back to article Help a hack: What's in your ultimate Windows XP migration toolkit?

Keen Reg readers may remember that last year we visited the remote Aboriginal community of Willowra and its new Wirliyatjarrayi Learning Centre. We went because we wanted to know how technology makes an impact in a remote community. What we found was a wonderful facility with enormous potential to help locals, but it was …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Re: Excellent idea - additional software

Yeah, that sounds good! and the ebook resources too, better than the mobile library we occasionally had in our rural village!

0
0

Bandwidth limited community....smoothwall, squid or a mikrotik caching proxy. Smoothwall is ridiculously easy to setup and runs nicely on a VM like virtualbox.

A truckload of $10 used ubiquiti bullets, airgrids and pre-M nanostations from Ebay and some sector antennas.

4
0

.New-OS-talgia def. pain of installing a new operating system

It does not make sense to migrate a desktop system running XP into windows 7-8. For windows 7-8 you need a hardware upgrade with more memory, more cores, better graphics card bigger hard drive etc

1) Buy a new computer, 2)extract your old drive and attach it to your new computer running the drive in a virtual machine (e.g. virtual box) and 3) migrate gradually into your new OS, while retaining the continuity in you existing environment, copying the useful stuff leaving the cruft in old drive as a back up.

If you have to keep the old hardware, Linux is the ONLY way to go. Win 7 will run on old hardware but t will not be fun. I would dual boot, and then as above clone the drive to work under XP in a virtual machine...I did that 6 years ago...haven't looked back since, and use my old XP environment for the nostalgia...

10
2
Silver badge

Think out of the box

Willowra may be remote, but it isn't on the moon. Send one guy with a pickup truck or light aircraft to collect all 8 PCs and bring them back to the nearest place with a decent internet connection, upgrade them there in comfort where you know that you can download the drivers that you inevitably forgot to put on the DVD, add extra RAM etc. as necessary. Then send them back all shiny & ready to go.

8
1
Silver badge

Re: Think out of the box

Actually you also make a good point - these systems should and probably need a physical overhaul.

So need to take the hoover, cleaners and it probably won't go amiss to take several tubes of Arctic Silver cleaner and thermal paste - more than once I've improved performance by merely replacing the thermal compound attaching the cpu to its heat sink.

2
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge

Re: Think out of the box

Or if the PCs are identical, do similar with a single PC/disk/spare disk, then migrate the image to the other PCs after? As others have said, there are offline Windows and Software update options too.

0
0
IT Angle

iPads, you know you want to.

How about just sending them 7 Apple iPads, you know you want!

Remember that cuddly smile from Gran/Mom, the day you 'relented', and have had no complaints since (or workload sapping/home IT, time wasting, hair pulling family telephone support calls come to think of it)

It would save so much Windows Update grief (for both you and them). Let them stick with XP on those machines. You're doing them no favours moving to Win7, and they could use the iPads to learn how to do the upgrade to Linux themselves/Libre Office.

Hope you have more than 2 weeks there if you attempt a full update of each machine to Win7, let's hope they are the same hardware. Your eyes will glaze over from waiting for Win Update to fully update. Multiple reboots, install more updates, fail, need to reinstall more updates, reboot - plenty games of football in between, I presume.

It's just kicking ball further into the grass, none of those machines will be much use with Office 2013, and non will be upgradeable to Win8.1 Update 1 (love the name, MS), as the processor is unlikely to support the OS (execute bit, XD).

2
9
Anonymous Coward

MDT

Unless you need extensive amount of customization MDT will do the trick, you can push the os(along with drivers) and apps without any major effort. The most complex thing will be user profile migration(xp->7 may require hands on migration if USMT fails). You just need a file share(even a standard client will do the trick) and a dvd-rw(usb stick may not be recognized by old hw).

0
0

Re: MDT

Yes, lets look at the docs:

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit Samples Guide

Quick Start Guide for Lite Touch Installation

Quick Start Guide for User Driven Installation

Quick Start Guide for System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

Toolkit Reference

Troubleshooting Reference

User Driven Installation - Developers Guide

Using the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit

This is EIGHT PCs!

Either do it longhand or I sugegst building an image with all updates/apps reseal it. Take a small Linux FTP server containing the image and a CD with G4L and image the PCs. Leave the Linux box behind so when Windows turns in to its normal six monthly "bloated fcukup state", they can re-image them.

