New Computer and Moving Stuff

geoduck no quahog

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Apologies in advance if this is addressed elsewhere, but I couldn't find it.

My 5-year old PC (Windows 7 Pro) has become unstable and it appears to be associated with the motherboard. It will run for several minutes and then freeze, requiring a hard re-boot and everything associated with that. The system includes a 156 GB SSD and a 1 TB HDD along with 8 MB Memory. It's a 90% work computer and 0% gaming.

After weeks of fussing with it and wasting money on new memory, a new video card (and almost a new CPU cooler), I decided to cut my losses and purchase a new PC: 256 GB SSD + 16 MB memory...on-board graphics and sound. Windows 10 Professional (even though I still have the original Windows 7 OS disks)
  • I've made the decision to manually re-install every program I use in order to ensure good work practice. This includes a new purchase of Office 365. I know this will take time, but I assume it's a healthy way of doing things. Right?
That leaves my data files, located on the 1TB HDD inside my sick PC. As I see it, I have a couple of options:
  1. Remove the old HDD and install it in the new computer as a D: drive. Then clean it up as much as possible. I assume the last step is ensuring all programs point to the drive as the source of data.

  2. Use purpose-made software to move files (I assume settings are all on the original SSD?). I this is too risky because the old PC will probably freeze up during the process.

  3. Buy a new 1 TB HDD and install it in the new computer (say, a WD10EZEX Blue 7200 RPM 3.5" at around $45). Remove the old HDD and do one of the following:

    - Put it into a external HDD enclosure, plug it into the new computer, and start copying all files over to the new HDD. Use that as a backup drive (I have no idea why).

    - Buy a cable adapter, plug it into the new PC and start copying
The internet keeps telling me to buy "PC Mover" and let it do the work between the old one and the new one to include settings, passwords, etc. This seems ridiculous since I can't download the program to my old computer without taking the chance of it freezing. (Plus, I assume programs/apps and settings are on the old SSD anyway).

The final glitch is none of the new HDD's I've looked at (Seagate and WD) come with cables or mounting screws, so I suppose I'll need to go out and purchase both a 7-pin data and 15-pin power cable and hope the screws in my old HDD mount work in the new one. (Aside - should I assume I'll be able to scavenge the old connectors out of the old computer and they'll work?)

Sorry for the length of this. It would be simple if the old PC worked reliably. It would be simple if the answer was simply:

Set up programs on the new SSD
Install the old HDD into the new computer
Win.

That somehow seems too good to be true, and perhaps a shortcut that will transfer an old mess to a new system. Also, I assume there's plenty of on-line instruction on how to set up a new D: Drive on a Windows 10 PC.

Thanks in advance. I know I'll get good advise here. BTW - expecting delivery tomorrow, so I hope to have all my ducks in a row for screwing things up over the weekend)
 

uncannymanny

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Why not just add the old drive to the new machine as D: drive? Your cables from the old machine should be perfectly fine to use. My PC uses the main drive just for the OS and the other for files (really handy for when Windows inevitably shits down its leg).
 

Hank Scorpio

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In similar situations, I've just gone with your third option. Got an external dock that holds the old HDD, connects to the USB port, and just treat it like an unwieldy thumb drive.

If you're just dealing with documents, it should be an easy process.
 

Nick Kaufman

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First of all, one of the things I would look into the first computer is the power supply; maybe it's getting old in the tooth and it can't power the computer.

Second, are you buying a pre-built or are you building yourself? Either way, it shouldn't be hard to install the old D drive on the new computer as a third drive and then just copy whatever you want to the new drive, tidy up everything; after you re done you can format the old drive and keep using it as an extra drive.

The thing to remember is this: Every modern drive requires a Sata cable to transfer data and a power cable to power it. The SATA cable is plugged on the motherboard, the power cable to the Power Supply. If it's a prebuilt, ask you the PC manufacturer if they have a mounting mechanism to mount the old drive. If they don't, you can simply open the case, use the SATA and power cable from the old computer to connect the old drive -which be hanging in a relatively awkward positio , do your business and then disconnect the old drive and close the case back on.

