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What to do with a 32bit Windows XP PC
engine

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Msg#: 4634902 posted 9:02 pm on Jan 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

After reviewing the upgrade potential of the PC to Windows 8, I decided there were too many conflicts to resolve and the machine, although not old, would be best redeployed and remain on Win XP. Alternatively,
I also thought it may be easier to upgrade to Windows 7 as there are fewer conflicts.

It has a reasonably fast processor and 8gm ram, twin hds with about 2gb.

I'd like to get more life out of the hardware.

What do you think?

 

Kendo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4634902 posted 8:26 am on Jan 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Windows 7 has a lot more to offer than Windows 8.

tangor

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Msg#: 4634902 posted 12:19 pm on Jan 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

For many non-internet facing tasks, the machine will have some value, but the potential secuirity vulnerabilities pretty much limit how it might be used facing the internet.

That said, I'm using a similar machine ax a mail server and it works a treat.

Hoople

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4634902 posted 4:19 am on Jan 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Use it to run VM's of various Operating Systems and browser combinations. Various Internet Explorer versions (6/7/8) can be useful for customers insisting it look good on machines of this vintage. Older Firefox and Safari will run native on XP. Test users can 'Remote Desktop' (Terminal Server) into the box from remote locations - they don't have to sit in front of it.

XP also has the ability to IIS aka Internet Information Server so it can be used as a modest sided development environment for Windows hosted websites. Handy to throw up a temporary sub-domain that can easily handle ~10k hits per hour.

The IIS install will also include a small SMTP email server (MTA - no mailboxes) that can be handy for testing scripts that don't queue or retry sending.

bill

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Msg#: 4634902 posted 5:59 am on Jan 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

On April 8, 2014, Windows XP support will end. That means no more patches and no more security updates. If the machine won't be connected to the Internet you should be OK, but I wouldn't feel too safe otherwise running XP after support runs out.

Windows 7 or 8 would likely work fine with the hardware described.

graeme_p

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Msg#: 4634902 posted 2:28 pm on Jan 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

What is the spec? 2Gb hard drives suggest its pretty old.

If its really low end you could use it as a home server, a firewall appliance, a mail server, etc. Not much point running Windows for those tasks though and a desktops power consumption may make running it expensive even if headless.

It may also make a web browsing kiosk for visitors - but XP will be a bit insecure for that after April.

Using it as a test machine may be useful, but I am not sure what it offers over running VM in a newer machine.

engine

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Msg#: 4634902 posted 5:55 pm on Jan 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

>What is the spec? 2Gb hard drives suggest its pretty old.

Whoops, should say 2tb, sorry.

Thanks for the ideas. I hate scrapping the hardware when it can be redeployed.

I'm going to migrate it away from XP to Windows 7 to give this machine a longer lifespan. There are just too many conflicts showing up with Win 8 when I run a scan.

I'll probably use it for some research projects where I can leave it with background tasks running, such as link research and spidering.

One other issue is video conversion, and I think it can also be put it to good use processing video files into different formats.

LifeinAsia

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Msg#: 4634902 posted 6:13 pm on Jan 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

8gm ram
Would that be those new giga-meg modules I've (not) heard of? ;)

Any reason not to convert it to Linux? Better yet, to expand on Hoople's suggestion- just load VMWare (or another virtualization) and use it as a test environment with multiple VMs.

Hoople

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4634902 posted 10:40 pm on Jan 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

Piling on: Windows7 could be one of those VM's. Using Linux as the host OS for the VM's gives you a UNIX box for other testing uses.

You'd end up making a universal PC....with a Swiss Army Knife utility likeness :-)

engine

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Msg#: 4634902 posted 5:17 pm on Jan 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

Linux - well, I don't really have the time to mess with the system, and I really just want to take the safe route. It's a cop out, I know. I already have all the software that'll work with Win7.

tangor

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Msg#: 4634902 posted 10:10 pm on Jan 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

If the hardware will support Win7 and you can get an OEM install, go for it. I have one of those, too... just not as "quick" as other systems, though gets the job done... in time (as in minutes opposed to seconds).

These days, these economies, it is tough to let good hardward (bit long in tooth) go when software/threat gets in the way.

J_RaD

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4634902 posted 2:39 am on Mar 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

lock it down..... use a browser that is updated normally....and

keep using it.

running your session users in "i can't do crap" mode isn't going to change anything once its no longer updated.

anyone with a lick of security sense can keep them running no issue at all..... even easier if they are single use machines.

my world doesn't melt because patches are no longer issued.

tangor

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Msg#: 4634902 posted 3:05 am on Mar 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

anyone with a lick of security sense can keep them running no issue at all..... even easier if they are single use machines.