Or like below. Mint em.

6
1

Re: MDT

The Microsoft documentation makes it look really really complicated... In real life basic imaging with the deployment toolkit is easy. Its when you want to customise, script and automate bits and bobs where it gets complicated.

0
0

Mint

I've just transitioned my home XP machine from XP to Linux Mint 13. Unlike previous attempts at going to Linux this has been an (almost) pain free experience and the result is a pleasure to use. Seems rather quicker than XP and I can still run my old Win apps under Wine. I can still dual-boot to XP if I need.

I have got Win7 on a netbook and it's soooo slow - whereas Mint on the same machine works well. If you want to go the Win 7 route I'd check it out on similar hardware back home first before inflicting it on Oz.

Just my 2p (or 2¢) worth :-)

19
1
Silver badge

Re: Mint

These have been my experiences wtih Mint as well. In fact, if they have to pay anything for Win7 and Office, they'd be better off scrapping MS in favor of free, friendly Mint (or Ubuntu) Linux is a bit more thrifty with internet connections to, IMHO, as you're not constanty updating AV and you don't have 50 DRM'd applications phoning home to make sure you haven't pirated them since you used them yesterday.

Most of the old apps will likely run under Wine, and there are tons of educational apps for free on the Linux software repositories.

The only benefit to Win7 for them as I see it is if it was free and if they choose to use WAIK to deploy to their PCs.

0
0

Most of what others have said can be summed up as preparation - you have already identified the big risk lack of bandwidth and are looking to take steps to mitigate that.

As for tools. Use The Microsoft Deployment Tool Kit (MDT http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/dn475741.aspx ) to create a master image. The resulting image can be deployed from a bootable USB stick and can include core apps - the OS, Office, AV/AM, PDF, VLC, etc. and optional apps to be selected at deployment time on a per machine basis if required. The bigger the image the longer the copy takes but the faster the post copy install. So build a reference machine, install Office and other tools, connect it to the internet and install all updates, sysprep it, image it, slap it on a bootable USB, deploy it, boot it, tweak it, install other apps, finished.

NOTE: some 3rd part applications really hate being sysprepped - YMMV.

Drivers - make sure you take the latest versions of all drivers for the deployed hardware - video, network, disk, etc.

As for updates - there appear to be a number of tools that will pull (Microsoft) required updates down to a single computer for 'offline' install. You would then need a batch job to run on each computer to check on the 'puller' for updates - this would limit bandwidth use. Personally I think I would just trust to BITS to back off bandwidth usage when other traffic is present. (I thought there was a way to tell clients to get updates from another client -not a WSUS server - but can not find that now.)

0
0
Silver badge

If they are functioning OK dont upgrade.

If they have enough RAM install linux.

If you care about the community smash all the PCs and leave.

6
5
Silver badge

Step 1: Recon

First and foremost, get full and accurate specs on all of the hardware. RAM, hard drive, CPU, etc. This will determine if going to Win 7 is practical. If they've got a bunch of Pentiums or, worse, Celerons, with under 512 MB RAM (entirely possible for a basic XP install) then odds are that they're going to need new hardware before you do anything else.

If the hardware is adequate then get a list of all, repeat, ALL, software currently installed and any additional software which might be required. From that list you can determine if it's even possible to go the Linux route. Remember that if they have Windows-based software then retraining with Linux-based systems may (that is, WILL) be necessary and that will take time and budget, too. Also, if they depend on anyone else for support, and whoever that is doesn't know Linux-based systems they will have to get new support. This may be difficult out in the middle of nowhere. Check with the actual users and determine exactly what use the various apps are put to; if they need, say, to support MS Office macros, then Libre Office will NOT work. Sorry, it won't. If they need to exchange documents with someone who uses MS Office, then, depending on how complex the documents are, Libre Office _might_ work... or might not. It is fairly easy to generate documents in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint which have severe problems when round-tripping to Libre Office. (It's easy to generate MS Office 2010 documents which have severe problems round-tripping to Office 2003, much less, so you'd better check to see what the people they have to talk to are using...)

