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 Post subject: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ideas?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:50 am 
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The following has nothing to do with silent computing ... just hoping to get some ideas from the community.

At work, we have saved many thousands of dollars buying off-lease or refurbished Dell Optiplex desktops from Dell Financial Services. All have included Windows installation media. We are a Windows shop, driven primary by our ERP and accounting software packages. All of our current client machines are C2D desktops running Windows XP Pro. They all still work and are adequate for our needs.

While I anticipated Windows XP's EOL, I did not expect Microsoft's "Security Essentials will not get updates on XP" nonsense.

So, time to migrate to Windows 7. We do not want to take the leap to Windows 8.

I've been watching available refurbished Dells, and there are now hundreds of Optiplex machines with Windows 7 Professional for sale on DFS. They can be had for under $200 if you hunt for coupon codes. For example, a Dell Optiplex 780 with Win 7 Pro is $243, less 30% (coupon code DELL30WINTER) = $170.10.

Like the above, most everything on DFS are Athlon 64 and C2D era machines. Not a hardware upgrade for us; this is purely for the OS. Luckily, out clients are not performance bottlenecks.

A retail copy of Windows 7 Pro is $140 by itself (Amazon or Newegg), and slightly cheaper from resellers and brokers. So while $170 seems like a bargain, there's even cheaper options:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6883256342
Refurbished B-grade HP DC7900 - $125
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (3.0 Ghz)
2GB RAM (4 slots total, 2 populated)
160GB HDD
Windows 7 Professional (both Win7 32- and 64-bit media are included)

So $15 less than a retail copy of Windows 7 Professional, and I get a desktop PC as well. Like getting paid $15 to take some hardware with my Windows media.

I bought a similar DC7900 for my mother last November; it included 32 & 64-bit media and brand new mouse & KB. It came with a WD Blue HDD, but I forgot to check the date code. I just bought three more of them to evaluate for use at work in our S&R dept.

In a perfect world, I'd prefer to move to a newer chipset / CPU architecture. In my experience, either Core i3 / i5 machines have not hit the off-lease / refurb market yet, or they're all immediately bought up and I just haven't seen them for sale. We have 15 clients here, and $new hardware isn't in the budget. I'm hoping to find some off-lease Core i3 or i5 machines by April to replace the XP machines in our office. Question to the forum: is there a cheaper (legal) path to Windows 7 Professional than the refurb route?

Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:23 pm 
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So just replacing MSE is not an option? I see why you want to upgrade the OS, but in this case it sounds like you're basically paying $100+ per machine for a AV software renewal, since the hardware is pretty much the same. Given how lousy MSE is, this doesn't make much sense at all.
http://www.av-test.org/en/tests/home-us ... poct-2013/
http://www.howtogeek.com/173291/goodbye ... antivirus/
Quote:
Microsoft Security Essentials was once on top of the rankings. In 2009, AV-Comparatives.org gave it a very high score and said it was the best-performing free antivirus.

MSE was very appealing to Windows geeks like us, who quickly latched onto it. It received very good malware detection scores, was extremely speedy, and was free. Not only was it available for free — it wouldn’t hassle you and try to upsell you to paid antivirus solutions, like AVG and avast! do. MSE was a breath of fresh air — both in its interface and its speedy performance. Its test results showed it was ahead of the pack, so it was best antivirus at the time.

Quote:
Over the past several years, Microsoft Security Essentials has slid in the malware detection scoring tests. AV-TEST’s 2011 annual review ranked Microsoft Security Essentials last place in protection among all the products it tested. In October 2012, Microsoft Security Essentials scored so low that it lost its AV-TEST certification. In June 2013, MSE received a zero protection score from AV-TEST — the lowest possible score. It’s also come last in other recent tests, including one by Dennis Technology Labs.


A different AV could be a temporary solution for a year or two, until newer hardware shows up as refurbished, or, until you actually need new hardware.

Edit: At first it seemed like the end of MSE updates was the sole reason for the upgrade.


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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:13 am 
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There are multi-PC licenses for Windows 7 for businesses that are much cheaper than purchasing them one license at a time. MS calls them License Packs. A friend just went through this for his workplace.

