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post #1 of 9 Old 05-23-2012, 05:56 AM - Thread Starter
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SSD vs HD
I am getting ready to upgrade my main HTPC with an SSD; and then I start thinking.
• The HTPC only runs one application, WMC.
• It is only rebooted once a week if needed.
• The machine is a Vista-W7 big-box store upgrade kludge. I would really want a fresh W7 install. Is it possible to rebuild with a W7 ISO and transfer the licence??????
So now I am thinking; I may be setting myself up for a case of spousal abuse and aggravation. Will I see any improvement that would warrant risking my marriage? It’s working now; why fool around with it.
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-23-2012, 06:26 AM
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I've built a few HTPCs with hard drives & 1 with an SSD all using Intel DH67GD mobos/ i3-2100 CPUs & other than boot times & loading the guide the first time there really isn't much difference in performance. I use Media Browser for movies & that runs as a service, so that loads really fast also. When you combine that with all the caching that Win 7 does most things open up very fast.

SSDs are so cheap now that a 64gb boot drive does make sense, but I'm still surprised how snappy a hard drive based WMC 7 HTPC is.
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-23-2012, 09:23 AM - Thread Starter
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If this was a new build; it would be a no-brainer on the SSD question. It's looking like the OEM Vista-W7 upgrade kludge is real show stopper for a 128GB SSD. Reason number 256; always build your own PC.

My other W7 PC's, the OS will fit with plenty of room to spare.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-23-2012, 10:00 AM
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You can probably do a fresh install of Win7 retail with the OEM product key, assuming you have one written down, or can obtain it using software (there is free software to recover a key from a working Win7 install, google it, and do it before you start). I would probably try the following:

- first of all, image your existing installation to a spare USB hard-drive just for backup (use Windows Backup)
- recover the OEM key if you need to (or just make sure you have the key they likely gave you for doing the Vista-Win7 upgrade)
- then, try a re-install using Win7 retail ISO (I do all my installs from an SP1 image on USB key). you don't need the SSD to do this... just do it on the hard disk to see if it works
- use the OEM key to activate... use the automated phone system if necessary
- if it works, order your SSD, and then use something like a Linux Live CD with Gparted to copy the partition from HDD -> SSD (latest Ubuntu Live CD works well for this -- uses proper alignment -- I have mine on a USB key)

result: Clean install Win7 on SSD using OEM Win7 key from upgraded Vista->Win7 kludge
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-23-2012, 10:09 AM
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Just wanted to add a bit more information to my own post here...

If things don't work out, the reason for the backup is obvious... you can do a Win7 image restore to get back to where you were with the original hard disk.

And... there are a couple of other options on how to do the "tryout" Win7 install w/ OEM key:

- If you have a spare HDD laying around, remove the existing HDD and install the spare. Run your Win7 test install on that HDD instead of the original. In the case it doesn't work out, you have the original HDD intact ready to be re-installed in the computer.

- If you have the SSD in-hand already, remove the existing HDD and use the SSD for your fresh test install of Win7. If it doesn't work out, again you have the original HDD untouched ready to re-install in the machine.
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-23-2012, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply... I am going to give that a try...I didn't know that your could apply an OEM key to W7-retail. I have to dig out the junk that came with the PC and see what I have.
I got to do this under the cover of dark; if I screw up this HTPC the wife will kill me.
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-23-2012, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billdacat View Post

I got to do this under the cover of dark; if I screw up this HTPC the wife will kill me.

I'd be upfront and let her know that you are doing this. The main reason I say this is because the user experience will be pretty different between the factory-install-then-upgraded kluge versus a fresh install. It will certainly be an improved user experience, of course... but if your situation is the kind of thing where the *other* user will be yelling something like "Where the [bleep] is X, Y, or Z?!??"... just be careful, man. I'm just sayin'.

The WAF is something you must take into account in these kinds of endeavors

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post #8 of 9 Old 05-23-2012, 12:15 PM
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I went to an SSD on my HTPC because of the lag in loading the WMC guide with a mechanical HD.

Even an older, relatively slow, 60GB Vertex 2 made everything snappier...
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-23-2012, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billdacat View Post

Thanks for the reply... I am going to give that a try...I didn't know that your could apply an OEM key to W7-retail. I have to dig out the junk that came with the PC and see what I have.
I got to do this under the cover of dark; if I screw up this HTPC the wife will kill me.

I was doubtful too about using OEM key for a retail install. I was trying to reset a laptop to factory settings before selling it. The factory recovery partition was long gone, and the discs that HP sent me didn't work (they would lock up at 12% complete, and either it was taking an incredibly long time, with no disk access, or I was simply too impatient to wait).

So... I decided to try a fresh install with Win7 SP1 retail (Home Premium) -- and used the OEM key on the bottom. The key was a little hard to read as it had rubbed a bit perhaps while the laptop was being used on... get this... my lap... So... I wasn't 100% sure I had gotten the key absolutely correct because some of the letters were difficult to make out. In the end, the activation failed, but it offered me the possibility to do this over-the-phone automated process. I did it... and it worked. The product ID even showed "OEM" indication (on the System Info screen) after the activation.

The automated phone activation thing was strange. There were a bunch of numbers displayed on the screen (I don't know... two dozen digits at least) and I had to enter those with the touch-tone into the phone. After that the phone system came back with an equally long string of digits that I had to enter into the computer. And here I thought the internet was an ideal way to exchange numbers between computers but for some reason MS decided to get the user/phone/computer involved with this one. At any rate, it worked. I was surprised... and happy.
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