Advice Requested on Life Expectancy of a PC Windows System

Dave Woyciesjes woyciesjes at
Tue Jun 30 08:34:51 CDT 2015

On 06/30/2015 08:48 AM, Jerome H. Fine wrote:
> I would appreciate some advice on both the software and the
> hardware life expectancy of a PC Windows System.  While
> the hardware / software of the second and third system are
> almost 10 years old, I don't consider them, let alone the first
> system, topics for this list.  But since my goal is to support
> running legacy software, especially including the RT-11
> operating system for the PDP-11 computer, I request your
> indulgence.
> At present, I have three systems that I am running:
> (a)  A 12 year old system that I am very pleased with that runs
>       32-bit Windows 98SE.  I really only use it for e-mail under
>       Netscape 7.2 and to run the DOS variant of Erstaz-11 in
>       FULL  SCREEN mode.  It consists of a 0.75 GHz Pentium III
>       with 768 MB of memory and 3 * 131 GB ATA 100 hard drives.
>       The power supply has been replaced, but is still inadequate,
>       so a separate PC power supply is used to run the hard drives
>       which were also replaced about 5 years ago - the original
>       hard drives were only 40 GB each.  Note that while this
>       system is a bit slow as compared to the next two systems
>       (which are about 4 times faster), it really does everything
>       I need to do.  PLUS, the backups are a breeze since I use
>       Ghost 7.0 to back up the C: hard drive in about 5 minutes
>       every other day producing a single image file of about 1 GB.
> (b)  A 7 year old system that my wife uses which runs 32-bit
>        WinXP with 4 GB of memory and 2 * 500 GB SATA
>        hard drives.  The CPU is a 2.67 GHz E8400 with 2 cores
>        and 6 MB of L2 cache, so it still runs reasonably well.
>        My wife uses it for e-mail, watching youtube videos and
>        google searches.  The system has probably been used
>        about 16 hours every day and turned off every night.
>        The battery probably needs to be replaced since the
>        boot each day needs to reset the date / time when the
>        boot hangs at the very start, but otherwise the hardware
>        seems OK.  The software is very out of date and needs
>        to be replaced.  Note that if 7 years is not a really long
>        time for a WinXP system (specifically the motherboard,
>        video card and power supply) which has been used for
>        between 20,000 and 30,000 hours, then I could upgrade
>        this system to 64-bit Win7, double the memory to 8 GB
>        and, if appropriate, also replace the disk drives and the
>        power supply.  The mother board, video card (which
>        supports two monitors) and CPU would be retained.
>        System (c) has the identical motherboard as system (b)
>        and was considered a replacement.
> (c)  A 7 year old system which runs 32-bit WinXP with 4 GB
>        of memory and 3 * 1 TB SATA hard drives.  The CPU
>         is a 2.83 GHz Q9550 with 4 cores and 12 MB of L2
>        cache, so it runs reasonably well.  The system was never
>        used very much, probably a total of 200 to 500 hours
>        and sat in its box for the past 4 or 5 years until I have
>        finally been persuaded to upgrade to 64-bit Win7 and
>        double the total RAM to 8 GB, the maximum the mother
>        board supports.  I just turned on the system yesterday
>        and it runs correctly.  My assumption at the moment is
>        to upgrade to 64-bit Win7 and replace my wife's system.
>        One aspect that puzzles me is that the video card, the
>        same video card as in system (b), no longer supports
>        two monitors (which it did and was correctly tested with
>        5 years ago).
> My first question is if a 7 years old system such a (c) would
> be likely to have any serious hardware problems after sitting
> idle for 4 to 5 years.  I can't see that any current I7  CPU from
> Intel is likely to be much better, so why buy another system?
> The hardware has been used sufficiently, so infant mortality
> should finished.  But, would a new I7 system be a sufficient
> improvement to justify spending the money?  So I intend to
> replace (b) hardware and software with (c) hardware plus
> 4 GB of memory (for a total of 8 GB of memory) and switch
> to 64-bit Win7.  Is this a good plan?  Or is it likely that the
> motherboard and video card in system (b) is still sufficiently
> reliable after 7 years to upgrade system (b) to 64-bit Win7
> and use system (c) for something else?
> My second question is just how thin is the ice that I am skating
> on for system (a)?  If the answer is VERY, then I have one
> alternative to buying a new I7 system which would be used to
> run 64-bit Win7.  On the other hand, if the motherboard in
> system (b) is not too old at 7 years and 30,000 hours, then
> system (c) would still be available.  A lot of choices and things
> to consider.
> Jerome Fine

	I don't think this qualifies as answers persay, but more just data 
points really...
	I have successfully installed & run Win7 x86 & x64 on Dell Latitude 
D620, D630, D820 & D830. Not sure on the age, but they gotta be getting 
on to around 7 years. The RAM they have varies between 2GB & 4GB.
	I have also installed Win8 x64 on a Latitude D830, then proceeded to 
swap that drive into a D620. Yesterday, I just "upgraded" a D820 from 
WIn7x64 to Win10 x64 preview; 3GB RAM, we'll see how that goes...
	In other words, you should not be using WinXP anymore unless you have 
an app that just won't work with Win7. In that case, ditch the program 
or run in a VM.

	System (a), do you need that for something that won't run on (b) or 
(c)? I'd worry about nasties getting to it. Personally, I'd dump (a) and 
max out the hardware on the other 2.

--- Dave Woyciesjes
--- CompTIA A+ Certified IT Tech -
--- HDI Certified Support Center Analyst -
Registered Linux user number 464583

"Computers have lots of memory but no imagination."
"The problem with troubleshooting is that trouble shoots back."
- from some guy on the internet.

More information about the cctalk mailing list