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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:57 am 
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Mats wrote:
Edit: At first it seemed like the end of MSE updates was the sole reason for the upgrade.

I can see how my post suggested as much. The age of XP and the discontinuance of OS updates are issues as well. The discontinuance of MSE updates was the nail in the coffin - time to move on. I want to get some Win 7 licenses while they're cheap and available. I assume prices for Win7 media and machines with Win7 will rise as we approach the April 8th deadline. I've been tasked with finding the best deal I can, which currently appears to be buying refurb machines.

I come from the camp described in your first quote: dissatisfied with Norton, AVG, Avast, Eset, etc. MSE was a breath of fresh air and performed well. I was not aware that their performance had slipped so much. Our 2008R2 server runs Eset NOD32 because of MSE's restriction to desktop operating systems. Since we've never had an infection on any machine here, I suppose I have (false) confidence in MSE. I'll have to get current on AV software when times permits.

CA_Steve wrote:
...License Packs...

I will investigate that as well.

[EDIT] At a glance, the only available client license is Win 8.1:

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:48 am 
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$60 seems like a good price, but given the name "Windows Pro" it makes me wonder if it still is W7.
The link that got me there said so, just like the part number when I searched it. Maybe give them a call.

http://www.costcentral.com/proddetail/M ... 1b2166becc

Here's where I found it, I see some other alternatives as well.

http://www.pricegrabber.com/software/wi ... &rd_type=P

Oh and watch out for per year licenses, they're everywhere.

I have no idea how much RAM you need at work. W7 works great with 2GB, but it could be too little depending the programs used.


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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:19 am 
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Mats wrote:
$60 seems like a good price, but given the name "Windows Pro" it makes me wonder if it still is W7.
The link that got me there said so, just like the part number when I searched it. Maybe give them a call.

http://www.costcentral.com/proddetail/M ... 1b2166becc

Here's where I found it, I see some other alternatives as well.

http://www.pricegrabber.com/software/wi ... &rd_type=P

Oh and watch out for per year licenses, they're everywhere.

I have no idea how much RAM you need at work. W7 works great with 2GB, but it could be too little depending the programs used.

Thanks for those links. The CostCentral link's description: "Windows Pro - Upgrade & software assurance - 1 PC - Platform, annual fee - MOLP: Open Value Subscription" has me a little worried. Worth a call though.

Re: RAM. I can cannibalize DDR2 from other machines to bring the DC7900 machines to 4GB.

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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:42 am 
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Jay_S wrote:
The CostCentral link's description: "Windows Pro - Upgrade & software assurance - 1 PC - Platform, annual fee - MOLP: Open Value Subscription" has me a little worried. Worth a call though.


If I'm not wrong, it should be a volume licensing scheme, and as stated you should need a minimum of 5 (five) licenses purchasing in order to embrace it: http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/licensing-options/open-license.aspx#tab=2.
At any rate, it should be the current Windows 8 Pro: if I remember correctly, there's should be an option to downgrade to W7 in it, but YMMV.

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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:04 am 
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Jay_S wrote:
annual fee

Oops, I missed that even though I looked for it. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:18 pm 
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There are MS resellers for businesses that can still provide you with Win7 in bulk license form. just gotta find them.

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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:37 pm 
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I know this is a silly thing to ask, but do any of the machines have Windows 7 Pro COA stickers on them?

I had a pair of customers both come in for upgrades, and after some deliberation with my boss about whether or not it would work, I should have bet some money on it. Both machines had XP Pro on them, but also had 7 Pro COA stickers. Takes some extra time, but you can upgrade XP Pro to Vista Business to Win 7 Pro, and then use the key on the COA. Added bonus, you don't have to activate Vista at all. Just use a disk to run the upgrade, install SP2, and upgrade again.

There used to be Win 7 Home Premium 3 packs that were great value, but no good if you're looking for Pro. Like CASteve said, you can still get bulk licenses for other versions of Win 7. The bulk licensing does depend on the number of activations you're looking for...