If you bought a new case on your own, there's no way it shouldn't have a mount for more than one mechanical drive.
 

geoduck no quahog

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Thanks so much, all.
  • How to QC the power supply? Recommend a web page?

  • Pre-Built unit this time. HP Deskpro 600 G3.
  • Only one bay (will be empty) for a Hard Drive below the pre-installed SSD with Windows 10.
  • Is the concept therefore to install the new HDD (using old HDD connectors if necessary) into the spare bay and then patch the old HDD into the G3 with a USB 3.0 cable? Then copy files from the "external" drive (probable E or F onto the new (blank) D: drive already installed in the G3?
  • That seems to be a decent way to avoiding mounting an old HDD into a new computer (unless uncannymanny is correct in his concept of just mounting the old HDD into the new G3 and calling it a day)
  • PS: Do I need to format or partition the new HDD before use?
There's also external "cloning" drives - which seem like a waste of money.
 

Couperin47

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The SFF (Small Form Factor) HP is quite similar to a Thinkcentre I recently bought. Your options are limited by the following facts:

The motherboard has very limited hard drive options:

1. You have an M2 2280 SSD slot which should be your SSD boot drive.
2. You have 2 standard SATA3 ports, one of which is occupied by the slim (laptop style) optical drive, this leaves exactly 1 other port for some form of hard drive.
3. You have 2 PCIe slots, 1 is x16 and probably occupied by a video card unless you have opted for a very low end config using the video on board the CPU, and one x4 which is empty. In theory there are both direct high end SSD drives that can use either of these slots, and are very fast, but also very expensive. Alternately there do exist a few PCIe cards that can provide expansion SATA ports via these slots, but the case offers few options to mount these and the power supply of this SSF is limited to 180w.

See everything about the layout and options of this setup here: http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c05387853.

Adding in the existing hard drive is trivial, you can quite probably use the existing Sata cable (the narrow one) from your old computer and there is probably a spare power connection (the wide connector) inside but getting it to where you can mount the drive is often difficult, spend a few bucks at Amazon/Newegg for a power splitter which will also extend the reach. Now if your old HD is IDE, then it's time to copy files off that onto some new drive for the new machine. Finally, if you don't really use that slim optical, it's Sata port can be repurposed for a second data drive and pretty much any Sata3 SSD can easily be fit inside just using 2" of 1" wide selfstick velcro mounting pretty much anywhere...

I had an older Win 7 machine that was acting much like yours is and it was not hardware, but subtle corruption of an ancient install. I started over with a clean install of 8.1 (I know, I know...with Classic Start, it looks and acts like Win 7 and has better driver compatibility). I installed that, ran it bare bones for a week, proving to myself the issues were not hardware, and now it's a rock stable secondary machine again...
 
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gtmtnbiker

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Thanks so much, all.
  • How to QC the power supply? Recommend a web page?
The easiest way is to buy a new high quality power supply and swap it out. Or if you have a known good one from another system.

I had a server that would crash after a couple of days of running. A new power supply solved my issue. Bought a Seasonic Gold power supply for around $90.
 

charlieoscar

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The video card is generally the biggest power consumer, followed by the CPU. There is an on-line power supply calculator at https://outervision.com/power-supply-calculator that does both Basic and Advanced calculations to provide a list of suitable power supplies.

The last time I bought a desktop was at Best Buy and I said this is basically what I want but it needs a few alterations--more RAM, video card with a lot more memory (which led to them telling me that I also needed a larger power supply), SSD for my C:\ drive and the addition of two drives from my old machine. No problem.
 

geoduck no quahog

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Thanks again. BTW - I ran it in safe mode for several hours last night with no issues. That mean it's a driver? I checked all of them in Device Manager and they're all operating and up to date.

Anyway, the new one's coming in today. I was considering doing a traditional "move" using PCMover (recommended by MS for Win 10) but was concerned about crashing in the middle of it, so I guess I'll stick with (a) installing the new D drive (b) removing the old D Drive from the Win 7 computer and patching it in through USB 3, the (c ) just copying over the data files I think I'll still need. That'll be my last step after updates and installing programs. I may even keep the old HDD as an external drive until I'm certain what files are still relevant before copying over and cluttering the new machine.

