - era computer is too drastic. Many XP-era systems can be upgraded with the addition of an SSD. The old hard drive can be used for data storage or backups. Some computers may need some extra RAM; increasing RAM up to 2GB should do the trick. A good SSD may be had for around $80 & up, while an extra stick of RAM may cost around $30 & up. While the case is open, blow the dust out. An SSD and a stick of RAM will add very little extra load on the power supply. This is a lot cheaper than a brand new system, and the SSD can always be used in a newer system later on. We know at least 4 or 5 friends who have/had XP systems that are still working great. Two of them replaced the HDD with an SSD, while a third friend added a Sandisk ReadyCache SSD to boost HDD performance and installed Win 7 with no problems. These are sturdy old Dell and Compaq PCs with Pentium 4 cpus and they run just fine for basic tasks. As and when those systems finally give up the ghost the owners are only out the cost of some RAM so the whole thing can be very cost-effective to keep an older machine going a while longer.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    California & Arizona
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    CLiNT's Take...

    Is it worthwhile to upgrade an XP-era PC?
    The more time that goes by the less likely, or even desirable, that it will be to upgrade the OS on very old hardware.
    It all depends on just how old the system is, what condition it's in, and the experience of the user.

    Anything with IDE HD controllers and requirements that SATA drivers be added during CLEAN install is probably too old.
    Single core processors with limited RAM of less than 2GB in the 800MHz or less range would be a less than desirable experience.
    Less than or equal to 5400 RPM drives of the IDE or SATA 1 vintage are too old.
    Cheap pieces of budget crap that were purchased 10 years ago are less likely candidates for driver and BIOS support.
    The upgrade advisor is still your best bet.
    Systems that are well kept, monitored, and cared for stand a better chance at longevity.
    Systems where dust has been allowed to accumulate over the years and who's temperatures often approach spec are not.
    Experienced users are the big one here, and who's numbers are in the grossest of minorities.
    This group here has the best chances of mitigating the above, but you still have to ask whether it's actually worth it.

    Not too terribly clear cut.
    But for the average person, Fred stands correct on all counts.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2014-04-17 at 14:43.
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
    ASUS X99 Deluxe, Core i7-5960X, Corsair Hydro H100i, Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD, Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 32GB DDR4@2666, W8.1 64 bit,
    EVGA GTX980, Seasonic PLATINUM-1000W PSU, MountainMods U2-UFO Case, and 7 other internal drives.

  5. #5
    Silver Lounger
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    Oct 2012
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    Yes, I split the XP era (prime) between pre and post P4 3GHz/Athlon 3500+ and higher. Win 7 also has a higher video requirement for good performance with Aero Glass; I always upgraded my old boxes with good to great video cards from that era so performance is quite good. Theoretically Win 8 should run even better than 7 but I think the NX BIOS setting requirement in Win 8 and something Microsoft made a requirement instead of emulating in 8.1 rules Win 8 out.

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