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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:32 pm 
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bonestonne wrote:
Takes some extra time, but you can upgrade XP Pro to Vista Business to Win 7 Pro, and then use the key on the COA.

Why not just do a clean install with W7 directly? COA keys usually works with clean inställs and retail isos.

Now that I think of it, it's possible that the machines has SLP certificates even if they don't have COA stickers. ;) Definitely worth checking out.


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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:01 am 
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Jay_S wrote:
While I anticipated Windows XP's EOL, I did not expect Microsoft's "Security Essentials will not get updates on XP" nonsense.

I agree, that is a poor reason to upgrade.
It seems the actual reason in a professional environment tends to be: I don't want to be blamed for any future problems due to us running an old OS. Which is totally understandable.

Jay_S wrote:
Not a hardware upgrade for us; this is purely for the OS. Luckily, out clients are not performance bottlenecks.

Yeah, this is the cheapest way I found to get a Windows license. Which is extremely silly. Laws need to change.

Jay_S wrote:
Question to the forum: is there a cheaper (legal) path to Windows 7 Professional than the refurb route?

The answer may be different depending on the country since laws, precedents and so forth vary and also because Microsoft discriminates against its customers based on their location.
But what I've found is this:
-the cheaper paths only applied if you want to upgrade (which is fine for you)
-volume licensing allowed downgrades (so you should be able to use it for Win 7 instead of Win 8 )
-but volume licensing had contractual baggage and wasn't actually cheap in the long run
-it was in the case I looked at (no old licenses which could be leveraged, no shareholders, plans to buy cheap but new hardware without bundled software in the future) it was actually cheaper in the long run to pay MORE for better licenses, not less


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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:10 am 
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bonestonne wrote:
I know this is a silly thing to ask, but do any of the machines have Windows 7 Pro COA stickers on them?

They do not - just XP stickers.

Mats wrote:
Now that I think of it, it's possible that the machines has SLP certificates even if they don't have COA stickers.

I assume SLP is: System Locked Pre-installation?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_Loc ... stallation

That's new to me. All our existing machines have Dell Windows XP COA stickers on them with regular product keys. How would I know if the machines have SLP certificates? From the wikipedia link above, it seems like I would know if, upon re-installation of XP from the OEM media, Windows activated automatically. I don't remember if this was the case when I installed these systems.

I called around to local MS resellers and found a great deal on Win7 Pro licenses and media - slightly better than the refurb PC route. I should have the DVDs in a week or so. As long as they install and activate: problem solved.

Thanks again to everyone who responded.

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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:05 am 
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When you bought a computer with XP, Vista or W7 it was activated with an SLP key. It was one key for all HP Windows 7 Professional licenses, one key for all HP Windows 7 Ultimate licenses, etc.
When you reinstall you usually use the COA key, which is a unique key. That's why SLP is an alternative way to activate Windows when the COA sticker is gone.

I've seen a program that gives you all info about the SLP status.
SLP is not used for Windows 8, at least not in the same way, most likely because it makes piracy extremely easy, even for upgrading the Windows edition.
All you need is the correct SLP key, and there's no way MS can tell you've done it.

However, if the computer is older than W7 it won't a SLP certificate for it. It may have a Vista SLP certificate though.


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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:07 am 
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Reagrding SLP: The HP-SLP key is only valid for certain HP BIOS data, i.e. if your proposed refurb systems were ever delivered with Win7 straight away, you only would need a recovery medium from the corresponding HP models. These recovery media come without any key necessary because of the certificates in a certain section of the HP BÍOS.

Then you would have functional Win7 clients, but as long as you do not have the required license material (depending on local legislation), you're practically running pirated copies.

In Germany a company named PC Fritz sells a Win7 Pro COA sticker as (according to german law) full license for around 40 Euro. It has to be mentioned that Microsoft deems those licenses as pirated, because MS rules will not allow de-bundling of hardware and license, PC Fritz claims that these licenses were bought from lawful owners. In germany you are allowed to separate hardware and the bundled OS license simply because you own both and once it is your legal property, you can sell it in parts if you like.