Well said, grasshopper. I still run dos/win3.1 486 for legacy apps which have not been updated by the county for a "specific purpose" and still pay me moderately big bucks for their results from said same apps.

But I send those results via Win7 machines. So what can I say.

Yet, there's a bit of nostalgia with that 486... back in the day, back when there was no google and the web was bright and shiny and the sky was truly blue and...

Whap! (sound of head slap)

Today the glaciers melted and froze and billions upon billions of little fish did the "hello, my name is... and she said I don't care!"

If life keeps going on, so can computers. XP machines these days are good vid/media servers, I use one as a mail server (hardened), and am Texas raised to make use of every bone and sinew. So, yes, there is life in that hardware. Make it work as you need it to work.

4serendipity

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4634902 posted 9:06 pm on Mar 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Unless there's some absolute need to be running windows, I would just install linux and be done with it.

Sure, you could lock down an old windows xp install to be reasonably safe, but that just seems like more effort than it's worth.

Upgrade to Windows 7 or Linux and sleep easier with a supported OS.

J_RaD

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4634902 posted 9:17 pm on Mar 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

Actually it takes about 10 mins of effort... zzzzZZZZZzzzZZ

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4634902 posted 1:39 am on Mar 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

Coming back for an update. I had more than one WinXP machine (office full of them) and one I put to work is as noted above. The other three, all working fine, loaded with apps, etc., but getting long in tooth and new app requirements were beating them up... I donated them to a charter school in my area, for a tax break. They got working machines more than capable of what they needed and I got dang near my original cost back as a tax deduction (not the apps, the hardware!). Might look into that as a solution for what to do with an elder, working machine.

LifeinAsia

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Msg#: 4634902 posted 4:23 pm on Mar 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

got dang near my original cost back as a tax deduction

What, you haven't been taking the depreciation deductions each year?

mack

WebmasterWorld Administrator mack us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4634902 posted 5:13 pm on Mar 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

Install kubuntu and you have the security of ubuntu and the simplicity of windows. A system with 8gb ram will run sweet with most flavours of Linux.

The biggest question should be, what do you want to use it for?

I would use it as a home server. Install samba and it will play nicely with any other windows PC's on your home network.

Mack.

bill

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4634902 posted 5:43 am on Mar 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

One simple switch everyone should make is to ensure that they are not using XP from an Administrator account. This will stop the majority of exploits out there.

If your main account has Admin privileges, just make another account, give that Admin status and demote your main account to a User account (or use the built in Administrator account).

engine

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Msg#: 4634902 posted 12:36 pm on Mar 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

Great tips, thank you, especially the admin account.
I have yet to redeploy the machine as its working just fine as is. I did a quick calculation and there's around $1000 worth of windows progs on there. Again, they work fine, mostly.

I may keep it running as is until the key programs start tripping. That may be the real time I'll redeploy, but you've given some excellent suggestions on keeping good pc hardware going, and not sending it to landfill/recycling.

J_RaD

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4634902 posted 3:15 am on Mar 20, 2014 (gmt 0)


One simple switch everyone should make is to ensure that they are not using XP from an Administrator account.


this goes for every single machine you touch.

you install windows...what is the 1st thing you do....disable guest, create a user level account and log out of admin right away.

now go about your business installing whatever...with a prompt for the admin pass before of course.

this is safe computing 101.


Install kubuntu and you have the security of ubuntu and the simplicity of windows. A system with 8gb ram will run sweet with most flavours of Linux


if i was so worried about security that i had to nuke my windows machine.... i wouldn't be looking to linux, i'd be installing BSD.

leave a default linux install laying around...see what happens.

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4634902 posted 4:03 am on Mar 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

What, you haven't been taking the depreciation deductions each year?

I have, until Zero (federal-USA) but the COUNTY kept taxing me on machinery and inventory... so getting rid of it was better than paying more taxes on tax depleted units. YMMV depending on your location/state/country.

I dropped two "boat anchors" tax wise if I kept them on the business inventory AND got a tax break for THIS year by donating them to an allowed state/county thingie. No harm, no foul, and they are still 12 years behind in technology so a pair of newly updated WinXP 32 machines was right in their ball park. For their free.

I imagine there are other scenarios world wide that fall into a similar category.

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