Step 2 Logistics

Having determined the extent of the problem, build a disk image with your fav imaging software around the hardware and software required. Depending on the size of the image, haul it in on DVD, a thumb drive, an external USB drive, a computer of some kind with networking support (switch/router/whatever). I'd go with a computer. Set up a network if not already in place (leave the network when you go) and run the image over the network to the systems. With only eight systems to update this shouldn't take long. Leave the computer as the admin system for the network. Note that the computer need not be a Windows system, depending on what imaging software you use. The image should have the latest versions of all software, including AV, and updaters if necessary, so as to not strain the Internet link.

Step 3: Consolidation

The support computer should have the ability to back up the network and should be connected to the (yes, I know) satellite connection so that someone can remotely admin it. If you go with a Linux system instead of Win 7 then this will help with the support problem, but may not be enough, depending on exactly what apps they need and how they need to use them. The support computer should be configured as an update server; all updates come in _once_, to spare the satellite link, and then get sent out over the network. This also could make security better.

A Linux-based system is unlikely to suffice. (Sorry, Tuxers, but we're in a Windows world.) And, besides, the mission brief is to move to Win 7. Unless you can convince the users that Linux would be better for them... and support them thereafter.

2
2
Anonymous Coward

I would do it this way - again a way of advance prepping without industrial tools

http://www.pcworld.com/article/239634/how_to_speed_up_windows_7_installs_with_slipstreaming_and_usb.html

0
0

XP->Win 7 not usually an option on same hardware

>>

It does not make sense to migrate a desktop system running XP into windows 7-8. For windows 7-8 you need a hardware upgrade with more memory, more cores, better graphics card bigger hard drive etc

<<

Indeed, so what IS happening to the old hardware? Maybe Simon Sharwood can tell us?

2
1
Silver badge

If bandwidth is such a problem

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynx_(web_browser)

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Classic Shell of course.

1
0

Been there done that

I spent 3 years in Malawi as a volunteer. "internet" was a 9600 baud modem. So I collected tools, software, etc when in the UK, or from other volunteers/AID workers etc. ZIP Drives where my best friends - remember them?

Anyway, spent a lot of time fixing laptops with software issues, viruses, etc. So top tools needed were: Current AV software, Partitioning tools, OS + Driver disks, Common Application install Disks, doggy licence keys (cough!).

So go with a SysPrep'ed image by all means, but hardware (graphics, printers, gadgets) drivers may be your issue? The remote WSUS idea appeals - can you inventory before you go? Get them to run off a System Report and post them, just something. But you'll need to get the data off the machines before you nuke 'em, so a USB hard drive or two could be useful. I'd also suggest if possible virtualising the Applications (ThinApp?) - so no install required? An USB CD/DVD as well as the CDs etc of the OS, and common Apps, may be the only way to get them going.

But local hardware could be a mixed bag, and XP/Office 2003 etc may still be the right tools for the job - they won't have the drivers for that either though? CD/DVD/Floppy drives will be knackered - even USB ports may be too old? Take a working desktop you can use to plug in IDE drives to uprgade???

I'd really consider the suggestion of shipping the lot somewhere connected? Or take a Satellite Dish?

1
0

This is an interesting exercise and there is a wealth of good and varied advice here.

However, standing back a bit, I can't help but think what an absolute mess the world of computing has got itself into. What should be a straight forward path is a journey riddled with pitfalls.

The answers to this problem should be just to buy the latest MS OS, insert disc and upgrade. Of course that could not be further form the solution. It is all a royal mess and an utter outrage.

5
1

My innovative XP upgrade solution?

Ditch windows.

My ageing XP Lenovo hasn't got the guts for an upgrade and I remain singularly unimpressed with the latest Windows variants.

So I've bitten the bullet and splurged 2k on a MacBook. I wonder how many others will use the XP end of life as the impetus to ditch the Windows OS completely?

2
1
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: My innovative XP upgrade solution?

"So I've bitten the bullet and splurged 2k on a MacBook."

So taking 16K worth of MacBooks is their solution???

1
0
Anonymous Coward

USB USB USB

I would recommend taking a big stash of 8Gb or greater USB keys for installing from. Because they are easily cloned and CD/DVD disks and drives don't survive well in a desert.

Secondly some generic as they come Wifi USB dongles, and Ethernet USB dongles with driver support already built in windows 7. Smaller the better to bring in hand luggage.