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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:35 am 
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Mats wrote:
When you bought a computer with XP, Vista or W7 it was activated with an SLP key. It was one key for all HP Windows 7 Professional licenses, one key for all HP Windows 7 Ultimate licenses, etc.
When you reinstall you usually use the COA key, which is a unique key. That's why SLP is an alternative way to activate Windows when the COA sticker is gone.

Pappnaas wrote:
Reagrding SLP: The HP-SLP key is only valid for certain HP BIOS data, i.e. if your proposed refurb systems were ever delivered with Win7 straight away, you only would need a recovery medium from the corresponding HP models. These recovery media come without any key necessary because of the certificates in a certain section of the HP BÍOS.

Then you would have functional Win7 clients, but as long as you do not have the required license material (depending on local legislation), you're practically running pirated copies.

I think I understand now. I'm pretty sure that these will come with "refurbished" COAs and media. I read a little bit more about MS's refurbisher licensing this morning:

http://oem.microsoft.com/public/worldwi ... elines.pdf

The HP DC7900 would have come originally with XP, Vista or 7:

http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/quic ... 029_ca.PDF

The one I bought for my mother did not include OEM HP media, but I don't remember what specifically was printed on the DVDs. I did not examine the COA beyond ensuring that there was one. From what I've learned, authorized refurbishers replace the original COA sticker with the brown "refurbished" COA sticker (see the pdf above). I am supposed to receive the three HPs tomorrow; I expect they will have the brown COAs and will not come with OEM HP media. Based on lack of OEM media, I don't think I can take advantage of SLP.

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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:01 am 
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By the way, a clean install of Vista SP2 is a pretty good OS. There, I said it. :D

If your computers came with Vista preinstalled, and then have been downgraded to XP, you may have a free solution for upgrade right there.

Most people hate Vista, but few have ever tried a clean install of Vista SP2.
In my opinion, the biggest difference in terms of stability is between Vista RTM and Vista SP2, not Vista SP2 and Windows 7 RTM.
For everyday use, Windows 7 RTM just gives you a better taskbar.


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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:36 pm 
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Mats wrote:
bonestonne wrote:
Takes some extra time, but you can upgrade XP Pro to Vista Business to Win 7 Pro, and then use the key on the COA.

Why not just do a clean install with W7 directly? COA keys usually works with clean inställs and retail isos.

Now that I think of it, it's possible that the machines has SLP certificates even if they don't have COA stickers. ;) Definitely worth checking out.


If there was a lot of software to keep, that's the best route. A few customers I have don't like change, so doing the upgrade process is typically able to keep most of their data nearly exactly as it was prior. Takes time, but if you don't have to worry about rapid deployment, it works in a pinch.

COA keys will even work on other machines (I've done this only a couple times, but it worked fine). I took a Toshiba COA and did a clean install on a completely different machine and it activated fine. I didn't keep the machine for all that long, but never had a problem.

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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:28 am 
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It seems like MS has listened:

Quote:
Microsoft has announced the Windows XP end of support date of April 8, 2014. After this date, Windows XP will no longer be a supported operating system. To help organizations complete their migrations, Microsoft will continue to provide updates to our antimalware signatures and engine for Windows XP users through July 14, 2015.


http://blogs.technet.com/b/mmpc/archive ... ws-xp.aspx


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 Post subject: Re: Windows XP EOL (8 April 2014), budget Win7 migration ide
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:32 am 
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Quick update - I received the refurbed dc7900 machines last week, but f*cked up my back so they sat in receiving unopened until this morning. As expected, 64-bit and 32-bit media were included. Also as expected, they have the brown Windows refurbished COA stickers. They all have 160GB Seagate 7200.10 drives (LOUD seeks). A little scuffed paint and some dust bunnies, but otherwise they're pretty damn nice for $125!

I'm still waiting for the Win7 media I ordered through our local MS dealer.

** One thing I screwed up: the original plan was to replace the Optiplex machines with the refurbished HP dc7900's, and to cannibalize RAM from the old machines for use in the new. Now that I'm keeping many of the old machines, I need to find some cheap DDR2 for the three HP dc7900's. Memory prices ain't what they used to be! Ha!- maybe shipping & receiving can get by with 2GB... ;)

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