Another Reason I Like Linux Over Windows

This week I decided to give my “old” desktop to my son. He loves gaming. He has an Xbox 360 and a PlayStation 3 and a PlayStation 4. (And a Wii if that counts.) Of course, he has now, in due course, had decided that PC gaming is what he wants to do now. The old desktop was just sitting there turned off most of the time. Basically a backup if/when my laptop didn’t work. Or, more likely, when I did something that made my laptop not work.

He has a Dell Inspiron 5000 series but, of course, with the Intel HD4400 graphics he wasn’t going to get far using that. Mindcraft didn’t like it very much. I hate to think what H1Z1 would play like.

Anyway, my old desktop was (is?) an Intel i5-3450 CPU @ 3.10GHz. That is the one that has four core but no hyperthreading. It has 8 GB dual channel Corsair RAM and a 500 GB WD Blue hard drive. The only thing that it was missing was a decent video card.

My son bought using money he had saved up an EVGA GeForce GTX 750 1GB card. That is the one without the “Ti.” From what I read the extra money for the Ti was not worth it.

Since the desktop was formerly “mine” it had Windows 7 and Linux Mint installed. Both were old installations with many programs installed, uninstalled, etc. Clearly a fresh install of Windows 7 was called for.

I am used to installing Linux. In fact, in getting my new Lenovo Y50 set up with Mint I installed it more than a few times (thank you Secure Boot – and me not reading everything). It was annoying but since it only took about 7-8 minutes to install Mint it was no big deal.

Installing Windows 7 was something else. I started at 7:00PM by inserting the DVD and rebooting. (Yes, I should have copied the image to a USB key but I didn’t think about that until writing this – I don’t usually install Windows 7). Actually, the installation was on an original WD Raptor 36GB 10,000RPM SATA drive. That was, and still is, a really fast mechanical drive. What I didn’t realize is that Windows and the nVidia driver software would eventually take up 32GB. More on that later.

Anyway, once the installation was complete the next step is, of course, to install the patches. With Mint installing the patches is easy: “yum update; yum dist-upgrade” and two or three minutes later you are all up to day.

With Windows it was run Windows Update; wait seemingly forever for Windows Update to (a) find out what needed to be downloaded, (b) to download the patches and (c) to actually install the patches. And the, of course, reboot. (I have BellAliant FibreOp 3.0 which gives me 150 Mbit/s download.

By 10:30 it seems I must have downloaded more than 1 GB of patches. I was tired so I ran Windows Update again and went to bed.

When I got up in the morning I checked the machine and more patches had come down and needed to be installed. Thankfully, for now, that was the last of it – for now.

In short, unlike a Windows 7 install, I was shocked by the number of patches that had to be installed. Especially by the fact that I apparently had to (a) install a slew of patches before (b) getting the new version of Windows Update that would allow me to install SP1. Maybe I should have looked into downloading SP1 separately which may have saved me a bunch of time downloading, installing and rebooting. But I didn’t think about that since when I use apt-get it gets me updated right away.

Back to the 36GB Raptor drive: Obviously there was no space for much more than swap left on that drive so it had to go. I replaced it with a 500GB WD Blue drive I had left over from upgrading one of my NASes. The nice thing is that WD provides  Acronis True Image WD Edition Software so transferring my many hours of installing Windows 7 was simply install True Image and run it. Easy, peasy.

About Mike Pelley

Let’s see… A little about me… I’ve been around information technology since 1983 with computers such as DEC Rainbows (weird machine – the standard DOS couldn’t format its own floppy disks – remember them? – and I had to format them on a friend’s IBM PC) to Radio Shack TRS-80 to Apple ][e and Apple //c in the beginning. I have programmed in 8-bit assembly language on 6502, FORTRAN and COBOL on IBM System/370 (and I still hate JCL), VAX BASIC and COBOL (and a weird and massive WordPerfect 4.0 macro) on DEC VMS (Alpha), C/C++ on Digital Unix (ALPHA), and C/C++, Perl (it may be powerful but I still hate it), PHP on Linux (Red Hat, Centos, Ubuntu, etc.). I have work with databases such as Digital RDB (later to become Oracle RDB), Oracle DBMS, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL and PostgreSQL on VAX, Alpha, Sun and Intel. Check out my professional profile and connect with me on LinkedIn. See I still think that Digital created some of the best ideas in the world: VAX clustering, DSSI disks (forerunner to SCSI) and the Alpha processor (first commercial 64-bit processor – Red Hat screamed on an Alpha!). DEC just could not seem to be able to give air conditioners away to someone lost in the Sahara Desert! VMware is one of the best ways to get the most out of an x64 server. And I have tried Oracle VM, Virtual Box and Microsoft Virtual Server. Outside of that I am a huge military history buff starting in the early 20th century. I love Ford Mustangs (my ’87 Mustang GT was awesome) and if I had the money I would have a Porsche 928S4. If I had a lot of money I would have a Porsche 911 Turbo. I also play too much AmrA 3 Exile mod. Over 5,000+ hours... I have a wonderful son, Cameron. I have a long suffering (Do you really need all that computer junk?) wife, Paula. I live in Paradise, Newfoundland and Labrador.
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