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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    Jan 2011
    Seattle, WA
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    Whether to upgrade a perfectly good Win7 PC


    Whether to upgrade a perfectly good Win7 PC

    By Fred Langa

    A reader's Win7 setup is running well, so he's understandably reluctant to risk the changes of an upgrade to Win10. Here's a safe and low-risk approach. Plus: Unraveling confusion about false-positives that legitimate product key-recovery software could trigger.

    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
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Aurora, Ontario, Canada
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts


    Hello, Fred (and Kathleen),

    I am about halfway through my planned migration of about 20 Win 7 and Win 8.1 machines to Win 10. Last Fall, I upgraded my primary laptop (Dell Vostro 3460, 2013--my primary machines are three desktops) from W7 to W10 and lived with it for about a month and a half, installing test versions of a few critical apps/drivers. The most iffy driver I thought was my Nikon Coolscan 5000ED that already has a third party patch for W7, but it worked. While VueScan and Silverfast are options, we've scanned perhaps 50,000 slides and negatives with the native Nikon software and I wanted to keep the same UI. It was fine!

    In November and December I updated three desktops and five laptops. My other laptop was a mess, due entirely to the HDD "bricking up" on a trip...I don't know if we bumped it or what. So to get the free upgrade, I did a quick build of W7 and then upgraded to W10. The other problematic computer was my older son's 2012 Dell Vostro 3550 from 2012. I don't know what happened to it, but opted to rebuild it from scratch. I think I tried the W10 upgrade and got far enough to get a serial number, so did a clean W10 install on a new HDD. I had bought him a Lenovo Z40-70 in early 2015 because of issues we were having with the 3550, and the Z40 which was W8.1 was upgraded to W10.

    My three primary desktop computers all came up well. My main 2011 Dell Studio XPS 9100 was having some issues and had become slow to start and is not much faster and more responsive under W10 than W7. Since that was a success, I upgraded it from 12 to 24 GB of RAM. It's a three-channel i7-930. The Thinstuff RDP host (server?) on the 2012 Dell Vostro with an i5-2400 and 16 GB of RAM works much better under W10 than W7 and all the scanner software works well (Nikon and Epson). I migrated to Thinstuff after the W7 hack for concurrent login was closed by MS. I use that machine for mail via RDP but it is also my primary scanning machine on a different login from the console.

    For yuks, I upgraded a 2011 Dell Inspiron M101z/1120 that got retired when we got the Lenovo laptop for my older son and that worked fine on an AMD Athalon II Neo K125. One application at a time, but still usable.

    The other ancient laptop was my first W7 one bought on an extended roadtrip in 2010 in Grand Falls/Windsor, Newfoundland at a Walmart after my 2003 XP laptop's HDD failed. That upgraded fine to W10, but after the upgrade, I pulled the HDD and put in a new one and brought that machine up with Open SUSE Linux to get my feet a little wet.

    Fortunately, those two older/underwhelming computers will find a home this summer, I think, at the Non-Profit where my wife works (and I do IT). The HP will be a general PC for a summer student (it's similar to two they already own), and I hope the little K125 machine will be powerful enough (though its display limitations might be an issue) for powering a large screen display for an exhibit this Spring/Summer at the Non-Profit.

    I plan on spending a day at the Non-Profit upgrading all at once the Non-Profit's four laptops and killer desktop plus my wife's and the curator's personal laptops--all in one shot. That leaves my younger son's two laptops and two laptops which I maintain for a friend--both of them have W7 for backup and W8.1 for main.

    As an aside, for my sons, I'm replacing their on-site NAS with a 1 TB Dropbox account (they had a 1.5 TB recycled Netgear ReadyNAS). So the only pieces of hardware they will have going forward will be a wireless router (initially, the two universities said "no wireless" but have since given up), the two laptops, and an all-in-one B&W laser. The reduction will be a wired router, a wireless access point (added later when the rules were relaxed), as well as the NAS.

    I also upgraded my main NAS to a QNAP TS-837 PRO with 2 GB of RAM and eight WD Red 3 TB drives. With 1 TB files, I've seen 113 MB/s transfer rates over gigabit Ethernet from the Studio XPS to the NAS.

    So, I say GO FOR IT!


    Last edited by rlhess; 2016-02-02 at 10:05.

  3. #3
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Hinsdale, IL, USA
    Thanked 149 Times in 126 Posts
    ProduKey and PUP Flags:
    There's a reason antimalware programs use the term PUP, which says Potentially Unwanted Program. You can decide whether or not these programs are Actually Unwanted Programs. You should know whether you installed the programs on purpose, and whether or not you have checked with sources you trust (like Fred Langa or other Windows Secrets contributors) to make sure these programs are not Actually Unwanted Programs.

    What happens is that, from signatures to behavior analysis, antimalware programs cannot distinguish between code and functions which are actually being used to hack your computer for sensitive information, as opposed to programs which you are using knowingly to uncover lost keys or other sensitive data. In the interest of providing maximum protection to you, these security tools flag every possible hacker tool and let you decide which ones you intended to run as opposed to programs or code which you did not intend to download and run.

    I hope this explains why you get flags when downloading, installing and using some data recovery tools (including ProduKey).

    It is perfectly safe to tell your security program to add ProduKey to its Ignore List, and to allow it to run unchallenged in the future. Each program update will again get flagged, and the new version will need to be added to the Ignore List. That's a pain, but a necessary one to fully protect your devices against real malware.
    -- Bob Primak --

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