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XP ends April 2014, so is it Windows 7 or 8.1?
Hi All,
I hear Windows XP will not be supported by Microsoft after April 2014. I assume this means those of us still on XP will have to upgrade to a newer Windows OS. Given this, and my old computer was reaching the end of it's days - it was 12 years old... I decided I had to get a new desktop computer. What I had not realized or thought about was the OS for the new computer. A bit basic, I know, but my own fault.

I suspect many others will be going through much the same this year due to XP becoming unsupported, so I thought this subject may be a useful thread for us to discuss.

In the end the amazing new technology now available (and how cheap it is - a terabyte hard drive for £80....) dazzled me, I have ended up with something way beyond my expectations. BUT, is it what I wanted? Well, yes, and no, sort of.. I think. And, yes, I did spend too much on it in the end....

Megabytes, Gigabytes, Terabytes... What Are They?

In short, one can now buy a desktop computer with a 3 Gig two or four core processor, 4 or 8 Gig of RAM, and a tarabite hard drive for less than £400... WOW.
I visited my local computer emporium (got carried away) and got a new desktop,
Micro Direct
275A Upper Brook St,
M13 0HR
0161 248 4848

which included a solid state 120 Gig hard drive, as well as a terabyte magnetic hard drive.

I have always been a cash customer and so the below is quite a surprise to me..

When in the shop I also bought a new Windows OS, and was advised that Windows 8.1 was a lot better than Windows 8, or the now really very old Windows 7 operating system/s. So, I bought Windows 8.1, which at under £80 for an operating system I thought was very cheap as I remember XP cost me nearer £240 many years ago.

When I first turned my new computer on with it's solid state hard drive, and Windows 8.1 operating system I soon found there were some "issues"..

Solid state hard drive.
6 Things You Shouldn’t Do With Solid-State Drives

"Don’t Defragment

You shouldn’t defragment solid-state drives. The storage sectors on an SSD have a limited number of writes — often fewer writes on cheaper drives — and defragmenting will result in many more writes as your defragmenter moves files around.

"Don’t Use Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Disable TRIM

If your computer is using a solid-state drive, it should be using a modern operating system. In particular, this means you shouldn’t use Windows XP or Windows Vista. Both of these old operating systems do not include support for the TRIM command. When you delete a file on your hard drive, the operating system can’t send the TRIM command to the drive, so the file’s data will remain in those sectors on the drive

"Don’t Write Constantly To Them

To increase your SSD’s life, you should try to minimize writing to the drive as much as possible. For example, you can do this by tweaking your program’s settings and having them write their temporary files and logs elsewhere, such as to a mechanical hard drive if you have a mechanical hard drive in your computer.

None of the above I had any idea about at all. However, the basic "solution" I have used is quite easy. I moved the desktop, documents, downloads, music, pictures, videos and temporay files folders from the SSD to the HDD. That way the program is run on the SSD but the files, etc, are written to the HDD. I do not really know if that is the correct or right thing to do, or if it does what I think it does as my computer knowledge is quite limited, but it appears to work. If anyone knows better, please explain or tell me if I have done something wrong.

Windows 8.1 operating system.
Ok, that was the easy bit, now for Windows 8.1. It starts up completely differently to XP or Windows 7. You go to an applications screen called the start screen. It's like looking at a mobile phone, one of those that I do not and do not want to own... This I suppose is THE issue with Windows 8.1, it is NOT made for a desktop computer. It is intended for lots of newer types of devices than a desktop, and it shows. May be this is not a bad thing as such, but it is at best very unfamiliar to an XP desktop computer user like myself.

Feeling rather down in the dumps with my new computer and it's very strange to me operating system, I had to go and do the weekly shopping. In the supermarket I spotted this, and given the OS was cheap, I decided to spend £10 on it.
Tricks, Fixes & Apps For WINDOWS 8. Volume 3. Summer 2013. Single Issue Magazine – January 1, 2013

Now, I have a computer that after signing in goes straight to the desktop. Smile

One of, if not the best fixes in the above book is how to add a start menu to the desktop in Windows 8.1. Yes, that's right, in Windows 8.1 the desktop does not have a start menu!!! But it is a simple download and install to a XP or Windows 7 type start menu and therefore a shut down button too on the desktop that is also not there in standard Windows 8.1!!! This one addition, or fix saves so much unneccesary navigating, that made the above book worth it's cost alone.

Windows Defender IS a full antivirus in Windows 8.1
However, the worst was saved for last. When you first start using Windows 8.1 it appears that there is no antivirus. So, I went and got Avast as I used that on my old XP computer and it worked very well, if not faultlessly for me. All of a sudden my new computer froze, and then started long scans on every boot up.... Windows defender had suddenly awoke with a vengence. It all gets very confusing, very quickly...

For 8.1 Windows Defender incorporates microsoft security essentials into itself and it becomes a complete antivirus. In all earlier versions of Windows OS, ie Windows 7, they are separate, and Windows Defender is merely an anti spyware program. So, when one puts a third party antivirus on Windows 8.1 it will conflict with Windows Defender, where it probably would not have with earlier Windows OS systems. I eventuially got WD to turn off, and stop it turning itself back on every time I turned the computer on, but how I did it, or if it was an update fixing patch I have not a clue, but, now I have Avast up and running, without it conflicting with Windows Defender that remains turned off. I am also safe in the knowledge if Avast fails then Windows Defender will cut back in.

Later edit - I have just been reminded by Michelle that at one point I repaired the Avast installation, and after that everything appeared to be ok. So, I think it might be that Avast had not installed properly (which may have been Windows 8.1 "fault"...) which caused the conflict. I simply went to uninstall / repair program for Avast, selected repair and all seems to be sorted.

Christmas and New Year came and went this year without me really noticing, but at least my new computer and OS seem to be working as I hoped they would. I think...
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed
(and hence clamorous to be led to safety)
by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H. L. Mencken.  

The hobgoblins have to be imaginary so that
"they" can offer their solutions, not THE solutions.
I bought my Gateway last fall with Windows 8 in it and after some problems with a totally different appearing screen window,I now just zoom in with no troubles.

Big Grin
It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor must preside at our assemblies.

–William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1952

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