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Borrowed Time

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Borrowed Time

KDX Worldround Radio has existed for many years out of a single XP computer with tremendous good luck. But the wall is scribbled with handwriting and the time has come for wise men to upgrade.

I also have upgraded but only after seeking the counsel of the helpful ALPB members who guided me forward into a newly refurbished computer.

The new refurbished computer arrived today and was tested for 3-hours with excellent results and will become the new block on the block, providing all the services of KDX for our self-listening owner.

The OS is Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit and now I need your input before I put it on the internet. I wouldn't want unexpected hacks from Microsoft when they detect a sucker born during his minute.

What sage advice are you willing to provide free of charge out of the helpful spirit that personifies hobby radio?

First thing is get an anti-virus that's free.

I use AVG and never had anything mess up my computer.

Some others are Total AV and PC Protect.

Windows also has it's own firewall that protects you too, that is always updating.

Mark Your Spot

Mark is "with it" and "on the ball" and I can tell you that this refurbished computer came with AVG Antivirus installed.

Unless something has changed I remember that Windows Firewall protects against traffic coming in from the internet but does not block outgoing traffic, which means that if malware sneaks in somehow it can transmit data out to the internet.

Many thanks for your input. That's my output to you.

Carl Blare

XP to 7

Some things which I have observed:

Some older programs may not run on a 64 bit machine.

Win 7 file security is much more complex than that of XP and reading files created/modified on 7 may not be readable on XP...not a problem if you don't go back.

The email client Outlook Express used in XP is not available for 7.

Some legacy hardware does not work with XP due to lack of drivers.  Won't be a problem if you are not using old plug in cards.

Disk activity is constant with 7 so I don't know if disk shutdown when inactive works as it does with XP.

7 supports a lot of media applications which are not available on XP, especially video and streaming apps.

As far as I can tell there is no reinstall disk available for 7 unless the seller sent you one.  One of the first things you should do is make an image copy of your system disk so you can go back to the starting line if something goes awry.

This being said I have had very good experience with used machines.  The one I use now was 2 years old when purchased and the only failure was a memory stick, yet despite this it kept running.

Neil

 

Anti-virus

I've used AVG for years and was pretty happy, but I've recently become an enthusiastic convert to PCMatic. Using AVG, Malwarebytes, and Spybot Search and Destroy, I still occasionally got hit with malware and ransomware. PcMatic is not free but at just $50/year for up to 5 PCs it's close. It's allowed me to get rid of these other programs speeding up my PC and seems to be flawless in its protection. I doubt I willever go back to AVG.

Jim Henry HBR Radio 1610, serving Honey Brook, PA. and NW Chester County.

Advice Appreciated

Thanks to everyone who's given input about Windows 7.

Today for the 2nd time I went into it but am not going to connect to the internet nor install any programs until the image is burned to a Flash-Drive.

This computer has only a ROM DVD/CD Player so I can't burn to a disc.

I've spent a lot of time studying about the need to "Activate" the software by contacting Microsoft, and will be doing that by phone.

These re-furbished business computers cost about the same as the whole operating system in a box, so if I need the 32-Bit Windows 7 I'll watch for a computer that has it installed and load up with another computer.

Carl Blare

You will need a network

You will need a network connection in order to activate.

Druid Hills Radio AM-1710- Dade City, FL. Unlicensed operation authorized by the Part 15 Department of the FCC and our Resident Hobby Agent.  

Activation

Carl, you might not need to activate the Win 7. One of my used machines has XP and the other Win 7 and neither required activation.  Usually, refurbishers install the OEM versions of Windows and they are ready to run.

If in doubt, contact your vendor.

Neil

 

How Do Regular People Do All This?

ALMOST, but not quite, everyone has a computer at home and manage to get it to work. Yet most of them are not technically experienced, except to the degree that nowadays anyone can plug in a mouse and get printers to print.

So you'd expect us much smarter people with years of engineering including antenna work to be able to sail through computer projects while whistling the theme from Star Wars.

Oh hey! I just realized that Shostakovitch's Symphony No. 10 has almost the exact same theme as Star Wars! Never mind.

Try to understand this.

THIS

From what I don't know so far I think this computer has both 2.0 and 3.0 USB ports, and I am shopping for a Flash-Drive for storing the back-up image for the OS. I'm thinking 2.0 would be the safer bet since the other computer has only 2.0.

The next thing will be to select a SIZE for the Flash-Drive, since it will be dedicated to holding the OS image.