Last thing (for now). After I'm convinced all is well - I'll reinstall the old HDD into the Win 7 PC and try to get it working again. So...before I buy a new PSU, I was thinking of doing one of the following (I'd already replaced RAM and increased to 8 GB):

1. Removing the Graphics Card and the Audio Card. (I assume there's on-board graphics...)
2. Re-installing Windows 7

I'm concerned the CPU may have been cooked or the MB damaged, in which case it's on to recycle. Before the crashing became obnoxious, I was averaging like 67 C at the CPU. Now the system says my CPU fan isn't working...but it is (I have a Cooler Master something or other heat sink).The innards are all clean and all fans operational.

Anyway...hopeful that my new system works well (next size up SSD and additional 500 GB storage to 1 TB). I may install an AMD Radeon R7 430 (low profile) board if the on-board graphics aren't good enough. I'll keep the cats away from vents.
 

geoduck no quahog

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So, I want to update you all in order to prove what a fucking idiot I am.

Box came today. Already bought a 1TB HDD to augment the 256 GB SSD with Windows 10 Pro installed that came with it.

Opened the case and removed the SSD caddy. Immediately figured out there was no bay for installing the hard drive. Removed the optical drive to see if that was any use, but no.

After an hour of putzing, I finally saw that I could double stick tape the SSD to the underside of the caddy and put the hard drive where the (now redundant) 2.5" bracket used to be. Problem solved.

That's when I realized there was no spot on the motherboard for a 3rd SATA connection. Well shit. I figured I'd use the optical drive cables and make that redundant.

Good idea until I realized that the power plug for the DVD player was 5 pin, but the receiver on the hard drive was 15 pin (the SATA connection was fine). Another hour researching and I finally gave up and ordered a USB 3 external case for the HDD and reconnected the optical drive.

So now I'm reassembling everything to the original configuration, pissed that I tried to save a hundred or so by not having the factory install all drives. That's when, while plugging the SATA cable back into the SSD, I broke the drive's receiver (one of the female pins broke off because I pressed too hard).

So now I have no integrated hard drive for data, no working boot drive and no access to Windows. Basically a dead machine.

Worst case scenario is: I'll buy a new (bigger) SSD and purchase another Windows 10, on a flash drive I guess,
.
Basically doubling the price I originally paid.

I wish I could start all over and just buy a comprehensively built PC...but no, I had to prove to myself once again - one of life's great lessons: there's a reason you pay experts to do their expertise. I guess I've made that same mistake about 347 times in this lifetime.
 

Nick Kaufman

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FWIW, when you buy a prebuilt system from one of the major manufacturers a part of the price you pay is the lack of flexibility. For example, we were discussing replacing the PSU previously, but if it's a prebuilt PC by Dell or HP, chances are the PSU produced low wattage and was a non-standard size which means that it would be tough to impossible to upgrade it. You came across another problem today: those fuckers cheaped out on the motherboard and they offer no extra sata connections and no extra drive caddies to mount extra drives.

Next time you should consider building your own. It's not an easy road and it definitely comes with its fair share of frustrations, but ultimately, you will have the power to upgrade your computer in a million ways and thus ultimately prolonging its life and lowering costs.
 

Couperin47

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Welcome to the world of SFF computers, which all the major players: HP, Lenovo, Dell have been pushing. They all share certain characteristics: ridiculously limited inputs, outputs, slots etc on motherboards that don't use 'standard' power or other connects, tiny non-standard power supplies (usually 180w or less) that rarely meet even Bronze specs, no real room inside for additional drives and if they include an optical at all, it's a laptop type that is flimsy, slow and just lousy (when a standard half height fast fully featured DVD optical can be had, delivered, for under $20) and, while most do include at least a single PCIe x 16 slot for a decent quality video card, none of them have a sufficient PS or connector to actually allow you to actually install or run any such card.

There is NO REASON for any sensible person to acquire ANY SFF computer, unless perhaps you reside in a phonebooth. You do a minitowter that can accept a standard motherboard and power supply.

