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  • salvaging ye olde desktop computer

    I probably will not be much a PC gamer again unless my kids take an interest, but when I've had brief occasions to game I've busted out the ageing XP machine and its selection of ageing game titles for a half an hour here and there of old school pc gaming. This arrangement has worked out great, but the end-of-support deadline for XP is practically here and I'd like to keep the desktop computer with some net access after that point without being a infinite-day exploit magnet for all sorts of malware. I'm probably going to rule out buying an entire new system, because as cheap and powerful as they have gotten, they will still be hundreds of dollars and I am cheap and when it comes to protecting outlets for my old school pc gaming my wife is probably going to insist I be even cheaper

    I'm looking at somehow using the windows 7 setup disk from my brother in laws destroyed laptop to do some sort of clean install of windows 7 on this computer. Or I'm looking at giving up on windows permanently and going with some version of linux and using wine and dosbox to run my old titles, with the assumption that old titles will tend to run with no noticeable performance hit under wine. Of course I know practically nothing about either using linux or windows 7 but I'm willing to learn to have something that is less of a malware magnet than my xp system would soon become.

    Has microsoft (or Dell) made it pretty difficult (even impossible) to clean install to other systems using these setup disks? Has anybody here had an easy time runing 5 year old or older windows software under Wine?

    Is this desktop machine likely going to be impossible to use with anything like the performance it has had if I go with linux? I'd really like to avoid sending microsoft any money to subsidize the problem.

    > Mainboard : Abit IP35-E (Intel P35+ICH9R)
    > Chipset : Intel P35/G33/G31
    > Processor : Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 @ 1800 MHz
    > Physical Memory : 4096 MB (4 x 1024 DDR2-SDRAM )
    > Video Card : ATI Technologies Inc AMD Radeon HD 6670
    > Hard Disk : ST3320620AS (320 GB)
    > Hard Disk : WD (500 GB)
    > DVD-Rom Drive : SONY DVD RW DRU-830A
    > DVD-Rom Drive : PIONEER 12X DVD-ROM
    > Monitor Type : Samsung SyncMaster - 24 inches
    > Network Card : Marvell Semiconductor (Was: Galileo Technology Ltd) Marvell Semiconductor (Was: Galileo Technology Ltd)
    > Operating System : Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition 5.01.2600 Service Pack 3
    > DirectX : Version 9.0c (May 2010)

    basically old crap. But it runs all my old favorite games great and I hate throwing away working hardware.

    Any advice?
    Last edited by Geronimo; March 30, 2014, 16:55.

  • #2
    Honestly I wouldn't worry too much about the XP. It's less of a target due to a smaller install base, after all. Seems to me that you should be okay if you're reasonably smart about things.

    Hardware wise you're fine for Win7. I don't know if the disk will work or not; that depends on whether or not it's a normal win7 disk (then it should work) or some sort of 'restore' disk which would probably not work. There is a good chance it's the latter, as if it was a Dell or similar, they probably weren't even allowed to include Win7 install media from my understanding; they're royalty OEMs and are required to provide hardware-locked restore media. The product key may be fine (I'm not sure here); you may have to find Windows 7 install DVDs or similar through other methods, though.
    <Reverend> IRC is just multiplayer notepad.
    I like your SNOOPY POSTER! - While you Wait quote.

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    • #3
      Assume nothing about Win7 compatibility for old games. Trust me on this.
      No, I did not steal that from somebody on Something Awful.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by The Mad Monk
        Assume nothing about Win7 compatibility for old games. Trust me on this.
        Do any games that were designed for windows 95 not work with windows 7 or is it just the DOS games? I imagine DOSbox for windows would take care of the DOS games but I'd hate to have to use some sort of emulator for all of those old windows 95 pre xp games.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by snoopy369
          Honestly I wouldn't worry too much about the XP. It's less of a target due to a smaller install base, after all. Seems to me that you should be okay if you're reasonably smart about things.

          Hardware wise you're fine for Win7. I don't know if the disk will work or not; that depends on whether or not it's a normal win7 disk (then it should work) or some sort of 'restore' disk which would probably not work. There is a good chance it's the latter, as if it was a Dell or similar, they probably weren't even allowed to include Win7 install media from my understanding; they're royalty OEMs and are required to provide hardware-locked restore media. The product key may be fine (I'm not sure here); you may have to find Windows 7 install DVDs or similar through other methods, though.
          Apparently the majority of ATMs use XP so it is likely to be a big juicy target for malware even if support wasn't wrapping up.