The "C" Drive is 30 GB, but the OS Image File will be what... only the OS? Or, will it contain everything in the "C" Drive or maybe the entire partition?

By "other" this computer has some useful extras like VLC Player, AVG Antivirus and a few more. Will all of it end up in the Image File?

Wait a minute... it's Symphony No. 1 that sounds similar to Star Wars.

Carl Blare

Shostakovich Symp. 5

You might want to cue Symp. 5 as you set up your system.  The movements reflect struggle and turmoil which is resolved in the last movement where the human spirit triumphs.

Now for a tech tip or two.  Going by my memory the virgin install of Win 7 was about 7 GB for an image.  It is now around 16 GB with all the programs installed since the beginning.  My data disc is separate so these numbers are only for the OS and programs.

You might consider a USB drive instead of a flash drive for backup.  I use one called "Passport" which supports USB 3 and it stores 1 TB and costs about $50 at last look.  With USB 3 backup should go very quickly.  This is a Western Digital drive so the free Seagate Disc Wizard can be used for backup.

Neil

 

Advancements in Science

Radio 8Z says:  "You might consider a USB drive instead of a flash drive for backup."

I thought that a Flash-Drive is/was the same as a USB (thumb) drive.

I have been thinking about a USB drive this whole time.

This is one of my favorite projects in awhile because there's no deadline.

Continuing soon.

Carl Blare

The biggest issue I had with

The biggest issue I had with Windows 7 (and Vista 64 bit) was that they required signed drivers.  The Virtual Audio Cable driver, for example, is not signed (at least the one I have) and so it wouldn't install by default.  There are several ways around this, but the easiest is to put the O/S in driver test mode using the bcedit command.  This will mean that driver signing will NEVER be tested for (and you get a watermark on your screen telling you that you're in test mode), so you have to be a little more careful.  But then things do work.

There are no perfect anti virus programs.  So I use several that are free (paying for something isn't a guarantee that it's going to work any better).  I use AVG and Malwarebytes mostly, athough I have Avira on one computer just for something different.  Sometimes things are caught by one and not the other(s).

The Windows firewall actually is more useful for stopping unauthorized programs on your computer from communicating to the outside world (i.e., malware, trojans, etc.).  If you have a router, then you already have an incoming firewall.

Another suggestion - Windows Update can be a pig, and sometimes stop working (or take forever).  First, I always have it turned on to notify me ONLY, not to download or update. I like manual choice.

Second, when I do a new install, I use Wsus Offline to download the required updates to my computer, and then install them en masse.  It takes much less time and is much more efficient (the program is much smarter than Windows Update about update dependencies).  Plus, it automatically updates Windows Update to its latest version, so you don't have many of the problems of bogging down and taking forever that you may find across the Internet.

 

USB Lingo

Carl, I am showing my digital age.  Before flash drives "USB drive" meant a hard drive (which means rotating storage (which means a motor inside which spins a magnetic platter)) which plugged into the USB port for data transfer and had an external wall wart supply to run the electronics and motor.

The Passport I mentioned is a rotating storage drive but it gets all the power it needs from the USB port.  Very simple to use and lots of storage/$.  They are reliabe as long as you don't drop them.

Neil

 

New Knowledge

Thank you for so many helpful comments about Win 7, backups, and all.

I'm going to do this:

"You might consider a USB drive instead of a flash drive for backup.  I use one called "Passport" which supports USB 3 and it stores 1 TB and costs about $50 at last look.  With USB 3 backup should go very quickly.  This is a Western Digital drive so the free Seagate Disc Wizard can be used for backup."

Now that I know what a "USB drive" is, since it worked for Radio8Z (for making a backup image), it should also work for KDX. so why should I try something else?

Can ADDITIONAL storage be saved to the "Passport" over time, or is it dedicated to the OS Image backup?

Carl Blare

Backup Drive

The first Passport I bought immediately appears as a disc to the system and can be used as any other disc for storing files and can be partitioned if desired to appear as multiple drives.  Anything which can be stored in a file can be stored on this disc as can multiple files so the OS image and other data files can be saved on the same physical disc.  If using Seagate Disc Wizard you want to create a disc image and not clone the OS disc.  The term "image" is a bit misleading in that it is not an exact physical copy of the OS disc but is rather a file created to contain the OS files, thus it appears as any other data file which the backup/restore program can use to recreate the saved OS "image"..