Getting windows onto the machines is only half the battle, your first battle being with drivers and the chipset, and to then end up with a computer with no network communications is an exercise in frustration, so having some known USB kit that will just work out of the box will save you hours of time, Especially since I guess you will be working with donated computers of varying states of repair.

Thirdly, I would recommend a solid state based intel nuc box to act as a little server. Keep your installers on there for one thing, and secondly to fire up an instance of mediawiki. Its one thing teaching people to read and consume stuff from the internet, but to show people that they can write up and publish their own accounts, articles and stories for themselves will be quite empowering, and save you some precious satellite bandwidth...

0
0
Silver badge

Re: USB USB USB

>your first battle being with drivers and the chipset

Thanks for the reminder, the first item will be with the BIOS. Depending upon the motherboards and the age of the existing BIOS it may need an update to support Win7.

But as you say getting the various chipset and drivers installed in the correct sequence can be problematic.

0
0
Silver badge

Apparently Ninite can create offline versions of their automated installers:

http://ninite.com/help/features/offline.html

Although it's only available in the paid version, I think they might help you out in this situation.

I'd also take as much spare hardware as possible, spare harddrives, NICs, memory, PSU, PCI graphics card, and cables. Oh, and tools of course.

You never know when you might need to replace stuff, and it's sometimes easier to use an add in card, rather than tearing your hair out trying to find drivers for (eg) the built in NIC.

And at the risk of continuing the argument, I probably would take along a Linux install *as well as* Windows, just in case one of the PCs is too low spec to run Win7. Basically, give people the choice. Also, a linux boot stick is handy for all sorts of tasks, like partitioning, or getting at data on a dead windows install.

2
0

This should cover almost all bases...

http://download.wsusoffline.net/ ..as mentioned.

http://drp.su/ Get the full version. Easy front end for DriverPacks. No more driver issues. Ever.

http://www.zalman.com/global/product/Product_Read.php?Idx=750 ..why more people don't mention this. I've had one since the first version and I wouldn't be without it. .Wave bye bye to Installation and live DVDs. This emulates a virtual ODD and in most cases will allow mounted ISOs to directly boot machines from the device (Some BIOS fiddling maybe required and Dell laptops can be a bit picky but apart from that). I've installed Windows 7 to an SSD in under 8 minutes using this.

That's my two penneth for what it's worth.

1
0
Silver badge

Migwiz

Migwiz.

0
0

Verify the hardware first

Do you know the machines will run Win7? If not, get in touch with someone there, if necessary talk 'em through the Control Panel -> System window and find out what processor and memory you're facing. Also, what brand/model of computers.

Most likely, if it's feasible at all, you'll want to pack in some more memory at a minimum. A brush and a couple cans of compressed air would be good, too.

Good luck, and do report back on the exercise.

0
0
Silver badge

I have read the article and skipped the comments now I am going to go through the comments and count the comments that completely disregard the requirements given and suggest a Linux install...

At least it passes the time...

0
2

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Upgrading an old system to Windows 7 is a mistake. It can run quite a bit slower than XP on older PCs. Maybe try it on one PC first just to make sure it's usable. It must have at least 2 GB. Maybe disable Aero too?

Honestly, there's no need to upgrade from XP if they are just using it to surf the Web or learning how to use Office. The only thing on that PC worth protecting is the working XP installation itself. Make sure they're using an anti-virus program, install Firefox and an ad-blocking plug-in, and remove all IE icons. Also make sure they're not running as admin. That'll stop 99% of whatever could possibly infect them.

Once you've done a virus scan and have made sure the PC is working, create an image of that hard drive. Teach the locals how to restore their PC and when to restore it. Browser hijacking is more of a possibility with all OSs, so also tell them how to get Firefox restored if something goes wrong with it.

3
0

Before I start - If you don't know for certain that the PCs will upgrade (hardware) is there a budget for the parts? If not ... save the diesel. And I assume you are staying for a week or so, post install?

Remote Location

I live in (semi) rural Australia. With a satellite internet connection. You are bat sh1t crazy if you attempt to upgrade 8 unknown PCs from XP to Win7 (or anything else) in Willowra.

I think there's two choices:

1. Go with the suggestion above: Get in your ute/4WD and go and fetch the PCs back to Melbourne (I assume).

2. As above, but hire office space / hotel room in Alice

Internet Connection

If this is NBN Co Satellite then you can forget about concurrently connecting 8 PCs to the internet. Two machines sharing a connection is just about tolerable, any more and ... well it isn't.