I know I said I acquired one, it's because it a was a 'close to last chance' opportunity to acquire an i7-6700 cpu at a bargain price. Why that ? Last i7 that can run Win 8.1 without being hacked and has a full suite of drivers available....
 

Harry Hooper

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So now I'm reassembling everything to the original configuration, pissed that I tried to save a hundred or so by not having the factory install all drives. That's when, while plugging the SATA cable back into the SSD, I broke the drive's receiver (one of the female pins broke off because I pressed too hard).

So now I have no integrated hard drive for data, no working boot drive and no access to Windows. Basically a dead machine.

Worst case scenario is: I'll buy a new (bigger) SSD and purchase another Windows 10, on a flash drive I guess,
.
Basically doubling the price I originally paid.

I wish I could start all over and just buy a comprehensively built PC...but no, I had to prove to myself once again - one of life's great lessons: there's a reason you pay experts to do their expertise. I guess I've made that same mistake about 347 times in this lifetime.
Some possible options here:

1) Throw yourself on the mercy of your manufacturer (HP? lenovo? Dell?) and explain how you broke the SSD. You'll be kissing any warranty goodbye, but they might be willing to send you a replacement SSD (with the correct image of your original Win 10 install) in exchange for you returning to them the broken SSD. The question will be whether they are willing to do this at a reasonable price (no second Windows license purchased), so just the cost of the drive itself plus their hassle factor cost.

2) Buy another SSD yourself and download the Windows 10 software from Microsoft and then possibly activate it via an old Windows 7/8 keycode or by crying on the phone to Microsoft and giving them your OEM Win 10 info. Not sure if the methods in these links still work: LINK1 LINK2
 

LoweTek

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If this is a new machine, the Win 10 OEM license should be associated with an internal hardware code at MSFT. You should be able to acquire a new SSD, install it, download the latest image of whichever Win10 version you bought with the machine (from Microsoft.com) to an ISO or USB and (re)install the Win10 without much trouble, other than the time it will take.

I just did this a couple of weeks ago on the PC on which I am typing this post: Dell Latitude E5250.

Also, I disagree on the SFF comments. If you know what you want and what you need, a SFF desktop can be a perfectly good choice. If you want lots of expandability, etc. get a mini-tower or full size tower.

My primary machine is a relatively new Optiplex 5050 SFF. Bought it with a 500GB spinning HDD. Immediately took an image of that HDD, replaced it with two 500GB SSDs, pulled the image back in and bingo, blazing fast I5 gen 8 machine with just 8GB and 1TB of near line SSD storage.

Hang in there and don't give up yet.
 

cgori

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I also disagree, I've had SFF desktops for ~12-15 years now and generally been satisfied. I think I'm on my 4th box in that time frame, all from Shuttle, which does not skimp on ports, but also generally is not the cheapest option, to be fair. The one I have now has a Silver PSU, the prior was a Bronze. Yes it's a proprietary form factor PSU but it can drive a reasonable GPU. You can't get the absolute biggest/baddest GPUs to fit, but I don't need that for what I do (nor do most people, as it turns out).
 

LoweTek

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Different folks, different requirements. Without the need for significant expansion or portability, SFF can be a perfectly good choice and a money saving one too. I have no idea where 'no savings whatsoever,' comes from. Mine is great, meets my needs and was quite a bit less than an equivalent tower whose feature differences I neither needed nor wanted.
 

geoduck no quahog

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The saga continues.

I never updated that I bought a new 1 TB SSD and a new copy of Windows 10 (before I got all the good advice here) and chalked the stupidity up to a learning experience...at least everything worked...

Until the f'ng computer started powering down randomly, rendering it useless. I could only re-power if I unplugged and re-plugged the thing.

After hours of research, troubleshooting and frustration - pretty much determined it was a faulty PSU. So now I had:
  • A broken (original) SSD with factory-installed Win10
  • A useless 1 TB Hard Drive
  • A new 1 TB SSD
  • A new purchase of Win10
  • 2 broken PC's
I called HP and after 2 days of trying to access a human, they told me to go to hell and contact Tiger Direct.