The second Passport I obtained didn't appear as a disc out of the box because it had been facory formatted with some new file format intended for backups but a web search revealed that this was not necessary and formatting the disc in the NTFS format made it act as any other Windows disc.

There are other discs and software available for these purposes and I only mention Passport and Wizard because I use them and they work.  Also note that the free version of Seagate Disc Wizard does not allow incremental backup which is OK by me because it is simpler for me to keep track of the backups I make.  My OS backup takes about 8 minutes and the time saved with incremental backup is not worth it considering the extra complexity.  I also keep my data files in a separate partition on my system disc so I can backup the OS and the data independently.

Sometimes I wonder if the "priesthood" of IT people intentionally make simple things complicated so users have to run to them all the time for help.

Neil

 

My 2nd Computer Project is Back On

Had to pause for awhile to wait for the Passport USB 3.0 HardDrive so as to make an Image of the Windows 7 O.S. for security backup, and the drive arrived today.

This computer is HP 8300, successor to the HP 8200.

While the HP website's documentation for the 8200 shows several 2.0 USB ports and a few 3.0 USB ports, the 8300 documentation mentions almost nothing about the USB ports except there are USB ports shown on the pictoral drawing of the innards.

What I therefore assume is that the 8300 features 100% USB 3.0 ports and HP just forgot to write it down.

It probably doesn't matter, except in the amount of time saved by using the 3.0 standard.

The weekend is dedicated to following through on this stage of the project before connecting to the internet and loading applications.

Carl Blare

No Such Luck

Seagate Disc Wizard refused to admit the WD (Western Digital) Passport Drive and told me I was only allowed to have a Seagate, Maxtor or Samsung drive.

The RESTRICTION window also told me there is an upgrade that will work, called Acronis True Image, so tomorrow we'll see about that.

Meanwhile, the Passport HardDrive came with a Backup software, but I'm not sure its the same thing as the Disc Wizard.

The construction zone is closed again.

Carl Blare

The Next Day

Now having visited the Acronis website we find there is a backup program that does what Seagate Disc Wizard refused to do, but at a cost of $29.99.

For the time being the 2nd computer install process is halted until we come up with a new plan.

Carl Blare

Another option perhaps

Carl,

While I use Backblaze for my backups now, years ago I used SyncBack which worked fine for me.  If you scroll down on the linked page you will find the free version.

SyncBack

<https://www.2brightsparks.com/

Jim Henry HBR Radio 1610, serving Honey Brook, PA. and NW Chester County.

Sync_Back set for testing.

Thank you Jim Henry for this link.

It will be tried and a report made here.

This project is causing me to learn deeper things about Windows and PCs than I knew before.

Everything is right on schedule. There is no emergency, no rush, and its fun to work on this stuff when life doesn't depend on it.

Carl Blare

DONE!!

By canceling everything else for the day we were able to concentrate 100% on getting the new Windows 7 system safely burned to an O.S. image as well as a System Recovery Disc, so now the way is cleared to integrate the computer as a redundant system that will do everything the XP unit has been doing for 10-years.

Deep thank you's to all the helpful members who provided guidance through the process. We have some wonderfully smart people!

Carl Blare

Back At It

Taking extreme security measures I want to duplicate the Windows 7 O.S. Image from the Passport USB drive to a DVD Disk, but the computer being prepped only has a Disk ROM Player and no burner, plus it's pre-mature to connect an ethernet cable to the first computer due to security fears...

So I plugged the Passport USB Drive into the original computer where it would be available to the disk burner, but the (XP) computer refused to install the Passport USB drive, asking for drivers that it was unable to find.

The Passport USB Drive worked easily with the newer computer (Windows 7).

If anyone has an idea about this situation I'd be curious to know.

Meanwhile, we'll try using a USB Thumb Drive to move the OS Image.

Carl Blare

New Computer Goes Online

The Addition of 2nd Computer for KDX

The new HP computer is securely backed up so we connected it by ethernet cable to the router and installed the latest Firefox and connected to the internet.

However, attempts to get into the older XP computer for file sharing has failed, the Windows 7 O.S. posted some notifications that only Windows 7 computers could be reached.

Is this a limitation or is there a way of two-way file-sharing?

Furthermore... can this Windows 7 O.S. be installed on the XP computer or do we need to purchase another Windows 7 package?

Carl Blare

Passport on XP

The first Passport I bought works on XP.  When it is plugged in you get a prompt to install something.  Just cancel out of this window and the drive will appear as a regular disc drive and it works fine this way.