Unless you can get multiple dishes, restrict the number of concurrent connections (at the router: does the router support this?, know before you go, or buy one that does).

Caching Server

Unless you can find comparable (free) Windows software, go with the Caching Server recommendation above. Cannibalise one of the machines. Set it to be very aggressive. It helps ... some. Buy More RAM.

Apps

Install as few things as possible. Restrict/Ban installation of new things.

Remote Support

Make sure you can log in to each machine before you leave (including the caching server!) and that you have the relevant permissions ;-)

Health Warning: If you don't live in rural Australia, with only a satellite connection to the Internet; try not be too down, at the end of your endeavours ;-)

Best of luck!

4
0

Assuming the other comments are taken on board,

(i.e. WSUS offline ISO, etc), take either a USB DVD drive and/or a spare IDE DVD drive & cable with you. Always useful when the one in the box is fubar/not working to specification.

If I had a pound for the times I've gone somewhere and the DVD/CD drive has been used once in about five years and has basically stopped working over that time, I'd have a few more pounds than I do now.

1
0
Silver badge

A simple addition...

Go buy a Raspberry Pi, and give it a nice 32+ GB SD card. It will have lots of room to be a "server" and you CAN make good use of it. It can hold all sorts of images of various software releases, and for the most part be quite quick. An investment of less than $100 or so and you have a VERY complete backup. If you want, you can make up USB keys and swap them out at will. Given that power is likely to be erratic, it can be a godsend.

If you want, you can make some of the machines do netboots and go from there if necessary. The nice thing about a solution like this is that it WILL be stable for a while, and have little (if any) malware problems.

The images you put on this "server" can be varied, but having all the files that would normally be fetched from the "internet" there (and those of your new operating system) ought to make things easier.

This is a pretty reasonable investment for $100 (or less).

1
1
Silver badge
Go

some stuff

You don’t mention the specs of the gear you’re going to work on. or the manufracturer (yes I know it’s misspelled)

So bring:

1. Hiren’s boot cd

2. some extra HD’s

3. some bootable usb’s (use your mac to format the drive as bootable, and then copy the whole win7 dvd to the drive. then use the usb stick on the xp machine, kick off the installer from the usb stick, and watch the fun... just did this last month on an HP d300.... Have fun activating windows over the slow connection you mention ;-{

4, that should do it for 8 computers, should be done by second lunch....

If you are imaging, ghost ect remember there is sysprep for windows 7, just remember OBE, out of box experience and you’re good to go whether you shut down or reboot.

0
0

Virtual Machine

Well, Windows 7 Professional has an XP virtual machine you can download. I've found it able to run any XP app I was unable to run in Windows 7 without having to take the risk of exposing XP to the network for general use. And as a virtual machine, you can save a copy and restore to that point at any time.

Other options are VMWare Workstation on windows, and Parallels or VMWare Fusion on OSX.

All do a competent job of running XP.

0
0

Re: Virtual Machine

No!!!! If you believe the hype, everyone should be extremely careful using XP virtual machines, especially after April! The XP virtual machines have all the same vulnerabilities and can transmit viruses to each other (and maybe to the host OS) just like a regular XP machine.

If you set up the VM so that Ethernet access is in bridged mode (by selecting the network card directly), the host OS won't see anything you are downloading. You have to install an anti-virus/firewall on the virtual machine -- but at that point why not just install XP directly and get rid of the virtual machine altogether?

You can set up the VM in NAT mode instead, and hope nobody messes with that setting after you leave. Note that this is the default mode in Windows 7. That should allow the host OS to intercept the viruses before they reach the VM. It should be noted that this method slows down Ethernet speed (which is at a premium in this article).

But that's just the network connection. What about USB drives? CD-ROMs? You'll have to configure the host's AV to scan every removable drive the moment it's inserted into the host PC. Possible, but once again it slows everything down.

Not to mention that Windows 7 VM has a minimum HW requirement those old PCs don't meet. You can use VMWare, but you'll still have the same problems listed above.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Virtual Machine

>It should be noted that this method slows down Ethernet speed (which is at a premium in this article).