Tiger Direct were OK. They asked me to return the thing and they'd refund my purchase price (including the original Win 10 license). All I needed to do was get a case number from HP (another 2 days).

That's when I chose to start taking advice from everyone here. I bought an InWin CE685 Micro-ATX case & 300W PSU, a Ryzen 3 2200G 3.5 GHz Quad-Core Processor, a new Asus Micro-ATX Motherboard and 8GB of G.Skill Ripjaws V RAM...all-in for $330. To that I'll add the already-purchased SSD and HDD and call it a day.

IF I get a full refund - I'll actually be better off than with the piece of shit HP G3 that I originally ordered to save myself money. I'm curious what will happen when/if they open up the original purchase and find the broken SSD. (Maybe I shouldn't even take the chance and strip whatever useful stuff I can get out of it - MB, RAM, CPU...and try to sell them).

Question: I assume I can just take the new SSD (with my OS and programs) and install it into the new Motherboard...OR...find out if need to reformat the thing and re-install copy my Win10 hardware and start all over (I obviously have the flash drive and license key that came with the program).

BTW - I know both a 1TB SSD and a 1TB HDD is ridiculous. I figure I'll just use the spinner as an internal data backup drive since I already own it (and it was less than $45)...keep all my current programs and data on the SSD.

Wait until I tell you how I mess up the new-build after I get all the parts.
 
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Couperin47

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The saga continues.



Question: I assume I can just take the new SSD (with my OS and programs) and install it into the new Motherboard...OR...find out if need to reformat the thing and re-install copy my Win10 hardware and start all over (I obviously have the flash drive and license key that came with the program).

BTW - I know both a 1TB SSD and a 1TB HDD is ridiculous. I figure I'll just use the spinner as an internal data backup drive since I already own it (and it was less than $45)...keep all my current programs and data on the SSD.

Wait until I tell you how I mess up the new-build after I get all the parts.
The OS install on the SSD is configured for the mb, drivers, etc of the machine it was installed in. Had you made a backup of this using Acronis or Macrium Reflect or one of several other backups, they allow for reinstall to 'bare metal', that is a new different mb and hardware. You're going to have to do a new install of Win 10 including the drivers etc. for your new hardware.

One tip: avoid the drivers that came on any discs with your new mb or video card, they are almost always out-of-date...go to the websites of the companies and grab the latest drivers for your hardware.
 
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geoduck no quahog

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Final update. Everything worked out and I was an idiot for not building my own PC (and saving real money) in the first place. Putting the new one together was pretty straightforward / logical. The SFF case I bought worked out perfectly. Toughest part was plugging in the small case-based LED's and such...and that wasn't tough.

I've given everything 10 days to make certain I wasn't overly optimistic. My thanks to everyone here who assisted.

Re-installing Windows and other programs was as easy as it could possibly be, as was moving all data files from the old to the new. WIndows Update took care of 95% of the drivers, and going through Device Manager revealed only two (inconsequential) updates missed, which were easily downloaded.

Windows never asked about re-installing a previous copy of Win10. It just did it.

For other newbies looking at this thread - don't be the idiot I was and don't settle on buying a desktop from the big boys.

This was not a gaming system. I'm relying on on-board Video & Audio (which I can always upgrade)

Final Tally:

InWin CE 685 SFF Case: $88 (350W PSU and 2 built-in fans)
Asus B450 Ryzen 2 Motherboard: $99
Ryzen 3 2200G CPU: $100 (complete with heat sink/fan)
8 GB G.SKILL Ripjaws V DRAM: $58
DVD Burner: $20
1 TB Crucial SSD: $135 (Bigger than needed)
1 TB WD Blue HDD:$50 (unnecessary splurge)
Keyboard and Mouse: Re-Used

Hardware $550 (could have been less)

Windows 10: $140
Office 365: $100

$800 BUT, if I'd done it correctly, I could have gone with a smaller SSD (or no HDD) and cheaper CPU, Motherboard and RAM

Again, thanks for your advice. Looking forward to getting a $450 credit back from HP for the piece of shit I originally bought.