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Win XP to Win 8.1 upgrade on Atoms

We had a two Intel Atom Windows XP machines running back-office systems which we needed to convert to Win 7 or Win 8. Whilst Win 7 basic will run on these devices you can't buy it and I'd had problems with putting Win 7 'standard' on low spec machines. I'd tried out Win 8 on another low spec machine and it runs very well. True the interface takes a bit of getting used to BUT and its a big BUT once you go to Win 8.1 you  can boot into a desktop automatically and there is a start button (a windows icon where the start button was) of sorts. You can set up all the icons and quick start menus exactly as if it were Win 7 or XP. Microsoft is shortly to rectify this lack of start button  and make it more obvious. So the two PC's were an Asus eeeBox nettop and a Dell A100 Vostro. Running the MS Win 8 checker on both proved positive. The Asus was converted first as a clean build. Absolutely no problems, all drivers and functions came on-line. Everything worked as it should. We needed it to tempoarily replace our Desk Encoder system which takes audio from the desk and serves it over our studio LAN via an Icecast server. We installed it and it ran for 2 weeks  - rock solid. On Monday this week we installed the Dell Atom system running Win 8 replacing this system as it had a larger hard drive. It lasted until Wednesday! Logged in via LogMeIn and it was running at about 100% CPU occupancy. There are only three apps running - BUTT, Icecast and the PlayIt recorder. The forums all recognised the problem (System Interrupts process running at about 40 to 50% CPU ocuppancy) but no definite solutions. A reboot eased the problem but it recurred again the following day. So no chose but to replace the system with the one we had just taken out. The  replacement was now running at about 40 to 50% occupancy including Task Manager and LogMeIn. So the Dell is due to get a good talking to and probably a rebuild. So Win Xp to Win 8 is fine on Atoms in principle but has about a 10% performance hit over XP. As this is a sample of 1 and we were running no bench marks this is a completely non-rigorous and non-scientific result but sort of sounds right.  As we are short of Win 8 licences I may change over the Desk Encoder to a Linux distro as BUTT and Icecast are available running under Linux. The PlayIt recorder is a different matter but I am sure I can find something equivalent.

Broken SD cards

The SD recorder in the studio keeps spitting out my memory cards! The problem was a broken bit of plastic that had jammed the SD card retention mechansism. It was only a few millimetres long and very difficut to see let alone remove. I now know how to take the recorder apart.

Vintage Radio PC upgrades - April 2014

All of our PC's are now upgraded to Windows 7, Windows 8 or Linux Mint. We have no PC's running Windows XP. One is still to be finally upgraded to Windows 8.1 and then the application software downloaded and configured.

 

Whilst its not difficult, it does take quite a while to upgrade a PC. Firstly I have to collect the PC from the studio - an hour round trip plus time taken to extricate it from the  cabling and take it back (about 3 hours in total),  then I have to check that the PC is compatible with whatever OS is being loaded. Then I have to load Windows 8.1 etc. and then load all the subsequent updates since the Windows install disc was made. This typically takes several hours both to download and then install the updates. Then the application software has to be downloaded and confgured. This can also take several hours. Finally the PC has to be returned to the studio, installed and commissioned. All this, when  you add it up, typically takes a good day. Thats right - about 8 or 9 working hours per PC, if I am lucky.  So far I have upgraded 4 with a 5th waiting in the wings. The 5th is waiting finding sufficient funds to get a new Windows 8 licence. Until then we have to rely on nothing failing!

Subcategories

Whilst we are broadcasting 7 days a week the small technical team are working behind the scenes. For those that might be interested I thought I start a blog of the sorts of technical problems and projects we have at Vintage Radio. I only enter stuff in this section at random, as and when the moment occurs.