No Ethernet LAN speed isn't at a premium, it is the Satellite WAN speed that is the bottleneck. Although, I suspect the overall impact will be similar to that experienced by WiFi users, who typically experience a lower throughput from their DSL compared to when they are connected (to the same DSL) by Ethernet. However, given there are 8 systems, a potentially useful side effect is the slight throttling to which an individual system can load the satellite link.

Other than that, I tend to agree with what you say and add that there is nothing in either of Simon Sharwood's articles that indicate the presence of applications that are tied to XP, and that as you indicate MS will cease to support Win7 XP Mode on 8-Apr-2014.

However, just to be safe, downloading the Win7 XP Mode installation and tucking it away on a disk, is not a bad idea.

0
0

Check the hardware first ....

.... and if all the machines are the same (Could be if donated by 1 person/company) then here is my suggestion..

Take a decent laptop with Ghost installed and a USB cd-rom drive (In case the bios hates booting from a USB stick .... some older ones do). Also take an ethernet hub/switch*. If you know what kind of machines they have get as many of the drivers as you can from the vendor site**. I know there are open source versions of drive imaging software but Ghost has saved my ass a few times.

Replace the hard drives in all of the pc's. Stick the existing ones in caddies.

Install OS, all apps and updates on the pc (Resources repeated many times above)

Sysprep the machine but shutdown.

Boot with Ghost through USB and write the image to the laptop. 1 PC down 7 to go.

Run Open DHCP server on the laptop, plug the laptop and 7 pc's into the hub/switch.

Boot as XP to make sure you can get an address from laptop.

Set Ghost on the laptop to multicast and boot the pc's with Ghost.

When all pc's have booted and joined the session hit the button and image them all at once. First boot Sysprep completes, input license keys and you are away.

* I have found that some network configs hate Ghost multicast, using a hub or a switch with a clean config off of the site network can make life easier.

** Learned from having 50 of the same make, model and spec desktops to image when they had different network and sound controllers. Orders that small meant we got the overun from the big companies orders.

0
0
Silver badge

Summary of what I've seen so far as a checklist

1. Get hardware specifications for machines preferably by running system information. Criteria is comparability with SOHO hardware for employment ready training. Census of all peripherals; printer(s), scanner(s), AVA &c.

2. Decide on feasibility of upgrade. Discuss with the Centre staff the criteria for a) travel and upgrade b) fetch and upgrade/service at regional base c) rattle the tin for better kit and drop ship it

3. Assuming feasible build and test images for installation having chosen the appropriate method (various methods suggested). My thoughts: discuss with centre staff if there is anyone interested in how this stuff works locally. Tailor reinstallation/imaging method around skill set available so as to include Centre members as much as possible.

4. Take lots of USB sticks, USB HDs for backup of existing files and possible imaging of hard drives current state (clonezilla was mentioned) so return to status quo possible in event of show stopper. USB wifi / network adaptors USB DVD/CD drives, duplicate all image files, take installation media for later versions of all applications just in case image fails. Appropriate dust proof packaging for all kit (c.f. thondwee who has been off the grid). Leads. In profusion.

5. Take various rescue/driver type DVDs in case PCs have odd/unexpected hardware not working

6. Arrange to stay for some days after update completed to provide local training. Observe users and gauge level of knowledge / interest. Discuss possibilities with Centre staff. Posters/leaflets on the new system.

7. Set up and test remote admin just in case.

8. Take some free content e.g. pdf textbooks, Gutenberg &c, and also free apps (GIMP, LibreOffice). My thoughts: USB sticks with Portable Application versions of some of the better freeware might be fun for people to try. Aim to run podcasting/photo/video sessions depending on outcome of step 6. Identify tablet apps for these activities for those who come into centre.

9. Explore potential for locally produced content in literacy development: mediawiki was suggested running on local server. I'd add blog/diary as literacy development aid along with good old fashioned low bandwidth wall newspapers. A diary/blog written by teenagers out there might make some of my students think just a tad...

10. Depending on local interest level, consider taking bootable media with GNU\Linux system for demonstration. My thoughts: Ubuntustudio might go down well with teenagers interested in music and graphics type production. Need not be installed, could just boot off sticks to access creative software. Alas, both Dynebolic and Puredyne seem to be dead. Both these distros were designed to run of a USB stick.

Good luck with this project. I'm sure El Reg staff have actually done stage 1 and have a good idea about stage 2 really.

