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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Windows 10 Technical Preview and my impressions

I installed Windows 10 Technical Preview on my modified Windows 7 machine.

I bought the Windows 7 Machine in 2010 from Costco. It came with a Pentium Pro dual-core processor, 4 Gb of DDR2 RAM, and a 1 TB SATA hard drive. I modified it by adding three recycled hard drives to it, one PATA and two SATA. I run Windows 10 Technical Preview on a 300 GB SATA drive that I installed after removing it from an old Windows XP machine. I also installed a Nvidia-based video card and a USB 3.0 board.

This computer lacks any special UEFI boot features that I know of. I know that Microsoft has stated that if a computer runs Windows 7, it should run Windows 10 Technical Preview. I had my doubts. Would Windows run from other than the C:> drive? Would I have to screw around with the BIOS to get it to run?

So I downloaded the latest .iso file from Microsoft onto my Mac Mini and burned it to a 4.7 Gb DVD-R. 

Installing the preview onto my modded Windows/Linux machine did hit a few snags. 

When I wanted to install the preview onto that 300 GB hard drive, I ran up against the problem that Windows won’t overwrite a Linux installation. Having installed several Linux distros based on Ubuntu and Debian with no problems-they just reformatted the drive with no concern over the previous format-Window’s refusal to simply overwrite took me aback.

After some trial and error, I found the answer in deleting the old Linux partitions and then reformatting the drive in Windows NTFS format. Problem solved.

As for screwing around with the BIOS, you don’t need to do it. You don’t need to reset the boot device order. Of course, I’m using the old school style DVD installation disks instead of a USB flash drive. 

So now I had a second Windows drive. How to differentiate between them? What about booting up those other two Linux partitions?

Windows has a very slick looking boot loader. It let me choose between Windows 10 Technical Preview and Windows 7. 

Now what about my Linux installations on those other two drives? I found the answer at I bow down before the Geek. He referred me to Neosmart Technologies and their EasyBCD program for modifying the Windows BCD boot loader. 


EasyBCD 4 7 2015

I just picked the easy options and set up the NeoSmart Linux option. With this option, you leave the BCD boot loader for just Windows and go to GRUB2 for Linux and compatible versions of  Windows.  Perhaps I’ll incorporate Linux directly into BCD at some point. Right now, I just need something that works.

About EasyBCD, it comes in two flavors. The fully paid flavor costs $29.95 and comes with lots of support. They also offer a donation ware option which isn’t at the cutting edge and doesn’t offer paid support. I paid $5 via Paypal and went for the donation ware option. Thanks, NeoSmart. The $5 was well worth it.

So now I have a functional Windows 10 Technical Preview on my 5 year old Pentium Pro machine. It has not crashed on me in over 12 hours of running. 

One final item. If you install the Preview, you get one piece of desktop wallpaper. It is a cute rodent. Whereas older version of OS X had the big cats, maybe Windows 10 will go for cuddly little animals?


Screenshot  2



Tom Briant

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