Migrate Windows 7 to SSD or install fresh?

Here’s a good question. Should you migrate Windows 7 to SSD or install fresh? And what about Windows 10? This is likely to be controversial and everyone has an opinion. I’ll weigh the pros and cons of each, as a guy who knows  a little about optimizing Windows, and who has been using SSDs since 2009.

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Why you need to be planning for Windows 10

A longtime friend asked me at church on Sunday about Windows 10. My answer was fairly succinct: Windows 7 has five years left in it, so we’ll probably all end up running it at some point.

Microsoft made a number of announcements last week, so here’s what you need to know about it.

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What is Winshock?

So the other day I got blindsided with a question at work: What are we doing about Winshock. Winshock, I asked? I had to go look it up, and I found that’s what they dubbed what I’ve been calling MS14-066, the vulnerability in Schannel, which is Microsoft’s implementation of SSL/TLS for Windows.

Based on that, I’d argue it has more in common with Heartbleed than Shellshock, but I guess “Winshock” is catchier than “Winbleed.”

Then the lead of another team asked me to brief his team on Winshock. I actually managed to anticipate all but three of the questions they asked, too, which was better than I expected. Some of what I shared with them is probably worth sharing further.

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Microsoft is offering some help in migrating off XP

Since there is no direct upgrade path from Windows XP to Windows 8.1 or even Windows 8, Microsoft has reacted to criticism by licensing a cut-down version of PC Mover and offering it to latter-day XP upgraders for free. It will only migrate three applications for you, but for most people, that’s probably enough.

The good news is that this version of PC Mover works with Windows 7 as well, so if you want to take the strategy of migrating people to $99 off-lease PCs running Windows 7, it will still help.

The linked article above criticized Microsoft for not developing its own migration tool, but that seems a bit harsh. I’ve used PC Mover before, and found it to be a very capable tool. I’d be surprised if Microsoft actually could do much better. And Microsoft has a history of licensing third-party tools anyway: Every disk defragmenter Microsoft has ever shipped was a cut-down version of something written by other companies.

Of course it’s best to rebuild machines from scratch–it will perform much faster that way–but when there’s a must-have program on an old PC and the installation media is long gone, PC Mover is about the only way to recover it and move it on. Most people probably don’t have much more than three programs in that category.

Unix-to-Windows copies with PSCP

I’ve been moving files between Linux servers, and to and from Windows boxes, as part of my server migration. I started to write about how I’ve been doing it, but it seemed oddly familiar.

Yep, I’ve written about SCP and its Windows port, PSCP, before. Do this long enough and you find yourself repeating yourself.

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Looking back at a year with WordPress

It was approximately one year ago that I migrated my web site to WordPress. In a way it felt like going home again, as I’d used the predecessor to WordPress, a blogging system called b2, for a couple of years around the turn of the century. I liked b2, but it lacked moderation capability and my blog was becoming a spam magnet. Had I been able to hang in there a few more months, WordPress would have come to my rescue, but I didn’t, so my migration took about a decade longer than it could have.

Better late than never. And it’s been a good year.

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More on the new Intel 320 SSD

A few weeks ago, my security go-to guy, Rich P., bought a new Intel 320 SSD for his netbook.  With my encouragement, of course. It finally arrived this weekend, and he installed it. Rich reports not only faster speed, but also a 30-minute improvement in battery life over the WD Scorpio Black it replaced.

He told me the secure erase function, to enable AES, had a snag. But he solved it. I’m documenting it here in case you ran into the same thing he did.
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Using Robocopy to root out PST files

So the word came out that the office is migrating to Windows 7 at some yet-to-be-determined time, but soon. It’s in testing now. (Too bad they didn’t recruit me as part of the testing team, because breaking Windows 7 is one of my superpowers.)

We’ve been told to back up our data. Lots of people are paranoid that they’ll lose their Outlook PST files, and with it, their ability to do top-drawer work. Frequently we have to search our archives to find forgotten details about old projects. It helps to make the new projects go more smoothly.

I came up with a surprisingly easy solution. It doesn’t even require admin rights–which is good. I won’t elaborate.
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