@ MattW99: Send me that Lenovo. I bet I could do all my work and produce podcasts on it (maybe not if it is Pentium 3 coppermine, but anything after that, certainly Centrino onwards...) using Ubuntustudio.

1
0

XP -> Windows 7

If the option of removing upgrading and returning is possible do it that way.

I'm doing a lot of these this month, here are the main stumbling blocks.

Drives, if the systems are all identical, getting one done and imaging to the others is a good way to go but there is a good change they are not identical.

Download the latest drivers available in advance, this might be difficult since the manufacturer's website will likely not have up to date drivers so finding even Vista drivers will mean needing to know the chipsets and downloading the latest drivers available directly from the chip maker. Soundcard and video drivers tend to be quite large so you will not be wanting to download those on-site.

The video cards may be a problem since there are a lot that have no Windows 7 drivers so unless the fallback generic VGA driver will be fast enough take some new cheap video cards or newer old cards and drivers.

0
0
Silver badge

Support for the Locale!!!

I don't know where the software is being sourced from, but it is worth investigating what locale support is needed (don't know the relevance and applicability of websites such as the Australian Society for Indigenous Languages - http://www.ausil.org.au/node/3719 ) and hence you may need to ensure the correct versions of MS and third-party products are sourced.

0
0

Re: Support for the Locale!!!

The locale is still Australia, as locale isn't the same as the language you are writing in (think currency, date formats, etc).

The characters in Aṉangu and Yolŋu (including the Pitjantjatjara dialect) scripts aren't that rare and will be covered by most large Unicode fonts, including those in recent Windows.

In Mac and Linux you use the system keyboard configuration to alter the Compose key to produce Aṉangu and Yolŋu script. iPhone and Android need a keyboard definition. WIndows Xp was more complicated and AuSIL and others have software. Windows 7 isn't too bad and you can use the system keyboard configuration to add a Compose key. There is a common set of composing keystrokes, so please don't make up your own.

0
0

Take a HIRENS disk or USB

yes, it is sort of Linux, but it has all the snazzy Windows utilities you will need.

0
0

Tips for deep desert PCs

1) Apps - Use a full suite of PortableApps. This will cover many interests & business such as with LibreOffice. It also means you can simply post them a new USB stick with the latest versions every couple of months. Only install what has to be installed such as Microsoft Office (I doubt you'll get a ribbon generation to run on that hardware but the last of the pre-ribbon may help train for business). And YES I have said use both Microsoft Office and Libre Office - Why wouldn't you have both?

2) Give them a set of Live DVD/USBs of a modern light-weight Linux distro - Why wouldn't you let them try it / use it in an emergency? A live DVD/USB means they can revert to the installed Windows OS back and forth as often as they like.

I like to say: "Compromise - use both!"

3) I believe you can now get an offline DVD copy of Wikipedia. Just like the WikiReader.

4) Bring another old PC or buy a Raspberry Pi to act as a caching proxy. By all means use it as a firewall and file server too.

1
0

Re: Tips for deep desert PCs

Have a look at http://kiwix.org - this is free offline wikipedia / wikionary / wikivoyage application that's cross platform, and can also be hosted as a web server (can be hosted on a raspberry pi). Just be sure to get it running and download all the wiki* files first before you head up.

Existing maps of Willowra are in very poor shape, Openstreetmap is probably the best, but still could do with some improvement. See http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=14/-21.2517/132.6065

Once you print out Willowra's current Openstreetmap's map from walkingpapers http://www.walking-papers.org/print.php?id=p4nbdczc you can just write or draw in any changes or additions (names of roads, where the internet centre is, where the general store is, that sort of stuff. Once done scan it in and send it back to walkingpapers.org. Then anyone can use your walkingpaper doodles to improve openstreetmap easily.

If you're stuck with using Windows, make sure at the very least to download nvidia and ati's video drivers.

0
0

Aspitech

An alternative might be to visit Aspitech in Adelaide on your way through (http://www.aspitech.com.au/) and grab some of their refurbished PC goodness. They are shipping with Win7 and Office at the moment. The people there have strong social aims and many people in the "community sector" find them a godsend.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Windows 8

Seriously, why upgrade to a system that's scheduled for its own "end of mainline support" in less than a year's time?

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017