Thursday, August 05, 2010

First blog post from my newly upgraded PC

Success!

The hardware part of the upgrade went surprisingly smoothly. A bit of footering around in the bios was required to get my ram set up correctly and hard disks recognised but nothing too scary.

Getting the software setup was not so easy. Windows 7 does not allow a direct upgrade from XP so I had to do a clean install and rebuild everything from scratch. That meant re-installing drivers followed by key programs followed by porting over my user data.

Unexpectedly porting over my personal data turned out to be the biggest headache. I thought I had this covered because I installed my old hard disk in the machine right next to the brand new windows 7 disk figuring to copy everything over at leisure. I had reckoned without NTFS security restrictions unfortunately which decided that I didn't own the old files and therefore wasn't authorised to look at them. Sure I can get around it with administrator privileges but that is incredibly tedious because I have to change to ownership of every file individually. I have thousands of personal files so that isn't going to happen.

I find it hard to believe that there is no Administrator mode over-ride that just lets you see everything without having to change permissions every time but there doesn't seem to be. A normal administrator account doesn't work even the secret hidden administrator account doesn't work and the tantalisingly named "God Mode" turns out to be not quite so powerful as you might imagine.

I did come up with a solution in the end though - I booted up Puppy Linux from a CD and it was not so fussy about permissions. I used Puppy to copy the files I wanted over to my new disk and it handily left them visible to everybody. Puppy is just a beautiful little operating system that runs entirely in Ram at lightning speed. If you have never tried it I recommend doing so just to see your PC in a completely different light. Sadly I have never found a use for these live CD operating systems other than as repair kits but this one is mighty purdy.

3 comments:

Martin Richard said...

Linux will work yup, but from windows you can go to a folder on your old disk (or the root of the disk to do it all) right click->properties->security->advanced->owner and reassign ownership of the files and everything below to a new user (yourself or an admin account of the new setup) so you have access.

I too upgraded my PC some 2-3 months ago and had to go through the same process.. What MOST annoyed me, surprinsingly enough, was Steam!

First, the I found the backup/restore process is really long (I had some stuff on the laptop and not the PC and wanted to transfer everything to the new PC instead of re-downloading, since I only have a 30G limit with my ISP.) - I'm guessing it compresses/encrypts to save space in case you want to backup to CDs or DVDs.

But that was just waiting for it to finish.

The REALLY annoying thing was savegames! It's not Steam's fault (and this made me love their Cloud even more) but saves are all over the place.. Some are below their steam installation folder (best case BUT note that saves are NOT copied in a backup/restore) some are in My Documents, and most bothersome some are in the by default hidden Application Settings folder for you account.

So make sure you test each game for your old daves before you start thinking about deleting your old disk :)

mbp said...

Thanks for the great advice Martin. I did try reassigning ownership to the whole disk and sub folders but it doesn't work for me. Even when I run this as administrator it stops at each file and asks me to individually change it. I think this may be something to do with files that have no owner currently assigned and I seem to have a lot of them. I can go in and reassign them individually but not en bloc.

Good call also about ssave games. Thankfully I haven't deleted anything yet. At the moment it looks like I may have to keep that old hard disk forever and just take stuff off it when I need it.

Jayedub said...

I love Windows 7 so far, but I agree that it is a pain with game files at times.