          Too bad about the restore disk being useless for installing windows 7. I'm almost ready to go down the linux/Wine path if that's the case.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by The Mad Monk
            Assume nothing about Win7 compatibility for old games. Trust me on this.
            Why? What are you having problems with?

            In my experience, Win 7 has the best compatibility for old games moreso than any other version of windows to date. I recall having more issues with compatibility back in the XP days.
            To us, it is the BEAST.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sava
              Why? What are you having problems with?

              In my experience, Win 7 has the best compatibility for old games moreso than any other version of windows to date. I recall having more issues with compatibility back in the XP days.

              Great to hear! Do you have to do much tweaking to get the oldies to run? Does SMAC run?

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              • #8
                Yeah, I've had fewer problems with oldie games on 7 than with Vista and XP.

                With Civ2 you want a patch that fixes a bug with the citynames. That's all you need.

                You'll also want DOSBox and to learn how to mount CD games from there.
                Last edited by Ben Kenobi; April 4, 2014, 14:36.
                Scouse Git (2) La Fayette Adam Smith Solomwi and Loinburger will not be forgotten.
                "Remember the night we broke the windows in this old house? This is what I wished for..."
                2015 APOLYTON FANTASY FOOTBALL CHAMPION!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Geronimo
                  Great to hear! Do you have to do much tweaking to get the oldies to run? Does SMAC run?
                  All I had to do was run it in compatibility mode... I forget which OS mode.

                  So far, I've not gotten stuck with a game that doesn't work this way.

                  DoxBOX is iffy sometimes. NHL96 doesn't correctly recognize my joysticks.
                  To us, it is the BEAST.

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                  • #10
                    Also HOMM2 can be a bit tricky to get to work with DOS box.
                    Scouse Git (2) La Fayette Adam Smith Solomwi and Loinburger will not be forgotten.
                    "Remember the night we broke the windows in this old house? This is what I wished for..."
                    2015 APOLYTON FANTASY FOOTBALL CHAMPION!

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                    • #11
                      Ok, Windows 7 seems to be a nearly adequate substitute for XP so far.

                      In product activation however, the product key on the disk from the friends dead computer would not be accepted. I ended up using the product key from my wife's laptop which, oddly, was accepted even though you would think the activation number on the actual disk label would have been a better fit. Is this likely to cause headaches down the line?

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                      • #12
                        If the activation went through successfully, you shouldn't have any problems.

                        But I wouldn't recommend clicking on "Is this copy of windows legal?" if you see it.

                        Windows can get screwy with the number of installs... but you said it's from a dead PC. I don't think it should be an issue. Just hope nobody fixes that PC and tries to use that copy of Windows also.
                        To us, it is the BEAST.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Geronimo View Post
                          I probably will not be much a PC gamer again unless my kids take an interest, but when I've had brief occasions to game I've busted out the ageing XP machine and its selection of ageing game titles for a half an hour here and there of old school pc gaming. This arrangement has worked out great, but the end-of-support deadline for XP is practically here and I'd like to keep the desktop computer with some net access after that point without being a infinite-day exploit magnet for all sorts of malware.
                          My suggestion is to install a cheap switch/router to isolate your home network from the 'Net. If you want more protection, install a firewall. I used to use ZoneAlarm without any problems, although there are all sorts of horror stories floating about on the 'Net...
                          (\__/) 07/07/1937 - Never forget
                          (='.'=) "Claims demand evidence; extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence." -- Carl Sagan
                          (")_(") "Starting the fire from within."

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                          • #14
                            UR SIGHTING
                            To us, it is the BEAST.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Urban Ranger
                              My suggestion is to install a cheap switch/router to isolate your home network from the 'Net. If you want more protection, install a firewall. I used to use ZoneAlarm without any problems, although there are all sorts of horror stories floating about on the 'Net...
                              Don't the vast majority of broadband customers already have a router for their internet access? Surely, malware problems wouldn't be so widespread if that was all that was required.

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