As mentioned earlier, the second Passport was formatted with some new and unknown to XP format and I formatted it for NTFS and it works as described above.

Regarding sharing files over the local net between XP and 7, unless there is some new security update on 7 unknown to me sharing can be done.  You need to get into the sharing and security settings on 7 and make some changes from the defaults.  I don't remember specifically how to do this but it can be done and I used to share files when I ran dual sysstems.

Neil

 

Chugging Into the Future on One Cylinder

Thank you Neil.

As stated earlier, this is a no-rush project so I can take a week or a month per step as we go along.

Given the guidelines you've offered we know where to look for the keys to fully integrate these two systems.

Another question we have:

Can this image of Windows 7 be double used by installing it on the other computer so they will both be Windows 7?

Carl Blare

Duplicate Win 7

Probably not.  When Win 7 is installed it is taylored to the hardware present on the system so if the second system has different hardware it may not be able to find the files it needs.  Then there is the business of the Windows keys which are also tied to the hardware and which probably keep it from working.  It may be possible to put the image on another machine but this is dubious at best.  I have never tried to do this.

Neil

 

Plan A is Set Aside

Finding ourselves unable after two hours of clicking and scrolling to establish LAN contact between two computers for file sharing, we are turning attention to establishing an alternate method for exhanging files.

Actually the KDX Website Server on the XP computer can be accessed from the Windows 7 computer via Firefox browser, which allows planting files on the website server for grabbing by the other computer, but there is no return path.

Plan B will probably be a couple of USB Thumb Drives swapped between both computers, which asks the question... can USB Thumb Drives be "hot swapped" with the power on, or do the computers need to be powered down before plugging and unplugging from the USB ports. This has never been made clear so far as I've noticed.

Here's another question... can one of the computers be blocked from the internet while still being able to access LAN, assuming I ever make contact with the other computer? I've looked in the router for a way to do this and not seen an obvious method.

Carl Blare

Attempt to Respond to Questions

Yes, thumb drives can be hot swapped but if they are formatted with NTFS format then be sure to click on the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon on the task bar and tell the system you want to remove the drive.  If you prefer to avoid this then format the drive with the exFAT format which does not requre telling the system about removal and allows removal just by unplugging the drive as long as there is no activity happening on the drive.  There is a setting of the disc properties which will turn off the nag screen which appears when a thumb drive is unplugged.

You can configure a system to work on the LAN without internet access by disabling internet access.  This involves changing the IP address for your internet access within Windows and not at the router.   The best source for such information I have found is to do a web search on "Win XP disable internet connection" for example and there will be many helpful articles found on the subject.  Same goes for other such questions.  This is much more productive than trying to use the Window Help functions.

Neil

.

 

Something Said

Neil, there's something you said a few posts back...

"Sometimes I wonder if the "priesthood" of IT people intentionally make simple things complicated so users have to run to them all the time for help."

That is SO TRUE, except that nowadays when you try to go to them for help they become very scarce, unless you're spending money, in which case they have whole buildings full of eager phone friends.

Spending time digging into pages of information I happened across a lengthy instruction on making Non-Windows 7 computers (XP) network with Windows 7, requiring opening of 11 ports.

My router's port capacity only has 9 spare ports left over, so I am out of luck port wise.

Is this still fun?

Ask tomorrow.

Carl Blare

Great Source of Help

Members of the ALPB spend a lot of time helping each other with radio and internet problems, and we learned a lot on Saturday evening about getting a Windows 7 computer to network over LAN with an XP computer.

One valuable tip came from both Troy TheLegacy and Neil Radio8Z who mentioned a free software called Team Viewer which makes interchanges between computers a simple matter of installing the apps.

One thing I noticed that I'll ask about is that there are two websites...

[teamviewer.us] and [teamviewer.com].

They both look alike except that one of them mentions the free version and the other one seems to address only a commercial version. Are both of these sites legitimate?

Carl Blare

Latest Computer Setup News

Attempts to network our new and old computers for file sharing are still in the stumble stage in which it hasn't worked "yet", but there are some signs that its going to work.

Team Viewer was downloaded but set aside in favor of trying "Tight VNC" which claims on its website that it "sets itself up" which ours did not do.

But both computers seem to know the password which were entered into only one of the computers, an indication that at least the password traveled through the "network".

Reading about it causes severe napping so I only read three sentences a day.

By now I think we will set a deadline because there eventually will be opther things that need to be done, so we'll make it... June 30, 2018.

Carl Blare

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